Sunday, October 14, 2007

So Low You Can't Get Under It

Corradi Fiumara insists that we should want to be able to find time for listening. We should not merely listen to others, but to our own inner voice. Exploring this idea, Corradi Fiumara says some interesting things about time. To begin with, she puts forward an idea of biological time in order to criticize a concept of time defined by a rationality that does not know how to listen.

With the technology of informatics and the achievement of 'real time', which constitutes precisely the annulment of the time spent in waiting, we move ever further away biological time, undeniably contained within the limits of birth and death and scanned by such rhythms as sleeping and waking, diastole and systole. Structured by a sequence of rhythms that are in evidence as early as in pre-natal life, biological time is conspicuously different from the concept of time created by western rationality: a time, that is, which has lost all rhythmical flow and only speeds up in a planar, uniform and unhalting way. It is a notion of time that can be integrated more easily with a technology of treatment than with the prevention of pathological states; two different views of time, linked to horizons that seem to diverge ever more and that render one another both alien and alienated.

(The Other Side of Language, p. 134)

Corradi Fiumara considers Heidegger's idea that time, as the basis of the possibility of selfhood, enables the mind to be what it is (Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, pp. 196-197). She comments as follows:

An number of queries thus emerge: first and foremost whether selfhood represents an indisputable fact or a simple possibility of realization. And if it is really the function of time to make the mind what it is how can we know whether time fulfils its role and whether the mind exists as such; we must ask, therefore, if time is 'alive', if it works. Time, which can not be seen, touched or controlled by following it as we choose, is nevertheless capable of paralysing humans with boredom or disintegrating them with haste. If we actually believe that time 'enables the mind to be what it is', it is only fair to ask ourselves how we can have experience of it. And it, in our haste, our boredom, or other forms of deterioration, time fails us, the mind might cease to be what it is. And what might a mind be when it is no longer what it is?

(pp. 140-141)

It occurs to me as I write that I have an inner voice that holds me back and never urges me forward. It is the voice of an editor. Obviously I can tune it out. It can become boring, and if it sounds boring maybe that's because it's bored. Dreadfully bored. Other times it's much too hasty, to quick to edit. Well, I can't be sure. Is it me or my inner voice that's too hasty? Probably both. There's a reciprocity even in our deterioration, our getting down, which may or may not be getting down for real. Do I long to have an inner voice that wouldn't be mine? Would such an other voice be a disintegration, or a deeper integration? If I say I am mindless, it is only in the sense of not having a mind. My mindspace is shared with another voice. I mind it, and I don't mind it. I mind it, though I feel minding it doesn't completely block our getting down. But Corradi Fiumara has a point. If I'm going to get down with my inner voice, the last thing I want to be is arhythmical.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:30 AM.


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