Friday, May 22, 2009

Temporality on a Model of the Gift Economy

Shahar blogs (naturally in a post one ought to read a few times in its entirety):


Levinas equates the Saying (to be opposed to the Said) with the immanence of the body, with the diachrony of ageing and pain, and with the sensibility of flesh. In contrast to structuralism, which synchronizes the relations between signs in an atemporal horizontal totality, Levinas posits the primordial relation with the other. In this instance, signs are given as gifts between interlocutors before they are fixed into impersonal structures. Time de-phases the identical.


My recent use of somebody's idea of the "unsaid" is similar to the Saying in that it points to the performance of the said, its illocutionary residue; its particular bias is textualist as well as dialectical. Levinas' formulation holds more promise.


Time de-phases the identical. Dephasis problematizes temporality, as if temporality could persist while Time (time's identity) passed underground, even beneath phenomenality, phasis, delivery. A model for this temporality is the gift economy, if only because it's already been described. Now, do we say Time, its reality bracketed out for the sake of exploring the problem of dephasis, neither phases in nor phases out the identical, its presupposition it would seem, but precisely deprives it of phase? Interlocution as the relation that absolves of the relation? We can use totality to undo totality at the "same time" we step outside it? Is this approach suggested by an inherited style of reflection, or perhaps guided by an eidos of reflection? Has structuralism justly been given a due?


I'm sure Kevin would have something to say about this dephasing of the identical, as evidenced by his commentary here. "The music of engagement is always richer than this." (I don't mean to deflect. Just curious.)

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posted by Fido the Yak at 12:00 AM.

13 Comments:

OpenID kvond said...

FoY,

"Time dephases the identical," an interesting phrase. It suggests of course that there is an originary, or primary condition of being "in phase" which is then disrupted. I don't think that "the identical" is in phase in the first place, that is to say, what is happening when there is "sameness" between two persons (or figures), such that they are "in phase" is not due to a strict identicality, but rather due to a consumate co-ordination of so many other factors. To say that "the identical" is in phase is to not understand, or simply, what being in phase would be.

I don't know if that suffices, but it is what comes to mind.

May 22, 2009 1:46 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

...I should have written, "To say that "the identical" is in phase is to not understand, or SIMPLIFY, what being in phase would be.

May 22, 2009 1:48 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Hi, thanks for commenting.

I take it that structuralism's concept of the synchronic is being criticized; structuralism fails to understand or simplifies being in phase. Doesn't mean the criticism you have couldn't or shouldn't be broadened. (Cf. btw the synkairotic—awkward, I know.) I am always searching for new vocabulary to advance such a critique. Naturally I admire how others assemble concepts and don't mean to snatch mere words. Or do I?

For me phasis means appearance. From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Phase. 1812, "phase of the moon," back-formed as a sing. from Mod.L. phases, pl. of phasis, from Gk. phasis "appearance" (of a star), "phase" (of the moon), from stem of phainein "to show, to make appear" (see phantasm). L. sing. phasis was used in Eng. from 1660. Non-lunar application is first attested 1841. Meaning "temporary difficult period" (especially of adolescents) is attested from 1913. The verb meaning "to synchronize" is from 1938, from the noun.

I have an abiding interest in the rhythms of phenomena or of phenomenality, which is driving me today to think about phasis, but I always ask myself whether I mean to circumvent the phenomenal. Just so you know where I think I'm coming from.

May 22, 2009 4:17 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

FtY: "I have an abiding interest in the rhythms of phenomena or of phenomenality, which is driving me today to think about phasis, but I always ask myself whether I mean to circumvent the phenomenal. Just so you know where I think I'm coming from."

Kvond: Then we share an interest in turning away from the internalist Phenomenological tradition. Perhaps you would be interested in my recent takes on the Biosemiotic notion of Umwelt (which has distinct Idealist and Phenomenological heritage), which I suggest should be transformed into an Exowelt, a nodal sense of shared world differences. This indeed would work along your phase/phasis synthesis.

http://kvond.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/umwelt-umwelten-and-the-animal-defined-by-its-relations/

http://kvond.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/differences-in-the-world-as-organs-of-perception/

http://kvond.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/bioethics-defining-the-moral-subject-and-spinoza/

But I would suggest, following Spinoza, the world is always therefore "in phase" because Being is univocal, and it is constantly manifesting.

May 22, 2009 4:47 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Oh, I'm quite interested in biosemiotics, and I've enjoyed reading your posts. I'll have to tell Paul that you dug his book.

I am an occasional critic of the constant, and would be tempted to deploy the contrapuntal in order to dephase it ;-)

May 23, 2009 2:48 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

p.s.

Check out Fadi's latest on the time of the vicissitudo.

May 23, 2009 4:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, hello, hello - what's going on here then? (If you're not of Anglo origin this is would be said by a policeman with a cockney accent.
Glad to see someone like that stuttering book PoS. Altho it would need a little tweaking - the tick apparently does not 'wait' for anything. Only empsyched beings have the right stufff for that trick. The issue here is the diff btwn 'life' and empsyched life....
I will send kvond's link to Deely and Kalevi Kull

Keep posting the music clips. I have to admit I'm enjoying 'mixed' tango such as 'Tango Chill' Mario would kill me.
hugs, Paul

May 23, 2009 2:02 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

FtY: "I am an occasional critic of the constant, and would be tempted to deploy the contrapuntal in order to dephase it ;-)"

Kvond: This would of course cause us to assert that that "silence" is somehow less of a note, less of a "manifestion" than a tone is. I don't know how one would do this. If information is difference that makes a difference, a silence is no less manifesting, than a tone.

How does one "dephase" silence?

May 23, 2009 3:11 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

"This would of course cause us to assert that that 'silence' is somehow less of a note, less of a 'manifestion' than a tone is."

I'm not sure that follows. ? Lately I've been having difficulty with claims that absences are presences, withdrawals are manifestations and the like. Not sure what to think. I do think "silence" meaningfully describes a chunk of experience, but I'd like to stay open to its interpretation.

One might begin to dephase silence (in Shahar's sense, natch) by contextualizing it, thinking it more as something people do than as an idea or an entity. There are a few books on the pragmatics of silence (premise: silence is nohow less a phenomenon of language than honorifics, greetings, requests, whatever), but I've yet to dig into the literature. I'm reading Montiglio today and will mull before posting.

May 23, 2009 3:39 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

FtY: "One might begin to dephase silence (in Shahar's sense, natch) by contextualizing it, thinking it more as something people do than as an idea or an entity."

Kvond: If we operate under a Spinozist regime, all acts, including acts of silence are conatus strivings, part of the constant manifestation of Nature/Being/God. I can't see how making silence an act "dephases" it, but rather reinscribes it within the broader manifestation.

If we return to your synthesis of phase/phasis, the appearance/disappearance of a star or planet is simply an altneration of a constant expression, a singular world. The disappearance is not anything "less" that its appearance. The "phasing" ultimately must include the phasing of oneself as perceiver, being in or out of phase with differences in the world, if I can put it that way.

May 23, 2009 3:53 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

"simply an alternation of a constant expression"

There's nothing simple in my mind about alternation, because it calls upon an idea of repetition which may—it's ambiguous, complicated— run contrary to constancy. In one sense if something is constant it doesn't need to be repeated, and properly I hardly see how it could be. In another sense if something is constant it "bears" repeating.

How would you relate musicality to constancy?

Some first defs. from dictionary.com.

Alternate (adj.): "being in a constant state of succession or rotation; interchanged repeatedly one for another."

Constant: "not changing or varying; uniform; regular; invariable"

Do we know whether repetition means change? By these definitions it logically could not, but this is in dispute. Is interchange not change? This just isn't simple to me.

As you might guess, my preference would be to put the meaning of "the" world into question, or strategically not assume anything about it. I would question "the broader manifestation," but I don't want to say something like "metaphor" or "anthropomorphism" as if I already knew what that meant, or like I necessarily disapproved of anthropomorphic thinking when in fact I don't.

I'm sure there is wisdom in holding that the disappearance is not anything less than the appearance. Well, there's a conceptual system here, a system of implicit dimensions or some such. Yet what could we make of the fact, which surely somebody will attest to, that disappearance feels different than appearance? If disappearance feels like loss, or conspicuously like having less, then there may also be some reason to say that disappearance is, in fact, less than appearance, despite a different logical argument to the contrary. Are appearances felt? Does this lead to aporia? I could hardly say.

May 23, 2009 9:33 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

I fear that the discussion is dropping into binary oppositions which is a vice of philosophical discussion (which often dwells in the ambiguities of reference), but I will say to your question;

"How would you relate musicality to constancy?"

I'm not sure what you mean by "relate". I take it as an implicit and rational assumption of any understanding of others (human beings, biotic forms, artifacts, states of the world, etc), that those states express a shared relation to a "same world" and this sameness of world carries with it a certain constancy (that which is affecting you also affects me). When this constancy is understood in the Bateson sense of differences that make a difference (a difference in the world is affecting you, and it also affects me), then this alternation (difference) becomes the form of the constancy of world.

At least that is how I see it. So, musicality is the form of the constancy of the world, so to speak.

I don't know if that helps.

May 24, 2009 1:18 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Yes, it helps. Thanks.

May 24, 2009 3:53 PM  

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