Friday, July 17, 2009


In discussing the oneness of practice and attainment, Nachmanivotich tells us about his use of a temenos, a ludic space:

The specific preparations begin when I enter the temenos, the play space. In ancient Greek thought, the temenos is a magic circle, a delimited sacred space within which special rules apply and in which extraordinary events are free to occur. My studio, or whatever space I work in, is a laboratory in which I experiment with my own consciousness. To prepare the temenos—to clear it, rearrange it, take extraneous objects out—is to clean and clear mind and body.

(Free Play, p. 75, my emphasis)

He goes on to add that in situations of live performance he treats the stage or the whole theatre as temenos.

There are those, surely, who wouldn't let philosophical discussion anywhere near a magic circle. However, if philosophy is to allow for experimentation, play without fear, then any objection to thinking within the magic circle would risk seeming picayune. On the other hand why not bring magic under the microscope? Are there words that would undo magic? Magic words?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 2:59 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there is a strong historical (which is to say genealogical) connection between magical instrumentality and the scientific laboratory (of course we know that Newton was a avid alchemist of endless experimentation, but it goes further back than that, all the way to the Hellenic world on the instrumentality of demonology). Science does not cancel magic, but rather sharpens it, and trades on its powers. And, it is interesting to compare this local topos to the theatre. It reminds me of Dante's

Paradiso 22.151-153, the scene of tiny, mundane earth, when looked at staring down from the Constellation of Gemini:

L'aiuola che ci fa tanto feroci,
volgendom' io con li etterni Gemelli,
tutta m'apparve da' colli a le foci;

The small patch which makes us all so fierce.
from hills to rivermouths, I saw it all
while I was being wheeled with the eternal Twins.

The very smallness of earth (it is thought that Dante is comparing earth to a threshing floor) is the thing that makes us so fierce to each other. Theatre is like that, composing a smallness in order to generate drama. And Science/magic is like that, drawing down a "laws" of Nature into a minute particularity, a small manifestation, so as to make an apparition, a control of the demon, attempting to "make it speak".

July 18, 2009 8:54 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

As per usual, kvond, a compelling and thoughtful comment. This idea of "I experiment with my own consciousness" seems rather modern to me, but I wonder about its genealogy.

July 19, 2009 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FtY: "This idea of "I experiment with my own consciousness" seems rather modern to me, but I wonder about its genealogy."

Kvond: The "Buddha" (and a few of his followers) has something to say about this, and isolation unto a space/stage pretty much seems a fundamental part of some of these practices. And it seems as well that the Western concept of the "magus" (whether the traveling Hellenic magician, or the philosopher turned into the Christian saint), also had something to do with experimenting with one's own consciousness. But perhaps I am misreading you, and your notion of what is modern here.

July 19, 2009 1:35 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Please excuse the tardiness of the reply. Way distracted here. I think I had in mind in something like the cogito. Nachmonivitch is influenced by Buddhism. Not sure about the ownness of consciousness according to Buddhist tradition. I've been thinking there's an issue with English and possessives, anyway, which impacts on any critique of something like "my own consciousness"; and yet the critique of self in relation to consciousness is not specific to Anglophone thinkers. When is "the head" "my head"? Under what conditions is one compelled (does one desire) to specify to which person the head belongs? Just to yak.

July 22, 2009 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or to put it another way how come your head is not my head?

"This is why it was only rarely and recently noticed that the cerebral organ only
determines some sensory contents of her or his experience, but does not
determine – nor could it do this – who will appear circumstanced to use it;
namely, the not nomical (i.e., not standard) but cadacualtic and unbarterable
constitution of a certain psychophysical unity.

This neglect was further bolstered by the time asymmetry of
cadacualtic descriptions. Cadacualtez is postdictable but never predictable.
If one's survey goes back from the existence of a particular existentiality,
say that of Jane Doe, to her previous nonexistence, the former is already
established as a part of the query. In contrast, when the survey is conceptualized
in the opposite sense, one comes from the nonexistence therein –
say, in a not yet fecundated ovule – of circumstancing relationships with
any cadacualtic existentiality (namely, not from the nonexistence of circumstancing
relationships with Jane Doe but the nonexistence of circumstancing
relationships with any existentiality by then future) to the existence of Jane
Doe's particular reality, not another.
In this fashion, in one avenue of the survey (the latter, or causal sequence) this nonalterity differs from identity,
but merges with it in the other, sequence-reversing avenue.
The epistemological
time asymmetry that in this way comes to affect the issue cloaks,
habitually, the important distinction between one's being one because of
one's history, namely the fact that the sequence of constitutive events
makes one's instanceable features, and one's being not another because of
a different source. In this regard cadacualtez is a converse of ipseity, the
latter determining one to be oneself and the former making one's being not
another." (Crocco, Palindrome)

I was browsing thru Radical Philosophy recently and came across a fine essay by Canguilhem 'The Brain and Thought' (1980). I will scan it and send a copy if you like...

"Cadacualtez, the intrinsic unbarterability, unrepeatability, incommunicability,
and singularity of every existential being, thus manifests as the
ontic determination, in nature, of every event of a finite observer's finding
herself experiencing in a circumstance rather than, instead, in another.
Natural science finds psychisms that neither self-posit to exist nor selfcircumstance
to eclose. As their circumstancing is a constitutive contingency
for finite observers, its unbarterability makes such event one and the same,
even if iterated observationally over the years – one never being shifted or
teleported to other bodily circumstances."

July 23, 2009 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A: "or to put it another way how come your head is not my head?"

Kvond: But it is...You are already thinking things I could never think, for me.

July 24, 2009 4:56 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I'd be glad to read that Canguilhem paper.

July 25, 2009 6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, I had to reduce from A3 to A4 (otherwise it would take ages to scan) but if you open it with office pic manager or windows pic viewer you can magnify it enough.
Why are my flea bites not your flea bites.

'And in natural science the respect that is due to every finite mind is the value that the ultimate ground grants to people. The ground, or unoriginated portion of the reality, that causes reality to exist instead of not existing, and reality to be as it is, having the exact nature it has; that is to say the ground or portion of the reality which, in the causative level making reality real, cadacualtically circumstances each person to the body that, due to that circumstancing, becomes her or his “own” – a determination (called cadacualtez) that cannot be posited by the antecedents of such a body, nor of such an existentiality (all of which is also discussed in this chapter).' (Crocco, Palindrome)
'Furthermore, this simplification of minds to their mental contents prevents an appreciation of the heterogeneity of their respective causal sources. This heterogeneity is shown by the contrast between the eclosion of the finite existentialities – whose cadacualtez cannot be determined by the situational making of the circumstance that in each case became her (each existentiality’s) own – and the situational making of her particular mental contents. Because of this intellectual situation, Aristotle’s observation that tò autó esti tò nooûn kaì tò nooúmenon (the same /entity/ is what cognizes and what is known: Perì Psyjeês 3, 430 a 2), was misinterpreted by the gnosticisms. In order to interestedly deny the real elapsing of situational transformations (“time”), gnosticists pretend that “being” is merely a distinctional predication, and as a result believe that “l’intelligibilité se dit non pas de l’être mais des discours sur l’être” (“intelligibility is not said of ‘being’ but of the discourses on ‘being’”). This of course inaugurates the ideologies of mediation, which claim that one never knows one’s reality in itself but only through veils and shadows, as Paul Ricoeur bluntly epitomized: “...there is no self-knowledge without some kind of detour through signs, symbols and cultural works, etc.” (Crocco)
'This is what every circumstanced existentiality actually finds – all of these existentialities, because of cadacualtez, cannot be combined into one (the monopsychist “commiscuum”), but let us be orderly and save comments on cadacualtez for a later time...'(Crocco

July 25, 2009 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

couldn't resist one more -its a sickness (this is from a much longer version of Palindrome than the published one).

Dropping from consideration the unlawful in the persons’ constitution:

This tenet reduces persons to mere examples: instantiations of personhood. And, not by chance, all examples or instances are despised by Platonisms, preconceptually aware – and beware – of this indeterminability of persons at their boundary conditions. All persons are unlawful, as the facts we are considering show; but in the Platonist scheme all eclosions are worthless specimens, that is, just events that illustrate, or instance in some historical situation or moment of time, imperishable patterns of ontic possibility or transcendent Forms. This situation of a différentiel (or “difference,” à la Deleuze) serving only repetition even worsens if depicted with modern mathematical tools, in which differential equations describe dynamic evolutions whose next step solely depends on the pattern cast at the previous step. Just as with quantum physics, they cannot depict finite minds. (Crocco).

July 25, 2009 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A: "Why are my flea bites not your flea bites."

Kvond: It sounds like something somebody during the plague years in the mid 17th century would have said.

July 25, 2009 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, I went to Auckland last w.e and spent 4.5hrs watching the film Che at the Orclund civic theatre. The next day I realized I had been attacked...still recovering. The bastards are v. itchy.

July 25, 2009 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mite interest:

almost recovered from the plague.

August 03, 2009 1:51 AM  

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