Barbaras quotes Merleau-Ponty taking off from Malraux' idea that we hear our own voices through our throats while we hear the voices of others through our ears: "I am a sonorous being, but I hear my own vibration from within; as Malraux said, I hear myself with my throat. In this, as he also has said, I am incomparable; my voice is bound to the mass of my own life as is the voice of no one else" (in Being, p. 281). For my part, while cognizant of the sense in which my voice is bound to my concrete existence and my uniqueness, I feel that, as previously noted,the ear comes late to hearing, late to hearing the other as well as (if differently than) the self.
Let's talk about listening to speech in particular, recognizing speech with its implicit dimension of listening as an example of coexistential ideation, an ideation characterized by quasi-interiority, an as if quality of its inner horizon. Here I'm thinking of ideation as allusive, as governed by methectic laterality rather than being directed "from above" or from the outside. Barbaras' thinking about this topic inspires. Under the heading "Sense as Articulation" Barbaras sketches out an ontology of the sign premised on the reversibility of the voice. He says:
Nowhere are we confronted with signs that are strictly vocal; they cannot be characterized as sensible, audible atoms, as individuals situated in exteriority. Most assuredly, I do not hear anything other than sounds, and yet it is not the sounds themselves that I hear. Their relationship escapes worldly exteriority; they are not situated side by side. Rather, they bear witness to a quasi-interiority corresponding to the quasi-reflectivity of the voice. Each sound already slips into the others, makes allusions there and, by this very relationship, sketches a meaningful unity. Nevertheless, this movement does not rest on the presence of a meaning possessed elsewhere; sense is nothing other than this lateral relation between the signs. It is implicated in words and phonemes, as a coherent deformation, rather than being possessed by them. Sense remains, at the heart of expression, "organic" rather than pure meaning, a "matrix of ideas" [Signs, p. 77] rather than an idea. Thus the incarnation of sense in the voice corresponds to the quasi-exteriority of signs.
Just as it's obvious that there can't be deformation without form, there can't be as if without irrealization. However, irrealization in its usual forms emerges not from an isolated "interiority" (in an Idealist acceptation) but rather from matrices of delocutary vibrations, echoes which one echoes, gnoseologically, as it were. The aesthesiologicality of the vocal recovers a meaning of the as if as coexistential resonance and at the same time cadacualtic.
The vocal, it must be added, represents only one modality of embodied sign usage. Nonvocal coherent deformations are both imaginable and empirically evident. The vocal ought not be reified, as there are other routes to irrealizing coexistential vibration.