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. 12 comments

Rhythmosophic Textuality in the Direction of the Spasmoreal

Corradi Fiumara calls for a deeper appreciation of the reader on the part of writers of philosophical texts:

In a perspective of open systems, Danto suggests that we should not overlook the way in which philosophy functions as literature does, not in the sense of extravagant literary artefacts, but as engaging with readers in striving towards some sense of organic unity. Literature, in fact, can be regarded as being about the reader at the moment of reading through the process of reading. In his view the texts require the act of reading in order to be complete, and it is as readers of a certain type that philosophical texts address us at all; the variety of texts implies a correspondingly great variety of possible kinds of reader, and hence of theories of what we are in the complex attitude of reading something. The propensity to neglect the reader is a derivative of an inclination to leave creatures of the sort readers exemplify outside the situation which the text purports to cope with. Some outlooks almost constitute examples of such an oversight, as if supported by a view of philosophical writing which renders the reader nearly evanescent; it is a view which sustains a sort of "disembodied professional conscience," in Danto's language. He also remarks that science can get away this largely because even when it is about readers, it "is not about them as readers and so lacks the internal connection philosophical texts demand because they are about their readers as readers." If we rotate the discussion in this sense, then we come to appreciate an inescapable live relationship between any living beings engaged in philosophy in its real sense.

(Metaphoric, p. 25)

Noting a movement from regarding the philosophic text as artefact to a forum of vital philosophic engagement, this would present an opportunity to revisit any obligation the writer has to produce readerly texts–but do we read necessarily with an ideal writer in mind?

Like a fern choreosophic textuality unfurls in the direction of the spasmoreal. The evanescence of the reader implied by the gesture towards sudden reality, evanescence is at the same time made evanescent by the implication of a choreography. A rhythmic reading of the text is solicited, a reading which calls into question any finitude attached to reading. Did it have to be there in the first place in order to be called into question? In saying something is "called into question" do we affirm its reality at any level?

The relation between rhythmosophic reading–a style of reading that reads and rereads, relearns and therefore unlearns–and spasmorealization is akin to preparation, and also to unlearning. Just as one selects which texts to read, one selects which texts to reread. Which are the texts that are most likely to lead to spasmorealizations? What are their attributes?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 8:02 AM. 0 comments

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Pure Answer

"What really defines a question," writes Barbaras (Being, p. 141), "is that it involves the possibility of an answer, at least as a horizon." The question springs from the tessellation of interpersonal encounters, which in disaggregate form a horizon of actuality of answers for the (possible) question, though it is nonetheless also the home of nexii of singularities, abilities (actual possibilities), ideas of abilities (and on to the "virtual"), membranes, textures, passages, and expressive gestures. The tessellation is where laterality figures, or figures as horizon. Two ideas, both connected to the emergence of the question from the tessellation of encounters: the openness of the question, and the drawing of the whole person into question (drawn not wholly, but by implicature). The person could not possibly be drawn into question given a perfect, irrefrangible solitude. However, solitude is an element of the encounter, texturally, environmentally in its paradigmatic instance, perhaps, though it could easily enough be viewed as a fundamental polarity of the encounter–here I hesitate to describe the encounter in the abstract for fear of foreclosing on any of its possibilities, or any avenues that could be strolled through its concretions. This may be a point of contention. Does the positing of the pure question rely upon the pure answer, whether given as possibility or in some other way? I am tempted to think that it does, and that therefore we must be cautious in defining the question in any such way that would discount or devalue the realities of answer. With such a caveat in mind let's follow where Barbaras goes with the idea of the openness of the question:

What defines interrogation, as pure interrogation, is that the question accepts no answer that would conlcude it. . . . Sense is precisely interrogative sense, present as something to interrogate, withdrawing itself behind the question that gains access to it. This interrogative sense is given at one and the same time as response and reenactment of the question within the response; it is present only at a distance.

(p. 141, Barbaras' emphasis).

Do we, as questioners, only accept tentative answers? (As always, although I make a rhetorical point, the question isn't entirely "rhetorical." It could be answered directly.) What directions would we give to the reenactments of "our" questions? The answers Barbaras gives, the questions he reenacts, gravitate around his ontological account of the thought of Merleau-Ponty. Here the discussion moves from the sense of vision to the body of the question, which is the body as chiasm:

[I]n order to restore the signifying and ultimately the interrogative dimension of vision, as opposed to Sartrean abstraction, Merleau-Ponty appealed to the experience of touch. Ultimately interrogation itself, at all levels including linguistic, turns out to be defined by this reference to touch. . . . [I]nsofar as it is originary interrogation, "auscultation or palpitation in thickness," our relation to Being proceeds from an originary Touching. The notion of the flesh corresponds to this originary Touching; strictly speaking, it is the body of interrogation, the body as interrogation.

(p. 144, Barbaras' emphasis).

And we see Barbaras tying the discussion of the question into his analysis of the dialectic of fact and essence: "The notion of wild essence describes this ultimate level where the fact exists only as the possibility that articulates it, where the essence makes sense only insofar as it remains caught facticity. The Being of interrogation therefore designates Mediation as the last reality, and, in a sense, there is only mediation" (p. 145). So far so good? If it is true that "interrogation proper proceeds from an act of ideation" (p. 143), then we are encouraged to approach the imagination of the question as "caught facticity." An obvious relation exists between fact and question, a relation introduced by response, whether in the form of the question (the wonderful question, always to be questioned) or the answer; less obviously there is conceivably a facticity of question and answer, or a factical background to the exchange of question and answer. There is also the fact of posing a ?-idea.

Is the encounter an act? Does the word interaction hint at a beyond of action, any sort of crossing over? Does the act conceived in one domain remain an act when carried over to another? Does the encounter carry the potential to redefine action, to reenact it? Can the pure answer be any kind of reenactment, or must it be "free" to close the question?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 1:15 PM. 0 comments

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crossing the }∅{, Breaching the X

Lived depth is both meaningful and labile, David Morris tells us (The Sense of Space, hereafter Sense). Morris distinguishes lability from malleability and metamorphosis, and explains that by saying lived depth is labile he means that "it is open to alterations that propagate from within our experience of it, where the kinds of alterations are themselves open to alteration" (p. 19). Among the rudiments of lived depth we can further note plasticity, the unfixity of thresholds, bodily movement, or, better perhaps, dynamic, chiasmic movement. Morris helpfully defines "dynamics": "Dynamics are simply shifts in self-organization; the intrinsic ordering of perception always reflects the interaction of body and environment, and changes to either will, as a matter of course, produce changes in self-organization" (pp. 15-16). As an aside, does sense in movement rehabilitate Sinngebung?

When we make the leap from the givenness of the chiasm to the givenness of the }∅{, now understood as a modality of our acceptance of the chiasmatic and coexistential extraordinaries, our way of accepting wild meanings, even those that may be our own—the flavor of the spasmoreal is everywhere now—then we come to question the givenness of the autopoietic. In what depth does it unfold? Naturally we are imagining a physis that has yet to be studied except in fragmentary, inchoate crossings. Can there be a betweenness that doesn't be tween with(in) an encapsulating space. Possibly a (between)space (s p a c e) of multiplicities: an autopoietic space, let's imagine (}∅{, too, for kicks—of course we ask about its givenness—does the attribute ever give rise to the eidos?).

Intersubjective spatiality: "One's sense of depth and space is not simply rooted in the crossing of one's body and the world, but in the crossing of one's existence and an other's existence" (p. 25). I note a radical difference between our perspectives, Morris' and mine, far more radical than the substitution of the * and its spasmoreal multiplicity of relatioms for the pattern of the X. Morris wants to attend to the grounds of the encounter with the other (p. 28). I'd rather see }∅{ as a condition of the encounter, at least provisionally. I don't know whether the encounter can be grounded without being ground to a halt.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:17 AM. 12 comments

Thursday, July 09, 2009

From this Empty Space

Nachmanovitch writes of the physicality of playing his instrument, the violin: "I found that concentrating on body, gravity, balance, technique&mdashthe physicality of the instrument&mdashleft room for inspiration to sneak in unimpeded. From this empty space came all my subsequent adventures in improvisation" (p. 65). Just a quick question: What space is there between the physicality of the instrument and the physicality of the body?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:15 AM. 0 comments

Silence of the Logos

Montiglio concludes:

Silence is never neutral in the land of the logos. Many of its appearances seem to be variants of a similar sentiment, which could be called horror of the void. The Greek world is resonant, filled with circulating voices. On the battlefield, in the assembly, in the theater, in the city as a whole, the voice is an organizing principle. Silence threatens this fullness of sound. As a troublesome, paralyzing interruption of the verbal flow within the speech code of the Iliad; as an impenetrable and concentrated attitude in tragedy; as a sudden suspension of the normal course of nature, silence heralds disruption and provokes anxiety. Ominous silences most often break into cries: the horror of the void fills silence with its opposite, as if to re[e]stablish a lost equilibrium through an overcompensation of sound.

(p. 289)

I'd let this pass in silence but I want to note a possible difference between cultural representations of silence (the logos of silence, if you will) and silence as it actually experienced (the silence of the logos, perhaps). Does the consideration of silence as speech act obviate this difference? In any case can logoi encompass their own silences?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:03 AM. 0 comments