Monday, August 31, 2009

Wherein the Original Wanders from the Translation

Morris distinguishes between mechanical translation and expressive translation, arguing in fact that expression is translation in the paradoxical sense in which an original text becomes orginal only by being translated. He says "below the turn of experience the representational relation between subject and object is one of mechanical translation: representation amounts to a shift of content from one form to another in an already established system. At the turn of experience the relation between subject and object would instead involve expression [i.e., expressive translation]" (Sense, p. 84, my emphasis). Does translation have a pilgrimatical quality? Does the meaning of the pilgrimage, enigmatically, come from a within? Morris maintains that expressive translation elaborates a plane of meaning from within. Where does that take us?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:14 AM. 2 comments

Exarations of an Earthly Self

"Editing must come from the same inspired joy and abandon as free improvisation," says Nachmanovitch (Free Play, , p. 109).

The mYrror between the Olympian and the secretarial, a dionysiac hand exarate. The poet knows things like chiton, stylus, catoptron, morph, amphora. He says such things as if his words were butterflies. The poetical far surpasses the poet, such is the amphoricity of the poet's psyche, the bearing of its epiphanizations. What has been relinquished in order to give out giving? Breath? Earthly Breath.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:44 AM. 0 comments

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Physiology of the Metaphor

When Corradi Fiumara speaks of metaphoricity implying a "physiological" transformation of meanings she is not merely giving us an analogy (Metaphoric, p. 55). "The use of metaphoric language," she says, appears to be "profoundly interwoven with the actual development of our inner life" (ibid.). She implies that the recognition of personal uniqueness logically requires the recognition of the metaphoricity of language (p. 52). Are "inner messages" then born of a lived metaphoricity? Do we possibly know personal uniqueness prior to language, or does it even make sense to speak of prelinguistic knowledge? How broadly does one defines language? So broadly as to merge linguisticity with hominization, as Corradi Fiumara seems to do, to see them as interwoven in an evolution of meanings? Of course this kind of knowledge of language would be premised upon access to a metaphoricity—a mode of a speaker's paradox.

If contextual linguistic knowledge itself expresses a metaphoric potential of language, to draw the most from Corradi Fiumara's rejection of the idea of any naturally occurring zero-context utterance (pp. 156-157, note 12), then there is a sense in which linguistic capacity is interwoven with metalinguistic capacity. We see language as being about the interpersonal world. Translation would by this account not be premised on metaphoricity in a way that would allow us to isolate its conditions of possibility from those of language so much as the translative would represent one of the modalities of the metaphoric process of contextualization. The translational encounter, the allusion between "languages" (the emblamaticized formal representations of phatic communities), provokes transformational awarenesses, decipherments, which give rise to the within of language, the recognition of an ipseity in speaking—here I may be significantly departing from Corradi Fiumara, though we both agree on the (eudaimonial, therapeutic, epistemological, affective, human) importance of listening to inner messages, for my intuition is that the withinness of the personal is created. It's a metaphor, or to speak "metaphorically" though not merely so, a translation.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 10:12 AM. 2 comments

Saturday, August 29, 2009



Barbaras on language:

Against the intellectualist conception which posits the material sign and the signification side by side as positive entities, linguistics discovers that sign and signification become positive beings and are then ordered to each other only by a process of active differentiation carried out first on the signifiers themselves. It is truly by this process that the signifiers become signifiers in the strict sense, that is, carriers of significations. The signification is not attached in a univocal manner to a sign but is situated between the signs as the invisible place where the signifying acts intersect. The sense intended in speech is a "qualified nothingness" whose unity is designed by means of the incessant differentiation of spoken words. Consequently, the sign is never truly isolable and the sense never strictly present in any spoken word; it is sketched in them as their secret web and remains therefore allusive, by principle disappointing every attempt to possess it in person. The sense is reached only in a lateral fashion, beside itself, across the figures in which it is incarnated.

(Being, p. 179)

Chaosmic Metaphoricity

In my usage "spatiality" hardly ever refers to bare geometric space but rather to space as it is lived; similarly "meaning" refers not to a purely intellectual realm of displaced and displacable abstractions but to an embodied gesture towards the world, an expression of mien. The orders of extensa and cogitans are not originary. From such a viewpoint metaphor takes on an ontological and chaosmological significance. "Far from the metaphor bearing on objects already circumscribed," Barbaras explains, "things proceed from a general 'metaphoricity,' from a universal participation that they concentrate or crystallize in order to be constituted into things" (p. 195, Barbaras' emphasis, my bold). This view of a general metaphoricity apparently describes an inhabited world, a universe of life and of leeway. Can there a cosmos in which leeway as such exists without the possibility of response to leeway?

Anarchic (}∅{) Individuation

Barbaras says that "individuation does not designate an incomprehensible phase preceding the individual whose clarification then necessitates recourse to a principle" (p. 183, Barbaras' emphasis) and likewise, "individuality makes sense only insofar as it does not proceed from a principle, and . . . the individual has individuality only insofar as individuality cannot be assigned. The individuality of the thing can be maintained only by remaining unfulfilled, just short of the point where it could fixed as a principle" (p. 184). Does this argument about things also hold for persons, unique, living beings? I think it's rather meant to: "individuality is characterized by its ability to foil every search for a principle of individuation; to be attentive to the individual is to understand that the search for such a principle is meaningless. One must instead say that the individual produces its own 'principles' as asymptotic poles of its pre-individual life" (p. 186). Does }∅{ designate the total absence of principles, or the autopoetic generation of its own proper extempore "principles?" Can these be separated? Is general metaphoricity not a principle?

An errant thought: "sense at its maximum degree of errancy, nowhere gathered together, pure allusion, horizon" (p. 181). I allege that allusion is like enough to a gathering, a playing along, or a play towards. I note a tension between errancy and allusion; at the same time }∅{ means the absence of an apriori gathered; the allusive gathers up in itself even prior there being an in in itself. The allusiveness of this very concatenation of thought has not escaped my notice. Not even direct quotation erases the allusiveness of sense.

Barbaras says that the "ultimate ground of the real consists of . . . 'rays of the world' which do not lead to the rank of principles" (p. 190). To speak of the ultimate betrays a desire for principles. "Ultimate ground," "ultimate moment": }∅{ issues no ultimata. "Ultimate" must be understood figuratively. The desire for the arche is born autopoetically, in the leap. Rays of the world never arrive at the arche, but they approach the arche asymptotically. The penultimate is truer than the ultimate to chaosmic metaphoricity. It belongs with the spasmoreal, though it is "almost" ultimate. It alludes to another order.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 7:56 AM. 0 comments

Friday, August 28, 2009

Infinitions of the Reach

Let's begin by thinking of the temporality of the limit, the path between fields, for the limit is not tacked down but unfurls or advances–in a meaningful sense it consists of its own advance. The nature of its existence is existence, that is, the animate surpass, but much more can be said about it. We should want to know for instance whether the limit as such is necessarily schematicized. Schematicization is an aspect of embodiment, and if the limit were discovered to be a bodily phenomenon it should have this aspect. Things aren't so clear, however. We may know the limit bodily if not viscerally yet, as Morris says, "the body as a whole appears as a center of indeterminacy" (Sense, p. 66). The "body," not yet "my body," appears as the turning point of infinitions, as if the limit were, in order to be turned inside out, buried in the movements of the chiasm, earth and sprout. The limit must be passed through in order to be a limit. Such movements, infinitions, are schematicized, but the schema is not like a solid thing. It continuously arises from its own activation, autopoetically. The bodily schema, like Bergson's motor schema, is, to paraphrase Morris, a phenomenon of the limit, of chiasmic movement that (unlimitedly) limits itself (p. 67). The bodily schema unfolds in "real" time, as a limit, Morris insists (p. 69). In a sense then the limit becomes its asymptotic approach, the positioning of the telos that never quite arrives, a course of turns felt as the inhabitive cunicularity of styles of approach. The temporality of the cunicular leaps with studied suddenness, a leporine quality of both evasion and celebration, a novelty of approach; at the same time the world intrudes into the cunicular, earthy itself. The paradox of the leap: only in the leap does the earth becomes earth, take on its heaviness as earth. Earth as limit is turned inside out. Infinition reconfigures its own beyond, the repertoire of to/from structures native (as second nature) to existence within the leap. Says Morris, "The moving schema is already beyond itself, open to the world and development, ready to run into kinks that develop into new folds. The formation of such folds is a gross reorganization of body-world movement. . . that rearticulates our exploration and interaction with the world" (p. 70).

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posted by Fido the Yak at 7:25 AM. 0 comments

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Nachmanovitch says, "Bricolage implies what mathematicians like to call 'elegance,' that is, such an economy of statement that a single line of thought has a great many implications and outcomes" (Free Play, p. 86). Does this line of thought have consequences for our thinking about causality? Are there spheres of play or creativity completely divorced from causality? (And isn't there the argument that suchlike divorce is essential to causality? Is this any less a statement about the given that it is about causality?) As ever it seems I'm uncertain about the ontic status of the cause. Does the cause have many outcomes? Does the cause implicate the way the metaphor implicates—by what rights would one say that metaphor doesn't implicate conversationally? What is the ontic status of a maxim of manner? Should I say *maxim of manner?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:09 PM. 0 comments

Interdigitation from Within


The voice of the muse comes to realization in and through the limits of the body. Look at your hand. Turn it over. Stretch it. Point it. Thump it. For a musician, of all the structures that impose their discipline on us, the most ubiquitous and marvellous is the human hand. Beginning with the fact that the hand has five digits and not six or four, the hand predisposes our work toward particular conformations because it itself has a shape. The kind of music you play on the violin or piano, the kind of painting that comes from your handling of the brush, the pottery you turn on the wheel, is intimately influenced by the shape of your hands, by the way they move, by their resistances. The structure of the hand is not (once again) "just anything"; the fingers have certain characteristic relationships, certain ranges of relative movement, certain kinds of crossing, torquing jumping, sliding, pressing, releasing movements that guide the music to come out in a certain way. Graceful work uses those patterns and instinctively moves through them and out as we find ever-fresh combinations. The shape and size of the human hand brings powerful but subtle laws into every kind of art, craftsmanship, mechanical work, and into our ideas and feelings as well. There is a continuous dialogue between hand and instrument, hand and culture. Artwork is not thought up in consciousness and then, as a separate phase, executed by the hand. The hand surprises us, creates and solves problems on its own. Often enigmas that baffle our brains are dealt with easily, unconsciously, by the hand.

(Free Play, pp. 81-82, my bold)

Terpsichore represents the apotheosis of the muse—the prism through which the full spectrum of musicality becomes spectral—because of this emancipating limitation of the hand. Does improvisation have as a deep structure the morphology of the hand? A human hand? Why not two hands? Is the breach shaped or directed by hands? Are apparition and depth on par, a par shaped by the hands?

Forget propositional knowledge for a moment. Feel your hands from the inside. Does this describe a real feeling: feeling your hands from the inside? Where does "from the inside" find its place in the full spectrum of musicality?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:06 PM. 0 comments

Cheirokinesthetics of the Question

"A misleading philosophical education," Corradi Fiumara warns, "silently assumes the task of curing students of unprofessional ways of thinking, of that vital epistemophily which is conducive to asking unfamiliar questions" (Metaphoric, p. 39). Surely she is not alone in placing value on the expedition into the unfamiliar, or in holding that in the course of inquiry our reach must regularly exceed our grasp. How could such a regularity be established except through a method of learning—a learnt method, it might go without saying, that is, a method of learning that emerges from learning, an inculcative materialization decidedly from a praxis of curiosity?

Our institutional instructors are in general critical of overreach. The criticism of overreach may appear to be criticism of reach itself, as if grasping could be accomplished without any reaching. "That's reaching" or "that's a reach" mean effectively "you don't get it," there is no grasping nor very much hope of grasping in that direction, the direction indicated by the reach. "That's a leap" functions as a similar criticism, though it may be specifically intended to teach syllogistic thinking, and it may be a stretch to say that syllogism is hostile to epistemophily. If setting off into the unfamiliar necessarily involves a leap, it doesn't follow that a leap necessarily sets off into the unfamiliar. Nonetheless I value the leap. Does this placement of value represent a harmonic of the value placed on the expedition, or on the unfamiliar? Would it be consummately displacement, or a displacement by reverberation? Can we disentangle all these values and still understand what they do as values? Would a deterritorialization of values be of values in any localizable sense? Must there be an integrability of values? Of questions?

The question as question is—inherently, transmogrificationally—metaphoric. Corradi Fiumara advances the idea, intelligently, that metaphor transforms not merely belief, that is, the mind's perdurable sifting of its noetic objects, its schemes and manners of classification, but rather perception and also therefore chthonic as well as metachthonic interrelation, suggesting that perhaps relation itself is malleable. (*Re- represents the breach of malleability, the setting off of tractability.) She says, "Heterogeneous as they may be, even stimuli deriving from external sources and images emerging from our psychic depths are commonly thought to interdigitate in our different ways of shaping reality" (p. 30). Is heterogeneity any less a quality of relation than it is of stimuli or of physis?

In reaching do we forget grasping? Must we? Or does there effectually exist a cheirokinesthetic memory, an indelible or more or less persistent knowledge of the grasp, intrinsic to the reach? As handmade, the question would be privileged. Would this be a privilege we knowingly afford, or does it appear to come as if by nature from its being handmade. Is the reach handmade? The leap? A coordination of stereoscopic vision and the reach? What color is the reach? What color is coordination of hand and eye? What can't metaphor *re-member?

A young chimp's reach exceeds its grasp:

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posted by Fido the Yak at 9:40 AM. 0 comments

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meaning as Openness to the World

Barbaras says that the world comes into appearance "only because it is woven from the signifying power of the body" (Being, p. 160). He then argues on the side of apprehending meaning not as something that contains, absorbs or otherwise circumscribes the world, but as an openness to the world (p. 165). Could the body be meaningfully open to anything unworldly? How do we know that openness itself is worldly? What does the elimanitivist make of openness?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 2:32 PM. 0 comments

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hand Positions

"Hand positions antcipate habitual possibilities of movement and prevention of movement," Morris writes. Not merely positions of the body, they "already anticipate their crossing into the world" (Sense, p. 50). Morris' discussion of the body schema as developed from Merleau-Ponty's philosophy focuses on this crossing of body and world. At one point he defines the body schema as being in "body-world movement itself" (p. 45). It is an emergent phenomenon, perhaps neither transcendent nor imminent in any complete and proper sense. I find Morris's discussion quite engaging. However, I am beginning to question whether an equality of body and world is implied in the chiasm, or in the co-arising of body and world. Perhaps embodiment means something like a lived instability, a disequilibrium that can't be shaken from what it is to execute a style of movement, or to "sculpt perception from the given," (p. 43), an act that, according to Morris, requires a dynamic crossing and a prior shaping. Is this prior shaping governed by the world? By the chiasm? Morris rightly explains that phenomenology teaches that any relation between what is visited upon the body and what is experienced has to do with meaning of the lived body, and this meaning is necessarily both habitual and anticipatory (p. 49). Does the world construct meaning just as I do, or am I, animal that I am, privileged in some way in the field of meaning? (One tends not to notice one's own privilege, and not to want to.) Is touching on par with being touched? Does the dynamism of a rock deserve a different name from the dynamism of animals, or from the dynamism of speech? Is any "physical" reality marked by a heterogeneity of forces?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 4:30 AM. 11 comments

Vital Signs

Analysis of data from NASA's Stardust, the Comet Sample Return Mission, has been reported. The amino acid glycine was detected. Carbon isotope analysis showed that the sample glycine had more carbon 13 than would be expected from a terrestrial sample of the molecule, making it highly improbable that the glycine originated from a terrestrial source.

In other news, I hope to be rather done with my hiatus from blogging.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:38 AM. 0 comments