Unreal Nature

December 23, 2016

Letting Go

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:42 am

… letting go is continuous with hanging on, because the number series continues to contain what is at each moment left behind or gone beyond.

Continuing through In Defence of Quantity: Living by Numbers by Steven Connor (2016):

… When I listen to music, what do I hear? Well, I hear ‘the music’ to be sure, though perhaps I never hear all of the music, and not being able to get my ears round all of it may be part of what that listening involves. Listening is a counting that is not able to take account of everything. But the fact that I must bring myself into a condition of intonation in order to listen means that I listen to something more. Music is a making manifest of listening itself, a listening made musical by lending an ear to itself. Music is the imaginary matter of this listening.

… it is a making apparent of how much is not apparent to me of how I make myself up as I go along.

… What kind of thing is a listening consciousness? It is consciousness as a mode of self-collecting, in the way, perhaps, in which one is said to ‘collect one’s thoughts.’ Collecting in this manner is founded upon the movement from one to two, as it is described by Fred Kersten:

The form ‘Pair,’ or the form ‘Plurality,’ is actualized (or conferred) by virtue of an active collecting (specifically, an active counting or colligating). In the presentation of a pair, we discriminate not only the perceiving, grasping and objectivating ‘This’ and ‘That,’ each as self-identical and numerically distinct from one another, but we also can discriminate the active grasping of ‘This’ and then going on to actively grasp ‘That,’ still holding ‘This’ in grip, but still keeping ‘This’ and ‘That’ separate. Indeed, the constituting of a pair proves to be the foundation for collecting and counting.

Collecting, like counting, means adding items one by one (they have to be items, or functionally identical units) to a loose, mobile, quasi-totality, without having to hold the whole of the growing sum and all its constituent elements. In counting, letting go is continuous with hanging on, because the number series continues to contain what is at each moment left behind or gone beyond. One need not be or remain conscious of everything one experiences, or experiences of oneself, precisely because one has the relation to oneself of being able to count through. Number, and perhaps only something like number, allows for this kind of coherence-in-dehiscence, this ‘numeric matter.’

… Listening gives our listening to itself in a way that seems to externalize or automatize it, relieving us of the need to keep hold of ourselves. We do not need to keep the count as long as music is doing the counting, and that counting forms a numeric matter that lets us hear ourselves. It is the pleasure, when it is, of a work that just ‘works,’ a work that does all the work for itself.

My most recent previous post from Connor’s book is here.

-Julie

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