Unreal Nature

December 25, 2016

Only His Own

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:00 am

… he can see and understand only his own consciousness. He is in no way enriched. In what belongs to others he recognizes only his own.

This is from Speech Genres & Other Late Essays by M.M. Bakhtin (1986):

… The event that has an observer, however distant, closed, and passive he may be, is already a different event (see Zosima’s “mysterious visitor”). The problem of the second consciousness in the human sciences. Questions (questionnaires) that change the consciousness of the individual being questioned.

The inexhaustibility of the second consciousness, that is, consciousness of the person who understands and responds: herein lies a potential infinity of responses, languages, codes.

… When consciousness appeared in the world (in existence) and, perhaps, when biological life appeared (perhaps not only animals, but trees and grass also witness and judge), the world (existence) changed radically. A stone is still stony and the sun still sunny, but the event of existence as a whole (unfinalized) becomes completely different because a new and major character in this event appears for the first time on the scene of earthly existence — the witness and the judge.

[line break added] And the sun, while remaining physically the same, has changed because it has begun to be cognized by the witness and the judge. It has stopped simply being and has started being in itself and for itself (these categories appear for the first time here) as well as for the other, because it has been reflected in the consciousness of the other (the witness and the judge): this has caused it to change radically, to be enriched and transformed.

[ … ]

… The exclusive orientation toward recognizing, searching only for the familiar (that which has already been), does not allow the new to reveal itself (i.e. the fundamental, unrepeatable totality). Quite frequently, methods of explanation and interpretation are reduced to this kind of disclosure of the repeatable, to a recognition of the already familiar, and, if the new is grasped at all, it is only in an extremely impoverished and abstract form.

[line break added] Moreover, the individual personality of the creator (speaker), of course, disappears completely. Everything that is repeatable and recognizable is fully dissolved and assimilated solely by the consciousness of the person who understands: in the other’s consciousness he can see and understand only his own consciousness. He is in no way enriched. In what belongs to others he recognizes only his own.

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

-Julie

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