Unreal Nature

March 5, 2017

Outside the Fateful Time of the Ongoing Event of My Once-occurent Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:05 am

… they take the action out of the horizon of the person performing the action and place it within the horizon of a contemplator situated outside the performer of the action.

Continuing through the essay ‘Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity’ in Art and Answerability: Early Philosophical Essays by M.M. Bakhtin edited by Michael Holquist and Vadim Liapunov (1990):

… How is an action and its space experienced in the action-performer’s self-consciousness? How is the action of the other experienced by me? On what plane of consciousness is its aesthetic value located?

We noted earlier that fragments of my outward expressedness in being become part of me only through inner experiences that correspond to them. And indeed, when my own reality becomes doubtful for some reason, when I do not know whether I am dreaming or not, the mere visibility of my own body is not enough to convince me: either I must make a movement of one kind or another or I must pinch myself. That is, in order to verify my own reality, I must translate my exterior into the language of my internal sensations of myself.

… Strictly speaking, I act, I grasp an object not with my hand as an externally complete image or configuration; rather, I grasp it with my internally experienced muscular feeling corresponding to my hand. And what I grasp is not the object as an externally complete image, but rather my tactile experience corresponding to the object, and my muscular feeling of the object’s resistance, its heaviness, compactness, and so forth. What is seen merely complements what is internally experienced and is of secondary significance in the actualization of an action.

[line break added] And, in general, all that which is given, present-on-hand, already realized and available — recedes, as such, into the background of the action-performing consciousness. This consciousness is directed toward a goal, and the given course followed in performing the action as well as the means of achieving the goal are both experienced from within. The path followed in performing an action is a purely internal one, and the continuity of this path is internal as well.

… outer seeing during the performance of an action is always one-sided. That is, what I perceive in an object in such outer seeing is only that which is immediately relevant to a given action; as a result, such a way of seeing destroys the object’s fullness as ain intuitable given. What is present-on-hand, given, determined in the visual image or configuration of an object located in the area of action is eroded and decomposed during the performance of an action by what is yet-to-be, what is still in the future, what is still being actualized in relation to the given object by my action: I see an object from the standpoint of a future inner experience, and this is a standpoint which is most unjust in regard to the externally completed character of an object.

… During a difficult and dangerous action, I contract and concentrate all of myself to the point of becoming a pure inner unity, I stop seeing and hearing anything external, I reduce all of myself and my world to pure self-sensation.

The external image or configuration of an action and its external, intuitable relation to the objects of the outside world are never given to the performer of the action himself, and if they do irrupt into the action-performing consciousness, they inevitably turn into curbs or “dead points” of action.

… The prospective goal of an action breaks up the presently given makeup of the external world of objects, the plan of a future actualizatioin breaks up the body of an object’s present state. The anticipation of a future actualization permeates the entire horizon of the action-performing consciousness and dissolves its stability.

It follows from this that the artistic truth of an expressed and externally apprehended action, its organic wovenness into the outer fabric of what exists around it, its harmonious correlatedness with the background (as the totality of the presently stable world of objects) — all this is transgredient in principle to the consciousness of the person performing the action; all this is actualized only by a consciousness situated outside such a person, by a consciousness that takes no part in the action with respect to its purpose and meaning.

… All artistic characterizations transpose the action to a different plane, a different axiological context, where the purpose and meaning of the action become immanent to the event of its performance — become merely a moment bestowing meaning upon the outward expressedness of the action. That is, they take the action out of the horizon of the person performing the action and place it within the horizon of a contemplator situated outside the performer of the action.

If, on the other hand, the plastic-pictorial characteristics of an action are present-on-hand in the action-performer’s own consciousness, then his action instantly breaks away from the compelling seriousness of its purpose, breaks away from the needfulness, newness, and productiveness of what is being actualized, and turns into mere play or degenerates into mere gesture.

… An action that has been given artistic form is experienced outside the fateful time of the ongoing event of my once-occurent life. For in the fateful time of my ongoing life, no action ever presents itself to me in terms of its artistic aspect. All plastic-pictorial characterizations, especially similes, neutralize the real and fateful future; they are deployed entirely on the plane of the self-sufficing past and present, from which there is no access to the living and still risk-fraught future.

All features of the plastic-pictorial consummation of an action are transgredient in principle to the world of purposes and meaning in their ineluctable needfulness and consequence.

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

-Julie

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