Unreal Nature

April 16, 2017

A Clothing of Meaning with Inner Flesh

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:52 am

… it can be and should be made secure, given a form, regarded with loving-mercy, cherished with our inner eyes, and not our physical, outward eyes.

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):

… From within my own consciousness — as a consciousness participating in being — the world is an object of my acts: acts of thinking, acts of feeling, acts of speaking, acts of doing. The center of gravity in this world is located in the future, in what is desired, in what ought to be, and not in the self-sufficient givenness of an object, in its being-on-hand, not in its present, its wholeness, its being-already-realized.

[line break added] My relationship to each object within my horizon is never a consummated relationship; rather, it is a relationship which is imposed on me as a task-to-be-accomplished, for the event of being, taken as a whole, is an open event, my situation must change at every moment — I cannot tarry and come to rest.

[line break added] The object’s standing over against me, in space and in time, is what constitutes the principle of the horizon: objects do not surround me (my outer body) in their presently given makeup and their presently given value, but rather — stand over against me as the objects of my own cognitive-ethical directedness in living my life within the open, still risk-fraught event of being, whose unity, meaning, and value are not given but imposed as a task still to be accomplished.

If we turn our attention to the world of objects in a work of art, we should have no difficulty in ascertaining that the unity and structure of this object-world is not the unity and structure of the hero’s lived horizon, and that the fundamental principle of its organization and ordering is transgredient to the hero’s own actual and possible consciousness.

… this relation in its essential aesthetic principle is not a relation that is given from within the hero’s lived-life consciousness.

… As a combination of colors, lines and masses, the object has an independent status: it acts upon us alongside of the hero and around him. That is to say, it does not stand over against the hero within the hero’s own horizon; it is perceived as an integral object and, as such, allows us to walk around it, as it were.

… The aesthetic interpretation and organization of the outer body and its correlative world is a gift bestowed upon the hero from another consciousness — from the author/contemplator; it is not an expression of the hero from within the hero himself, but represents the author-other‘s creative, constructive relationship to the hero.

… The other human being is situated outside me and over against me not only outwardly, but also inwardly. By using an oxymoron, we could speak here of the other’s inward outsideness and over-against-ness.

… Lived experiences, when experienced outside myself in the other, possess an inner exterior or countenance adverted toward me, and this inner exterior or countenance can be and should be lovingly contemplated, it can be and should be remembered the way we remember a person’s face (and not the way we remember some past experience of our own), it can be and should be made secure, given a form, regarded with loving-mercy, cherished with our inner eyes, and not our physical, outward eyes.

[line break added] It is this exterior of another’s soul (an inner flesh of the subtlest kind, as it were) that constitutes an intuitively palpable artistic individuality (character, type, personal situation, etc.), that is, a particular realization of meaning in being, an individual realization and embodiment of meaning, a clothing of meaning with inner flesh — that which can be idealized, heroicized, rhythmicized, etc.

This self-activity of mine in relation to another’s inner world (from outside this world) is usually called “sympathetic understanding.” What should be emphasized is the absolutely incremental, excessive, productive, and enriching character of sympathetic understanding.

… the other‘s suffering as co-experience by me is in principle different (different, moreover, in the most important and essential sense) from the other’s suffering as he experiences it for himself and from my own suffering as I experience it in myself. The only thing these experiences of suffering have in common is the logically self-identical concept of suffering — an abstract movement that is never and nowhere realized in its pure form, for even the word “suffering” is, after all, characteristically intonated in our thinking within lived life.

[line break added] The other’s co-experienced suffering is a completely new ontic formation that I alone actualize inwardly from my unique place outside the other. Sympathetic understanding is not a mirroring, but a fundamentally and essentially new valuation, a utilization of my own architectonic position in being outside author’s inner life. Sympathetic understanding recreates the whole inner person in aesthetically loving categories for a new existence in a new dimension of the world.

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




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