Unreal Nature

April 23, 2017

But Not Myself

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:56 am

… My time and my space are the time and space of an author, and not those of a hero.

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):

… The values that pertain to the existence of a qualitative determinate person are characteristic only of the other. It is only with the other that I have the possibility of experiencing the joy of meeting and abiding with him, the sorrow of parting and the grief of bereavement; it is only with him that I can meet in the dimension of time as well as part in the dimension of time; only he can be as well as not be for me. I am always with myself — there can be no life for me without myself.

… When the existence of the other has incontrovertibly and conclusively determined the fundamental plot or storyline of my own life; when the boundaries of the other’s valuable existence/nonexistence have been wholly encompassed by my own boundaries, which are never given to me myself and which are in principle incapable of being experienced by me; when the other has been experienced (temporally encompassed) by me from his natus est anno Domini to his mortuus est anno Domini — it becomes unmistakably evident that my own life sounds altogether different to me myself than does the life of another; it becomes distinctly evident that my own life, within its own context, lacks any aesthetic weight with respect to plot or storyline and that its value and meaning are located on a completely different axiological plane.

[line break added] I am in myself the condition of possibility for my own life, but I am not its valuable hero. I am not capable of experiencing the emotionally consolidated time that encompasses me, just as I am not capable of experiencing the space that encompasses me. My time and my space are the time and space of an author, and not those of a hero. In such time and space, I can be aesthetically active, but not aesthetically passive, in relation to the other whom they encompass; I can aesthetically justify and consummate the other in such time and space, but not myself.

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

-Julie

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