Unreal Nature

May 7, 2017

When It Fails to Capture Any Meaning It Has No Existence at All

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:53 am

… A lived experience is a trace of meaning in what exists, a gleam of meaning reflected by what exists.

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):

… A lived experience as something determinate is not experienced by the one who is experiencing: a lived experience is directed upon a certain meaning, object, state of affairs; but it is directed not upon itself, not upon the determinateness and fullness of its own present-on-hand existence in the soul. I experience the object of my fear as fearful, the object of my love as lovable, the object of my suffering as oppressive (the degree of cognitive determinateness is not essential, of course, in this case), but I do not experience my own fearing, loving, suffering.

… I must stop fearing in order to experience my own fear in its inwardly given determinateness (and not its object-related determinateness); I must stop loving in order to experience my own love in all the constituents of its present existence within myself.

… In my own life, my experiencing is not present for me. What is necessary is an essential point of support in meaning outside the context of my own life — a living and creative and, hence, rightful point of support — in order to be able to remove the act of experiencing from the unitary and unique event of my own life and to apprehend its present-on-hand determinateness as a characteristic, as a trait of the whole of inner life, as a lineament of my inner countenance (no matter whether of the whole of a character or of a type or only of an inner situation).

What-is-mine in lived experience becomes a positive given — a positive given that is contemplated — only when approached aesthetically. Not, however, what-is-mine in myself and for myself, but — in the other. For in myself it is illuminated immediately by the object and meaning to-be-attained, and, as such, it cannot freeze and solidify into something contentedly present-on-hand, it cannot constitute the axiological center of receiving contemplation not in the capacity of an inner purposelessness. Inner determinateness possesses this character only when it is illuminated not by meaning, but by love regardless of any meaning whatsoever.

… A lived experience is a trace of meaning in what exists, a gleam of meaning reflected by what exists. From within itself, a lived experience maintains its life not through its own resources, but through that meaning beyond its own bounds which it seeks to capture, for when it fails to capture any meaning it has no existence at all.

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




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