Unreal Nature

May 21, 2017

In Myself, Only New Birth Is Possible

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:50 am

… It is a unity that is both given and not given to me, a unity that is incessantly conquered by me at the sharpest point of my self-activity.

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):

… In my lived life, I participate in a communal mode of existence, in an established social order, in a nation, in a state, in mankind, in God’s world. In all these cases, I live my life, axiologically, in the other and for others. i.e. I am clothed in the axiological flesh of the other. In all these cases, my life can submit rightfully to the sway of rhythm (although the very moment of submission or subordination is characterized by sobriety); I experience, strive, and speak here in the chorus of others.

[line break added] But in a chorus I do not sing for myself; I am active only in relation to the other and I am passive in the other’s relationship to me; I exchange gifts, but I do so disinterestedly; I feel in myself the body and the soul of another. (Wherever the purpose of a movement or an action is incarnated into the other or is coordinated with the action of the other — as in the case of joint labor — my own action enters into rhythm as well. But I do not create rhythm for myself: I join in it for the sake of the other.) Not my own nature but the human nature in me can be beautiful, and not my own soul but the human soul can be harmonious.

[ … ]

… The future as the future of meaning is hostile to the present and the past as to that which is devoid of meaning; hostile in the way a task is hostile to not-being-fulfilled-yet, or what-ought-to-be is hostile to what-is, or atonement is hostile to sin. Not a single constituent of what is already on hand for me myself can become self-contented, already justified.

[line break added] My justification is always in the future, and this prospective justification, perpetually set over against me, abolishes my past and my present (my past and present for myself), insofar as they claim to be something already on hand in a lasting way, claim to be stilled in the given, to be self-sufficient, to be the true reality of being, and claim to be the essential me and the whole of me or to determine me exhaustively in being (my givenness pretending here to be the whole of me, to be me in truth — my givenness acting in the capacity of an imposter). The future realization is not, for myself, an organic continuation or growth of my own past and present — not a crowning fulfillment of them.

[line break added] Rather, it is an essential abolition or annulment of my own past and present, just as bestowed grace is not the result of an organic growth of man’s sinful nature. A gradual coming to perfection (an aesthetic category) occurs in the other; in myself, only new birth is possible. Within myself, I always live in the face of the absolute demand/task that is presented to me, and this demand/task is inaccessible by way of a merely gradual, partial, relative approach.

… Memory is for me the memory of the future; for the other — it is the memory of the past.

… I collect all of my experiences, collect all of myself not in the past, but in the future that confronts me eternally as a future yet-to-be. My own unity, for myself, is one that confronts me eternally as a unity-yet-to-be. It is a unity that is both given and not given to me, a unity that is incessantly conquered by me at the sharpest point of my self-activity. It is not the unity of my having and possessing, but the unity of not-having and not-possessing; not the unity of my already-being, but the unity of my not-yet-being.

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




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