Unreal Nature

June 11, 2017

The World’s Mortal Flesh

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:46 am

… Everything that already exists exists without justification: it has dared, as it were, to become already determinate and to abide (obstinately) in this determinateness within a world, the whole of which is yet-to-be in respect of its meaning and justification …

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):

… What is already present-on-hand in all of being or the countenance of being that has already determined itself in respect to its content (i.e. the “thisness” of being) needs a justification outside the realm of meaning. For a relation to the yet-to-be-attained fullness of meaning of the event of being, the “thisness” of being is only factual (obstinately present-on-hand).

[line break added] Even where meaning and obligation (the ought-to-be) are anticipated as determinate with respect to their content (in the form of images or concepts), such determinateness of anticipation passes immediately and of itself into the domain of being, the domain of what is present-on-hand. Any embodiment of the yet-to-be meaning of the event of being is only factual in its determinateness (i.e. in the finished expressedness of its countenance) and, as such, is unjustified precisely in respect to that which is already present-on-hand in it.

[line break added] Everything that already exists exists without justification: it has dared, as it were, to become already determinate and to abide (obstinately) in this determinateness within a world, the whole of which is yet-to-be in respect of its meaning and justification — like a word that seeks to become totally determined within a sentence we have not yet finished saying and thinking through to the end. The entire world, insofar as it is already actual, already present-on-hand, fails to stand up to a meaning-directed criticism immanent to the very same world.

… To me, the world presents itself in the aspect of a world still-to-be-achieved, a not-yet-fulfilled world. It constitutes the horizon of my act-performing (forward-looking) consciousness: the light of the future decomposes the stability and intrinsic value of the corporeality of the past and the present. With respect to its total givenness, the world gains positive validity for me only as the surrounding world or environment of another.

… All characterizations and determination of present-on-hand being that set it into dramatic motion blaze with the borrowed axiological light of otherness. Birth and death and all the stages of life between them: this is the scale of any valuational statement about present-on-hand being. The world’s mortal flesh has validity with respect to value only when it has been vivified by the mortal soul of the other; in the realm of spirit, the world’s mortal body disintegrates (the spirit does not vivify it, but judges it).

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

-Julie

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