Unreal Nature

June 25, 2017

What Kind Am I?

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:41 am

… Even if an artist strives to put his own individuality into his creation, this individuality is not given to him as determinative of his act, but is set as a task to be fulfilled in the object.

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 himself, a living human being positions himself in the world actively; his consciously lived life is a process of performing actions at every moment of it. I act through deed, word, thought, and feeling; I live, I come-to-be through my acts. However, I neither express myself nor determine myself through my acts; I actualize through them something that has validity with respect to objects and meaning, but I do not actualize myself as something that is determinate or that is being determined: only objects and meaning stand over against an act I perform. What is absent in a performed act is the feature of self-reflection on the part of the act-performing person.

… My act-performing consciousness as such poses questions only of the following type: what for? to what end? how? is it correct or not? It never asks such questions as the following: who am I? what am I? what kind am I?

My own determinateness (I am such as I am) is not, for me myself, part of the motivation of my act; the determinateness of the act-performer’s personality is not present in the context which determines the sense of an act for the acting consciousness itself.

… when I act through cognition, the act of my thoughts is determined and motivated solely by what has the validity of an object toward which that thought is directed. I can, of course, explain the success of a given act as being due to my giftedness and its failure as being due to my lack of ability; indeed,I can operate with such determinations of myself generally. But they cannot become part of the motivational context of an act as its determinants; they are unknown to the cognitionally acting consciousness.

The act of artistic creation, likewise, has to do solely with what has the validity of an object to which artistic activity is directed. Even if an artist strives to put his own individuality into his creation, this individuality is not given to him as determinative of his act, but is set as a task to be fulfilled in the object. That is, his individuality is a value which is still to be actualized in the object, a value that is not the bearer of the act, but its object: it is only in the object that it becomes part of the motivational context of the act of creation.

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

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

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