Unreal Nature

August 26, 2017

To Be a Subject Means to Search

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:55 am

… This intensity of interest, this “proximity,” becomes a measure of how real it is.

This is from the chapter on ‘The Gesture of Searching’ in Gestures by Vilém Flusser (2014):

… At present, the gesture of searching is providing increasingly compelling evidence that subject and object are always interwoven. A subject is always the subject of some sort of object, and an object is always the object of some sort of subject; there is neither subject without object nor object without subject. This is not the perception of a subject encountering an object. It is an actual relationship from which subjective and objective poles can be abstracted.

… There is neither an object that searching has not first turned into an object nor a subject that is not in search of something. To be an object means to be sought, and to be a subject means to search.

… Suddenly it becomes clear that the researcher is embedded in an environment that interests (matters to) him, both at close range and at a distance. There are aspects of the environment that interest him intensely and others that hardly touch him. The more an aspect of the environment interests the researcher, the more ‘real” it is for him. This intensity of interest, this “proximity,” becomes a measure of how real it is. And from this mass, the structure, the “mathesis” of his research arises spontaneously, providing a map for orientation.

… For the ancients, “theory” was a contemplative examination of eternal forms. For the bourgeois, it was a group of coherent hypotheses. In the present, theory is becoming a strategy for being-alive-in-the-world. The contemporary researcher, the contemporary theoretician, measures the nearness of the environment, but neither to observe its form nor to hypothetically explain it. It is rather to transform the approaching possibilities into freedom. Even in its theoretical aspect, the gesture of searching is once again becoming a gesture of living.

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

-Julie

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