Unreal Nature

August 27, 2017

Situated Outside Lived Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:50 am

… boundaries are just what life has nothing to do with …

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):

… [But] one contests the author’s right to be situated outside lived life and to consummate it. … Lived life becomes intelligible and obtains the weight of an event only from within itself, only where I live and experience it as an I, in the form of my relationship to myself, in the value-categories of my I-for-myself: to understand means to project myself into an object and experience it from within, look at it with its own eyes, give up my own situatedness outside its bounds as unessential.

… Lived life tends to recoil and hide deep inside itself, tends to withdraw into its own inner infinitude, is afraid of boundaries, strives to dissolve them, for it has no faith in the essentialness and kindness of the power that gives form from outside; any viewpoint from outside is refused. And, in the process, the culture of boundaries (the necessary condition for a confident and deep style) becomes impossible, of course; boundaries are just what life has nothing to do with; all creative energies withdraw from the boundaries, leaving them to the mercy of fate.

Aesthetic culture is a culture of boundaries and hence presupposes that life is enveloped by a warm atmosphere of deepest trust. A confident and founded act of constituting and shaping the boundaries of man and his world (outer as well as inner boundaries) presupposes the existence of a firm and secure position outside of him, presupposes a position in which the spirit can abide for a long time, can be master of its own powers, and can act without constraint. It should be evident that this presupposes an essential axiological consolidatedness of the enveloping atmosphere.

[line break added] Where this axiologically “bodied” atmosphere is absent, where the position of outsideness is fortuitous and unstable, and where the living axiological understanding is totally immanent to a life experienced from within (practical-egoistic life, social life, moral life, etc.) — any axiologically prolonged and creative dwelling on the boundaries of man and his life is impossible, and the only thing one can do is to mimic or simulate a likeness to man and his life.

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

-Julie

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