Unreal Nature

March 29, 2020

We Understand Each Other

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:24 am

… In order for dialogue to succeed, our eyes must be closed and our ears must be plugged …

This is from Geometry by Michel Serres, translated by Randolph Burks (2017, 1995):

… the perceived thing is endlessly distinguishable: a different word would be necessary for every circle, symbol, tree or pigeon; and again for yesterday, today and tomorrow; and again depending on whether the one perceiving, you or me, is irritated, suffering from jaundice, and so on ad infinitum. At the extreme consequence of empiricism meaning becomes totally submerged in noise, the communication space becomes granular, like the space in which Achilles nor the arrow reaches their goal; dialogue becomes condemned to cacophony. The empirical only makes noise.

So the first of the third men, the empiricist, must be excluded; this is the strongest of our demons, since it suffices to open our eyes and ears to see that he controls our world. In order for dialogue to succeed, our eyes must be closed and our ears must be plugged to the song and beauty of the Sirens. With the same movement we eliminate hearing and noise, vision and the faulty drawing, the subject itself; by the same stroke we conceive form and we understand each other.

… Hold on: is the collective constituted by this free, lively and agreed upon debate, or is it born on the contrary from natural objects or the idealities of geometry itself? Is consensus born from necessity or necessity from consensus? In one case, the solution to the problem of the origin would therefore presuppose it to be already resolved. What relation does social and contractual debate maintain with the thing itself, exterior to it? That is the question, which in itself debate itself could not settle.

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

-Julie

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