Friday, June 1, 2012

Radical dissolution of rational-analytic spectator awareness?

Continuing the IPS discussion on rhetoric:

theurj: In our discussion above you [Balder] said my use of rhetoric might border on "the absolutization of one's own preferred mode....since it, being porous, has 'access' to the enactions of all other injunctive modes." But is this not exactly the case for something like an integral, enactive meta-paradigm? So it's ok for the latter but not a rhetoric more broadly construed? Or someone like Bryant (or Varela, Lakoff, Derrida etc.), who incorporates and cross-coordinates various paradigms? (Aka a/crosscorporeal trans(en)actions.)

Balder: I'd definitely be interested in hearing what you mean when you say, "more broadly construed."  An enactive meta-paradigm, as I understand it, seeks to coherently (inter[en]actively) accommodate multiple modes of inquiry, experience, and expression.  This includes various non-verbal injunctions and expressive forms (embodied, energetic, contemplative, imaginal, etc).  Do you intend for "broadly construed rhetoric" to include these modes of inquiry and expression?  If so, it might be better to leave rhetoric as rhetoric and find another word which can carry these multiple enactive and communicative forms (including explicitly non-verbal forms of experience which may temporarily involve apophasis, i.e., the radical dissolution of rational-analytic spectator awareness).

theurj: We've had this argument before, that there even is such a chimera as "radical dissolution of rational-analytic spectator awareness," even on a temporary basis. Meaning an experience sans any conceptual or linguistic component once language is learned, as if we can return in toto to some pre-conceptual, pre-verbal, pristine consciousness.

And depending on how we define conceptual, Lakoff makes the case that there is no such a-categorical animal.* Granted he limits this to those with brains. But if we interpret Bryant's endo-structure translation as categorizing for any object, including inanimate, then we have no radical dissolution of categorical awareness for humans, let alone any non-categorical translations for non-human objects. I'd suggest such a concept (yes, it is a concept) is a metaphysical holdover and question if we must include its paradigm within a multi-paradigm enaction.

* For example, from this post: "The categories we form are part of our experience.... We cannot, as some meditative traditions suggest, 'get beyond' our categories and have a purely uncategorized and unconceptualized experience" (19). Just as there is no strictly poststructuralist person there is no strictly phenomenological person who can discover or experience reality as it is sans embodied categorization" (5).

I'm also reminded of this post (and the following post) discussing Levin where I said:

"I enjoyed the sample chapter, raising many of the themes I explored in the above referenced thread, particularly the means of using language to establish relations with what was pre-language, i.e., nature. And how such attunement is achieved via a bastard reasoning or hyper-dialectic in MP's turn of phrase, which is not merely a return to what was but an an intertwining with the yet to come:

[Quoting Levin] 'The attunement...having originally preceded the ego-logical consciousness, is not realized, and does not actually take place, until the belated moment of its reflected recuperation. The 'always already' that memory strives to retrieve is inseparable from a 'not yet,' a future conjectured in hope' (61)."

In the following post I said:

"In a way his language is magical in that it takes us to a place both before and after language by the use of language. But language is part of the equation, right in the middle of it, hence Hermes is indeed a messenger that uses language to convey meaning."

Balder: Yes, I do not mean some disembodied awareness, nor did I use (or intend) the word "pristine."  I'm not speaking from that point of view.  But speaking from my own meditative practice, there are certainly modes of experience in which normal subject-object distinctions break down.  I do not posit this as contact with the self-existing base of reality-itself, nor do I think of this in non-enactive terms, but nevertheless it is not a rational-analytic mode of cognition*.  Nor does it strike me as specifically a mode of rhetoric, although its soteriological significance -- whenever such significance is felt or posited -- certainly is inseparable from our more developed categorical and rhetorical modes.

* Sloterdijk, like Levin, suggests such experience relates to early forms of embodied cognition and pre-object-related (proto-categorical or -conceptual) cognition.  Sloterdijk describes it in terms of primitive modes of spatial cognition.  As Levin points out, and it doesn't appear (so far) that Slot would argue with this, such presently cultivated experiences are retrievals of the never-was, not a 'return' to a pristine original condition, but nevertheless it is misleading (I think) to conceive of such experience primarily in linguistic or rhetorical terms.  To me, this is where inter-permeability might slip into over-privileging of a preferred mode, especially if one contends that such experience is essentially and ultimately linguistic (a logocentric metaphysics?).

theurj: Even the "primitive modes of spatial cognition" are not a-categorial, which is one of Lakoff's points. Yes, they came before language and analytical cognition. And yes, the latter are in fact built upon such basic categorical structures. But once language and analytic thought is acquired, even a meditative state where subject-object is broken down (as least in one's phenomenological perception) one does not return to a purely pre-linguistic or pre-conceptual state. It might appear that way but as Levin said, "The attunement...having originally preceded the ego-logical consciousness, is not realized, and does not actually take place, until the belated moment of its reflected recuperation."

So no, this is not logophallocentrism! Again, it is a combo of pre-, post- and rational, which combo is not strictly any one of the above while being all of the above. And yes, this can be expressed and enacted by not only poetry but rhetoric. Recall Morton: "Rhetoric is a technique for contacting the strange stranger."

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