Thursday, March 8, 2012
This talk of an embodied perception or realization beyond mind, or at least distinct therefrom, never did sit well with me (or kela). We've discussed this many times and ways in several threads in this forum and its predecessor at Gaia. (The Levin thread at this forum and its predecessor thread are examples. A sample here and below.*) It's as if there is a kind of purity involved, in that meditation discloses a kind of direct and unfiltered perception of that which is, Reality, which is somehow clouded over and/or distorted and/or obscured by the mind. This thread kela started, and this post and following, offer some of the more recent discussions about this. A few excerpts:
Langer's use of imagination immediately evoked for me L&J's image schemas. So in reading Langer's essay "The great shift: from instinct to intuition" she says:
"The word 'intuition' has suffered many abuses, so we had better establish at once what it means. Certainly nothing mystical or irrational, such as 'woman’s intuition' and 'moral intuition.' I am using it in the sense given to it by John Locke in his very sober Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Locke meant by it the kind of direct perception that may go through any available avenue of sense: the perception of relations, such as greater than, before, after, between, richer than; to the right of, like, different, same, and so forth. Also, the perception of form, pattern, unity of form, wholeness, gestalt."
And like with L&J it is from this distinctly human and pre-reflective intuition that concept is built. It is the bridge between sensori-motor environmental perception and abstract thinking, the latter of which can then consciously integrate and transform the former through downward causation so that it becomes something in never was heretofore, art, again through the medium of image.
I also like this from the above referenced Langer article, that we cannot return to the pristine Eden, but we can create a new one and often do:
"The upshot of the shift from instinctive action to intuitive rationality…is that human beings probably do nothing exactly like animals. They have the same basic impulses to eat, sleep, chase, procreate, and (more than most other animals) make noise; but conception alters even our most direct enactments of such impulses…. Every new power is bought at a price; in the great shift from animal mentality to mind, in the development of imagery, intuition, and social communication, we have lost our elaborate instinctive patterns…Such concepts, of course, can be formed and maintained only by symbolic means; and those means are our holy symbols, rites and liturgies, and magical objects."
* Here's an excerpt from my referenced thread that demonstrates “using a mytho-poetic language...to evoke in us...this reconnection with both the always already and not yet."
Levinas' language is intended to evoke a “deep, bodily felt sense” that is a “return effected by phenomenology.” It is pre-conceptual in a sense, this return to body. As we've discussed before, only in one sense, since the return is also an integrative move that is more than what was before concepts.... Hence Levinas language uses such mythological motifs and tropes that move us deeper than conventional experience based only on concept, back down into those roots of morality in the body where we are more directly connected to the other. 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.
Levin makes clear that meaning, like being, builds on the "always already" but is extended into novelty by the "not yet." And these two are in continual relation, at least after the "fall" or "rise," depending on your interpretation, of the ego. But since its advent there is no simple return to the always already of the pre-egoic, no pristine or original awareness. The belief in the latter is in fact one of the symptoms of metaphysics, since it is now the "not yet" that transforms the "always already," but without which the not yet would not exist.