Thursday, February 14, 2013

Excerpts from The Opening of Vision

To provide context for the last post, parts of pp. 47-8 of The Opening of Vision are below. Quote:

5, the ontological body: This is a hermeneutical body because i) it is accessible only through hermeneutical phenomenology and ii) it is itself hermeneutical, i.e., disclosive of the presencing of being.

4, the transpersonal body: This is our ancestral body, the ancient body of our collective unconscious, that dimension of our bodily being through which we experience our connectedness with all sentient beings, our participation in nature's organic processes, and the cessation of our total identification with the conventional time and space of our socialized ego. Religions use ceremonies and rituals to schematize and bring forth such a body.

3, the ego-logical body: This is the civil body, socially constituted in the economy of a body politic. It is personal and interpersonal, and consists in masks, roles, habits, routines, and social practices. It is formed through child-rearing practices, education and participation in social structures.

2, the pre-personal body: This body is pre-civil and pre-egological. It is the body of the infant and child: a body adults still carry with them, however split off it might be; a body which adults can retrieve through memory or a relaxation of defenses, letting it take part in life involuntarily and spontaneously.

1, the primordial body: This is the wild body, the dreambody, the animal body, the body of nature, the vegetative body rooted in the earth. This body can only be invoked with the language of metaphors, symbols, stories, legends, fairy tales, myths, poetry and dreams. This body is both pre-egological and pre-ontologial. It carries around with it a dark, implicate pre-understanding of Being: a subsidiary guardian awareness of the meaningfulness of Being.

Development from stage 1 to 3 is normal and typically completed when the child becomes an adult. Stages 4 and 5, however, represent stages of individual development that require special effort, commitment, and maturity. Stages 1 and 2 are basically biological. Stage 3 is distinctively cultural.... The ego-logical body is the body shaped according to the ego's image of itself. But stages 4 and 5 go beyond what society requires. We might call them 'spiritual' stages.

Normal development (stages 1-3) is always, more or less, a linear progression, but the progression beyond 3 is not; it is essentially hermeneutical, involving a return, a turning into the body of experience, to retrieve a present sense of the earlier stages. Beyond 3 it is necessary to go 'backwards' in order to go 'forwards.' Stage 3 is the moment when, for the first time, this return and retrieval is possible.

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