Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hyper-dialectic and the I-I

From this post, distinguishing Merleau-Ponty's hyper-dialectic from the usual kind:

“What we call hyper-dialectic is a thought that, on the contrary, is capable of reaching truth because it envisages without restriction the plurality of the relationships and what has been called ambiguity. The bad dialectic is that which thinks it recomposes being by a thetic thought, by an assemblage of statements, by thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; the good dialectic is that which is conscious of the fact that every thesis is an idealization, that Being is not made up of idealizations or of things said… but of bound wholes where signification never is except in tendency” (VI 94)."

"Merleau-Ponty’s hyper-dialectic is envisaged as being a situational thought that must criticize all thinking that ignores the conditional nature of idealizations, and it must also maintain a vigilance to ensure that it does not itself become one of them. This is why Merleau-Ponty describes his project as propounding an ‘indirect’ ontology, rather than a direct ontology (VI 179)."
MP's emphasis on the conditional nature of idealizations is another way of saying the metaphysics of presence, which is one of those assumed presuppositions in scientific objectivism and the 'bad dialectic.'

In this post he elaborates:

"Merleau-Ponty does not intend to suggest…an absolute awareness of one’s own ’subjectivity’…. Lived relations can never be grasped perfectly by consciousness, since the body-subject is never entirely present-to-itself….There is ambiguity then, precisely because we are not capable of disembodied reflection upon our activities, but are involved in an intentional arc that absorbs both our body and our mind (PP 136). For Merleau-Ponty, both intellectualism and empiricism presuppose ‘a universe perfectly explicit in itself’ (PP 41), but residing between these two positions, his body-subject actually requires ambiguity and, in a sense, indeterminacy.

“Merleau-Ponty seems to be suggesting that the relationship that we have to ourselves is one that is always typified by alterity, on account of a temporal explosion towards the future that precludes us ever being self-present…. There can be no self-enclosed ‘now’ moment because time also always has this reflexive aspect that is aware of itself, and that opens us to experiences beyond our particular horizons of significance. Indeed, it is because of this temporal alterity, that Merleau-Ponty asserts that we can never say ‘I’ absolutely" (PP 208).

This goes for I-I as well.*

*From the integral glossary:

anterior self: One of the three major aspects of the overall self, along with the proximate and distal self. The anterior self is a person’s sense of the Witness, the pure Self, or “I-I,” shining through the proximate self at whatever stage of self-development. See I-I.

I-I: Sri Ramana Maharshi’s term for the Witness, or the root of attention. The Witness is an “I-I” because it witnesses or reflects the little “I”: the ego or small self. See anterior self.

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