A Question of Being Human 5
The ‘Cut’/the Opening
(We are…) Most like an opening… Into what, we know not… But then again… we do… All experience of ‘that’ is third hand (even if some of it once was ‘this’, once was first hand experience), mediated by impossible entities and absent points of view – which does not prevent them from working for us… (from the un-certainties of modern mathematics and the sciences to the ‘certainties’ of cohesive religions and ideologies). And from out of the opening what it is that emerges… this we know not either… (even though ‘this’ is what we are…). Or often only when it happens (when we happen). So something unpredictable; not reducible to will or fantasy.
But what comes ‘in’ and what comes ‘out’ is often dependant on point of view – as when science (and ‘third person’ common sense) accords our ‘this’ the status of effect…
And what of our use of ‘our/we’ as part of what may appear as an otherwise solipsistic strategy (necessitating ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’). ‘Our’: the supposition that others like ‘me’ exist, those we perceive as human too (although occasionally, notoriously, disastrously, excluding some who clearly are human)… so therefore ‘we’. If we are, by the time we can think of this issue, already constituted inter-subjectively, meaning with a seemingly ‘innate’ sense of others (including ourselves as divided into speaker and listener, I of enunciation and ‘I’ of the enounced) and an ‘outside’ which we, with some little trembling, can extend to infinity, then to write with ‘we’ and of ‘our’ is more honest. ‘I’ as claiming the unique, sole, geo-temporal position of enunciation is something altogether too ‘heroic’ – autochthonous, self-formed, mythic… (God reading our enounced ‘I’ would use I, such being prior, all encompassing, but we, can we abrogate this all absorbing pronoun? Before whom else can we write ‘I’ and still expect to be understood? To what other may we address ourselves; to one so utterly other as to deny ‘we’ and ‘our’ and somehow to still comprehend… here we hear the faith in the voice of the mystic before his or her God, the supplicant in prayer, every believer with a personal ‘hotline’… every deluded fanatic, religious or political).
In the opening is our perception, our experience of all (‘after all’), including of our ’selves’, our feelings: out of it is all that is the ‘thing-in-itself’, including our self, as thing… as place, as object… (but as thing-for-others, and other-for-others, including for ourselves, unavoidable, always there, after all). We (therefore I can and indeed must use we) as constituted as such, as aware of self from an early age – indeed as the dawn of awareness (recognition); another fall into social life that is irreversible, indeed that has no prior being (‘we’, the ground of communication, of recognition). So… technically speaking at least, (the) deliberate ignorance of this priority, the priority of the ‘we’, of the other in the self, is itself naïf… an impossible ‘bracketing out’. A bracketing out of the past which leaves us less aware than any (other) animal… reactive only, memory-less, more like a plant…
In the opening is present (at once on the move and, as window, stable) and (at one remove) images/words from past as projections, some of which projected further, are posed as future; outside is ‘eternity’… we suppose as there is no ‘outside’, or (in) it is everything we do not perceive but suspect exists… (memory, science, archive) and everything we would like to exist… and, by virtue of their absence, how easy it is therefore to confuse the two…
In the opening is direct experience… the present… Remembered is all past experience, including all learning… (which absence however colours present perception). Outside is (yet is not) not yet. And all we call indirect experience – not least numerous entities impossible to experience directly (God, Society, History, Nation, World…). Including a sense of community together with all other imaginary identifications; all imaginary at some point (but not necessarily fictive), that is experienced… but indirectly, whose experience is (only) indirect… felt only, but within (only), unperceived but felt, felt otherwise… Yet so crucial to our self-image, identity, our desire for recognition, for belonging… As in (now, at present, I believe/feel that) ‘I am xyz’ - identity propositions follow, all with differing degrees of emotional charge (of intensity, of … presence). So filling out the self, making substantial the pocket of the self, an extension of the objects contained in the pocket, a balloon expanding… until a denial of recognition occurs – the balloon is pricked and some of the precious objects in the pocket are lost. We feel the space and the solidity of the self sink. Shrinking to fit an imagined space. Imagined at the bidding of others. The air that supports the balloon of the self – withdrawn (or imagined as such).
As any view from the outside upon the rent that we are is itself artificial… a view from nowhere… (so leaving us only with the view from within, incoming… together with our thoughts, also part incoming, and directed also by something, just… out of reach…). And yet within the experience of the rent is the self as others see us – recognition, identity as formed by others…. ‘we’.
A projection… or a folding out, an unfolding, which we either accept or condemn as impossible… a thought-experiment. Imaginary (but what else could it be?).
The opening (of the self). Held open (if only on the page).
(As we (two) together read.)
Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2012