Download Merleau-Ponty's Last Vision: A Proposal for the Completion by Douglas Low PDF

By Douglas Low

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The present moment of time is ek-stace; it transcends itself toward a past and a future that are other than it yet with which it remains in contact. It is Merleau-Ponty’s thesis of the primacy of bodily perception that provides the basis for grasping the experience of time, for perception is ek-stace, a leaping out of oneself toward the world. Perception is dehiscence, a splitting open of the body as touching and touched, as seer and seen that allows the body to experience things, that puts the body in contact with things where they rest, yet that separates it from them at the same time.

VI 118) Thus, just as the perceptual gestalt or meaning is formed at the intersection of the engaged body and the world’s things, just as the invisible lines of force between the gestalt’s background and the foreground it helps present are formed in the lived experience to which both the body and the world contribute, so also linguistic gesture or meaning is formed at the intersection of lived speech and the field of sublimated meanings. And just as there is a common gestalt or nervure between the perceiver and the perceived, there is a common nervure between the act of signification and the field of the signified.

I live the world and gesture in it and toward it, and others see what I live and couple with my gestures. In addition, the human body has the power to appropriate the gestures witnessed in others and to use these gestures to express. Therefore, just as the body opens upon a perceptual world that folds back upon it, creating a meaningful gestalt, so bodily gestures, including the voice, the word, open upon a field of sublimated meanings (sublimated from the body’s lived perceptual encounter with the world) that fold back upon them.

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