30 Dec 2010

Broken Open to the World. Merleau-Ponty and Opennes to the World, 1

by Corry Shores
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Broken Open to the World

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Merleau Ponty: Openness to the World, 1

What does phenomenological openness to the world go to do with you?

The world appears before us. In a way, it is given to us. But the world receives us just as much as we receive it. So just as the world is given to us, so are we given to the world. We might say that we are open to the world. Yet perhaps it is not that we are open to it. Perhaps we are cracked open before it. Maybe there is a crack between us and it, because we are cracked from within. Perhaps then we are exposed to the world, vulnerable to it, because we are fundamentally different from it. We are in a differential relation to the world; and this is the basis for our being able to relate to it in the first place. So we are not integrated with the world; rather, we are continually different from it.

Summary of the main idea in this passage:

We are in an integrated relation with the world.

Points relative to Deleuze
[Under ongoing revision]

For Deleuze, we relate to the world only differentially. We are 'open' to it in the sense of our being cracked open and abruptly exposed to it. We 'communicate' with it in the sense that we and the world cause one another to resonate from our differences, like two magnets forced together same-to-same pole.

Quotation from Phénoménologie de la perception / Phenomenology of Perception:

The world is not what I think, but what I live through. I am open to the | world, I have no doubt that I am in communication with it, but I do not possess it; it is inexhaustible. (xviii-xix)

Le monde est non pas ce que je pense, mais ce que je vis, je suis ouvert au monde, je communique indubitablement avec lui, mais je ne le possède pas, il est inépuisable. (17c)

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. Transl. Colin Smith. London/New York: Routledge, 1958.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1945.

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