Феноменологічна вправа

Шукала деякі терміни в старих нотатках з Семових занять, знайшла вправу, 2008 рік.
Це було домашнє завдання в котромусь із Семових курсів, куди я просто приходила послухати – брати їх на оцінку мені вже більше не треба було. Це 24 лютого, я щойно два місяці як повернулася з Вайтарни, мабуть все ще по-індійському загоріла серед блідої канадської зими, і чомусь навіть досі пам’ятаю, як виглядала аудиторія, в якій був цей курс.

Так от вправа була на феноменолонічне прописування ситуації за Семовим методом. Сем такі нотатки мало не щодня писав, а влітку, коли не працював – так взагалі мало не цілоденно цим ділом займався – в мене є його записник з липня – він їх перед смертю деяким друзям, учням і родичам пороздаровував. Якщо цим займатися регулярно і на одну приблизно тему, то вони помітно розвиваються, і часом серйозні такі інсайти трапляються. Якщо так, одноразово писати – то й інсайти теж одноразового значення, або їх може взагалі не бути. Це як на одноразове нічого так пішло, часом буває набагато гірше.

Структура вправи така:
1 – спочатку описується ситуація – ситуація має бути така, щоб вона тебе тримала – тобто не просто жива в той момент, а сильна сама по собі і важлива для тебе, щоб вона в процесі описування не розсмокталася. Можна “схитрувати” і вибрати self-generating ситуацію, тобто таку, яка тільки посилюватиметься самим процесом писання. Особливо якщо йдеться не про одноразову вправу, а про цільове феноменологічне дослідження якоїсь теми.
2 – потім записуються теоретичні питання – в першу чергу породжені ситуацією, або ті які потенційно її стосуються, але також можна занотувати інші важливі або постійні запитання
3 – бажано зробити невелику перерву, щоб абстрагуватися від питань і повернутися власне до ситуації. Наприклад, коли я ходила працювати в галерею, то ситуацію можна було пропускати, бо її твір мистецтва сам задає, питання в транспорті по дорозі писала чи в кав’ярні десь поки чекала відкриття галереї, а потім поки заходила, проходилася подивитися, що новенького, то питання вже якраз були забуті, що в принципі краще, нід коли вони над головою висять.
4 – усний діалог – це коли без записування пробуєш провідчувати і намацати, як ця ситуація відчувається – бажано пройти по різних “аспектах” тілесного сприйняття – сенсорика, рух-практика, почуття-емоції-настрої і соціальний аспект, когнітивний і мова. Спроба описати в цих аспектах, як ситуація настроює нас, як ми її відчуваємо. Описати, не проаналізувати.
5 – ті прориви, які намітилися в попередньому кроці розписуються письмово і детально.

В цій вправі і трохи схитрувала, бо ситуація була мені добре знайома, я подібну детально пропрацьовувала, і тому я трохи перескочила, щоб не застрягнути там, де можна було надовго зависнути і безрезультатно. Не пригадую вже як так сталося – чи Сем попросив мене її в класі презентувати, чи наперед мене заволонтерив – я її показувала іншим студентам. Того і паперова копія теж збереглася, ще й з коментами на полях – з поясненнями.

Сама вправа під катом (англійською, звичайно):

Febr. 24. 19:01

So, the situation – Sam’s e-mail, my participation in this course, my work with this method and on my dissertation in general, I guess. How do I find myself in this situation? There are two or three things here for me. On one hand it is my participation in this course, which pretends to be somewhat redundant or repetitious, or … unnecessary, but in fact it is not so. But that layer of the situation won’t hold me – it’s too superficial, and it will dissipate immediately if I start working on it, as it did in the first exercise in this course. So that was not even number one, and it’s trashed. What is there, though…

  1. this “inferiority complex”, this fear that I will not get it, this paralyzing almost angst (or is it really angst itself?). It’s both about some personal sense of defeat and loosership (ha-ha, a new term), but it’s also more than just this psychological neurotic and almost flirtatious “poor me” attitude. there is almost a sense of ethics to it, a sense in which I fear I will not measure up not just to my own petty expectations, but also to the matter itself, and to you, Sam, too. It’s a sense of responsibility, almost in a sense of duty. And so I am always compelled to avoid my work, to avoid that load of duty. which takes me to 2.
  2. the opposing force, something like a discipline. I try to constantly discipline myself to work in order to defeat, or if not defeat then at least to work through that first situation of avoidance, to break out of its paralyzing power. So that struggle, almost Nietzschean, against “the spirit of gravity”, trying to grow a camel within myself.
  3. the third one is joy. I know that the moment I actually start working, the spell will be broken, I’ve done it so many times, I know the joy will come, and even better than that – the harder the struggle, the stronger will be the flow of method, the flow of language in sink with… the world… the flesh… something like that.

So, the questions:

  • how does the language of body hermeneutics arise from… from what? from the silence? or, on a different level (?) from the pre-linguistic? How is the pre-linguistic already linguistic? How is language already almost there in silence? Feeling (sensual or affective) – how is it already and awareness, how is it reflective? What’s the difference between awareness and reflection? What does the “I” have to do with that (reflectivity, awareness)? How is the body aware of itself as opposed to the cognitive ego?
  • how do the moods hold us? how is the mood temporal, that is, how it flows, how does it pick up and hold the past, how does it release the past, how do the shifts occur? how is the present possible? how long is the present? (Heidegger/Hölderlin – long is time, that is stretching from the future into the present, or from the present into the future?) How is temporality described through space – limitation, bordering, peras-perimeter-place… what does it have to do with openness? how do we understand openness and concealment phenomenologically, that is, never as absolute, always as partial, and not even partial, but always already in and into the middle, always already into the opposite?
  • for the wrap-up (it’s taking too long), my constant question about the general, the background, and the concrete, the “figure”. How do they manifest themselves through these kinds of situations? How is the presence of the Other felt, and by that I mean that Other, which is not human, that, which is not us, that which is not things, that, which opens up, and holds us, that, through which we are, and in which we receive our support and strength, our inspiration, that which is unexpected, that which actually lets us break out from all our (especially mental and emotional) limitations… what is it, and how is it felt?

It’s 19:37, I’ll go and have a tea to get distracted from the questions, and then I’ll come back to step 2 – trying to feel out this situation of working with the method.

21:25, so, after two hours of avoidance. let me describe it, the avoidance, that is, and that fear or angst, or whatever it is that makes me avoid (I’m not using those terms technically as H. of BT, firstly because I would have to describe them more to even see whether they fit, and, secondly, I don’t particularly like the over-technicality, with which he is using them, I guess, I’m not sure they are that much different in reality, and yes, I’m avoiding the it again). When I’m close to being faced with this work, with this job of describing phenomenologically, that is, doing body hermeneutics, I constantly try to avoid it. Cognitively I know I have to do it, I even know cognitively (even somehow practically – from experience), that I can do it, and yet I find every possible chance to avoid it. Even if I manage to get the fist step, and especially when the questions in the first step seem very ambitious, too solid, too deep, “too good to be true”, when it seems that they are too much for me to handle, then I will find all kinds of ways to avoid it or to procrastinate to the point when I can tell myself that I don’t have enough time to do it properly. That struggle between having to do the descriptions and even somewhat wanting to do them, and yet avoiding, as if not having enough courage (or discipline, I tell myself), has two “states”. (Am I being too cognitive, too “objective” here – analyzing instead of describing?) So, one is when I’m facing this necessity to write, and yet when I’m not writing – this showed itself during step 2, and I can still feel it quite a lot. It is felt as a tension in chest and stomach, as if I pull myself, tense myself into a kind of knot inside me. The teeth tend to get clenched, and there is this general stressfulness, almost nervousness in the body. In fact, the body is nervously looking for ways to turn away from this… what? it’s not nothingness at all. somehow it is me, the very midst of me. and yet that knot inside me, that tension in my chest, feels strangely alienating, feels like not me, or not mine. The tension is between the central and the peripheral – the body does not like that tension, that strange will-less-ness in my chest, and it flees to the periphery, into peripheral motions. Yet, it is quite clear that it is the body that’s doing this, there is no mistaking it for the “mind”, the “cognitive ego”, in fact, the cognitive ego seems to be quite confused here. It’s simple, I tell myself, and I’ll have to do it sooner or later, so why not sooner, and, actually I have to do it sooner, because I have to finish this thing while I still can without all the complications of going part-time, looking for jobs, extending my visas or who knows what else, that I would have to do if I do not finish it on time, so it is really the necessity, and cognitively I know it. It is somehow the body with its avoiding actions, that’s begging: later, later… Uff, I’m becoming too poetic – not a good sight for this kind of situation.

When the body succeeds to pull me into periphery – doing something else, engaging in all those other things, the tension in the chest gets dissolved, turns into some vague presence of guilt, with a strange sense of satisfaction at the same time – I didn’t have to do it.

But now I’m doing it. I’m writing it out. I know all too well, if I start writing it out, I can hold on to that tightness, and accentuate it – it seems to encourage this kind of masochistic exercise of tasting out ones misery, and I know it would hang over me, make me heavy, in the end that deadly almost suicidal indifference would come. I also know, if I let this tightness go, if I just follow the descriptions out of that dead-end, I might get something… It is really strange that sense of “suspension” right now – as if I’m weighing those options, and if I’m holding myself off from a decision – avoiding again? it’s also strange how still cognitive, how schematic this thing is. Ah, that cogito loves “psychoanalysis”, doesn’t it? That substitute for truth, substitute for understanding that is bodily, when all answers are just a little too predictable…

What I really love about this body hermeneutics stuff, is how really… unpredictable it gets at times. Even though I know it happens, it’s still always fresh. So, what’s going on? I laughed at myself. I felt, that there was no joy still. I felt how serious, how full of myself I was, and then I just laughed at myself. Just that pinch of self-irony, and, that’s it, the attitude starts changing, that joy of body hermeneutics starts flowing. It’s not even really joy, it’s just this sense of alertness and… sensitivity. This amazing sense, sens-ibility to myself. This actually feeling myself. It does not need much, it’s quite humble indeed. But it’s worlds apart from that dryness and tension of trying, struggling and avoiding. It’s amazing how… easy this is. It just flows, It feels, I can just “describe out” everything I feel, because those descriptions just flow out and through, together with that sensuality – “alertness of senses” M.-P. would say? But in fact it is not really much like alertness. Alertness in the sense of being awake and enjoying, just really living through, but not in the sense of “watching out”, not in the sense of being tense in anticipation. Or, may be that is yet another illusion, another avoidance? the “pretending to be happy thing”?

there is something in that attitude of humor, it just makes everything lighter. it somehow brightens up this whole situation – I catch myself squinting my eyes, slightly tilting my head, leaning backwards, relaxing and opening up as if under a sun indeed. I know this state. This opposite of the depressive avoidance. It is this satisfaction, but in a way it is against BH as well, for it does not have ambitions, it does not have desires, it is full, relaxed, quiet. It has no fears to avoid. I’m writing in third person, and in fact I do feel quite like “third person” – not really abstract, but not really involved either. Anti-active in a way. It is strange indeed, that the bodily sensitivity seems to be so much increased. It is this… … … and yes, I slide into silence. It’s much like floating in the warm sea under the sun, when sensually you feel so present, and yet there is no urge to do anything, the cognition, if by that we mean thinking and speaking, seems to tend to subside, I can still write these description, only, it seems, by virtue of the sensual – that deep sensuous and emotional satisfaction, that is so strong, that it does not disappear, when I put out these words, even though, I – the whole body – would much rather just slide into quietness. But by now I also know, this is my phenomenon. This quiet joy as I called it still I think in Freiburg – that’s it, that’s the holy. That’s the yellow light on the leaves in Harris’s painting. It was the first times that it would make me frustratingly speechless. Now it doesn’t seem to mind. Or does it?

Strange, the joy is gone. The beach it closing, eh? (I’m joking with myself again, but it does feel like a beach a lot. Plus not a boring beach, like most beaches would be to me.) Yes, the joy has subsided too, but that sense of sensual sensitivity is still there. It is that “alertness”, that is in a way peripheral too (I feel myself most in the limbs – the fingers, the legs, the head), like the avoiding was, and yet it seems to have a completely different quality to it. When avoidance seems to be about running, this one is about staying, about… merging into… what? … what’s around. but not really things. yes, texturally, the avoiding was like gliding, whereas this on feels like… dipping the hands into the thickness of being (too much?). yes, like burying the hands into the most tender dough, like resting the head in between the thickest mist, is that why they portray the divinities resting on clouds, finding they support upon that same… flesh, that generality that’s so elusive and yet not empty, rather full…

it does want to make me speechless. it takes me out of my shell, it dips me and almost melts me into that, which is around (yeah, M.P. says, we can only sense it because we are basically the same, made out of the same stuff, even though he probably would not have put it like that). At the same time it (what?) hollows me inside. Yes, it is somehow about being so relaxed, to the point of flowing into the limbs, to the point of not holding anything back, “opening up” from the inside out, shifting that sensitivity, not really outside, because there is still that integrity, that identity, that holding together, but it is, indeed, not from the inside. The holding is not from the inside, the inside, indeed, becomes completely relaxed to the point of feeling hollow. Yes, this is it, it is more like being held. “From the outside”. I am being held. Not thrown, Heidegger, the opposite! I am being held into the world. … wow… 23:16

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