Tuesday, July 19, 2011

how about a periphenomenology of perception?

I'm back to Shaun Gallagher's book How the Body Shapes the Mind. He seems to be doing what Michel Henry forbids, namely, taking clues from natural science in order to understand human embodiment and perception. Strangely, there's some similarities regarding their conclusions about perception, even if the language is totally different. I think Gallagher is easier to understand and has his head screwed on right, whereas I'm increasingly of the opinion that Henry was a kook. Some samples of Gallagher, on proprioception and perspectival perception:

More specifically, proprioceptive awareness is not itself a perception of the body as an object; for if it were, it would require an ordering system, a spatial frame of reference, that was independent of the body. Generally speaking, the proprioceptive spatiality of the body is not framed by anything other than the body itself. In other words, proprioception is a non-perspectival awareness of the body. (137f)

Proprioceptive awareness does not organize the differential spatial order of the body around an origin… Proprioception operates within a non-relative, non-perspectival, intra-corporeal spatial framework that is different from both egocentric and allocentric frameworks. Neither proprioception nor kineasthesia offers a perceptual perspective on my body. If they did, they would require a second body, or perhaps a homunculus that would act as an index. Our pre-reflective, kinaesthetic-proprioceptive experience thus plays a role in the organization of perception, but in a way that does not require the body itself to be a perceptual object. (138)

If the body itself is doing the perceiving, then such prenoetic operations provide specific conditions that shape perceptual consciousness. The body and its natural environment work together to deliver an already formed meaning to consciousness. (139)

Both Henry and Gallagher claim that proprioception is not perception and that the body as perceiver is not an object. But where Henry argues for a dualistic ontology where the subject as absolute life is always separate from the entire realm of the world and objects, Gallagher's understanding doesn't require taking any stance at all on that kind of metaphysical issue. Instead, as implied by his taking clues from neuroscience, he's more or less just describing and interpreting what we could call facts.

Both positions seek to reduce, or explain, what Merleau-Ponty left ambiguous, in particular given that, in Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty continued to use the language of Cartesian dualism - the whole business of the body being subject and object, e.g. There's a lot to be said for being more clear about this, but there's still ambiguity in experience.

So, proprioceptive awareness isn't perspectival, but it is through proprioceptive awareness that our perspectives become intelligible as perspectives. I don't see myself seeing (as Henry says), yet when I see, the point from which I see is tacitly present. Or, to use Merleau-Ponty's famous/notorious example of the hand-touching/hand-touched, I don't feel my touching, but when I touch something, the posture of my touching, since it makes all the difference in the experience of touch, comes into awareness. Gallagher's argument regarding the non-perspectival character of proprioception is airtight (and "non-relative" hints of what Henry called the "absolute" knowledge the body has of itself), and it leaves us with the implication that, ultimately, neither neuroscience nor phenomenology can tell us why we have experience and not just sense data. Again, Gallagher's attitude toward this seems to be that meaningful experience is just how it is for human beings.

A bit further on the ambiguity of perception and proprioception: if the body's proprioception is its way of structuring pre-given meaningful perception, then, I would argue, we may not be able to take a perspective on perspective-taking, but we can get a feel for it, sort of peripherally.


Anonymous said...

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society.  Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on.  You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize.  Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well.  In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO, the Chinese Holocaust.  They used this Situation to bury Japanese atrocities.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning.  I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way.  It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life.  They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation.  The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong?  Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people.  It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally.  Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years.  Condemned to experience another epoch of planet's history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
Never forget:::It is not a house of Jesus.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden.  A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
Which one is it?:
One transitions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to their Chosen One.  My personal "consolation prize".
And since the gods never committed despite tens of billions in mass media, product development and natural disasters/tragedy they will employ the freedom they positioned into the Situation and CHEAT me out of everything.
Fuck the hundred trillion year-old gods and their "gangster capitalism" positioning:::The Matrix.

Doc Nagel said...

Holy shit! I had to publish this spam comment, because, holy shit!