Primordial Experiencing


The empirical is obviously that which we derive from experience, yet so is the intelligence that interprets, understands, explains and judges that derivation, in that we only know of intelligence by experiencing it.

‘Bodies’ in Lonergan’s terminology are recurrences in the empirical as such. ‘Things’ are unities found in the empirical, and as such are neither ‘out there’ nor can they be posited as ‘internal’, insofar as we have no proper conception of what ‘internal’ might mean. At any rate, they are conceptual in that factical recurrences can only be experienced as such by the elimination of specific differences, however minimal. Not only, though, can recurrence only be experienced without the elimination of specific differences, it can only be experienced through the retention of other specific differences. The identical cannot be experienced as a recurrence because it is one experience, however many times it is factically repeated. What recurs is the selfsame, whether it is a mere chance arrangement or a recurrence with some sort of structural jointure, i.e. whether it is merely energeia or entelechia.

While there are non-living as well as living entelechia, the difference arises in a certain directionality beyond the simple rules of the empirical itself, where what is living affects the empirical such that its recurring has a higher probability. Life is as such insistence on selfsameness as recurring. This is properly the sense of anima. The initial means by which anima increases the probability of the recurrence of itself as selfsame are the replacement of the unusable and replication of itself in new materials, both forms of exchange, and as such also the recurrence of exchange itsefl.

Recurrence itself always recurs as exchange, the basic direction of anima is always towards recurrence of the selfsame as exchange, an exchange that is simultaneously exchanged into recurrence of the selfsame. The recurrence of this selfsame exchange increases the probability of the recurrence of the selfsame as self, which is first encountered as a different instance of the selfsame. Since replication of this self in new materials results in new instances, self never arises as a single instance, but as all instances of that type of recurrence insofar as they encounter one another, in the most primordial sense that encounter can have.

Recurrence merely recurs as the selfsameness of the selfsame, as such it is always exchange but not change. As recurrent exchange it is not redefined within the economy of exchange, which means, since recurrence is primary, it is not defined in any sense. It is only defined post facto by change. Anima becomes ambiguous specifically in the minimal difference that can transform exchange into change, which is the minimal difference between anima and spirit. While anima is directed towards the recurrence of the selfsame, spirit is directed towards the recurrence of changed solutions to the difficulties of the selfsame.

Exchange is not without resistance. Since the empirical also includes other selfsame recurrences, or bodies, this resistance is multiplied as the selfsame encounters other selves. As an eventuality evolution itself, up until now a matter of the selfsame as it meets simple resistance and is happens upon different solutions, is exchanged for evolution that is itself directed towards different solutions. The logic of the selfsame as anima, pure self-insistence, becomes mediated by a dialectic of self-as-other-insistence, while still remaining self-insistence. Anima becomes dialectically related to spirit. They belong-together insofar as spirit is no more than a modification of anima. As the antithetecal modification of anima, spirit is simultaneously nothing other than anima. In spirit anima self-differentiates in order to return to itself as a changed exchange, returning to itslf as self-insistence on recurrence of the selfsame. This changed exchange is itself an exchange of simple recurrence for event.

It should be obvious that, on the most minimal and primordial level, experiencing is already necessary to anima insofar as it must in some way experience that within which it is directed towards increasing the probability of its own recurrence. As nothing other than anima, spirit shares experiencing, yet that experiencing is modified in that it experiences the possibility of a changed probability of recurrence and is directed towards it. Experience thus begins as the directionality of self-insistence, which is then exchanged for possibilities of directions of self-insistence. This necessarily involves an increase in freedom.

The most basic freedom is the ground of the possibility of jointure such that entelechy as a non-random ordering of the random. This increases with the directionality inherent in anima, and is increased further in the multiplicity of potential directionality in spirit, insofar as it self-differentiates from anima. Anima is in primordial form habit, and as a modification of habit that always returns to it spirit is never directed towards the new as such, but towards the new as potential habit. Freedom, or in its more general sense intentionality, is initially and for the most part the ability to acquire habits.

As experiencing, though not in any aware sense, anima must grasp the selfsame in the organization of itself, yet can only do so retroactivley, it is insofar as it has been and remains selfsame.

While experience is initially directed towards the empirical, bodies as empirical recurrent potentials for self-recurrence, it must be reflexive as directed toward recurrence of the selfsame, but an indefinite. What can be experienced as external and internal is the primordial sense of temporality as multi-dimensional. Originary temporality is a necessary complement of change, since anima can only be directed towards the empirical. The modification of anima into spirit posits the future as recurrence of changed habit, itself the recurrence of the present as selfsame with the past as what has been. As futural it is limited to the futural as change which exchanges the past for another. As temporal, via event as event of change, the indeterminable selfsameness of anima becomes at least minimal determinate as the selfsameness of this selfsameness.

Anima can only experience event insofar as it is already spirit. Spirit is open to that which recurs as changed. This openness is the basis of the multi-dimensionality of the spatial as what lies within the horizon from which event results in changed recurrences, and thus of the horizonal as indefinite spatio-temporal boundary. The horizonal is experienced ambiguously as the origin of change that threatens recurrence of the selfsame and as that which offerst the potential for changed forms of recurrence which encounter less resistance from the empirical. Both potential and threat are themselves ambiguous, since a changed recurrence can simultaneous mean the end of the selfsame insofar as it is experienced as minimally determinate.

As directed towards recurrence of the selfsame as exchange, anima also has the potential for experiencing itself as such, as anima. But as a result of its specific directedness, anima has a peculiar movement in which it cannot reach nor be properly directed towards its objective, since it is simultaneously directed only towards the empirical. This circularity is of course experienced by self-aware life as drive. However drive is posited, whether as simple indeterminate hunger, survival instinct, species-survival or in the limit the Freudian death drive, it necessarily follows this pattern. Lacan’s “objet a” is simply anima insofar as anima relates to the recurrence of exchange as selfsameness, as the habituating of habituation. Recurrence recurs, but it is neither a body nor a thing. It is experienced as a lack, without a determinate sense to the lack. In a more complex sense, the subject as, not simply the nothing, but the less than nothing for which experience is re-presented is a recurrence of the anima’s experience of itself.

Spirit, on the other hand, experiences anima in a temporal sense, as the indeterminable in the absolute past (the past that was always past) that simultaneously determines what it is in the present, and does so as recurrence of the selfsame. Although spirit experiences itself as present as it has been, it simultaneously experiences what it is a modification of as what it always was. This indeterminate determination gives the developed self a sense of self-identity, since anima is always anima, persisting through any change. Insofar as it is posited as determinate in any sense, it is posited retroactively by spirit.

It may be objected that this is pure mythology on my part, that there is no empirical evidence for any of it, although precisely how the empirical can become evidential, other than through the mediation of intepreted experience, is a question rarely asked. Actually, that claim would be an inversion, the preceding is not a mythology but a logomythos, or a rational story. Origin can only ever be posited, and only posited retroactively, and the past as empirical in which it is posited can only ever be a story. The shared insight of Hegel, Holderlin and Schelling, expressed in very different ways, is that rational history is merely the history of rationality. That the mytho-logy of the sciences is no more than that, and that they cannot themselves develop without better stories. Properly developed, the preceding story is, at any rate, a better story than the developmental story based solely on adaptation, since adaptation as rational can never give rise to the new. By introducing the dialectic of anima and spirit ex-aptation, as the exchange of exchange for the new as change, the logic that can only make its data coherent at a given generic level is complemented by the dialectic that can give rise to a further generic level on which what can only be coincidental on the initial level is made recurrent by a new set of probabilistic recurrences that are anything but coincidental on the further level. Precisely how history as a particular mythos belongs together with rationality as a particular logos can only be speculated upon, although that speculation is not without clues, and can be partially founded.

There is nothing new in the sciences since Hegel, Holderlin and Schelling that is not already found in them. Nor is there anything in other areas of experience not already grounded there. From the work of Freud to Bohr, Marxism to Game Theory, Zizek to Barad, all of it is dependent on better stories provided by the three already mentioned, along with their exchanges and inversions, such as Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. Ground itself is exchangeable, or Abground, and only mythos can accomplish such an exchange, while only logos can account for it. Hegel’s Reason is not rational, as so many have pointed out without thinking that a particular understanding makes that necessary, nor is Schelling’s mythos mytho-logical, and both originate in a specific event. At the end of the history of rationality as rational history Reason itself can no longer be merely rational, nor can Mythos be merely mythological.

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