guiding ideas at the moment

The ideas that act at the moment as constraints on my understanding of the nature and structure of (phenomenal) experience could be summarized roughly in the two statements below. Of course, these are constraints, as more or less all conceptual or affective schemes are, in a positive, disinhibiting sense. That is, they facilitate and disinhibit thought in that framing and thus delimiting and grounding different phenomena they guide subsequent inquiry…

(1) Things are not outside of us: we relate to them from within the space that our interaction with them opens up

In other words, things turn into objects, something external, over and against us, always already from this horizon of interaction. This interactive space precedes the spatial extensions that it discloses in my epxerience of the things in the world. To put it bluntly.

(2) Things are present to the extent that they are elsewhere: distributed and inherently spectral

In a sense, nothing is fully present or complete but rather being in essence incomplete everything is in the process of being present. In order for things to be present they have to have distributed their being among the things they interact with; they have to have distributed their effects among the things that they affect and are affected by. For it is the differences among the interacting things that drive the processes in which they participate. Things would not be (partially) present without interaction, without some form of an energetic transaction that sustains their dynamic being. In other words, things radiate their presence by touching and thereby pulling one another into the vibrant sphere of existence. Thus the presence of things is diffuse and ‘diffracted’: in order to be present things have to be partly elsewhere. (Also, this is why their temporal and spatial boundaries are so ambiguous, it is never clear cut where things begin and where they end. What is the organ of respiration, for instance? Can we exclude the atmosphere? Or better, could there be such a thing as a conscious brain-in-a-vat?)

What is more: the presence of things in the temporal terms of the present moment is also partly elsewhere in that things are present only to the extent that they are already ‘pre-sent’. The present moment cannot be extracted from the traces of the past that project a horizon of future possibilities in terms of which the presence of the things in the present moment becomes meaningful. Of course, this point (spectrality) refers to the phenomenal experience of things while the former (distributedness) refers to the peculiar presence of things outside the phenomenal realm as well. These two aspects are, perhaps, not that unrelated, though, as they initially may seem to be.

In order for things to be present they have to be partly elsehwere.


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