02 August 2013

Human body a used vehicle

I find it intriguing that soul, spirit, mind have traditionally been thought as having a location at all. A living being for Aristotle, e.g., is an _empsychon_ (e)/myuxon), and this has invariably been imagined as there being a soul inhabiting the body. But what about the converse hermeneutic, namely, the body inhabits, i.e. is in, the psyche, but not as a location? Why not: The immaterial, locationless psyche uses the body, thus enlivening it, just as mind (_nous_; nou=j) employs the human brain for its thinking? Modern science, of course, must scoff at this suggestion. Scientific method, from its basic (pre-)conception, is at a loss as to even approach the issues of mind, soul or consciousness, since it never occurs to science to ask what being itself -- and mind and soul as modes of being -- means.

Cf. e.g. the interesting ambiguity of Latin 'hospes', meaning both 'host' and 'guest', as in Hadrian's famous epitaph,
animula vagula blandula,
hospes comesque corporis,
which I translate against the conventional grain as
"Vagabonding, tender, little soul,
Host and companion to the body."

Embodied human being itself is 'ensouled' and 'enminded', thus enlivened and opened to the play of presencing and absencing as such in the time-clearing, for which it is used (gebraucht), to which it is ineludibly exposed. It is used also for the play of revealing and concealing, including even the self-concealing of the enigmatic abyss that is the clearing's heart. The play of presencing and absencing and the play of revealing and concealing cross as in a matrix, giving rise to various combinations, six in total.

The human body is a used vehicle.
Der menschliche Leib ist ein Gebrauchtwagen.

Further on concealment &c.: 5. Heidegger's reading of Parmenides radically simplified

1 comment:

  1. I have recently read Jean-Luc Nancy's comments from the 1990s on the same topic. In a 1994 lecture he tentatively borrows the concept of "soul" to indicate what he calls the body's difference from itself. Then in 2008 we get a more fully articulated, but still with the word "soul," version. His two books on the deconstruction of Christianity demonstrate an interest in renewing the common heritage but all the while denying the promise of any sort of organized religion. I interpret that as almost a desperation with the fading of Enlightenment humanism. His documents are freely available online.