Saturday, April 2, 2011

Notes on Intercorporeality (1)

A quotation from Merleau-Ponty's text on Intercorporeality.

[M]y right hand was present at the advent of my left hand's active sense of touch. It is no different fashion that the other's body becomes animate before me when I shake another man's hand or just look at him. In learning that my body is a "perceiving thing," that it is able to be stimulated (reizbar)---it, and not just my "consciousness"---I prepared myself for understanding that there are other animalia and possibly other men.
It is imperative to recognize that we have here neither comparison, nor analogy, nor projection or "introjection." The reason why I have evidence of the other man's being-there when I shake his hand is that his hand is substituted for my left hand, and my body annexes the body of another person in that "sort of reflection" it is paradoxically the seat of. My two hands "coexist" or are "compresent" because they are one single body's hands. The other person appears through an extension of that compresence; he and I are like organs of one single intercorporeality.
[Merleau-Ponty, M. (1960/1964). The Philosopher and His Shadow. in Signs. p.168]

In order to understand the other man's "being-there", we don't need any analogy or projection. It is based on the direct perception and direct experience. Understanding the other person is basically the problem of perception, not that of theoretical inference or internal projection.