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Excerpts from: The Body's Recollection of Being

David Michael Levin
Northwestern University
d-levin@northwestern.edu

(London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985)

(56) Metaphysical thinking takes place ... in the theoretical mind,' and is ... an I think (= represent to myself) ...' ... [But] thinking. ... takes place' as much in the life of our feet and hands and eyes. ... Our thinking will not find its way ... without first losing itself' as a metaphysical thinking' and going very deeply into the body ...

(50) As we question the body of mood, ... we move closer to that field ...in which ...

(94) ... our motility takes place ... a field of many dimensions. the capacity we call motility,' is dependent upon this field. ... the open being of the motility-field ... the layout of a field ...

(99) ... the field of motility is an elemental syntax of motivations, an array or layout of possible routings, orchestrating and choreographing our bodily postures, gestures, attitudes and comportments.

(94) Our groundedness, our rootedness, out autochthony, our balance and upright stature, our bearing and carriage, our steadiness of gait, our path, and the goals on this path: ...

(104) ... what we need is a thinking which actually deepens our contact with the choreography of the motility-field ... a thinking which can actually take us into the depths of our topological attunement ... in our motility, to the grace of the field through whose clearing we move and pass.

(53) The open dimension is the ... gift of vision that was given to us, at birth, ... a gift to our bodily nature ... The gift is our pre-ontological mode of vision, an open dimension of visionary belongingness, primordial attunement, spontaneous participation in the spectacle of light; ... The gift is a bodily felt panoramic awareness, a felt sense of being well-integrated into the field of visibility ...

(289) ... the body of understanding, standing and walking in the support of the earth, is already a move beyond metaphysics since (I) traditional metaphysics can conceptualize only an objective body, not the body which we are and live; ...

(99) ... we are setting Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body in a much deeper, ... dimension ...

(98) ... motility ... appropriates the topological configuration of corporeal capacities as a local disclosedness, ... inseparable from its situational field and functioning as an immediately meaningful disclosure, ...

(98) ... the tradition ... which regards moving and being-moved as ... opposites, ... is shattered. ... we are on the way (unterwegs) ... moving in a responsiveness to the field that discloses its openness ...

(103) ... motility ... calls us into ... neither the worldly, practical ... nor the present-to-hand ...

(126) We need to attend to the ways we use' our hands and experience their activity'. We need to sense in a bodily way the tone ... of our gestures, and become more aware of how that tone is related to our technological modes of production. ... a more developed awareness ... of our gestures would contribute to a ... critique of technology ... new historical initiatives have already been placed in our hands.

(139) ... our touching, handling, pointing, and writing - hold beings open to the field of their being: ... we relate to the various beings of our world in a way that maintains their contact, and our own, with the ... clearing of space that let them, and us, first meet in the enchantment of presence.

(134) ... I believe. that we learn how to root our gestures in the tact and contact of their proper field - that field ... which has already made a clearing for their movement and already given them an initial sense of ... meaning ...

(233) The naturalism which begins (with Hume, for example) by grounding moral principles in forms of sensibility ... needs to be supplemented by a naturalism which recognizes the antecedents of our moral intuitions, ... in our bodily felt sense of ... the ... goodness and rightness which is truthfully felt in the experienced body of our being-in-the-world.

(233) What is called for is a gentle and caring approach that provides a truly nurturing space for the child to make good contact with ... evaluative processes, and elicit from the ... body of feeling a comportment ...

(245) It would seem to follow from this ... motility that, ... our children's capacity for moral autonomy, ... is really not at all possible so long as our education approach remains stubbornly abstract ...

(255) ... to the existing political reality, the human body ...[is] a natural or wild' being, ... Thinkers like Foucault concentrate on the ways in which a political regime externally appropriates the human body, ... But they neglect to acknowledge the body's own intrinsic political wisdom, ...

(126) ...the emotional depth of the field's reserve of enchantment is ... made sensible for our emerging body of emotional understanding.

(245) Since an intellectual or conceptual kind of understanding ... is best kept in contact with ... an implicit preunderstanding, ...

(106) ... we can avoid the dogmatism that invariably threatens all modes of thinking which work with concepts not actually rooted in ... an emerging body of understanding, ... so that at no point is a final moment ... allowed to determine the work of thinking.

[After Post-Modernism Conference. Copyright 1997.]

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