In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena

By Jean-Luc Marion; Robyn Horner et al. | Go to book overview

4
Flesh or the Givenness
of the Self

1. THE FEELING BODY

Daily life scarcely gives me access to myself; actually, it dispenses me from having the desire and even the need of it. For I have passed a tacit accord with myself [moi]: I will pretend I have access to myself, but I will exempt myself from verifying it too often so as to be able to deal with my worldly business with a free spirit. Since I am here (or rather, there), why burden myself with confirming it? I assume myself sufficiently assured of the faithfulness of myself to myself not to go at each moment to verify it. The course of things slips away like this: too certain of myself ever to go to see if I am there, I only concern myself with the rest of the beings. Since I am well looked after by another me [moi-même], I can forget myself. In this way I traverse my life in a state of separation of body and of thought from myself. I am not without me—without self. But, in fact, am I really assured of being able at will to have access to myself? And besides, how can I experience myself as such—myself by myself? Where and when could I (if I could) not remain a stranger to myself, undefined, even absent? To the disquieting simplicity of the question, the false evidence of the response echoes: I come back to myself in experiencing myself, and I experience myself in taking flesh. It remains to be understood what “to take flesh” means.

To try to do so, I will begin with the one who seems to have ignored it and forbidden it, Descartes. Nevertheless, I will not draw out an argument from the too famous and so fragile reproach of dualism. Let us consider, earlier than that, one of the moments of the demonstration of the existence of the ego, still badly in need of its own cogitatio: “Nunquid ergo saltern ego aliquid esse? Sed jam negavi me habere ullos sensus et ullum corpus. Haero tamen; nam quid inde? Sumne ita corpori sensibusque alligatus, ut sine illis esse non possim?” The Duke of Luynes translated this as follows: “Myself at least, then, am I not

-82-

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In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Translator’s Acknowledgments vii
  • Translator’s Introduction ix
  • Foreword xxi
  • 1 - Phenomenology of Givenness and First Philosophy 1
  • 2 - The Event or the Happening Phenomenon 30
  • 3 - The Idol or the Radiance of the Painting 54
  • 4 - Flesh or the Givenness of the Self 82
  • 5 - The Icon or the Endless Hermeneutic 104
  • 6 - In the Name- How to Avoid Speaking of It 128
  • Index 163
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