Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Notes on Aida (3)

So far, we found two points in Kimura’s view on subjectivity, both of which are influenced by Viktor von Weizsäcker.
(1)  The most basic type of subjectivity is not found in the consciousness or transcendental ego (in the Husserlian sense), but in the Gestaltkreis of the living organism. A living organism maintains itself as a subject in its relation to the surrounding environment through movement and perception. The subject keeps its coherence through coping with environmental changes.
(2)  The subjectivity of living organism involves the fundamental relation (Grundverhältnis) with the life itself. The life appears through particular living organisms but is beyond them in itself, never to be recognized as such in an objective way. Instead, each organism “lives” the life by means of its body, where the subjectivity is situated. This subjectivity is ahead of self-reflection.

And now, he takes up the experience of music ensemble as an example, in order to expand his consideration from the subjectivity to the intersubjectivity.

First, he distinguishes “the noetic” and “the noematic” of our experience of playing music. What he refers to as “the noetic”, different from the Husserl’s “noesis”, is not the intentional act of consciousness but the very action of creating music. He terms it “noetic”, because our action toward the world (not limited to the music) involves the pre-reflective intentionality of the living body.

On the other hand, to produce the each sound as an integrated melody, we need the feedback from recalling the already sounded part (retention), as well as the feedforward from anticipating the yet to be sounded part (protention). The whole perception of listening, which changes from moment to moment, leads the players movement of making each sound. What comes into our awareness through perception that unfolds itself in temporality is called “the noematic”. It is not very far from Husserl’s notion of “noema”.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Notes on Aida (2)

After founding the subjectivity of living organism in its relation to the life itself, Kimura tries to re-locate the subjectivity of living organisms in the place of Gestaltkreis (von Weizäcker’s notion), where the perception and movement makes a circular-unit with the surrounding environment.

A living organism maintains its subjectivity in its relation to the surrounding environment. By definition, something alive has its own spontaneous movement toward the environment (when it loses movement, it appears as dead). Movement is caused through the encounter with the environment and informs perception toward it. 

For example, my movement of reaching is caused when I see a ball rolling toward me, and my perception of the ball is permeated by my possible movements of reaching, grabbing, and throwing it. The subjectivity is maintained, based on the appropriate cycle of perception and movement toward the environment. It is not autonomous such thing as "modern ego".

It is possible to say that his view of subjectivity is enactive. In Kimura’s view, the subjectivity is originally action-based and action-oriented. And of course, the action is something that occurs when a living organism encounters with a certain environment. Subjectivity is not autonomous or pre-given thing. Kimura says:

“As a living organism encounters with the environment, the subject is realized through this encounter. Thus, if this encounter is destroyed for some reason, the subject will also disappear at that moment.”
[Kimura, B. (2005). Aida. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, p.22 (translation by ST)]

Here, it should be confirmed that the subjectivity itself has its foundation in between (aida) of a living organism and the environment. In case of human, it would mean that the subjectivity of each human being is realized through the encounter with the world. This view would partly coincide with the notion of “Being-in-the-world”.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Notes on Aida (1)

Today, I started to re-read intensively Kimura's "aida".

The corresponding English word for Aida may be "between" or "between-ness". As I am currently working on intersubjectivity and social cognition, what Kimura thinks through the notion of aida seems very attractive.

He tries to re-consider the problem of intersubjectivity based on the notion of aida. "Aida" in Japanese literally means the spatial or temporal distance between two things. In the context of social cognition, aida means the "between" of two or more persons. Needless to say, it refers to the realm of inter-subjectivity.

However, a bit surprisingly, he asks what it means to be alive, in the introduction of the book. He says, the life that is explained in biological sciences is mere "vital activities of living substances." The life itself is beyond such activities that are found in the particular living organism. In fact, even though one living organism ends up by death, the life itself does not come to an end. The life manifest itself through the living organism but itself is beyond those. What he stresses is that our sense of living has its own root in what he here calls "the life itself", which is beyond particular living organisms.

In the deepest sense, Kimura's notion of aida seems to refer to this relation between each particular living organism (humans, animals, plants) and the universal life-force. The life itself is the universal ground, which makes possible the subjectivity of the particular living being. Before describing the intersubjectivity, the notion of aida refers to the foundation of the subjectivity which appears as the sense of living. This is what I found in Kimura's text today.