Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Sensation" And "Perception"

"The kinds of codings, griddings, and positionings with which cultural theory has been preoccupied are no exception to the dynamic unity of feedback and feed-forward, or double becoming. Gender, race, and orientation are what Ian Hacking calls "interactive kinds": logical categories that feed back into and transform the reality they describe (and are themselves modified by in return). Ideas about cultural or social construction have dead-ended because they have insisted on bracketing the nature of process. Id you elide nature, you miss the becoming of culture, its emergence (not to mention the history of matter). You miss the continuum of interlinkage, feed-forward and feedback, by which movements capture and convert each other to many ends, old, new, and innumerable. The world is in a condition of constant qualitative growth. Some kind of constructivism is required to account for the processual continuity across categorical divides and for the reality of that qualitative growth, or ontogenesis: the fact that with every move, with every change, there is something new to the world, an added reality. The world is self-augmenting. Reality "snowballs", as William James was fond of saying. Perhaps "productivism" would be better than constructivism because it connotes emergence. "Inventionism" wouldn't be going too far, for even if you take nature in its narrowest sense, it has to be admitted that it is inventive in its own right. There is a word for this: evolution. There is no reason not to use the same word for the prolongation of "natural" processes of change in the emergent domain of "culture". Is a constructivist evolutionism conceivable? An evolutionary constructivism?...

The feeling of having a feeling is what Leibniz called the "perception of perception". That raises another thorny issue: the identity or difference between the terms "sensation" and "perception". It gets thornier. Leibniz notes that the perception of perception "occurs without characters and therefore that memory does also". Add memory to the issues of sensation and perception. Then pause. Memory, sensation, perception occurring without "characters"? In other words, without properties? Without determinate form or content? What about memory without content? One answer might be that it is just pastness, a pure pastness that would be the condition of emergence for determinate memory. But that would make the past contemporary to the present of sensation and perception. Leibniz goes on to say that although the perception of perception is without characters, it does carry a "distinguishing sense of bodily direction". Distinguishing bodily direction without a determinate form? In other words, without distance? That could only be tendency, pure tendency. Tendency is futureness: pure futurity. So there is a futurity that is contemporary with the past's contemporaneousness with the present.

All of this is to say that feedback and feed-forward, or recursivity, in addition to converting distance into intensity, folds the dimensions of time into each other. The field of emergence of experience has to be thought of as a space-time continuum, as an ontogenetic dimension prior to the separating-out of space and time (adopting the same approach as with nature-culture). Linear time, like position-gridded space, would be the emergent qualities of the event of the world's self-relating."

... Parables For The Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Post-Contemporary Interventions), Brian Massumi

1 comment:

Skinny Musketeer said...

Hi bro... hope you're well... been busy...