On the heels of “When Transcending Necessitates Transgressing“. Branching off though now to some other (but related) issues. Many of which pertain to my current research, some of which are left over from the original thesis proposal, and much of it simply stemming from personal intrigues. It’s possible I’ll further edit and add ref’s / ideas / queries to this post over time.

The bodily self is the fundamental blind spot.[1]

– Is it a cohesive identity which languishes in those margins, or is the experience of disordered-ness the manifest expression of a languishing body? Whether due primarily to the neglect of emotional and sensual memories, or more to the physiological status of the person (as is in the case of illness, for example). Given the fully reciprocal integration of all experiential factors, a particularly significant or predominate influence is only sometimes distinguishable. [2]

– This points to important differences between the Self conceived as a social identity (Deleuze & Guattari) and the self of a whole body-ness [3]. Where the prior dominates or is given preference over the latter, and dissociatively, there evolves a disordering to the degree of dysfunction (Rowe, Kohut, Klein, Lacan). Does this describe in some way the otherwise intuited relationship between a capitalistic hyper-individualism and the bare life? [4]

– The lived body and a synthesis of situated experiences; emotional, perceptual, sensory, both bounded and boundaryless, remembering and in the present and anticipating. As if forgotten: Inaccessible knowledge, closed off, diminished, pent-up expression. The un-attended, un-acknowledged, and un-acquainted historicity of a life lived. The flesh and blood and bone of it, and that inner world of ongoings; neglected. Contained, hidden, home  to a place without words. And few words are assigned to them but those which objectify: The sciences, the economic producer, the social symbol, a personalized object.

– Without the naming instantiation words provide (Whittgenstein, Austin, Douglas) this dimension of Being (Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty) remains un-named. Un-identified. No identity but the categorical, economical, symbolic, and objectified one (Foucault). These are ascribed, inscribed, absorbed, performed, re-affirmed and re-enforced (Butler, Feldman, Schneider). We remember and sense and revel in and suffer it, are compelled by and intuit our way out: There is a relationship here to the increasing calls for meaningful everyday, ritual, and personalized spiritual practices.


[1] Alain Badiou‘s “blind spot’ has been referenced by many an artist, critic, and philosopher. Not usually in argument, but as a contextualizing or affiliating gesture. His text:

Accordingly, there is no subject of science. Infinitely stratified, regulating its passages, science is pure space, without inverse or mark or place of what it excludes. [….]

Foreclosure, but of nothing, science may be called the psychosis of no subject, and hence of all: congenitally universal, shared delirium, one has only to maintain oneself within it in order to be no-one, anonymously dispersed in the hierarchy of orders. Science is the Outside without a blind-spot (161-62).

[2] For example: I was in a serious car accident, and though I walked away of my own volition, I re-experienced the crash while I slept that night. The whole blunt and crunching dynamics of force woke me from the dream. This was not envisioned or perceptual; my entire body relived the trauma. So much so that I was, upon waking, taken over with the same trembling state I had not paid much attention to, in the hours following the accident. The difference being two-fold, after the dream: i) I was aware of my entire physicality while also grappling with fear and; ii) I realized I was injured.

During the awake-world crash, I was too preoccupied with controlling the vehicle to acknowledge fear. Instead, I did not pause for long after the impact arrested the car, because I was over-come with a concern for the driver of the other vehicle. We had looked each other in the eye during impact, and I was fixed on his more elderly (than I) visage. After going to him, and seeing that he was alright, my attentions turned to the crossroad we were at, to oncoming drivers, the calling for assistance, etc. Of course, one is flush with adrenaline, and in a state of shock.

The dream, however, led me only so far as the experience of the impact itself. During the dream, I was aware mainly of details: Sights, sounds, smells, the swaying and thrust of my own self wedged by seat and steering wheel. The full body crush and the jagged impositions of the immeasurable wreckage that was the driver’s-side door. It wasn’t until after the dream that I cried; a release of all that emotional intensity. It wasn’t until having the dream that I felt the pain of injuries – and yet the cuts, bruises, and whiplash had already been incurred. This dream was an experiential remembering, and it was so situated in a self-attentiveness, that it aroused awake awareness. It contained in of itself an allowance for the feeling and sensations – actualization of the experience – that both a concern for others and the shock-chemistry of trauma had initially suspended.

I cannot, with any confidence, claim that my mind had caused this suspension of awareness. Even while conventional understanding of the word ‘awareness’ suggests exactly that. Instead, I was and remain certain that a number of instantaneous physiological mechanisms were at play (everything that comprises that protective ‘state of shock’). Which, in turn, permitted the outward focus of my thoughts (as opposed to being fixed on the fear or pain).

This reverses the usual presumption that there was an absence, and then an arrival, of fear and pain – as if these are merely products of the mind. The bodily self, first, provided for the mind during and after the accident as did it during and after the dream. I do not claim this always the case, whatever the situation, but it is one of many such examples in my experiential repertoire.

[3] By ‘whole body’ I mean to include all of attributes of anatomy (no brain / body split) and respective physiological generality (no compartmentalization), sensual responsiveness, modal-states (mood and states of engagement in the world), as well as the functions and implications of memory and emotional contents.

[4] See the writings of Georgio Agamben for his use of this phrase ‘bare life’, which I frequently borrow and then adapt.


One thought on “The fundamental blind spot.

  1. Pingback: A Synchronous Self | scrapaduq

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