24 February 2011

The embodiment of language

"For Merleau-Ponty truth is arrived at through engagement with the world, not through greater abstraction from it; the general is encountered through, rather than in spite of, the particular; and the infinite through, rather than in spite of, the finite. " (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 149). 
It is our body that serves to connect us to the world. We know our environment because we know the body and the body knows the environment. We apprehend the environment by formulating and then extending how it is that our bodies operate in that environment. 
The embodiment of language through metaphor is more than an incidental curiosity of epistemology; it is an essential feature of how we relate to the world, and that relationship, by virtue of its irreducible embodiment, is, in the first place, right-hemispheric. 
"The grounding role in experience played by empathy, the primacy for Merleau-Ponty of experience over conceptual thought ..., his insistence on context and on the fundamental role played by the physically instantiated self in the 'lived body' as the prerequisite for being-in-the-world, the lived body as the medium of intersubjective experience, the consequent importance of depth, which is the necessary condition for embodied existence, his emphasis on the work of art as bringing into being something entirely new, not just a redeployment of what already exists, are all, in my view, expressions of the stance or disposition towards the world of the right hemisphere. " (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 149). 
As far as the right hemisphere is concerned the body is not just a thing, not just another thing in the world. One's body is the ground of one's experience, and one's experience is the ground of one's carnal knowledge of the world, which, in turn, is the ground both of one's general knowledge of the world as well as of one's engagement with and knowledge of one's social milieu. The right hemisphere not only is able to apprehend new information from one's environment to one's own cognition, the right hemisphere is also the seat of creating now beings in the world as the product of one's creative impulses, that third drive that makes for civilization. 

No comments:

Post a Comment