1. What Is This?

From Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (Routledge, 2003 reprint):

“What unites ‘tactile sensations’ in the hand and links them to visual perceptions of the same hand, and to perceptions of other bodily areas, is a certain style informing my manual gestures and implying in turn a certain style of finger movements, and contributing, in the last resort, to a certain bodily bearing. The body is to be compared. not to a physical object, but rather to a work of art.” (174)

“In order that I may understand the words of another person, it is clear that his vocabulary and syntax must be ‘already known’ to me. But that does not mean that words do their work by arousing in me ‘representations’ associated with them, and which in aggregate eventually reproduce in me the original ‘representations’ of the speaker. What I communicate with primarily is not ‘representations’ or thought, but a speaking subject, with a certain style of being and with the ‘world’ at which he directs his aim. Just as the intention which has set in motion the other person’s speech is not an explicit thought, but a certain lack which is asking to be made good, so my taking up of this intention is not a process of thinking on my part, but a synchronizing change of my own existence, a transformation of my being.” (213).

[Note that the blog is inactive. See latest post.]

This blog is an experiment in the multiplicity of self.  The blogger undertaking it is an academic working broadly in philosophy and “the social sciences.”  Still, “experiment” here does not indicate anything like laboratories, controls, operationally defined variables, etc.  The sense of the word is closer to that found in Nietzsche.

It is “anonymous,” in the sense that I do not identify myself except for using the blog username “Anlehnung” (German for “leaning upon,” inspired by usage in Freud and Cornelius Castoriadis; see the page about this), or when necessary, by the pseudonym “Craig Alter.”  For further clarification on the “anonymity” thing, please see also the “Who R U?” page.

It is very personal, and may strike some readers as simply self-indulgent.  When I first started it, I made the mistake of inviting some readers in a way that some of them found more subtle and easy to misunderstand than I expected.  (I sent two emails, as if I were two different persons.)  Some of the misunderstanding that resulted is in evidence in some of the earlier posts.

If there is no sense in which you find it interesting, helpful, or whatever, PLEASE feel free to just ignore it.  If you do like it, get something from it, etc., you are welcome to stay.  My assumption is that what I do here will have some resonance beyond my self; one possible outcome of the experiment is that it might turn out not to have any such resonance, but I doubt it.  It may eventually feed into other writing that I wish to pursue.

If you aren’t sure what is meant by the word “self,” that’s not just you; some  vagueness about that is quite deliberate.  But as a first approximation, “SELF” refers to something like “what I am from my own point of view.”  I am working broadly in a philosophical tradition that sees selfhood as not simply individual, but social.  Beginning explicitly with Hegel (perhaps implicitly before), this tradition broadly assumes that I become what I am (from my own point of view) only in interaction with others.