Monday, December 5, 2011

in defense of relations

"No doubt as long as man and all other animals are viewed as independent creations, an effectual stop is put to our natural desire to investigate as far as possible the causes of Expression ..." -Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)

While at a conference recently I brought up the ethical value of prehending specifically animal expressions of interior life, but also of all life and possibly the inorganic as well.  Expression, aesthetic expression I should say, is the semiotic key of access to the infinite value and worth of all things, of the interior life of objects, or better put, what I would call dynamic singular agents.  

At the conference my goal was to introduce the panpsychist idea of extending "perspective" or "agency" (in place of something like "subjective" interior experience) to all things organic and non-organic.  My point was that there is something forever inaccessible about the withdrawing nature of a thing's interior life, its infinite value and worth, that nevertheless is aesthetically communicated through feeling and sensation; perhaps even through the emotions - in other words, a trace of the vanishing intensity which crystallized as a material emotional expression.  

Aesthetic feeling directed is a "sensate message" in its value-intensity: it is an aesthetic and semiotic communication to be prehended (and thus also a power).  This is all to say that the "perspective" of things may be felt not only in the persistence of a thing's own powering, but also as an expression communicated semiotically in a message that is to be felt.

Darwin's quote is meant to indicate that when we see these expressions of interior life as being unrelated to others (entirely "independent" creations) we tend to mute rather than respect the very power and capacity of a living perspective to communicate its own experience of meaning to another. 

It is that power and capacity of a perspective to communicate its own interior life, to speak for itself to another, that is to be honored and cherished, along with its value and worth as a perspective persisting in its own right.  This is not to say that relatedness must always mean something for someone but only that there is a power whose own interior emanates a trace of the interior: perspective and agency signified and made known, only if partially so.  There is a value in "making known," expression is always two sided: at a minimum between agent and an agent's own self-making as a form of expression which individuates it.

To conclude: Communication, the making-known-of-meaning, seems to be a cosmic act, indicative of an interior intention that may have no other receiver than the universe itself.