Further notes on hospitality 2

I’ve now read “The Foreigner Question”, which is the first part of Derrida’s “On Hospitality”. I keep pondering over the question of the host. To begin with, I find myself wondering whether or not the whole concept of a host only reinforces the divide, and the hierarchy, between the “inhabitant” and the “guest”, or the “native” and the “immigrant”. To host is to make space for another, to allow them in, to care for them – while remaining separate from them through that very act of taking care. To take care, or responsibility, for something or someone often translates into subtle (or less subtle) forms of governance and micro-management – wanting the other to be well and assuming to know what they need.

Is it really possible to host without any conditions or agreements? Is it possible to host while allowing the other in completely; while exposing and opening oneself to the contingency and unpredictability of this relation, as well as the possibility of being undone or radically altered by it? Would it not be more hospitable to not intentionally host the other, and instead simply allow them to be there? Would this allow for a more equal relation to emerge? When does hosting and being hosted transform into living together, as equals?

Perhaps the problem of hosting has to do with our tendency to hold back in order to make space. There’s an underlying assumption that to make space for someone else, and to accommodate them, I need to withdraw and pull back, as if space was limited and measurable. However, it seems to me that by pulling back, I’m actually making the space and its potentiality smaller rather than more ample. The potentiality of being is diminished through withdrawal, by my not allowing myself to flood and fill the space, and to share this state of abundance with another. Doesn’t my withdrawal signal that the other should also do the same – i.e. not flood or leak freely, but rather regulate and contain themselves? Perhaps my greatest gift to the other could be that of following and expressing my own desire, making myself as comfortable and apparent as possible, and thus giving them space to do the same. Not holding back due to a fear of overstepping, crowding, or hurting the other by being everything one can be.


I’ve now moved onto the second seminar, “Step of Hospitality / No Hospitality”. The following paragraph makes me think (or reminds me of the fact) that the potentiality of the host, and the home, is actually activated through the entrance of the guest. That to become, to move, to enter a state of potentiality, I need the other, and the state of indetermination (s)he brings with her. I am dependent on her.

It’s as if (and an as if always lays down the law here) the stranger – some Oedipus, in fact, in other words the one whose guarded secret about the place of death was going to save the city or promise it salvation through the contract we have just read – as if, then, the stranger could save the master and liberate the power of his host; it’s as if the master, qua master, were prisoner of his place and his power, of his ipseity, of his subjectivity (his subjectivity is hostage). So it is indeed the master the one who invites, the inviting host, who becomes the hostage – and who really always has been. And the guest, the invited hostage, becomes the one who invites the one who invites, the master of the host. The guest becomes the host’s host. The guest (hôte) becomes the host (hôte) of the host (hôte).

I am also now remembering the small inklings of practice I introduced at CARPA. The second one of the exercises was based on the idea of inviting oneself into what is already happening. I was suggesting that the invitation happens through inclusion – that to invite oneself in, or to be invited in, one needs to include the one who invites (the host), which makes the invitation a two-way movement. The inclusion needs to be mutual for it to happen.

How does the inclusion happen, then? What changes in me, and in the space, when I include another in it, and invite them to enter “me”? Does the “me” change already at the threshold, through the act of inviting the other in? What does the intimacy of sharing the space that once was “mine” do to us? Allowing the other to enter also means that there is no going back, to what I was before. I am permanently disturbed and shaken, moved by the other’s entrance and inhabitation.

Desire measures time since its abolition in the stranger’s entering movement: the stranger, here the awaited guest, is not only someone to whom you say “come,” but “enter,” enter without waiting, make a pause in our home without waiting, hurry up and come in, “come inside,” “come within me,” not only toward me, but within me: occupy me, take place in me, which means, by the same token, also take my place, don’t content yourself with coming to meet me or “into my home.” Crossing the threshold is entering and not only approaching or coming.

Home-space

The group splits in half. Group A enters the room, group B stays outside. 
Instructions for group A:
1. Find the spot in the room that feels the most attractive or comfortable for you at the moment.
2. Begin inhabiting the spot by finding a position or a way of moving that feels good to you. 
3. Someone will come and visit your home-space. Your task is to allow them in and share your space with them for a while.

Instructions for group B:
1. Enter the space. Choose the person that you feel most drawn to or intrigued by at the moment.
2. Go to the person and find a suitable way of approaching them. You can use different levels and movement qualities, such as walking, crawling or rolling. 
3. Spend a moment with the person and let yourself be affected by them. Inhabit their space together with them.
4. Leave the space when it feels right. 

Further notes on hospitality 2

Further notes on hospitality 1

Let us say yes to who or what turns up, before any determination, before any anticipation, before any identification, whether or not it has to do with a foreigner, an immigrant, an invited guest, or an unexpected visitor, whether or not the new arrival is the citizen of another country, a human, animal, or divine creature, a living or dead thing, male or female.
Jacques Derrida: On Hospitality

To consider adversity, affliction, as a friend and poison as invaluable influence. If we don’t produce our own rituals of terror, terrorism will come from the outside as though unwanted and as if not of our own making. I know I can speak for the country I come from; we really think it’s not us. That’s insane. We’re way beyond complicit with the way we’re being attacked. We created that, and it’s the last thing United States wants to look at. That’s the medicine we can’t swallow, there.
Robert Kocik


to accommodate, accommodation
alienation
attack
border
borderland
boundary
bound/less/ness
difference
endosymbiosis
fear
foreign, foreigner, foreignness
guest
hospitable, hospitality
(to) host
hostibility
hostile, hostility
hostis (host or enemy)
identity
immigration
invitation
to invite
to include, inclusion/exclusion
inside/outside
interdependence
limit/less/ness
master
to (be) open, openness
other, otherness
to own, ownership
poison
porousness
reception
rejection
stranger, strangeness
territory
terror, terrorism
unknown
violence
to visit, visitor
to welcome
within
xein
xenias
xenos


Among the serious problems we are dealing with here is that of the foreigner, who, inept at speaking the language, always risks being without defense before the law of the country that welcomes or expels him; the foreigner IS first of all foreign to the legal language in which the duty of hospitality is formulated, the right to asylum, its limits, norms, policing, etc. He has to ask for hospitality in a language which by definition is not his own, the one imposed on him by the master of the house, the host, the king, the lord, the authorities, the nation, the State, the father, etc. This personage imposes on him translation into their own language, and that’s the first act of violence. That is where the question of hospitality begins: must we ask the foreigner to understand us, to speak our language, in all the senses of this term, in all its possible extensions, before being able and so as to be able to welcome him into our country? If he was already speaking our language, with all that that implies, if we already shared everything that is shared with a language, would the foreigner still be a foreigner and could we speak of asylum or hospitality in regard to him?
Derrida: On Hospitality, p. 15

If we wanted to pause for a moment on this significant fact, we would have to note once again a paradox or a contradiction: this right to hospitality offered to a foreigner “as a family,” represented and protected by his or her family name, is at once what makes hospitality possible, or the hospitable relationship to the foreigner possible, but by the same token what limits and prohibits it. Because hospitality, in this situation, is not offered to an anonymous new arrival and someone who has neither name, nor patronym, nor family, nor social status, and who is therefore treated not as a foreigner but as another barbarian. We have alluded to this: the difference, one of the subtle and sometimes ungraspable differences between the foreigner and the absolute other is that the latter cannot have a name or a family name; the absolute or unconditional hospitality I would like to offer him or her presupposes a break with hospitality in the ordinary sense, with conditional hospitality, with the right to or pact of hospitality. — To put it in different terms, absolute hospitality requires that I open up my home and that I give not only to the foreigner (provided with a family name, with the social status of being a foreigner, etc.), but to the absolute, unknown, anonymous other, and that I give place to them, that I let them come, that I let them arrive, and take place in the place I offer them, without asking of them either reciprocity (entering into a pact) or even their names.
Derrida: On Hospitality, p. 25

That, following one of the directions it takes, is the question of the foreigner as the question of the question. Does hospitality consist in interrogating the new arrival? Does it begin with the question addressed to the newcomer (which seems very human and sometimes loving, assuming that hospitality should be linked to love – an enigma that we will leave in reserve for the moment): what is your name? tell me your name, what should I call you, I who am calling on you, I who want to call you by your name? What am I going to call you? It is also what we sometimes tenderly ask children and those we love. Or else does hospitality begin with the unquestioning welcome, in a double effacement, the effacement of the question and the name? Is it more just and more loving to question or not to question? to call by the name or without the name? to give or to learn a name already given? Does one give hospitality to a subject? to an identifiable subject? to a subject identifiable by name? to a legal subject? Or is hospitality rendered, is it given to the other before they are identified, even before they are (posited as or supposed to be) a subject, legal subject and subject nameable by their family name, etc.?
Ibid., p. 27

Now if my “home,” in principle inviolable, is also constituted, and in a more and more essential, interior way, by my phone line, but also by my e-mail, but also by my fax, but also by my access to the Internet, then the intervention of the State becomes a violation of the inviolable, in the place where inviolable immunity remains the condition of hospitality. — All these techno-scientific possibilities threaten the interiority of the home (“we are no longer at home!”) and really the very integrity of the self, of ipseity. These possibilities are experienced as threats bearing down on the particular territory of one’s own and on the law of private property. They are obviously behind all the purifYing reactions and feelings of resentment. Wherever the “home” is violated, wherever at any rate a violation is felt as such, you can foresee a privatizing and even familialist reaction, by widening the ethnocentric and nationalist, and thus xenophobic, circle: not directed against the foreigner as such, but, paradoxically, against the anonymous technological power (foreign to the language or the religion, as much as to the family and the nation), which threatens, with the “home,” the traditional conditions of hospitality. The perversion and pervertibility of this law (which is also a law of hospitality) is that one can become virtually xenophobic in order to protect or claim to protect one’s own hospitality, the own home that makes possible one’s own hospitality. (Remember as well the xenotransplantation we were talking about last time.) I want to be master at home (ipse, potis, potens, head of house, we have seen all that), to be able to receive whomever I like there. Anyone who encroaches on my “at home,” on my ipseity, on my power of hospitality, on my sovereignty as host, I start to regard as an undesirable foreigner, and virtually as an enemy. This other becomes a hostile subject, and I risk becoming their hostage.
Ibid., p. 51-54

No hospitality, in the classic sense, without sovereignty of oneself over one’s home, but since there is also no hospitality without finitude, sovereignty can only be exercised by filtering, choosing, and thus by excluding and doing violence. Injustice, a certain injustice, and even a certain perjury, begins right away, from the very threshold of the right to hospitality.
Ibid., p. 55

But current technological developments are restructuring space in such a way that what constitutes a space of controlled and circumscribed property is just what opens it to intrusion. That, once again, is not absolutely new: in order to constitute the space of a habitable house and a home, you also need an opening, a door and windows, you have to give up a passage to the outside world [/’etrangerl. There is no house or interior without a door or windows. The monad of home has to be hospitable in order to be ipse, itself at home, habitable at-home in the relation of the self to itself.
Ibid., p. 61


Where do these strange processes of hospitality lead? These interminable, uncrossable thresholds, and these aporias? It is as though we were going from one difficulty to another. Better or worse, and more seriously, from impossibility to impossibility. It is as though hospitality were the impossible: as though the law of hospitality defined this very impossibility, as if it were only possible to transgress it, as though the law of absolute, unconditional, hyperbolical hospitality, as though the categorical imperative of hospitality commanded that we transgress all the laws (in the plutal) of hospitality, namely, the conditions, the norms, the rights and the duties that are imposed on hosts and hostesses, on the men or women who give a welcome as well as the men or women who receive it. And vice versa, it is as though the laws (plural) of hospitality, in marking limits, powers, rights, and duties, consisted in challenging and transgressing the law of hospitality, the one that would command that the “new arrival” be offered an unconditional welcome.
Ibid., p. 77

“Enter quickly,” quickly, in other words, without delay and without waiting. Desire is waiting for what does not wait. The guest must make haste. Desire measures time since its abolition in the stranger’s entering movement: the stranger, here the awaited guest, is not only someone to whom you say “come,” but “enter,” enter without waiting, make a pause in our home without waiting, hurry up and come in, “come inside,” “come within me,” not only toward me, but within me: occupy me, take place in me, which means, by the same token, also take my place, don’t content yourself with coming to meet me or “into my home.” Crossing the threshold is entering and not only approaching or coming. — This is always the situation of the foreigner, in politics too, that of coming as a legislator to lay down the law and liberate the people or the nation by coming from outside, by entering into the nation or the house, into the home that lets him enter after having appealed to him. It’s as if (and an as if always lays down the law here) the stranger – some Oedipus, in fact, in other words the one whose guarded secret about the place of death was going to save the city or promise it salvation through the contract we have just read-as if, then, the stranger could save the master and liberate the power of his host; it’s as if the master, qua master, were prisoner of his place and his power, of his ipseity, of his subjectivity (his subjectivity is hostage). So it is indeed the master the one who invites, the inviting host, who becomes the hostage – and who really always has been. And the guest, the invited hostage, becomes the one who invites the one who invites, the master of the host. The guest becomes the host’s host. The guest (hôte) becomes the host (hôte) of the host (hôte).
Ibid., p. 123

First let us consider the distinction between unconditional hospitality and, on the other hand, the rights and duties that are the conditions of hospitality. Far from paralyzing this desire or destroying the requirements of hospitality, this distinction requires us to determine what could be called, in Kantian language (in an approximate and analogical way, since in the strict sense they are in fact excluded in this case, and this exclusion needs to be thought about), intermediate schemas. Between an unconditional law or an absolute desire for hospitality on the one hand and, on the other, a law, a politics, a conditional ethics, there is distinction, radical heterogeneity, but also indissociability. One calls forth, involves, or prescribes the other. In giving a right, if I can put it like that, to unconditional hospitality, how can one give place to a determined, limitable, and delimitable – in a word, to a calculable – right or law? How can one give place to a concrete politics and ethics, including a history, evolutions, actual revolutions, advances – in short, a perfectibility?
Ibid., p. 147

Should one hand over one’s guests to criminals, rapists, murderers? or lie to them so as to save the people one is putting up and for whom one feels responsible? In Genesis (I9:Iff), this is the moment when Lot seems to put the laws of hospitality above all, in particular the ethical obligations that link him to his relatives and family, first of all his daughters. The men of Sodom demand to see the guests whom Lot is putting up, those who came to his home that night. The men of Sodom want to see these guests in order to “penetrate” them, says one translation (Chouraqui’s: “Get them to come out to us: let’s penetrate them!”), to “get to know” them, another modestly puts it (Dhorme’s in the Pleiade collection: “Get them to come out to us so that we can get to know them”).
Ibid., p. 151

Further notes on hospitality 1

16.7.2015 Practice session: On hospitality

Yesterday we were working with the idea of hospitality, hostility, openness, welcoming and exclusion. We started with some exercises that lead us to discussion.

Anonymous Material / Strange stranger

1. Walking in the space. Sensing the space and your own body, feelings, emotions, state you’re in.
2. Perceiving and observing things/beings in the space. See how they affect your being at the moment.
3. Finding a non-human partner. Something that feels appealing to you at the moment.
4. Position yourself next to it. Observing it closer.
5. Think through different questions next to it:
What is it? How do you know?
Where has it come from?
How do you relate to it?
How do you use it?
What material is it?
Where has the material came from?
How have you came here beside it?
3. Now try to let go of everything that you know or think that you know about it. Try to ”forget” or turn down your foreknowledge about the other. Can you now meet the other somehow differently? How do you relate to it without knowing anything about it?

Being welcomed
Find a place/space where you feel welcomed. Be there. See what it is that welcomes you.

Not being welcomed
Find a place/space where you don’t feel welcomed. Be there. See what it is that is not welcoming you.

Being-with / Opening space
1. Position yourself next to a being or thing.
2. Observe the way the being/thing is and attune/relate to it through your position, attitude & quality of being.
3. Change your position in order to make space for it in your world / in yourself. Share your space and world with the other.
4. Attune to the other’s way of being and let it affect your body and way of being. Allow yourself to change.
5. See what emerges.

Here are some notes on the discussion afterwards:
Being welcomed is a condition, which is mostly created by the surroundings: is the area/the space/the place originally made for humans to be in? My own knowledge about the use of the space affects how welcomed I feel in it. Roads, paths, houses, parks etc. are all made for humans to spend their time: I know this – or I assume this – and I can feel myself welcomed there.

Whereas not-being-welcomed is a condition or a state, which I am in when I know the space is not meant for me. Being on someones way…aren’t we always on someone’s way? (Sings saying: PRIVATE or NO TRESSPASSING. Shooing accidently a snake away when stepping aside from the path…) Also the feeling of someone else/something else trying to drive you away, creates an experience of not being welcomed. Is a smell of mold a sign of not-welcoming? Or a cold wind? My body is giving me signs or orders to not to go somewhere: body is reacting to it’s environment and sensing if it is hostile.
Encountering the other with or without foreknowledge. Not knowing anything even though you would think you know something. The other as ultimately strange and unknown.

Welcoming others/opening space for others: when and if I let something “in me” or “in my body”, do I always exclude something else? Can I be open to everyhting at once? Is being open different than being hospitable? Can you oppose something even if you would be open to it? Can I be open and opposing at the same time? Maybe being open is more truthful than being hospitable? Are we somehow diminishing ourselves when we are being hospitable and/or are we diminishing others? Being open means that you are also being fragile and vulnerable. When we are open we can still negotiate with others – positive conflict.

These themes definitely need some more thinking: repeating exercises and developing them further.

<3 Anniina

16.7.2015 Practice session: On hospitality

IMMUNOLOGY AND INDIVIDUAL AGENCY/INTERDEPENDENCE INTERPLAY: INALIENABLE PRACTICE 5

 

Perhaps quandary, conundrum, confusion, paradox and conflict are primordial and it’s only our conceit that keeps trying to calm the waves and comb out the tangle. Perhaps it is conceit, per se, that’s causing the perturbation, or, at least, perceiving the condition as “disturbed.” Although independent-agency-of-action has been both artistic modus operandi par excellence and putative means for poisoning the earth (as well as prescription for all human suffering,) shifting artistic attention to social, collectively-oriented modes won’t necessarily alleviate our condition. Beyond the problem of de-funding scientific research and development in favor of application and commerce, dedicating our purely creative resources to social outcomes could leave our species over-exposed and under-equipped. On the other hand, artists absorbing business, economy, hard science and politics as their proper mediums could revive the public sector and its social services, currently considered more or less synonymous with disincentive, inefficiency, apathy and degeneration.

Can our bodies offer us guidance with regard to how porous or protective we should be, interpersonally or internationally? How could they not?

What is an immigrant? A pathogen? A bearer of gifts? What is a tourist; a passing consumer temporarily benefitting local economy; a plunderer of culture?

Are foreigners contaminants or “fortunate infections,” inducing new growths and strengthened immunities? Do they manifest in order to bolster defense and make native folk more resilient? If they impose themselves, begin to deplete limited resources or turn invasive, are they not no longer non-native?

Is one’s body an indigeneity? Protective but intrigued by selective colonization? Is ego always rigid or does it want to be swept away and violated from time to time, made inviolable by venom and vaccination, denatured, unrecognized and renaturalized?

Think of immune response karmically, as cause and effect. When a toxin or antigen enters the body (or is already in the body and allowed to become prominent) and is broken down by an antibody and expelled, a mutual exemption takes place: the body is spared the damage and the poison is saved from doing the damage. Can this mutual exemption serve as analog for social interaction? Won’t someone have to pay with her, his or its life?

The body could offer itself to the outsider, as foodstuff.

Can an actual immune response be mutually beneficial? In an environment taken as a whole, seen impartially, is harmony distinct from aggression? How open can one’s view become before it’s life-endangering? Am I sure that self-preservation is a contradiction? If I surrender to change without putting up a fight, have I defeated the purpose of change?

Artists, I contend, often prefer trespass, at least in principle, and unless it infringes upon the subjective agency crucial to their working conditions. How can this sanctimoniousness, this pretense, be resolved? Can it be approached immunologically?

If there’s anything special or specialized about artists, it’s their maneuverability in our deeply rooted confusions, extrapolated for the benefit of all beings.

We, as artists, afford ourselves great leeway and play in what we might consider our own healthy tissue. We might wish to energetically rise to the challenge of absorbing and changing along with rapidly re-adapting pathogens and poisons (again, ostensibly, as experimentation beneficial for the species at large, exhibitable as one’s artworks.) We might wish to whisk away from ourselves our acquired immunological memories and come face to face with the alien—artwork, in this way, is like a ritualistic invitation, if not evocation (in weaker instances “fabrication”) of the unknown and terrifying, or the mind-blowing marvelous.

This creative process is not life-threatening for us because it conserves our egoism while creating the careers we claim are of little or no interest to us as we desperately feed off the few scraps they generate.

We basically induce our own autoimmune reactions, making ourselves foreign to ourselves—in fact a threat to ourselves (oneself as a threat to oneself)—not only gratuitously/indulgently for the sake of innovation and in order to see what there is to see (self-tourism?) but to reveal and re-direct human being when it is at its worst, when most destructive, as it may be today, geo-politically-economically—with the social systems that would sustain us on the abundant earth working in reverse, tightfistedly, penuriously, self-advantageously, choking and poisoning earth with earth.

Artists can even refrain from the most basic, innate immunological response—no filter whatsoever—to let in totally unrecognizable forms, to glimpse the uncreated itself. We collect the wildest pathogens and place them in our exhibitionist menageries, or die trying. Obviously we play with poisons. But do we, as extensively promote health? Or is health outside our overreach; as an outsider, health as a pathogen itself, undercutting creative impulse? Perhaps it’s too elusive to knowingly practice. Do we disdain knowledge because its practice would be too worryingly wholesome, i.e., too predetermining and detrimental to our openendedness?

(Whether the artist is characterized as “hypersensitive” or “hyposensitive” (entirely altered by a trace of a substance, or wading up to one’s eyeballs in toxins,) the knowledge is similarly extensive.)

Under phagocytosis—perhaps our oldest immune response—white blood cells kill pathogens by digesting them. Phagocytosis originally evolved as a means of acquiring nutrients. Its current immune function of detecting and eliminating poisons is merely an extension of its primordial role as provider of food for the whole system.

Phagocytosis offers a crucial macroscopic behavioral model. Eating others’ poisons, for elimination and as nutrients, is a medicine powerful enough to treat our socioeconomic condition.

How did we ever imagine that the earth could become polluted, except as byproduct of our poisoning of our own emotional systems. (To some extent, artists have reinstated the miasma theory of disease: not only germs, but poisonous vapors, contaminated environments and bad vibes can cause infection.)

If I could swallow any poison as food, would I not be invulnerable as well as inalienable; exempt from harm; impartial? In Greek, the word for drug, pharmakon, can mean either remedy or poison. Am I equating impartial mind and homelessnesslessness? Well, yes. This is ample medicine.

If phenomena itself is poison (or delusional) how do we partake of the world? Work with it until we are made immune by becoming indivisible? The three root poisons (kleshas) in Indian philosophy are ignorance/confusion, attachment/greed, and aversion/anger/hatred. Though, it’s not as though everything that can be perceived is poisonous—it depends. In fact few conditions rise to such potency. For example, subjectivity, in itself, is not ignorance; only subjectivity that observes and serves itself while not being aware of its self-awareness, is poison. In terms of one’s agency of action, no step that is taken can ever be nonproductive of poison. Relative to ecology, are there incentives that won’t push the planet even further to the brink of its ability to sustain life? Though private incentive may be the problem, good-intentioned action taken collectively is not, in itself, the cure or even a guarantee of any degree of relief.

Whether a phenomenon appears as terrifying or comforting depends on one’s state of mind. But upon what ground does state of mind depend? There is one condition that is not productive of poisons. A state of mind that depends on nothing, is not interdependent and is, basically, without conditions, and thus most freely of service to others.

Constructs are poisons. We make them “just so,” as we see fit, to our liking; like constitutions, legal systems or religions that can’t help but cause harm.

“Poison” is simply the word we use to refer to the reality of pain and its etiology. Poison is “health” appearing variously, according to varying conditions and precisely in the ways in which it takes effect.

We can’t get rid of poisons or stop producing them because we can’t remove the ground they’re inseparable from (the ground that sustains us and we cling to). This indivisibility of poisons and ground of being, as an interchange, arises as a mandala, a completeness that can be concentrated upon and practiced as action. Its effortlessness must be practiced in order to be actualized. Unactualized, the indivisibility of poison and ground turns toxic. The practice of health comes about in the process of alternation between poison and remedy. Health is impossible to make static. The profundity of poison is the teaching. Poison and remedy are beyond being the same or different. Freedom from poison is taught to those who can’t learn. To those who can learn, poison is offered as liberation. It’s administered to an individual in whom it will prove to be a benefit to others.

Once this meaning occurs by itself, no further action is necessary.

IMMUNOLOGY AND INDIVIDUAL AGENCY/INTERDEPENDENCE INTERPLAY: INALIENABLE PRACTICE 5

TEACHINGS: INALIENABLE PRACTICE 4

The practices of abundance and spaciousness—earth and sky—mother and father—of being parented by existence—seem so possible, so apparent, so practicable, why are we caught in a vortex of the inevitability of avarice and austerity?

My view is rather simple: both human and environmental suffering are brought on by political economy. And because political economy is a manifestation of our mental states (emotions and thoughts,) it could never be redirected counter to its destructive priorities without an extraordinary shift in our mental state. Political economy is not about solid macroeconomics; it doesn’t exist to secure popular wellbeing, but to grow GDP, produce corporate profit and project national power; nor do our mental states exist in order to happily carry out these priorities.

At first glance, it may seem that it’s the preeminence of individual agency and our resultant inability to feel interconnected (interconnected not only with each other but with all life-forms and matter) that is driving us to extinction. So, we start working together only to find there’s something rotten in our state of working together: which would be just fine, had we not approached interdependency as panacea, had we not placed in causative correspondence a heightened sense of interrelationship and the decoupling of economic prosperity and environmental destruction.

The critique of methodological individualism, autopoiesis and subjectivity, and the call for interdependent, symbiotic paradigms have become the convention of both academia and the avant-garde. For the purpose of shifting our weight over to collective organization, “self” often suffers intense intellectual denial, effacement and abnegation. Is it not the agency suffering, after all? Is social self-sacrifice the same as undoing the delusory self in spiritual practice? Is the reflex to trash independent agency of action a form of self-loathing through which we trash the planet all the more? (Given all the damage we’ve done, who could blame us for hating ourselves?)

Individual agency is the adversary of spirituality, not social change!

At any rate, if we are indeed poisoning the planet, the model of interconnectivity is too weak of a medicine, and too late in arriving. It’s already failing us and, in fact, has long failed us. We’d best save lesser medicines for lesser emergencies, when they will be just as needed as more potent potions are needed now in this time of extreme imbalance. (For example, Ecuador’s indigenous-oriented constitution of 2008 is fully enlightened, politically: featuring the Quechua sumac kawsay, good living, in which “good living” is a right and this same right is extended to all other species and biosystems; so why isn’t this gracious politics catching on and saving us all?)

Part of the poisoning is that we’re caught in a superstition of the necessity of our inhumanity. Is the movement to dismantle individual agency a reaction to its usurpation by creditors and corporatists? Doesn’t interdependence depend upon the sovereignty of subjects who are then free to act interdependently? The instant sovereignty is denied, subjugation sets in (ask the oppressed, the exploited, the minority.) Meanwhile, the super-sovereign with concentrated wealth continue to usurp power, seize resources and shape law for their own gain?

In healthy interdependency, individuals need some measure of territorial integrity, some material wealth with which to be generous.

At this point, our vision of sustainability might not be helpful in facing our violence and the violence of nature. Perhaps it’s our lack of awareness of our violent nature that is carrying out the violence. Our ignorance of ourselves, emotionally—the anger, fear, resentment—the fact that we’re already terrified, creates the perfect vacuum or attractor for foreign terrorism.

Subjective sovereignty is a safeguard, assuring that all will be well communally. Self abolition is undermined if involuntary or afforded purely by privilege.

So, which medicine or medicines are potent enough to treat us at this point in time?

To consider adversity and affliction as a friend, and poison as an invaluable, irreplaceable influence, is not a philosophy, psychology or pragmatics. It’s a teaching. Teachings inhere in our species. They’re timely as distinct from atemporal truths. They can be found under a stone or at the bottom of a pond; drawn from mid-air or sung or secreted through a plant. We conceal them for each other until the time they manifest as one’s own, i.e., as neither yours nor mine. They are heard, as distinct from listened to or learned.

TEACHINGS: INALIENABLE PRACTICE 4

INALIENABLE PRACTICE 2

Sensing that you’re not part of me lessens your visceral awareness of yourself.

Sensing that I’m not part of you lessens your visceral awareness of yourself.

Sensing that you’re not part of me lessens our visceral awareness of each other.

Sensing that we’re not part of each other lessens our visceral awareness of each other.

INALIENABLE PRACTICE 2

Glossary

allostasis
stabilization by change and adjustment (whereas homestasis is stabilization by attempting to remain the same and adhere to metabolic set-points); variation by means of predictive regulation

among
(from Old English ongemang; in assemblage, in mingling)

antautua-alistua-altistua
mutual surrender (no longer a contradiction); “the planet needs us to its surrendering of itself to us

backdoor
the risk of losing everything because it’s all you have, over the risk of having all that you could lose, in place of having more than you could ever lose or something other than that which you could lose; having more than you could lose all at once

being-with

boddhichita
enlightenment of oneself for the benefit of others

body-as-that-which-we-lose-as-an-inalienable-practice

catuskoti
exhaustive negativism, to break the spell of reality and realize openness or spaciousness; superposition of the eight possible arrays of proposition or contradistinction:

Positive configuration
1 P
2 Not-P
3 Both P and Not-P
4 Neither P nor Not-P

Negative configuration
1 Not (P)
2 Not (Not-P)
3 Not (Both P and Not-P)
4 Not (Neither P nor Not-P)

coexistent nonexistence

countercondition
a space in which a condition is overcome or contradicted

condition disinterest
indifference to conditions; not complicit with conditions creating one’s inconsequence; not reactive toward a particular condition; bordering on equanimity; getting out of cause and effect; not determined by the determined, socially, materially or otherwise. Complicit with conditions creating our inconsequence.

deathbedded
what you will need then as now

downstream defamiliarization of the raw-downstream stupidity-downstream moronizing-downstream daaa
“I’m just sitting here with these shoes and I’m trying to think.” “On the patch of floor in from of me there are a million things I don’t know.” Always trampling on something. Can’t even put my weight our the ground. Material alienation

extended interoception

fallowing
(or as Mirko says: “leave it in the ground.”) True for fields, true for petroleum, minerals, gas. True for our works, words, wants and wishes? Cultivating the fallowness, leaving as is; letting it do what it does. Assuming alternation, oscillation, rhythmic interchange with effort

folkhemmet
folk home, all folks folk home folk

freely-cross-idiomatic

global day of falling down (the falling down of avarice?)
collapsing as raising up; to let collapse, to lay down, put to rest, to end an oppression; to know the difference between supporting and preventing (collapse); to collapse without collapsing; to know the difference between falling that is opening and falling that closes; falling as leaving independent agency

holobiont
the hologenome theory of evolution proposes that the object of natural selection is not the individual organism, but the holobiont, i.e. the organism together with its associated microbial communities

hyperstatic communalism
when a structure has excessive or redundant support each member can be less stiff as any force with a moment at one section will be redistributed to neighboring sections under less strain; static indeterminacy as distinct from a statically determinate (or iso-static) structure in which there is little or no redistribution of loads and local failure means systemic failure (brings the whole building down with it)

inalienable practices

immolate-into-inanimate
sprinkled with the sacrificial meal (immolare “upon” + “mola” meal. Mola, mola. Turning the body into the earth that can absorb our behaviors

implantation touch

making-something-happen-before-it-has-a-chance-to-happen-until-it-doesn’t

mesh

moving-at-the-speed-of-one’s-own-awareness
temporoceptivity; not losing track due to moving to fast, while being on time

mudita
sympathetic joy; vicarious happiness that comes from delighting in the well-being of others, especially materially

noceptivity
peeling away or dissolving the senses, as spaciousness and clarity for right conduct (to fill out the sciences of perception, proprioception, exteroception, interoceptivity)

non-autocratic-fragility

non-stating-of-the-teaching
tacit teaching; the tacit as teaching; non-teaching as teaching.

play
putting everything at stake: making everything matter

pratityasamutpada
variously defined as dependent origination, dependent arising, interdependent co-arising, conditioned genesis, interdependent causation, [literally] arising-in-dependence-upon-conditions. Are we, as a configuration, arising in some other way than phenomena itself? Would that be possible or preferable? (Always precarious to “prefer.”) Can we get together and just be outside of cause and effect?

propitiate
making favorable, making it safe to be given a gift or to give

purposeful-pomposity-(ruled-out)

tears-as-a-tool
brings up what can’t be brought up otherwise; clarifying and cathartic for all those around, as well; tears, by the way, biochemically speaking, do expel pathogens

translation

underneathing
coming about without conditions

wu chi
limitless space with there no organizational forces, yet in which stuff happens, directly due to that limitlessness

Glossary

All the exercises

Anniina and I collected all the exercises and grouped them. We plan to identify some exercises or exercise clusters that could be considered “key”, and to develop these exercises further. Also, we would like to synchronize the list of exercises with the glossary.

BB_Exercises_070715

If you notice that some exercises are missing, please post them on the blog. We noticed that at least the following descriptions are missing:

Herding and being affected (Outi)
Sounding/singing exercise (Outi)
Gravity – antigravity (Satu)
Tonglen (Robert)

All the exercises