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[Xmca-l] Re: Having an experience
I wanted to show how I read Dewey's focusing on having "an" experience is
focusing on the same theme as the Japanese concept of "ma"
Here is a link to explain this concept:
Here is Dewey exploring similar themes:
Experiencing like breathing is a rhythm of intakings and outgivings. Their
succession is PUNCTUATED and made a rhythm by the existence of INTERVALS,
periods in which one phase is ceasing and the other is inchoate and
Here is another example from the Dewey article:
"Because of continuous merging, there are no holes, mechanical junctions,
and dead centers when we have an experience. There are PAUSES, PLACES OF
REST but they punctuate and define the "quality of" movement. They sum up
what has been UNDERGONE and prevent its dissipation and idle evaporation.
So for Dewey the aspect of "an" experience includes "undergoing" which
develops "perception" [which Dewey contrasts with mere "recognition"
Now I want to highlight that this undergoing is "receptive" which is NOT
passive. I see this as the essence of "ma" To "be" receptive is an active
process of undergoing and consolidation as "intaking" aspect of having "an"
experience this is an act of "surrender"
Here is Dewey exploring this theme"
The aesthetic or undergoing phase of experience is receptive. It involves
surrender. But adequate yielding of the self is possibly only through a
controlled activity that may well be intense. In much of our intercourse
with our surroundings we withdraw; sometimes from fear, if only of
expending unduly our store of energy; sometimes from preoccupation with
other matters, as in the case of recognition. Perception is an act of the
going-out of energy in order to receive, not a withholding of energy. To
steep ourselves in a subject-matter we have first to plunge into it. When
we are only passive to a scene, it overwhelms us and, for lack of answering
activity, we do not perceive that which bears us down. :We must summon
energy and pitch it at a responsive key in order to *take *in."
Dewey describes receptive surrender as summoning energy and pitching this
energy at a responsive key IN ORDER TO "take in".
If others are interested Gadamer shares the centrality of this phenomena of
"taking in" receptively and surrender to "the subject matter" as
undergoing. In German the term is "verweiling" which is translated as
I mention Japanese "ma" as this concept is deeply integrated into there
cultural fabric as a valued "disposition" and attitude.
Dewey is showing that to be manically "making" and "constructing" and
"working" is actually a "dis-order" of will.
Without the pause/interval there is no integral experience but only
In other words willing what cannot be willed. I purposely am using this
older term "will" to contrast with the notion of "receptive undergoing"
within "lived through experience"
On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:57 PM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Andy suggested I read this a couple of weeks back and it seems quite
> appropriate to the conversation around Alfredo and Rolf's
> paper. I found it thought provoking from the get go. Lets hear it for the
> old guys.
> Both environment and species change in the course of time, and thus
> ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova & Storch,
> Ecological Niche, 2008)