Warning: This message is very long…
Mike wrote in his attached message,
an inside of culture being absent the duality inside-outside is invoked, or in denying a
separation between inside and outside, inside and outside are invoked.
When I contract cancer, there is something rather inside about what is happening to me. My wife, to be certain, is affected in many ways that follow the objective laws of
the external world, our life-long friendship, her introspections about her past, present,
and future. She also “feels for me” in a very literal, not psycho-babble sense. But is
she not there? Could I have a relationship with her if I had never met her? (Certainly
I cannot not have a relationship with her, even if she were to disappear from where she is reading on the couch this moment, never to return).
A rock appears solid and unchanging, but is not. As
Mike, I wonder where you read in my message that I argue for “a thingless world, personless, no body there, just relations”? It is NOT what I meant. Relationships are not possible without bodies and things. Relationships are mediated and embedded. And so on…
Let me illustrate the idea that culture does not have “internal territory”. Ironically my example also involves a case of cancer.
About seven years ago, my uncle, who still lives in
When my father, who immigrated to US and lived in
My father and my mother were ambivalent. They acknowledged that it was “stupid” not to tell the truth but they were not willing to call my uncle and tell it. When I pushed my father, he said that they were about 70 years old and they did not have time enough for breakdown their relations. He said that he did not want to lose his brother because by going against his wife and daughter’s will he would become enemy number 1. My counterargument was that it would be better to be enemy number 1 with alive brother than “a good relative” with a dead brother. But neither I nor my wife could convince my father. So, I told him that I was going to call myself. My father was reluctantly negative to this idea…
Meanwhile, during these few days of the debates, my parents
got visitors from East Coast of the
She called and told the truth to my uncle. My uncle
immediately agreed to undergo the surgery, which was very successful. He lives
now without cancer but… His wife and daughter have stopped talking with
their friend and his wife. But even more, my uncle has stopped talking with
them as well – they became enemy#1 as my father predicted. Two years ago
when I visited my uncle and his family in
My Russian relatives: “You [i.e., immigrants from
Talking to my uncle, I said that I had been planning to call him myself. He said, “I think that you would have done it differently than my friend’s wife.” I replied that I doubted that I have done it differently.
But I would like to find an approach to do it differently! I’m not searching for how to win an argument or convinced my Russian relatives or make my American relatives and myself more understanding. I just want to make a circle, a community again… Maybe it is a utopia but maybe not…
I like Latour’s idea of “ready made science/truth”
in contrast to “science/truth-in-action.” I think my
What do you think?
PS I just talked with my very close Russian friend on the phone.
His mother is very-very sick – she had a lung and heart problem (I do not
know how this disease is called in English). However, his mother does not know the
true diagnosis and prognosis. And my friend is not going to tell the truth to
her. After long debates with me, my friend replied by almost repeating an old
peasant from Luria’s experiment (about Russian tzar). He said that my
truth works well in
My wife’s aunt died of cancer last March without knowing her true diagnosis. So many of my other Russian relatives.
Associate Professor of Education