Dear Nancy,
 
Don't you think a theory is a de facto agenda? What's the point of hiding the meaning of one's theory?
 
With regard to your concern with agency, recall what phenomenology does with it. Not Husserl, the last happy Cartesian, but Heidegger and the existentialists. Phenomenologically, we are always-already-in-the-world, never a separate subject. Just sitting and doing nothing is agenting relatedness to all that one bears on that bears on one in inseparable mutuality.
 
Confusion arises when we switch from an intellectual view of agency to a phenomenological one; the former cancels out the latter. Agency is so transparent as to be unseen, like wearing glasses. When you leave out all existential agency, you reach the Cartesian subject as agent, a very different vision from the phenomenology of agency. 
 
Husserl said we give brute given things meaning; in Heidegger, we are always already in a world of meaning. He doesn't locate agency in individual intentionality, but in phenomenological ontology, if you will, or a network of solicitous transparent familiarity. Meaning in Heidegger is not in the mind, but is the existential lifeworld. 
 
The intellectual approach makes up a story about the subject as an independent agent. Once you step back from phenomenology, you are taken away from transparent subjectless agency.
 
I'm not a very good explicator of phenomenology or existentialism, but I hope I have hinted at least that they address your concern with residual agency. Merleau-Ponty is very good on physical mutuality in the lifeworld; Heidegger pretty much left out the body.
 
Again, I don't think this is unrelated to Eliot. The Waste Land is not narrated by a subject who is separate from the lifeworld, for example. Not in the entire poem at least; Eliot postmodernly switches points-of-view. I liken it to what Linda Hutcheon says about pomo novels:
 
"Multiple points of view prevent any totalizing concept of the protagonist's subjectivity, and simultaneously prevent the reader from finding or taking any one subject position from which to make the novel coherent."
 
Diana
 

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2010 18:37:13 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's poetry: the medium & the message
To: [log in to unmask]

Refer to T&TIT Eliot's remarks about the substantial unity of the soul.
Refute the theory and the influence of religion is vitiated.
P.

On Jan 12, 2010, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I'm not sure what would be the agenda.  I think it is more what I noted before--the recognition of flaws, disparities, or problems in a traditional theory that leads to a notion of total opposition as inevitably right.  Generally, I think, there is some right and some not right in both.  For example, there is very serious reason to focus on and emphasize the way the "self" is constructed socially through discourse.  Marjorie Perloff is very good on this, though I would have to check which book.  But like all the versions I have read, hers does not really deal with what I call the "residue" of agency.
 
On the other hand, if there is an agenda behind "such" theories, how do we distinguish?  There must also be an agenda behind the ones current theories challenge.  What are they?
Cheers,
Nancy

>>> Peter Montgomery 01/12/10 4:39 PM >>>
And usually there is an agenda behind such theories.
P.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: Eliot's poetry: the medium & the message

Dear Diana,
 
Actually, theories come and go, and I have never accepted this one.  I am really quite sure I am having them--all theorists to the contrary--I have theory also and a no-doubt antiquated certainty that I exist.  What "I" am is another problem. 
 
At one point I read a great deal about this, and I never found in any philosophical or theoretical text any explanation for a residue of agency.  I can't be specific without going back to all that, but I never feel bound by current theories.  And none were, as far as I could tell, complete or satisfying on this.  Who or what even can claim that experiences or thoughts occur? It is an endless cycle.  What is the origin or agency or whatever you choose that produced the claim below that experience occurs?
 
Cheers,
Nancy

>>> Diana Manister 01/11/10 10:24 AM >>>
Dear Peter:
 
It's so outré to talk about consciousness. Neuroscience can't find it, philosophy can't describe it, or psychology either.
 
David Chalmers calls finding consciousness "the hard problem." "Impossible" is a more fitting adjective.
 
Postmodern criticial theory deconstructs consciousness as a function of language. I and You are discursive only, linguistic implications.
 
Experiences occur, thoughts occur. That doesn't mean anyone is having them.
 
Diana
 
 
 
> RE: Aristotle -- the old mantra was time = the measure of motion
> but it only makes sense that he understood motion as
> change.
>
> The thing is, it doesn't matter how good the measurement is,
> or how independent of the observer it is, if some kind of
> result, however accurate or misperceived, doesn't get through
> to some consciousness connected to the measuring, then of
> what use or abuse is it?
>
> Today, given current technology, it takes about a year to get to Mars.
> Given a new Canadian invention which has a way of heating the
> rocket plasma [layman's terms] to unheard of degrees, it will take only
> three months.
>
> Where is consciousness in relation to the result, not to mention the
> development of those technologies?
>
> "To be conscious is not to be in time"
>
> Cheers,
> Peter
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jonathan Crowther" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 5:59 AM
> Subject: Re: Eliot's poetry: the medium & the message
>
>
> > Peter
> >
> > For Aristotle doesn't motion = change rather than only mechanical
> > locomotion?
> >
> > I understand that the quantum effects of measurement / observation work
> with
> > a measuring device which is only conscious in the sense of having been
> made
> > by a consciousness? So separate in one sense (physically) but not in
> > another (causally): an unseen eyebeam?
> >
> > Jonathan
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> > Of Peter Montgomery
> > Sent: 06 January 2010 22:43
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: Eliot's poetry: the medium & the message
> >
> > I think Aristotle said time is the measure of motion.
> > For me, time is the measure of change.
> >
> > Does measurement exist separate from the consciousness that does it?
> >
> > P.
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Chokh Raj" <[log in to unmask]>
> > To: <[log in to unmask]>
> > Sent: Sunday, January 03, 2010 7:07 AM
> > Subject: Re: Eliot's poetry: the medium & the message
> >
> >
> > For
> >
> > "only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
> > The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
> > The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
> > Be remembered; involved with past and future.
> > Only through time time is conquered."
> >
> > CR
> >
> >
> > --- On Sat, 1/2/10, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> >
> > > I for one never cease to enjoy Eliot's "world
> > > of eye and ear",
> > > both for "what they half create, / And what
> > > perceive" --
> > > well pleased to recognise in his "language of the
> > > sense",
> > > the "anchor of my purest thoughts".



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