the only easy day was yesterday

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I'm in a comparative philosophy class right now, and one of the main texts we're working with is called Intimacy or Integrity by the authour Thomas P. Kasulis. The title of the book is a reflection of a way that Kasulis proposes to compare cultures or subcultures within cultures. He proposes two orientations-intimacy and integrity- which dictate more or less( meaning that over the next couple of days expanding however long in the future- i will probably add/ annotate this) what is foregrounded and what becomes backgrounded to a cultural perspective. The characteristics of intimacy are as follows:

Intimacy (from the latin intimus which means having to do with a close friend)
1) objective but personal rather that public (objectivity is due to expertise)
2) in relation, self and other belong together without a sharp distinction between them (imaging a venn diagram shape, these two figures share the relationship where their two circles meet, if that piece were removed they would both be changed and incomplete)
3) has an affective, emotional aspect
4) is somative
5) is dark, not noticibly conscious, esoteric (knowledge is reserved for those who are consumed/ expert)

Integrity (from the latin integritas which means whole)
1) objectivity is public and verifiable
2) relationships are external
3) knowledge is free of affect
4) intellectual (as in distinct from somatic)
5) knowledge is reflective, self-conscious, bright

As reflected in my title, something was sparked in my mind by our class discussion of Intimacy and I'm going to write about it. Somehow during the course of the class, it was brought up that friendship could only be intimiate, that intimacy must be embedded if something is going to be called a friendship. Maybe I wasn't paying attention during the transistion, but the next thing i remember happening is a girl, i will call her M, getting defensive and saying there are other things that you can be intimate about. Her example was driving. She is from Argentina, and brought up the example of safely navigating the unregulated roads in Buenos Aires. She explained that she is somehow intimate with the unregulated mess. Some people in the class attacked this view saying that driving lacked affectation and therefore could not be an intimate activity. The verdict, especially the textual verdict after some time seemed to be that one can have an intimate relationship with something non-human like driving. Often people are spoken of as have intimate knowledge of something, like a chess player may know the board and conceptual moves in chess. With driving, even in the anarchy semblant streets of Argentina, if one drives repetitively and engages and understands that there will be the people who cut you off and the people who go fast, the people who have no internal right of way... they will be able to intimately know their place and how to use the streets because the chaos will become backgrounded and their place and embodied knowledge will translate into intimately maneuvering the streets.

Somehow around this point someone made an argument which I thought would be heavily criticized. Again i don't really remember what happened since I went off on a tangent, but the person said something about anarchy with a negative intonation. Thats where my tangent began, with the word anarchy. I started to parallel anarchy more to the imagined chaos of the streets of Argentina. At that time it came back that M had mentioned she experienced less accidents on the unregulated streerts of Buenos Aires than she did in the United States with its integrally organized traffic system and regulations. This got woven into my idea. I have never contemplated anarchy to a great extent, never done any research mainly because I cannot imaging a world without government regulations since they seem to be so woven into my culture. For some reason though today, maybe it was talking about gestalts and backgrounds and foregrounds and their manipulation and capability to be switched around, but i was able to imagine anarchy. Though it still seemed chaotic, like my imagining of a street in Argentina, the chaos translated into something knowable, something engaging. There will always be the people with their characters just like there will always be the people with their animated and probably speedy driving characters. It somehow made it easier to imagine life without government, and people intimately engaging into their surroundings, occupying a character and acting in a way that makes them experts at knowing not only their place but how to situate themselves in relation to other people and inevitable knit something together whether it be culture or the seemingly contraditctory organization.


Jasper Yate said...

1. i have a hard time buying people being so discrete with what they judge as allowable to feel emotionally or sensibly towards. it hinges on subjectivity of the critics experience and also on the much larger assumption that there really is an epistemic difference to the human mind between driving and a hug, absent experience.

2. less cars in argentina = less accidents

3. you got my juices flowing on the last few sentences there, they were saying oh this is a cool maddy idea. and then you stopped. write as much as you wrote on the irrelivent story (or preferably more) on your actual idea.

4. Letters: L-A-Z-Y

5. I'm so creative

The W said...

non-human like driving
driving is something we do, therefore it is a part of culture. which doesnt justify it if it is in fact non-human, but if its something that humans do can it be concidered none human. i know that off topic but it happens...

i want you to talk aboutyour version of anarchism a lot more and how that in particular relates to what the book your reading talks about.

ill keep my nap jokes to myself...

Anonymous said...

driving is non-human in the essence that it is not a human being. In the light of intimacy, it is true that driving is not non-human because driving exists because it is in part human and humans are also in some way affected by the driving. So humans can have a relation ship with something that is not a human, but in the light of Intimacy and reality in my opinion, not have a relationship with anything that qualifies as a non-human relationship