Monday, December 21, 2015

Shinings: A brief note on Manifestations, or Appearances

Levi Bryant's blue cup perhaps best illustrates profane 'local' manifestations of objects. Beginning in the materiality of the
 cup whose essence shines forth from its substance or 'powers' in various contexts, the thing might show itself as itself through the evanescent mode of manifestation. Moreover, Bryant's notion of physical intentionality lends itself to distinguishing the substance and existence of objects that can make an appearance, yet it is distinctly unclear that things that possess 'virtual proper being' need to be existent actualities at all; but to clarify the possible phenomenological dimension of powers and manifestations, we might note that the 'powers' reflect the givenness of things, and the 'manifestations' to their intentionality (in the case of simple objects, their physical intentionality). However, the converse can also be the case, where powers reflect intentionality and manifestations reflect givenness, or better, the degrees of givenness: the latter case might especially highlight the phenomenality of the 'moment' when the thing appearing is potentially a recipient of the other (the crossed gaze).

In this regard, the asymmetrical laterality of the phenomenological moment plays off the phenomenality on either side of the 'moment.' Of course, Levi's general hostility to unbridled phenomenality resists a phenomenological reading of his essentially metaphysical analysis, but if we do not reduce the substance of the thing to its 'manifestations' as he eschews and decries, we need not torture his thesis. Nonetheless, we can agree with him that "the irreducibility of objects to their local manifestations also entails that objects contain within them a reserve or excess."

This very "reserve of excess" inform the dynamics of givenness in phenomenology. This "breaking of the regimes" of the intuition underscores the manner in which some phenomena (all phenomena?) might overwhelm intentionality with their essential uncontainability. These realities in no way disable us from speaking about them, or, certainly experiencing them methodologically within the epoche and reduction. Givenness itself guards against the belittling of objects/things to their local manifestations: but here we must part company from Levi's terminology. the reduction to givenness is beyond substance and powers, beyond metaphysics, or better, otherwise than metaphysics, despite the obvious flirtation with a robust metaphysics in this brief note.

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