The articulation of recursive time-consciousness

This post is a section from a paper Paul J. Thibault and I have written entitled: Enkinaesthetic Polyphony as the Underpinning for First-Order Languaging. I am adding it here because it is my first attempt at articulating the notion of recursive time-consciousness.

Luria (1973: p. 36) uses the term “kinetic melody” to point out that the formation of motor skills requires the skilful orchestrating and performing of many “complex movements” that are produced and “performed as a single ‘kinetic melody’. He continues, claiming that “with the development of motor skills the individual impulses are synthesized and combined into integral kinaesthetic structures or kinetic melodies” (Luria, 1973: p. 176; See also Luria, 1973: p. 32).

 Luria’s term applies to the enkinaesthesia of dialogically coordinated relational dynamics in what we are calling, first-order languaging between agents (Stuart, 2012; Thibault, 2004a, 2011c).  Enkinaesthesia is, therefore, intrinsically pre-reflexive and dialogically reciprocal. The kinetic melodies of one agent respond to, engage with, affect, and change the kinetic melodies of other agents, and vice versa.

Luria’s writing on kinaesthetic melodies echoes Merleau-Ponty’s earlier thinking that “internal articulation and as a kinetic melody gifted with a meaning [carries within itself] an immanent intelligibility” (Merleau-Ponty, 1963, quoted from Baldwin translation 2004, p.51). In our dialogical context, “internal articulation” refers to the pico-scale dynamics of whole-body inter- and intra-actional attunement and co-ordination. They are ‘articulations’, not just of musculo-skeletal systems, but of affectively-laden tonalities which underpin the formation, strengthening, fracturing, and breaking of social bonds and which, in their enkinaesthetic articulation, have their own intelligibility. This intelligibility is formed within the feelings of anticipation, of the sensed familiarity (we might once have referred to this as ‘repetition’, but now know that true somato-sensory repetition is impossible) and sensed unfamiliarity (which we might think of in terms of ‘change’ or ‘difference’ whilst not being limited by their static temporality), and most importantly, how these at once draw us back and propel us forward. One might think here of the notion of ‘width’ in the “living-present” of Husserl’s phenomenological structure of time consciousness. The “living-present” extends beyond the now of the primal impression, into the retained just-past, and the protended yet-to-come, and, so, our temporal experience spreads out across time, and is not a matter of a single, discrete punctuated event. (Husserl, 1964; see particularly §11.) But this highlights only one – albeit manifestly significant – element of the “always livingly present”; the other element is the processually recursive.

Sensed familiarity has balance; its articulation is smooth, its intelligibility immanent, but it is never still, never quiet, and never discrete. Our livingly present is always co-livingly enkinaesthetically active; drawing us within ourselves and forward anticipatingly. There is, at one and the same time, a linear (explicit) order, a story we can tell, and an implicit forth-coming, but the coming-forth is only possible because this is a process of feedback into the already-changed and feed-forward into the anticipating; and this is a perpetual process. We might express this as a recursive ‘synchrony’ of being-into-becoming. In our being is our becoming. Our being – never still, never quiet, never discrete – yields to our becoming which shapes and alters our being which yields to our becoming, and so the processual, recursive nature of our experience continues. We are, so to speak, immersed anticipatingly, recursively, becomingly, livingly with our world.

In this immersive anticipation we ask non-propositional sensuous questions about how our world will continue to be. We touch the seat to my left, look up to see our partner, or smell the air to catch the scent of dog roses. Our anticipated response may not be the forth-coming we expect, our equilibrium may be disrupted by a sensed unfamiliar with its accompanying kinetic tensions and dis-ease. 

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