anthro-l: a community?

Mon, 2 Oct 1995 08:45:05 EST

The fox, the stork, the bear - all parables for the reality of
continuous differentiation and the interactions between these
differences. I think we have to accept that differentiation,
understood as an awareness of the Self via awareness of the Other, is
a key basis of cognition/existence. This sad fact was discovered not
merely (to their horror) by Adam and Eve, but examined in depth by
such as Aquinas, Peirce, Kant, Lacan and etc, etc..and think also of
Bohr's Priniple of Complementarity (where there's a wave, there's a
particle), understood as where there's a Self, there's an Other.

I think this is one of the basic conflicts of human existence - the
fact that to exist as such, requires seemingly contradictory actions:
those that serve to keep the self 'distinct from' as well as those
that serve to keep the Self 'in interaction with'..those Being(s) who
must be forever Other. Both actions are necessary: isolate stability
of Self (whether individual or society)..and also, deviation from
that sanctity, in order to interact. Stability ensures continuity,
for a while..before entropy sets in. Deviation ensures
variations..until it unbalances the stability. How can the
self/society exist within such diverse forces?

John McCreery has come up with a 'negotiated scenario'; practical,
neat, if a bit indifferent. But remember, it's negotiated ..
..and therefore, as he points out, is flexible, open to
interpretation and reinterpretation of exactly who, what and why, is
the Self..and ditto for the Other. Is there a basic set of 'rules-of-
interaction' which acknowledge that there is a 'right way to
interact'? I don't know that there are such safety nets; rather, I
wonder if the only wat to interact is within the framework put
forward by such as Nietzsche, Bakhtin..Peirce..that one must not
interact within a blind following of rules (sympton of a slave
morality), but must instead function within a contextual, dialogic
and critical awareness of the current situation, within the limited
flexibility of differentiation. Not many can/will do that, and
certainly ethnic reductionism functions within the static confinement
of a 'slave-morality', bound as it is to its memories. Redefinitions
of Self/Other aren't made casually, but often within chaos
(catastrophe theory)..and perhaps that chaos is part of the whole

Edwina Taborsky
Bishop's University Phone: (819)822.9600
Lennoxville, Quebec Fax: (819)822.9661
Canada JIM 1Z7