Phenomenological Excavation: Searching For The Irreducible Ground Of Conscious Experience

James Alan Tuedio
1977 Auslegung a Journal of Philosophy  
It seemed to him (that) he was looking in through a lighted window at a life which he had always known, but which he could never make his own." -Thomas Wolfe Is suspension in non-reflective awareness non-personal consciousness? What accounts for the unity of non-positional consciousness? What is it at the heart of nonreflective, non-positional engagement in immediacy that makes the experience my_ experience? Can it even be said to be mine? Take as an example the intense reading of a novel. When
more » ... ng of a novel. When plunged into the consciousness of book-being-read, I am, in Sartre's words, "non-egologically engaged in situation." I project myself into the mental and physical activities of the various characters in the story. I do not reflect upon the fact that 1^ am reading the book, nor upon the fact that I am sitting in this chair resting my elbows upon this table and supporting the weight of my head upon my palms. But I am "non-positionally" aware, which is to say that I would not, were I to break from my reading, be surprised to find myself in the position just described. I am "in touch" with my "self" as I read down the page. But I am not in touch with my ego. Now clearly, I am here and the book is there. But there is no intentional space between us. Consciousness has "escaped itself" into the object of its intention. So, too, when I "lose" myself while standing before an 200 exquisite painting. There is no positing of the relation "me and mine." I am, rather, engaged in lived immediate experience, having somehow reduced from my awareness any and all consideration for the "existent" painting or my "place" in the museum. But it is still my experience in the sense that £ live it. I am attending to the painting through an act of non-comparative appreciation, which is to say, I take the painting as the object of my intention and nothing else, as the painting that absorbs my attention. There is no attending to the physical as_ physical, no attending to the painting as better than or inferior to another. I have "removed" myself from the world of everyday experience and now stand in the clutches of non-reflective consciousness descriptively penetrating the intentional objectivity whose smile has taken firm hold of my heart's fancy. But clearly I am still "oriented" in the sense that I am locked into fascination; and although there appears to be no "distinction" between the fascinating and the fascination, between the object of the intention and the actual living intention, each is certainly not the other; rather, each is in pure relation with the other, so there is no concern for, no attending to, the distinction. But does this mean that I am without a personality? Does my personality vanish, as Sartre would have us believe, when
doi:10.17161/ajp.1808.8901 fatcat:x2qww2gez5emzkmgavk7pjonsm