Tuesday, November 27, 2018
In PopMatters, on Chekhov, short stories, and events.
[T]here are times when I have an experience that is so unfamiliar, indeed so defamiliarizing, that it disrupts my sense of ownness and worldedness. I find myself in a situation so unsettling that I have to reorient myself—or better, orient myself anew—to my now newly constituted world. These are what Gilles Deleuze would term a deterritorialization, a line of flight out of the structured world of familiarity into a radically new experience. At these moments, Heidegger suggests, I have an experience of the "There is" in itself. Whenever I experience something, there is an underlying logic to the experience that might be expressed as "There is X". But the experience of X is predicated upon there being a "there is". In Heidegger's German this is expressed as the es gibt, literally, the "it gives". Whatever that is, for Heidegger, is what gives the ground for experience. Usually we merely experience the given: my cat Coco is next to me on the couch. But in those rarified moments, I experience the givenness of the world: that there is a there there (to borrow from Gertrude Stein). In these moments, life seems to generate new experiences, new codes, new modes of understanding. What is given is the new.
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