5th Lecture 2016 »The Spectacle of the World«
“The phenomenological world is not the bringing to explicit expression of a pre-existing being, but the laying down of being. Philosophy is not the reflection of a pre-existing truth, but, like art, the act of bringing truth into being.
If every statement is incomplete and every expression is situated upon a silent tacit comprehension, then it must be that things are said and are thought by a Speech and by a Thought which we do not have but which has us.
Visible and mobile, my body is a thing among things; it's caught in the fabric of the world, and its cohesion is that of a thing. But, because it moves itself and sees, it holds things in a circle around itself.”
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception
Jean Cousin the Younger (1522-1593), Livre de Portraiture (published in Paris 1608)
Jean Cousin the Younger was born in Sens, France around 1522, the son of the famous painter and sculptor Jean Cousin the Elder (ca. 1490–ca. 1560) who was often compared to his noted contemporary, Albrecht Dürer. Having trained to become an artist under his father, Jean the Younger showed as much talent as his father, and their work is nearly indistinguishable even to the expert. Just before his death, Jean the Elder published his noted work Livre de Perspective in 1560 in which he noted that his son would soon be publishing a companion entitled, Livre de Pourtraicture.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: It is true that the act of relating is nothing if divorced from the spectacle of the world in which relations are found; the unity of consciousness in Kant is achieved simultaneously with that of the world.
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 9.–How to arrange the light, and give chiaroscuro and proper relief to your figures.
If by accident it should happen, that when drawing or copying in chapels, or colouring in other unfavourable places, you cannot have the light on your left hand, or in your usual manner, be sure to give relief to your figures or design according to the arrangement of the windows which you find in these places, which have to give you light, and thus accommodating yourself to the light on which side soever it may be, give the proper lights and shadows.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: In Descartes methodical doubt does not deprive us of anything, since the whole world, at least in so far as we experience it, is reinstated in the Cogito, enjoying equal certainty, and simply labelled ‘thought of . . . But the relations between subject and world are not strictly bilateral: if they were, the certainty of the world would, in Descartes, be immediately given with that of the Cogito, and Kant would not have talked about his ‘Copernican revolution’.
Cennino Cennini: Or if it were to happen that the light should enter or shine right opposite or full in your face, make your lights and shades accordingly; or if the light should be favourable at a window larger than the others in the above-mentioned places, adopt always the best light, and try to understand and follow it carefully, because, wanting this, your work would be without relief, a foolish thing, without mastery.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Analytical reflection starts from our experience of the world and goes back to the subject as to a condition of possibility distinct from that experience, revealing the all-embracing synthesis as that without which there would be no world. To this extent it ceases to remain part of our experience and offers, in place of an account, a reconstruction.
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 10.–The manner and process of drawing on parchment and on paper, and how to shade with water-colours.
Let us return to our subject. You may also draw upon parchment, and paper made of cotton.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: It is understandable, in view of this, that Husserl, having accused Kant of adopting a ‘faculty psychologism’ (Logische Untersuchungen, Prolegomena zur reinen Logik, p. 93.), should have urged, in place of a noetic analysis which bases the world on the synthesizing activity of the subject, his own ‘noematic reflection’ which remains within the object and, instead of begetting it, brings to light it is fundamental unity.
Cennino Cennini: On parchment you may draw or sketch with the above named style, first rubbing and spreading some of the powdered bone-dust over the parchment, scattered thinly and brushed off with a hare's foot, and powdered like writing-powder or resin (i.e. pounce, or powdered resin).
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The world is there before any possible analysis of mine, and it would be artificial to make it the outcome of a series of syntheses which link, in the first place sensations, then aspects of the object corresponding to different perspectives, when both are nothing but products of analysis, with no sort of prior reality.
Cennino Cennini: If you like, when you have completed your drawing with the style, in order to make it clearer, you may fix the outlines and necessary touches with ink, then shade the folds with water-colour made of ink, that is, water about as much as a nutshell will hold, into which are put two drops of ink, and shade with a brush made of tails of the minever, blunt and nearly always dry.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Analytical reflection believes that it can trace back the course followed by a prior constituting act and arrive, in the ‘inner man’—to use Saint Augustine’s expression—at a constituting power which has always been identical with that inner self. Thus reflection is carried off by itself and installs itself in an impregnable subjectivity, as yet untouched by being and time. But this is very ingenuous, or at least it is an incomplete form of reflection which loses sight of its own beginning.
Cennino Cennini: And then, according to the shades required, you must blacken the water with a few drops of ink. In the same manner you may shade with colours and clothlet tints (Bits of rag were stained with transparent pigments to be extracted in water as required /pezzuole), such as miniature painters use; mix your colours with gum, or with the clear or albumen of an egg well beaten and liquefied.
the spectacle of the world
the relation between subject and the world
because, wanting this, your work would be a foolish thing
it ceases to remain part of our experience
Let us return to our subject
in place of a noetic analysis*
you may draw or sketch with powdered bone-dust
the object corresponding to different perspectives
When you have completed you drawing
identical with that inner self
mix your colours with the clear of an egg
* „In a peak experience, the presence of divinity became almost palpable and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident based on random processes. The knowledge came to me directly — noetically. It was not a matter of discursive reasoning or logical abstraction. It was an experiential cognition.“
Edgar Dean „Ed“ Mitchell (1930 – 2016); as the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14, he spent nine hours working on the lunar surface, making him the sixth person to walk on the Moon.