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Delectable Creatures and the Fundamental Reality of Metaphor: Biosemiotics and Animal Mind
Received: 21 December 2009 / Accepted: 24 January 2010 / Published online: 28 April 2010 # Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
Abstract This article argues that organisms, defined by a semi-permeable membrane or skin separating organism from environment, are (must be) semiotically alert responders to environments (both Innenwelt and Umwelt). As organisms and environments complexify over time, so, necessarily, does semiotic responsiveness, or ‘semiotic freedom’. In complex environments, semiotic responsiveness necessitates increasing plasticity of discernment, or discrimination. Such judgements, in other words, involve interpretations. The latter, in effect, consist of translations of a range of sign relations which, like metaphor, are based on transfers (carryings over) of meanings or expressions from one semiotic ‘site’ to another. The article argues that what humans describe as ‘metaphor ’ (and believe is something which only pertains to human speech and mind and, in essence, is ‘not real’) is, in fact, fundamental to all semiotic and biosemiotic sign processes in all living things. The article first argues that metaphor and mind are immanent in all life, and are evolutionary, and, thus, that animals certainly do have minds. Following Heidegger and then Agamben, the article continues by asking about the place of animal mind in humans, and concludes that, as a kind of ‘night science’, ‘humananimal’ mind is central to the semiotics of Peircean abduction. Keywords Mind . Humananimal mind . Abduction . Metaphor . Night-science
but he would have us remember most of all to be enthusiastic over the night, not only for the sense of wonder it alone has to offer, but also because it needs our love. With large sad eyes its delectable creatures look up and beg
W. Wheeler (*) London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB England, UK e-mail: email@example.com
First of all. only the semiotic view considers that ‘mind’ may be immanent— however primitively—in all living things. Although this is changing in contemporary philosophy of mind addressing the question of artificial intelligence (Clark 1997). That human perception is always shot through with phantasm and desire is a truth all too frequently neglected. Freud’s post-Darwinian insight affirmed both the fragility of rationality and the cost of the civilisation by which it was bought. W. even to bear our cry of ‘Judas’. and the question of whether non-animal life such as plants have primitive chemical protobrains in their root systems (as argued by some phytosemioticians) (Baluška et al. Auden’s creatures within are ‘delectable’ exiles. as he did and all must bear who serve it. but his elegist enjoins us ‘to be enthusiastic over the night’ of human-animal mind that the psychoanalyst set before us. Setting aside both the question of whether chamber music figures in an earthworm’s Umwelt. it responds) (Hoffmeyer 2008: 17–31). . What was Auden thinking here? Presumably. and ‘self ’ from environment (to which. they too would rejoice if allowed to serve enlightenment like him. the biosemiotic view of mind informed by Charles Sanders Peirce’s semiotic and by Jakob von Uexküll’s protosemiotic Umwelt theory (von Uexküll 1982). as a poet he knew as a regular part of his own experience that inspiration proceeds along dark pathways inaccessible to the bright light of rational day. and also the complementary bio-cybernetic view of Gregory Bateson. one that it is in our power to grant them—if only we could see it. This suggests a much broader concept of mind than that entertained either by psychoanalysis or by modern psychology. thus. must have—however minimally—responsiveness. Any organism possessing a membrane or skin distinguishing inside from outside. is that ‘mind’ is the product of all complex recursive communication systems (Bateson 1972: 315).278 W. far from a bestiality simply to be repressed. Auden 1976  Mind as Semiotic System Auden makes clear in the poem above that Freud’s ‘enlightenment’ bequest was a challenge to the Enlightenment aspiration that reason could rule once and for all in the affairs of men. Freud was generally pessimistic concerning the weakness of human reason. A biosemiotic view of our creaturely mind might in part redress Freudian pessimism. they long for a future which is a different kind of enlightenment. and as the necessary sensuous responsiveness of. Charles Darwin may have been motivated by a similar idea when he assembled a small chamber concert from his family in order to see whether their playing music to a dish of earthworms might provoke any response in the latter (Loye 2000: 2). any organism-in-environment.H. Wheeler us dumbly to ask them to follow: they are exiles who long for the future that lives in our power. but. and thus the beginning of ‘mind’. arising in. It may be that the poet’s appreciation and embrace of ‘night science’ is closer to truth than Freud’s ‘day science’ allowed.
Second. is the recognition of difference as sign. from our sense organs to our heads. food. recombined. and perhaps it is the most basic. ‘Mind’—a biosemiotic system (which. development. The most consistent element in the etymology of ‘mind’. In species we call this biological evolution. involves abstracted semiosic levels also)—arises in an animal’s evolutionarily acquired capacity for responding to. analogous to the natural history of co-evolving organisms-Umwelten (Harries-Jones 1995: 32). is most surely. and a central component is play (Brown 2009). being shaped by.Delectable Creatures and the Fundamental Reality of Metaphor 279 2004). as Gregory Bateson believed. and ‘learning’ which is recursive and. we can say that the differences which make a difference always also involve similarity (or identity): your difference can only be meaningful to me. as Neil Shubin (2008: 201) points out. Memory and Metaphor One of the basic semiotic motors of life. famously. emergentist. is Gregory Bateson’s definition of information as ‘a difference which makes a difference’ (Bateson 1972: 315). This involves a biocybernetic model of emergent layers (or nested systems) in which semiotic feedback constantly looping between organism Innenwelt and Umwelt grows systems via recursion. The abstractions of human mind in articulate language are metaphoric abstractions (and evolution thereof) from the embodied experience of humans (Lakoff and Johnson 1999). is . in individuals we call it learning. surely. across German. This. its Umwelt. this larger evolutionary view of mind requires an account of evolution. thus conceived. it makes. Of course. predator. is semiotic responsiveness to an evolving environment. in humans. repurposed. the structure of ‘mind’ and ‘learning’. is really patterns repeated: ‘just old stuff ’ reformulated at new levels of increased complexity: Looking back through billions of years of change. can only appear in my species Umwelt. and this means that all the patterns which are found in super-subtle form in humans. Greek. are found in more primitive degrees of form in other animals. mate and so on)—which. only those differences which make a difference to them. foe. and their Indo-European roots. thus. time—which is to say memory. A sign is (the recognition of) a difference which makes a difference because it matters to the organism’s survival and reproduction. we must surely say that animals with nervous systems and brains do have minds. and possibly even constitute. Evolutionary life. because it matters to me as a difference to my identity (friend. This is the story of every part of us. More specifically. Mind. and also emphasises common descent. Sign relations thus take place in. everything innovative or apparently unique in the history of life is really just old stuff that has been recycled. indeed our entire body plan’. Indeed. It establishes itself as sign via repetition of a (or any particular) sign relation reliably repeated in time. Evolutionary theory (and modern genetics) tells us that nothing comes from nothing. The registering of difference as sign is not so much representational in the first place as temporal. Repetition and difference recursively reiterates and extends formal patterns. or otherwise modified for new uses. and thus also in shaping. thus. Latin. organisms do not ‘recognise’ every possible difference.
as Ricoeur later adds. “that unit [of morphogenesis] is the egg plus the answer. These themes. by improvisations on a theme. Ricoeur (2003: 234) writes: A family resemblance first brings individuals together before the rule of a logical class dominates them. A metaphor-like gathering of biological ‘ideas’ (“a difference which makes a difference is an idea” (Bateson 1972: 318)) is thus the precursor of the abductive emergence of a new evolutionary ‘layer’. as also in the Wittgensteinian. . describe the logic necessary for any new idea) are essentially iconic and intuitive—i. a spermatozoon. you cannot move on to the next phase”.” In order to develop. In human mind. understood. it seems to me. my strong hunch is that abduction via ‘family resemblances’ (plays of semiotic similarity and difference) is a central driver of evolution so that the relationships between organisms and environments. presents in an open fashion. The unit of embryology is neither just the egg nor just the sperm. the meaning of any expression is always contextdependent. generates semantic grids by fusion of differences into identity. the process that. memory and mind—however vestigial and strange from our point of view—are. It sets the egg to a readiness to receive a piece of information. sense) ‘family resemblances’.e. absolutely inseparable. are in fact much more like conversations: their causality is semiotic. are of the same sort by which we recognise (in the usual. And. to fix it. a camel hair ’s fiber.1 ”the fusion of ’sense’ and ‘sensa’. Indeed. rather than being mechanically deterministic. metaphors are iconically generated. telling from the point of view of evolutionary biology. They are. this tensive play of identity and difference—of similarity in difference—is described by the word ‘metaphor ’. describing Gregory Bateson’s work (and quoting from Bateson and Bateson 1988: 118). 1 First published in 1975 as La métaphore vive. As Peter Harries-Jones (1995: 175). sensed. As in all art (music most obviously and abstractly perhaps). And without the egg plus the answer. each with its individual characteristics considered separately. a figure of speech. by means of a conflict between identity and difference. cell and DNA. as in conversations. egg and sperm. Wheeler ‘memory’. Metaphor. in his logic of inferential procedures. as Paul Ricoeur says in The Rule of Metaphor. The genetic code in the unfertilised egg has sufficient information to pose a question.as an iconic unfurling of sense in imagery” (Ricoeur 2003: 250). or logical type (when classified by humans).. this vestigial meaning of ‘mind’ is retained in the expressions ‘bear in mind’ and ‘keep in mind’. puts it: The interaction of units of embryology could be described in terms of the contrast of ‘questions and answers’ triggered by comparison and contrast.280 W. in a covert manner. Peircean abductions (which. In English. Abductions are creative guesses: a very animal-like following one’s nose in the casting about for (iconically) matching scents in sense. Since the genetic code “must wait for something outside the egg. Sign relations.
For it is through a complicated series of bodges that nature has arrived at the huge diversity of life as we know it. Something in the old metaphor which worked will have to have something in common with (a ‘family resemblance’ to) the new metaphor. The idea of metaphor is important here. applicable power—i. the temporality of evolutionary process lies in the fact that the new always derives from elements of the past (or what already exists) which are creatively recombined. there will be pressure for the dominant metaphor to shift. We tend to think. With this. of metaphor as not real (as in “it’s only a metaphor”). the dominant metaphor of living things as deterministic machines. and only then. Whether in biology or in language. It has plundered the treasure chest of old DNA modules to form new combinations and to give old genes new functions (Noble 2006: 103-4). or. it is no-thing. ‘Mind is empty. As Denis Noble writes: Genetic and cultural forms of evolution share this messiness. Nor is the story really told by you as a self because the core you is only born as the story is told. evolutionary randomness is constrained in the same way that the finding of a better metaphor is constrained. and the latter will have to have greater aptness (adaptive. because they are sufficiently similar. On that basis. Tangled intricacy is the mother of nature’s invention.e. eventually. too. in any particular conversation. is brought under increasing strain by growing pressure of ecological realities. As neuroscientist Antonio Damasio (2000: 191) says: The story contained in the images of core consciousness is not told by some clever homunculus. as Bateson (2002: 10) puts it. on the model of physics. to nature as information computing machine. by the matter being addressed and by its context. This is clearly the case in culture. inventiveness. as. evolutionary change/development is not wholly random but is an effect of long ‘conversations’ over time dominated by certain memories— morphologies/patterns of semiosis (similarity-in-difference/metaphors) which are encoded and read (in protein expression) in one particular way until environmental changes (new messages) produce pressures to find a new metaphor (a new expression) with sufficient similarity and difference to allow the great dialogue of life to shift (to a better adapted/more useful expressive form). biology meets culture and aesthetics. You exist as a mental being when primordial stories are being told and only then: as long as primordial stories are being told. within the story itself. In other words. and thus expression (whether of genes or words) as ‘meanings’ interpreted within contexts (Ulanowicz 2009). to. nature as semiosic ‘conversation’. and these again are no-things’. which it can then carry. we can say that. It exists only in its ideas. You are the music while the music lasts. as the genome has developed.Delectable Creatures and the Fundamental Reality of Metaphor 281 On this account. ‘meaning’) under the new circumstances (environment) being addressed. carelessly. for example. Or. it is doing in our time: from nature as clockwork cause and effect machine. indeed. Metaphor describes the case where one function (‘meaning’) is able to bear the weight of another function. Where. but what we call metaphor seems to me to be a most basic aspect of living things. and thus to continue. The Fibonacci . to use a less derogatory term. nature has switched from one metaphor to another. These ‘ideas’ which are ‘no-things’ are signs and sign-relations.
but it is . new. on the basis of sufficient similarity in difference. Peirce’s ‘logic’ of abduction is an early formulation of biocybernetic recursion: the feeding back into a system of information (or. We humans have become (self-) conscious of our semiotic processes (this is what human culture is). abductions are largely non-conscious ‘play’ processes). mutatis mutandis. is what evolution consists in. is a good mathematical example of this recursive generative principle. this is a rather serious flaw. is true in culture. humans have evolved a capacity for metaphoric abstraction as improvisation and elaboration on a theme. The same. we can say that all these biocybernetic feedback systems. endocrine. semiosis) generated by system processes. This ‘growth’. recombining. I think it is now abundantly clear that the Enlightenment dream of purely dispassionate reason was an historical delusion. Evolution is systems (organisms-inenvironments) education. We can trace the ‘conversations’ of semiosis from simple cells in the living metaphors of symbiosis all the way down the aeons to. From a very primitive (and necessary to any evolution at all) discernment of self (or identity) from difference (other). and thus substitution. The great systems of animal bodies—immune. to all living things. is a dangerous fantasy. though. The recursion adds a further. in however primitive or strange a form. of cells which have learned to live together. level of information—positive/excitatory or negative/dampening—into the system which thereby “grows” autopoietically as a result. Abductions (Gk. and nervous—are communicative semiotic systems (Innenwelten) in constant biocybernetic dialogue with their Umwelten. or increase of information/organisation/semiosis. Indeed. metapherein. and repurposing” of old forms into new—in human culture. But what we call metaphor (the recognition of similarity. eventually. its usual modern formulation gives us no account of genuine creativity. something else in the absence of the thing itself. Wheeler number series. the metaphoric ‘symbioses’ whereby human languages evolve. Modern science does its daily best in practice. we can take some more detailed idea of the ways in which metaphor might work as a source of creativity—an evolutionary and improvisational “recycling. but. The specificity of human mind lies in the human evolution of a capacity for highly abstracted symbolisation whereby one thing can “stand for”. but ‘mind’—“the fusion of sensa and sense”—clearly belongs. of the radical coup which simply wipes out the past and begins completely anew. in difference) belongs to life right from the start. or connote. more accurately. constitute ‘mind’. Abduction Complex multicellular creatures are composed of systems. to share one life. and have learned to direct them in (relatively) self-conscious ways (in fact. at work in many natural forms. Given the importance of creativity as a form of natural adaptability. or swarms of swarms. to bear or carry from one place to another) are animal operations carried out in the dark. It is precisely what humans mean by the word ‘education’. Conscious human reasoning and logic is indisputably a wonderful achievement. From Peirce (as from Bateson).282 W. The idea of the absolutely new. as experienced in the percepts and responses of the organisms and ecologies. as Peirce recognised.
this mind that our minds evolved from? It was. becomes illusion. and captivated in its Umwelt in a nearly magical way. Heidegger suggests. he says. ‘spellbound’ he says. and the humananimal within us. Humans take in. life is a domain which possesses a wealth of openness with which the human world may have nothing to compare”. on the other hand. there has been surprisingly little talk about the animal mind in the human. It is captive to captivation. as feelings and intuitions. for Heidegger (1995: 255). may be more immersively enchanted. prey) to which it is responsive. that which does not reduce to numbers. many more signs than they are conscious of noticing. Human self-consciousness finds its ‘wealth’. from sign processes that we are very often not conscious of. ‘reason’.Delectable Creatures and the Fundamental Reality of Metaphor 283 absolutely clear that the wider parameters within which science is set cannot be disentangled from historically located cultural assumptions and beliefs. perhaps. It makes the dissimilar comparable by reducing it to abstract quantities. What happened to it? Where did it go. conscious reasoning in humans is relatively limited. “represent something inferior or some kind of lower level in comparison with human Dasein. its openness. Heidegger makes a distinction between the poverty of the animal world and the openness of the world of Dasein from the human point of view. To the Enlightenment. Hunches and educated guesses arise. knows itself as a maker and user of signs. Human consciousness. at the cost of self-conscious attention and focus. and thus knows itself as capable of moving forward into an open world unknown to the animal. is immersed. predators. mainly . What’s the difference? This is the question Heidegger asked in the 1929-30 seminar (Heidegger 1995) where he used von Uexküll’s observation—that a creature’s Umwelt consists wholly in the signs which cause it to respond—in order to think about the difference between animal and human mind. predictive and manageable: “Bourgeois society is ruled by equivalence. Humananimal Mind If you want to think about human mind and semiosis. Animal mind. Affect and expectation are always at work. in the work of Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce (Bekoff and Pierce 2009) and Jaak Panksepp (Panksepp 1998) for example. All scientists abduct—even if they daren’t say so on their grant applications. As Peirce understood and we now increasingly understand. Until fairly recently. Famously. Our conscious focus and semiotic abstraction may be bought at the cost of what Alfred North Whitehead called ‘misplaced concreteness’. This signifying Umwelt constitutes the animal’s ‘disinhibiting ring’— the signs (scents. I suggest. Nonetheless. modern positivism writes it off as literature” (Adorno and Horkheimer 1979: 7). the animal’s world does not. The problem is not so much that such states of enchantment are unspeakable as that they refuse the Enlightenment dream of being calculable. It is this animal ‘wealth of openness’ in the human. sights. thinking about animal mind and semiosis is a good place to start. that human abduction and creativity draw upon. and ‘read’. but thereby it loses (or seems to lose) another kind of captivating wealth. and ultimately to the one. From the human point of view the animal’s world seems poor because the animal. On the contrary. sounds.
tortuous streets. rather. […] One admires its majestic arrangements as that of a da Vinci painting or a Bach fugue. insofar as it is not capable of disconcealing its own disinhibitor. Agamben (2004: 80) says: “At this point. Here. captivation is a more spellbinding and intense openness than any kind of human knowledge. On the one hand. it feels its way. The Statue Within. In his autobiography. In his commentary on Heidegger ’s seminar in The Open: Man and Animal. it is closed in a total opacity. the mind frets in a labyrinth. as pure abandonment”. and then back again into the open. then. most often blind alleys.284 W. where are elaborated what will become the building materials of science. What could this mean? I am suggesting that . of a wink. on the other. wakes with a start. and their relationship is as ambiguous as the one which simultaneously opposes and binds in secret complicity the dark night of the mystic and the clarity of rational knowledge. Where hypotheses take the forms of vague presentiments. the shepherd of being. It is instinct. two scenarios are possible from Heidegger ’s perspective: (a) posthistorical man no longer preserves his own animality as undisclosable. Animal captivation and the openness of the world thus seem related to one another as are negative and positive theology. constantly pulls itself together. Where thought proceeds along sinuous paths. before we return to the human open where we check with human logic and experiment. Where the plans for experiments have barely taken form. It is a sort of workshop of the possible. I think we can begin to understand that our nearness to animal life ‘out there’ is not only vital for our immune systems and our psychical health. on the other hand. which in some ways recall the paradoxes of mystical knowledge—or. in quest of a sign. Jacob (1988: 296) says: Day science employs reasoning that meshes like gears. but is thought as such. There. Now. of an unforeseen connection […] What guides the mind. Doubting everything. Where phenomena are still mere solitary events with no link between them. wanders blindly. his own animality. lost in captivation and ‘musement’. What I want to suggest is that Peirce’s semiotic logic of abduction involves the recursive movement from human world into humananimal world. stumbles fall back. tracking signs as hunches like intuitive creatures. which neither remains hidden nor is made an object of mastery. but rather seeks to take it on and govern it by means of technology. deluded with messages. appropriates his own concealedness. It hesitates. Wheeler associated with bodily passions in need of control if not repudiation. into captivated enchanted musement. of hazy sensations. its nearness ‘in here’ is vital for the exceptional creativity which makes us human. At the mercy of chance. One walks about it as in a French formal garden […] Night science. (b) man. The clues which lead us through the labyrinths of creative discovery are laid in the dark of what the molecular biologist Francois Jacob called ‘night science’. where Enlightenment man hangs between animal and angel. intuition. Giorgio Agamben (2004: 59) notes the paradox by which Heidegger seems […] to oscillate between two opposite poles. questions itself. nonknowledge. we follow our humananimal nose. is not logic.
But such gaps are. or belief. himself. at the same time. And although abduction is not recognised by modern science. totemism… the organization of facts in comparative anatomy—all these are instances or aggregates of instances of abduction within the human sphere”. belonging to the set of ‘all Cretans’.2 In order to avoid. The mathematical version of this is Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem. which escaped Protestant literalism: ‘The very act of translation—[…] from metaphor to simile. Imagine the chaos of interconnectedness which would be produced by self-consciousness of everything you knew. by systeminternalised transcendence of layers or levels. for the ‘disattending from’ in order to ‘attend to’ which Michael Polanyi (Polanyi 1966) called the ‘tacitisation’ of knowledge—as a kind of necessary forgetfulness of conscious self in the internalised knowing of experience. ‘Cretan Liar ’ self-reference paradox. and are thus closely associated with sacred experience as paradoxical transformation of identities. it is an accurate recognition of the logical requirements of any living emergent developmental system for ‘gaps’. the whole of religion. Bateson (2002: 133) rightly wrote that “metaphor. The ‘total clarity’ imagined by Enlightenment modernity is a fantasy of a system potentially wholly legible to itself. .Delectable Creatures and the Fundamental Reality of Metaphor 285 such abandonment is precisely ‘belief ’: the creative knowing in non-knowing which Peirce calls abductive reasoning in the play of musement. The human need for the experience of transcendence is not irrational folly. this raises the question of faith. In such a chaos of informational overload. or what Michael Polanyi called the ‘tacitisation’ of knowledge. and thus wholly rational and manageable. the whole of science. And. Bateson noted drily. Cromwell’s troops could run around England. He believed it was “a process of modelling information which is characteristic both of the human species and of other creatures in their own environments” (Harries-Jones 1995: 178). dream. there would be no possibility of discerning. emergent systems require that development is layered such that the Cretan who declares that “all Cretans are liars” is understood as not. meaning that which is unrepresentable. breaking the noses and even heads and genitals off the statues in the churches. and from poetry to prose—can itself become sacramental. the whole of art. The Latin for threshold is sub limen (under the lintel) from which we derive the word sublime. of course. the whole of poetry. 2 The wine of the Eucharist is both wine and blood: a fact. by which we recognise difference. Such boundary conditions. simultaneously stressing their own total misunderstanding of what the metaphoric-sacred is all about (Bateson and Bateson 1988: 29). both boundaries and connective thresholds. frequently invoke ritual behaviours. in Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. for example. a sacred metaphor for a religious stance. all the “patterns which connect” across all the levels. The possibility of memory depends upon forgetfulness. in a religious fervour. On the Threshold of the Sublime: Animism and the Sacred The continuity of any living recursive system must include system-preserving gaps or discontinuities between process and perception in order to avoid the systemstalling paradoxes of too much self-reference. Gregory Bateson borrowed the idea of abduction from Peirce. parable. as a form of confidence in nonconscious forms of knowing. Such. allegory.
We so-called moderns think that ‘faith’ and ‘belief ’ belong to misguided human reason and rational error. as Auden shows. and then abstracted in symbols— lives on powerfully in us in all fulness. 3 John Keats. Gaps are necessary in order that perceptual processes can mark distinctions and differences in system integration”. and builds new forms and patterns from old ones: body plans evolve into mind plans. But evolution. is more enthusiastic about the night and its delectable dark creatures. are. and will welcome the Being thus produced. We are not. As Peter Harries-Jones (1995: 223) writes in his commentary on Bateson’s work. improvises. the aim was disenchantment: “There is to be no mystery—which means. without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’3 (Wu 1998: 1019). at long last. every living system requires something like a negative theology in which ‘nonknowing’. But. Art. Our modern mistake has been to believe that only what is consciously known and measurable is real. forms the core of development. it prefers John Keats’ ‘negative capability. too. Wordsworth and Coleridge (1968 : 260) wrote: “If the time should ever come when what is now called Science. Calculative reasoning divorced from this—the attempt to forge reason and human identity on the basis of a disenchantment which excludes endless sacred and animistic mystery—leads to the terroristic consciousness which fuels all modern utopian projects. are the fantasies of secular totalitarianism. there is truth in myth and myth in Enlightenment. The disenchantment of the world is the extirpation of animism” (Adorno and Horkheimer 1979: 5). Perhaps science is. clearly absolutely fundamental to normal human reasoning (Damasio 1995). such as those found in the simple act of prayer. and never have been. Abduction underlies all human rationality. The humananimal animistic life of sign relations—iconic. doubts. and putting on the flesh which belongs to the semiotic animal. In the 1802 Preface to Lyrical Ballads. thus. . for Enlightenment itself. mysteries. in which ‘mystery’ reappears in the irritable totalitarian fantasy of positive total knowledge and. In fact. recursive systems dissolve into tangles of interconnectedness. shall be ready to put on. no wish to reveal mystery. as it were. “[w]ithout the presence of gaps. But the states of mind which involve ‘faith’ and ‘belief ’ clearly belong to the ‘mind’ of all sensuously responsive living things. does away with nothing. truly modern. that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties. natural and cultural. in fact. as a dear and genuine inmate of the household of man”. the Poet will lend his divine spirit to aid the transfiguration. beginning the poet’s imagined transfiguration. ‘Faith’ and ‘belief ’.286 W. In the main. indexical. In its coevolving dance with the environment. 21 December 1817. As Adorno and Horkheimer argued in Dialectic of Enlightenment. and ‘belief ’ in apophatic knowledge as non-knowledge. Letter to his brothers George and Tom Keats. it tinkers. thus familiarized to men. the real life of affect and intuition (which we like to designate as animal instinct from which we have more or less escaped). a form of flesh and blood. total capability and control. Wheeler as Adorno and Horkheimer (1979: 6) note.
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