turns out to become and to be experienced more as body less as soul and

Turns out to become and to be experienced more as

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turns out to become and to be experienced more as body, less as soul, and certainly less as machine.This is a position supported by writers such as Nietzsche, Pascal, or Merleau-Ponty, a position which, it could be argued, locates the self not first of all in thecogito[‘I think’], but in the sum[‘I am’]. The beach is again a productive place to discuss these issues because it is here that bodies are most obviously visible, and most exposed. It is exposure, Bourdieu writes, that propels us intoa condition of identity in that:we are disposedbecause we are exposed. It is because the body is (to unequal degrees) exposed and endangered in the world, faced with the risk of emotion, lesion, suffering, sometimes death, and therefore obliged to take the world seriously (and nothing is more serious than emotion, which touches the depths of our organic being) that it is able to acquiredispositions that are themselves an openness to the world, that is, to the very structures of the social world of which they are theincorporated form. (2000: 140-41)
Here, of course, he is writing of more than the physical elements of existence;but this focus on exposure (organic and emotional, natural and social) shows that he is thoroughly distanced from what Slavoj Zizek refers to as the ‘spectre [that] is haunting western academia … the spectre of the Cartesian subject’ (1999: 1). Indeed, in this statement of being-in-the-world, Bourdieu is moving away from the Cartesian ‘spectre’, and towards scientist-philosophers like Hippocrates, who identified identity as the physical, rather than the ephemeral (the soul or mind): ‘Men ought to know,’ Hippocrates wrote, millennia ago, ‘that from the brain, and from the brain only, arise our pleasures, joys, laughter and jests, as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs and tears’ (1964: 32). In following or reciting some of these sorts of perspectives, Bourdieu seems tobe pushing quite a long way the notion that being is physical. I don’t, however,want to imply that he (or Nietzsche, or Pascal) are being reductive in their somewhat phenomenological statements of identity. Being-in-the-worldmay indeed be the effect of incorporated habits, perceptions, sensations; and our experiences, sensual and conceptual, may indeed arise from the brain only; but it seems to me that none of these writers is positing a simple ‘natural’ or animal existence. Rather, each is articulating something about the extent to which the social world is inscribed in and by the body, and asserting, like Merleau-Ponty, the interconnectedness of mind and body. Consciousness exists, but only as it is incarnated, Merleau-Ponty writes, and hence human being is not so much ‘being-in-the-world’ as ‘being-to-the-world’ (1962: viii); a cheerier view than Heidegger’s sense that being human is, finally, ‘being-toward-death’ (1962: 287). Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology is in startling contrast to the contemporary standard where the simulacra precedes the real, virtuality takes precedence over materiality, and stable meaning or final referents slip into pure difference and pure contingence. While there are compelling and convincing arguments for accepting these views (and, indeed, I do), the problem I experience in

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