Sunday December 17, 2017

Without willing it so, I nevertheless recall to consciousness that version of myself employed in my teen years: washing dishes, breaking down cardboard boxes, condensing the remains with a baler. Let us endure again brief clips from these episodes—the hot summers, the cold winters—but let our minds drift as these clips unfold, consciousness regrouping to ponder in a featureless inner elsewhere the star system’s relationship to the class system. Hands wave in symmetry to re-center hemispheres. Saicobab steps in, instructs us anew, with “aMn nMn.” I listen anxiously as voices multiply. Sound translates into something I can see. I still myself, I hold my breath. I land uncomfortably in a new book by Irwin Leopando on Paolo Freire. Leopando identifies three mid-20th century French Catholic humanists—Jacques Maritain, Emmanuel Mounier, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin—as leading influences on Freire’s thought. Together, he writes, these thinkers inquired into what it means to be “fully human.” Wary of Catholicism’s neurosis of sacrifice, however, I soon replace “Paolo” with “Roberto” and delve into the world of “somatherapy.” Quickly, though, I intuit a schism internal to consciousness, or perhaps to the universe: I am a self, imagining myself to be real, while aware as well of my apartness from, my adjacency to, the full potential of ways of doing or being. The human “person” performing its self-authoring awaits a transmission from an absolute Other. The stories persons tell themselves, their mysticisms, says the Other: these are proper vocations, forming threads by which selves are sewn.

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