Let us first reduce spatio-temporality (temporality as simultaneity and successivity) to the spatio-temporality of this pure life-world

Let us first reduce spatio-temporality (temporality as simultaneity and successivity) to the spatio-temporality of this pure life-world, the real world in the prescientific sense. Taken in this way it is the universal form of the real world in and through which everything real in the life-world is formally determined. But do souls have spatio-temporality in the true sense, in existence in this form, as do bodies? It has always been noted that psychic being in and for itself has no spatial extension and no location. This denial of the spatiality of the psychic was obviously oriented around the actual content of experience, [though] without a radical distinction between life-world and scientifically thought world. But can world-time (the form of successivity) be separated from spatiality? Is it not, as full space-time, the proper essential form of mere bodies, in which form the souls take part only indirectly? All objects in the world are in essence “embodied,” and for that very reason all “take part” in the space-time of bodies – “indirectly,” then, in respect to what is not bodily about them. This applies to spiritual objects of every sort, primarily to souls, but also to spiritual objects of every other sort (such as art works, technical constructions, etc.). According to what gives them spiritual signification, they are “embodied” through the way in which they “have” bodily character. In an inauthentic way they are here or there and are coextended with their bodies. Equally indirectly they have past being and future being in the space-time of bodies. Everyone experiences the embodiment of souls in original fashion only in his own case. What properly and essentially makes up the character of a living body I experience only in my own living body, namely, in my constant and immediate holding sway [over my surroundings] through this physical body alone. Only it is given to me originally and meaningfully as “organ” and as articulated into particular organs; each of its bodily members has its own features, such that I can hold sway immediately through it in a particular way – seeing with the eyes, touching with the fingers, etc. – that is, such that I can hold sway in a particular perception in just the ways peculiar to these functions. Obviously it is only in this way that I have perceptions and, beyond this, other experiences of objects in the world. All other types of holding-sway, and in general all relatedness of the ego to the world, are mediated through this. Through bodily “holding sway” in the form of striking, lifting, resisting, and the like, I act as ego across distances, primarily on the corporeal aspects of objects in the world. It is only my being – as ego, as holding sway, that I actually experience as itself, in its own essence; and each person experiences only his own. All such holding-sway occurs in modes of “movement,” but the “I move” in holding-sway (I move my hands, touching or pushing something) is not in itself the spatial movement of a physical body, which as such could be perceived by everyone. My body – in particular, say, the bodily part “hand” – moves in space; [but] the activity of holding sway, “kinesthesis,” which is embodied together with the body’s movement, is not itself in space as a spatial movement but is only indirectly co-localised in that movement. Only through my own originally experienced holding sway, which is the sole original experience of living – bodiliness as such, can I understand another physical body as a living body in which another “I” is embodied and holds sway; this again, then, is a mediation, but one of a quite different sort from the mediation of inauthentic localisation upon which it is founded. Only in this way do other ego-subjects firmly belong to “their” bodies for me and are localised here or there in space-time; that is, they are inauthentically inexistent in this form of bodies, whereas they themselves, and thus souls in general, considered purely in terms of their own essence, have no existence at all in this form. Furthermore, causality too – if we remain within the life-world, which originally grounds ontic meaning – has in principle quite a different meaning depending on whether we are speaking of natural causality or of “causality” among psychic events or between the corporeal and the psychic. A body is what it is as this determined body, as a substrate of “causal” properties which is, in its own essence, spatio-temporally localised. Thus if one takes away causality, the body loses its ontic meaning as body, its identifiability and distingtuishability as a physical individual. The ego, however, is “this one” and has individuality in and through itself; it does not have individuality through causality. To be sure, because of the character of the physical living body, the ego can become distinguishable by any other ego and thus by everyone in respect to its position in the space of physical bodies, a position which is inauthentic and which it owes to its physical, living body. But its distingtuishability and identifiability in space for everyone, with all the psychophysically conditioned factors that enter in here, make not the slightest contribution to its being as ens per se. As such it already has, in itself, its uniqueness. For the ego, space and time are not principles of individuation; it knows no natural causality, the latter being, in accord with its meaning, inseparable from spatio-temporality. Its effectiveness is its holding-sway-as-ego; this occurs immediately through its kinesthesis, as holding-sway in its living body, and only mediately (since the latter is also a physical body) extends to other physical bodies.

Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology


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