Date: Sun 22 Dec 2002 - 22:50:28 GMT


            Humanity's bodily nature not only determines the possibility and difficulty of their physical actuations of their intentions accoding to size, howeever. Human perceptions are also limited by the manner in which they are structured in the body. Vision is limited to apprehension of wavelengths between 3900 and 6900 angstroms in length, audition is limited to the perception of pitches between 20 ans 20,000 Hertz, and tactile stimulations can only register when matter or energy directly contacts the human surface. Humans are determined, individually to two and for specise perpetuation to all three of T.S. Eliout's trilogy of birth (beginnig of a being), copulation (conjoining of two beings) and death (end of a being). Humans are spatiotemporally finite. Humans also communicate, mainly through language. This communication is efected through one's intentional modifications of another's perceptual field; this points to (1) the a priori agreement between humans of both common meanings and common modes of their expression, and (2) the a priori constancy and intersubjective similarity of perceptions so actionally modified. Even common conceptions are themselves grounded in the perception of a common world; Aristotle's three Laws of Thought (if A then A, A or not A, not both A and not A) are perceptually rounded as follows: if I perceive an object then I perceive that object, either I perceive an object or I don't; and I cannot simultaneously perceive and not perceive the selfsame aspect of a single object (there is a fourth Law that Aristotle missed: if not A then not A, that is, if I do not perceive an object, then I do not perceive it). Our concepts are extrapolated from our percepts, in which they are phenomenologically grounded. As one's own body is the third perspectival element in figure-ground perception, so is a thought (figure) in a context (ground) interpreted from one's own subjectivity. However unusual the perspective or abstruse the thought, its primordial ground is the world as perceived, and its cognition is within a context of common meaning.
            Back to Maurice. We have two more questions to ask of him before we proceed: (1) how is an Other recognized? and (2) is there an essential nature, accessible by probability, to being-among-Others? As to the first question...

            "From the depths of my subjectivity I see another subjectivity invested with equal rights appear, because the behavior of the other takes place within my perceptual field. I understand this behavior, the words of another; I espouse his thoughts because this other, born in the midst of my phenomena, appropriates them and treats them in accord with typical behaviors which I myself have experienced. Just as my body, as the system of all my holds on the world, founds the unity of the objects, which I perceive, in the same way the body of the other - as the bearer of symbolic behaviors and of the behavior of true reality - tears itself away from being one of my phenomena, offers me the task of a true communication, and confers on my objects the new dimension of intersubjective being or, in other words, of objectivity."

            All very well and good. I see another 'myself' manifested, through behavior and meaning congruent with my own, within my perceptual field. Now it is time to answer the second question.

            "The For-Themselves - me for myself and the other for himself - must stand out against a background of For-Others - I for the other and the other for me. My life must have a significance which i do not constitute; there must strictly speaking be an intersubjectivity; each one of us must be both anonymous in the sense of absolutely individual, and anonymous in the sense of absolutely general. Our being-in-the- world is the concrete bearer of this double anonymity."

            Thus we are all different in that we are different subjects, but this difference is adjectival, not essential. Likewise we are all the same in our very identity of mode of subjectivity (without which it would be impossible to distinguish between subject and object), but once again this sameness is adjectival rather than essential. For beings-in-the- world, difference and sameness are the thesis and antithesis which correlate to comprise a synthetic social essence, one in which statistical thought has a sound phenomenological basis. Merleau-Ponty stated the need for such a basis; if he had sufficiently perused his own writings he would have found it there.

            Even human will strives for such a social synthesis, as erving goffman demonstrates.

            "When an individual plays a part he implicitly requests his observers to take seriously the impression that is fostered before them. They are asked to believe that the character they see actually possesses the attributes he appears to possess, that the task he performs will have the consequences that are implicitly claimed for it, and that, in general, matters are what they appear to be."

            Thus one consciously strives to be accepted and categorized by others. Furthermore...

            "One cannot judge the importance of definitional disruptions by the frequesny with which they occur, for apparently they would occur more were not constant precautions taken. We find that preventive practices are constantly employed to compensate for discrediting ocurences that have not been successfully avoided. When the individual employs these strategies and tactics to protect his own projections, we may refer to them as 'defensive practices'; when a participant employs them to save the definition of the situation projected by another, we speak of 'protective practices' or 'tact'. Together, defensive and protective practices comprise the techniques employed to safeguard the impression fostered by an individual during his presence before others. It should be added that while we may be ready to see that no fostered impressions would survive if defensive practices were not employed, we are less ready prehaps to see that few impressions could survive if those who received the impressions did not exert tact in their reception of them."

            ...the individual is consciously aided and abetted conspiratorily by the others, who consciously strive to accept and categorize. With the explication of this conjunction between essence and accidence towards similarity, the phenomenological basis for statistical thought is complete.
            But what form may the representation of this thought take? Humans are not absolutely different, nor are they absolutely the same. However, neither are the similarities arising from their sameness- difference dialectic absolutely delineated, nor are all aspects of these similarities identically patterned. By what means may such a variable
    (the consequence of probable) multiplicity be uniformly represented?
            I suggest that the representation already commonly in use, the Bell curve projected on an XY axis intersection grid (abscissa and ordinate), faithfully represents the phenomenological realities of the referent situation. The degree of difference within an anonymous aspect of humanity's actions or intentions may vary narrowly or widely. Also, the locus of greatest agreement may not be fixed a priori. The Bell curve is compatible with these requirements. The possible differences may vary to infinity, and the slope may be adjusted to intersect the X axis where appropriate, or not at all. The apex of the curve is determined by the locus of greatest agreement, not vice-versa. The number of individuals within this locus also determines the Y axis intersection point. Thus, the Bell curve is a variable tool well suited to this particular purpose. Also to be kept in mind is the a posteriori nature of its implementation, as a display of previously garnered experimental and phenomenal data. Lastly, as mentioned before, it is already in use in the social sciences, and the weight of its empirical veracity is a strong argument in its favor.
            Would Maurice agree? Would the use fo the Bell curve as a statistical tool in the social sciences be compatible with Merleau-Ponty's conception of Freedom?

            "We are always in a plenum, in being...I may defy all accepted form, and spurn everything, for there is no case in which I am utterly committed: but in this case I do not withdraw into my freedom, I engage it elsewhere...Far from its being the case that my freedom is always unattended, it is never without an accomplice, and its power of perpetually tearing itself away finds its fulcrum in my universal commitment in the world."

            I think so.

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