The Einstein train : Founding Hermeneulogy

Text in pdf : Clémence Ortega Douville – The Einstein train – Founding Hermeneulogy

‘La venue du sens et de la référence d’un texte au langage, c’est la venue au langage d’un monde et non la reconnaissance d’une autre personne. [] Se comprendre en face de …, en face d’un monde, c’est tout le contraire de se projeter, soi, ses propres croyances et ses propres préjugés ; c’est bien plutôt laisser l’œuvre et son monde élargir l’horizon de la compréhension que je prends de moi-même. [] Ne sommes-nous pas prêts à reconnaître dans le pouvoir de l’imagination, non plus la faculté de tirer des « images » de notre expérience sensorielle, mais la capacité à laisser de nouveaux mondes façonner la compréhension de nous-mêmes ? Ce pouvoir ne serait pas porté par des images, mais par des significations émergentes dans notre langage. L’imagination, dès lors, serait enfin traitée comme une dimension du langage. De cette manière, un nouveau lien apparaîtrait : entre imagination et métaphore.’ Paul Ricœur, « La métaphore et le problème central de l’herméneutique », in Ecrits et conférences 2 : Herméneutique, Editions Seuil, coll. La couleur des idées, pp.116-122

In all our work, we have been treating the human experiences conditioned by language as metaphor. As there are very few that are not interpreted through languaged-based structures, we can allege that as soon as conscious or unconscious judgement occurs in behaviour, the metaphorical power of the human mind is at stake. We justify this metaphorical inscription in the fact that all that is individually experienced is in a way created or recreated by and inside of a personal as well as collective network of meaning and perspective ; and that all that is formed by language is formed in something else’s stead that is more primary, amoral and untamable.

According to French philosopher Paul Ricœur, ‘if the metaphorical sense is something more and else than the actualisation of one of the potential meanings of a polysemous word (yet all our words in the natural tongues are polysemous), it is necesary that this metaphorical use be only contextual : by that I understand a meaning that emerges as unique and fugitive result of a certain contextual action. [] The metaphor is such a contextual change of meaning.’1

The context here depends on the level we choose to set our interpretation on. Here, we moved the reference of interpretation to the lowest level we could match : from where does and did any possible creation of language come from ? As soon as we understand the context as being the moral context to any conditions for all events into language, we understand that none of its uses are meaningless.

Let us go back to physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. If you are carried by a train, any effort you will produce there will be impacted by the speed of the train you are carried on. Hence, none of your moves will be neutral ; they will all be charged by the inertia of the train, its own gravity.

Then, language and the mind are like the Einstein train : if you don’t realise that you are on, you will wonder why it demands effort to move. Here, we put forward that if you don’t get to realise that you are carried through by language that is contextual, and that its context is rooted in morals and its long-stead teachings, you will go on wondering why it is so difficult to come by its source and be quiet.

Therefore, as a first result of our work – that you may find in previous articles -, we decided to form a new field of investigation. As it is a network of interpretation of human experience that is connected both to a theory of anthropogenesis and the vast corpus of analytical researches (Hermeneutics, Psychoanalysis, Neurobiology, Ethology, Social and Political studies, …), we come up with the idea that it should in some way prepare itself for an unification that would still be open enough to stay accurate. To stay creative. To keep on being connected to meaning and to the power of signifying through words and other forms of language.

Any of our actions takes place in what Ricœur underlined as a dialectic between a local event and the totality of the ensemble. In a poem or in a myth (as Ricœur refers to Aristotle’s idea of mimèsis), the unit of the metaphorical phrase gives body to the whole ; but the whole is as well determining the context in which the metaphorical meaning takes way. Same here, action, reaction and interpretation through moral-based values of language and its behaviour give us an hermeneutic circle (as we find it in Hans-Georg Gadamer’s work).

It is like the sensorimotor value of everything we experience, that enacts – in neurobiologist Francisco Varela’s way – any of its particular events but taking its shape in the whole of our life span. In an hegelian spirit, we would inspect all the different layers of time, space and moral implications, whose responsability is taken for what action and at what extent. A clear mind would be one that can grasp the whole poetic nature of the human experience, as we created language as an alternative to self-destructive fascination to the paradoxical hand.

As for our position toward the necessity to give body to this way of interpreting human experience on a large scale and the whole spectrum of language’s implications, we wish to found a new discipline. This discipline would be one as meta-Hermeneutics, because of its metaphorical use of the whole mind’s structure.

Therefore, we decided to call it Hermeneulogy. As another growing of Hermeneutics’s impact, it would have the mission to create a collective network between all the existing fields that are subject to interpretation, in moral, social, scientific and esthetic value.

Believing that time is missing in our ecological and social crisis, we wish to go straight to the point with this vision of intellectual work, creation and duty. Because we have a duty in this world that is confused by the intrications between power, distress and language. This new section of intellectual working is a political commitment to a world, its societies and ecosystems that should be more just, more balanced, more aware of its very humble origins before believing that we should be gods.

1Op. cit., p. 99

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