Monday, 21 November 2022

Bergson and Pure Perception (Samprajnata Samadhi)

 “(64) if we start from representation itself, that is to say from the totality of perceived images. My perception, in its pure state, isolated from memory, does not go on from my body to other bodies; it is, to begin with, in the aggregate of bodies, then gradually limits itself and adopts my body as a centre. And it is led to do so precisely by experience of the double faculty, which this body possesses, of performing actions and feeling affections; in a word, by experience of the sensori-motor power of a certain image, privileged among other images.” (Matter and Memory)

This is extremely interesting and has its analogue in certain yogic states of awareness.  As he says the central image that is taken to be the centre of perception i.e. my body, has not yet been lit on.  There is just awareness without that awareness having a strong sense of location.  It is not fully established in the body but remains rapt in the aggregate of images that is to say that both sets of images, my body and that of the world have not as yet split.  This pure perception will of course have a centre and a radius but they are lightly held.

Wordsworth holds that primal condition of pure perception to be the basis of the poetic immersion in the moment, those ‘spots of time’

that blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on,—

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul:

(from ‘Tintern Abbey’)

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