‘When a bird is alive, it eats ants. When the bird is dead, ants eat the bird’.
by Arran James
If the world is continuous with my body and envelopes it, thoughts and feeling must find their places in the orders of space and time. Some think that naturalism is an inadequate view because feelings of anger and sensations of red cannot be discovered in specific areas of the brain. But the expectation that everything must be like mailboxes and Christmas trees, located in unique places with sharp spatial boundaries, is groundless. Radio waves spread everywhere and lack definitive borders; actions such as calling a friend inn New Jersey are not located in a single place; and summer heat can suffuse an entire continent.
– John Lachs, 2012. Stoic Pragmatism.
Transcorporealism entails that it is not enough to suppose the world envelopes me. This is to suppose my skin is a nonporous membrane; that my physical interiority is a fortress around which the world must bend. Instead, there is the mutual interpenetration of bodies. Aside from the obvious object-oriented resonance in this quotes and its almost Merleau-Pontian fleshiness, a question emerges from it. In this variety of naturalism, where are thought and feeling located? In the text Lachs says that at a baseball game my feelings came with me through the gate when I bought my ticket and took my seat. In that image there is no ‘finding’ to be done. There is still a coincidence of what is ‘me’ and what is ‘my thought’. Might it instead be the case that thought and feeling, regardless of their origination in my body, are transversalities that carry across space-time? What we tend to think of as our interiority, our innerspace, is always leaking, giving itself away, taking flight. That’s a pleasing image: thought takes flight. The psychoanalytic tradition would claim that thought is never one’s own, that it comes from the outside. Perhaps then, I am simply a moment in the (metaphorical) life of thought. Bodies are just perches; relay stations. Thought is an emergent processes, an activity, an achievement. It is something we do, and usually for pragmatic reasons. But to think thinking qua thinking- or feeling qua feeling- we recede as if a begrudged necessity, a prosthetic forgotten but that in the forgetting of which one can’t help but remember. An analogy could be drawn to humanity and the Earth, but that would risk anthropomorphism. Returning to the winged image, it would also be to forget that birds ride and are ridden by the wind.