Conversation between Jean-Luc Nancy and the students of Soka University, California, USA.

This conversation is part of  the experience of the participants in the workshop C.O.R.E.; a collaboration between AMAE collective, artist Pier Giorgio De Pinto, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, professor Ryan Ashley Caldwell and the students of Soka University.

SOKA

 

Image above by AMAE skyping with the students of Soka University.

A conversation with the philosopher.

SOKA University’s students ask questions about the notions of body and soul highlighted by Jean-Luc Nancy in ’58 indices on the body’.

STUDENTS:

How would you define the body?  It seems that there are so many different ways to understand the body here, so how do we come to understand that concept?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

For me there is only one answer: the body is how we face the world.

STUDENTS:

Soul, mind, body, spirit — how can we distinguish between these terms?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Of course: soul is the shape of an organized body (Aristote), body is what I wrote to the first question, spirit is the way we go through everything; mind, I don’t know if it is something…

STUDENTS:

Is there a distinction and also an importance between the soul and the body?  Is one more important than the other?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Both are the same existence of “someone”: soul as a singular form, body as towards other bodies.

STUDENTS:

Is this an exhaustive list of relationships of the body?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Certainly not!

STUDENTS:

Do the indices exist individually? Or are they to be understood relationally and in reference?  Or isolated and on their own?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

The “indices” have no singular existence! they are just ways of saying or talking or feeling…

STUDENTS:

In terms of the development of the indices, were they written on their own? Or then organized in this way?  Or just brainstormed and then written in this order?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

On their own…

STUDENTS:

When we state that the body is protecting a secret, what is that secret? (#41)

JEAN-LUC NANCY

It is its secret…

STUDENTS:

(#39) In regard to the separate pieces of the body, do you think it is possible that these separate parts will be unified, or will these always be differentiated in terms of some sense of disconnect?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

They are together united as parts of “a” body and differentiated according to all the possibilities of being-in-the-world; disconnected in the extent that there is an uncommensurability between going and sleeping, eating and playing, seeing and hearing, etc.; that is: sens (sense of life, as one says) is in itself multiple and infinite…

STUDENTS:

(#42) this seems like a reference to the inevitability of socialization and the development of culture, can you comment on this? Is this a comment on being isolated from others?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Socialization is not “inevitable”: it is the same as “individuation”. And “nature” is the same than “culture” because the second comes from the first…

This indice is about the all-together of everything….

STUDENTS:

Is the body described in the indices a sensuous body?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

There is not a non-sensuous body!

STUDENTS:

Did you set out to write 58? Were there more that were eliminated?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

I do not remember.

STUDENTS:

How does the translation affect the interpretation?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

I do not know: I do not well understand English. But any translation is an interpretation.

STUDENTS:

Whose idea of God is being used in these interpretations?  How can we come to know the translation or interpretation?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

There is no idea of God.

STUDENTS:

How do we deal with the contradictions within the indices?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

This is up to you.

This last one is by AMAE about index n.8:

AMAE:

If the body could be at the same time soul, intended as soul+body we can say that the body has two weights?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

There is no soul+body, it is one thing with form (relation to itself) and matter (relation to the world)

AMAE:

If the soul is also the body how the soul couldn’t have a weight? This contradicts itself? Or what do you mean?

JEAN-LUC NANCY:

Of course the soul has a weight: the one of the body!

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