Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Derrida's descriptions of khora and differance superficially appear to be like Wilber's description of consciousness per se in Integral Spirituality (Shambhala, 2007). For example Wilber says in Chapter 2:
"This happens to fit nicely with the Madhyamaka-Yogachara Buddhist view of consciousness as emptiness or openness. Consciousness is not anything itself, just the degree of openness or emptiness, the clearing in which the phenomena of the various lines appear (but consciousness is not itself a phenomena—it is the space in which phenomena arise)" (66).
Compare with this from Deconstruction in a Nutshell (Fordham UP, 1997):
“But something like khora is 'indeconstructible' not because she/it is a firm foundation, like a metaphysical ground or principle... Rather her indeconstructibility arises because she is...the space in which everything constructible and deconstructible is constituted, and hence...older, prior, preoriginary. Far from being a likeness to the God of the monotheisms...[it] is better compared to...the incomparable, unmetaphorizable, desert-like place without properties or genus....which is not be to confused with the Eternal, Originary Truth...of the intelligible paradigms above” (97-8).
I went into an exploration of Wilber's use of CPS on pages 4 and 5 of the IPN thread, how I think he uses the distinction metaphysically. So let's see how Derrida might be different. “Let us then, like the fool...ask 'what' differance 'is,' in a nutshell....[it] doesn't 'mean' anything at all” (99). After that quote Caputo launches into a discussion of linguistics, about how any word can only be defined in context with other words, and how that definition will change depending on the context of different words around it. In that sense meaning is all within relative context, and yet that differential between meanings, that space or interval in which meaning takes place, is itself not part of the context or meaning. Thus there is not one “essential” meaning of any word because it is contextualized within this play of differences, the play itself being a groundless ground in which meaning takes place.
This seems different than Wilber's metaphysical ground wherein all forms arise. The latter seems much more like Plato's archetypal realm of Ideal forms that step down into the sensible world and “in”form it. Granted Wilber doesn't see them as “pre-formed” but rather much more amorphous involutionary and morphogenetic “potentials.” Still, it seems this is part of the involutionary versus evolutionary dualistic scheme with one side being origin and absolute, with the other being result and relative. Derrida's differant khora is both outside and within that duality, not taking sides, as it were, but providing the stage upon which they play out their differences and similarities.
“He does not stake out the ground of a higher principle but concedes a certain an-arche at the bottom of our principles. Derrida is not denying that we have 'principles' or 'truth'.... He is just reinscribing our truth and principles in the an-arche of differance, attaching to them a co-efficient of 'contingency.' For the only 'necessity' he acknowledges is the necessity that precedes all oppositions...inscribing them in a vast and meaning-less receptacle called differance. This is why you cannot ask what differance 'is,' for its 'meaning' or 'truth'....[it] but points a mute, Buddhist finger at the moon” (102).
This differant khora is thus a way to keep meaning open so that it doesn't become fixed and rigidified. All possibilities reside therein so that different contexts as yet unseen will provide new meaning. It requires that we are ceaselessly pushing out boundaries and testing our limits, boldly going where no one—except perhaps Jean Luc and crew—have gone before.
Or maybe those Buddhists to whom Wilber refers? Balder and Bonnitta have made the case for a similar type of open, groundless ground that is in Dzogchen. Maybe so. And that perhaps Wilber, while using that Buddhism, still retains some metaphysics in his interpretation?
I’ve gone back to have a look and see whether my support of Failed Keys still stands. It’s fair to say that Keys did take a line of questioning, that, were one inclined to take offence, one very easily could. I gather also that Keys and Bryant have had this conversation in the past so it’s clear that Bryant felt some frustration at the return of the same.
Having said that, with another look, I now think Keys and Bryant are both pulling in the wrong direction: Bryant views language as always about mistranslation/miscommunication, yet he ceaselessly attempts to articulate reality through ever greater lucidity and intelligibility. Keys accepts the withdrawn nature of being, and bridles at Bryant’s highly systematic intelligibility in regards to a fundamentally mysterious world. Yet Keys does no better, in seeking reality in the nothingness of Derrida and Bataille. If the world is made of withdrawn objects, then we will find that world in the interstices of these objects in play. That is, we will find that world in occupying a position within that play of miscommunication – that position itself an object according to Harman – rather than asking it to be quiet for a moment while we take its pulse. We need to go into words and their activity as necessary fictions, and then, if we have the skills, (perhaps we can learn?) make words speak the world as they speak themselves. That is, speak themselves as exactly those necessary fictions – Dogen’s realizing of Buddha nature; Proust’s lucid delusion. What else is it, this realizing of Buddha Nature, than, in one and the same moment, holding the world in one’s grasp as both completely necessary and completely illusory. Not as a mirror, not by negation, not by extraordinary intelligibility, but through enacting that very act of miscommunication – by making words stand up as the (necessary) fictions they always already are, and in so doing allowing the world in its very nature as a necessary fiction to stand up with them.
And, needless to say, what else is miscommunication and translation but production of the new? We are back to difference engines - difference engines whose very nature is deeply mysterious. This is the withdrawn object. If we are going to then join these difference engines to notions of enactment and performance – Integral thematizes practice, recall - then we should expect an Integral IPM to both show and speak. Bryant is something close to a genius, but for all that he articulates the nature of mystery and clarity with brilliance and great lucidity, he never actually shows it. I feel, and evidently so does Fragile Keys, that Bryant enters territory that demands both showing and telling to count as truly successful.
I think Fragile Keys is also onto something when he talks of the labor of Bryant’s efforts to hold his thought together. I would see a resonance between the following: Bryant’s extraordinary intelligibility ceaselessly burrowing its way forward and out; the tension we all have between self- control and self-overcoming; and the fury he expressed towards Keys. They seem of a piece: more and more I am coming to view lucid intelligibility at all costs as a ploy to hold onto the self. The terrible irony is that to proceed beyond a further point one really needs to give up that self, give up that control and allow oneself to be surpassed. Allow oneself to be overcome. The resonance with ‘spiritual’ growth and practice is easy to make: at a certain point in one’s practice one needs to stop elucidating with precision and allow things to drift. One needs to enlarge, and globalize one’s perception so as to take all in softly: less penetration and more reception, in short. Or, even more radically, one needs to allow oneself to fly apart/break down/wear out. I think Morton and Harman recognize this with their inclinations to rhetoric and aesthetics as first philosophy over ethics. A purely rule bound linear account of necessary grounds is not adequate. Bennet makes the same point. I feel, that, to a certain degree, Bryant is a victim of his own strengths. How does someone as able as he loosen his grasp on his own ability to think?
I should hasten to add that I’m not particularly good at this self-surpassing myself: I have a memory of sitting in a retreat hut, and while reading David Loy (as it happens), suddenly come to perceive my mind as something very like a cardboard box, that was beginning to move towards disintegration in a sideways folding collapse. To my later regret my response in the moment was great alarm and to clamp down on this movement so as to halt it. I’ve had other similar experiences where I’ve intervened in fear at consequences.
Apologies for the amount of mangled syntax and punctuation in the above.
For me Bryant answers your charges nicely in this post about his garden.
“I have to surrender myself....I don’t have mastery over any of this, but can only collaborate with all of these entities and negotiate, opening myself to surprise and the tendencies of these agents.”
Sure we don't see this “practice” in his philosophical writing, but that's because he's doing philosophy. And in practicing philosophy I see him, per Loy/Dogen, as “liberating thought” through his lucid clarity.* Clarity, I might add, that I find lacking is most philosophers lost in jargon and specialization. And this lucidity I find akin to the calm, clear, placid lake that is often associated with meditative equanimity. Language can take us there too, per Loy, and Bryant's rhetoric does that for me. As does Derrida (on occasion) and Caputo (often).
Granted Bryant most certainly holds onto and defends his philosophical “position,” so this might be interpreted as being attached to “a particular thought system,” as Loy puts it. But for that matter so is Loy, Dogen and their Buddhism, for they defend a particular system of interpretation of what it means to be liberated. It seems that with any particular system of thought or philosophy one can find such liberation. The problem arises only when we attach so much to it that we fail to see that liberation can be had via other systems of philosophy. And that the liberation so had will not be of the exact same kind, if we accept polydoxy's claim to a spiritually plural referent (see Balder's paper “Kingdom Come”). Loy and Buddhism are not immune from that attachment, or belief in a universal liberation that is the same for all.
* Of course my academic training in lucid writing predisposes me toward affinity with this means of liberation. Attaining such written clarity is one of my own never-ending practices. And I dare say that I'm pretty good at it, enough so to appreciate a master like Bryant at work.
The above inspired a recollection of the old TV show that influenced me considerably in my youth, American Bandstand. One of the most popular teen refrains in evaluating a song was something like this: "I like the beat, it's easy to dance to." To this day the most important thing in a song for me is how it moves me, in dance and/or feeling tone. The words for the most part are irrelevant. In fact, I often don't know most of the words. And in some cases I can detest the words and/or the worldview behind them. It's in the rhythm and flow of the music, for me. So I find a similarity in Bryant's pellucid flow, the written performance, whether I agree or not with the content. It is artwork. In teen parlance, I like the beat and it's easy to dance to.
Forget the kennilinguist retro-romantic interpretation of this and tell me it doesn't move you to that place? In this case, for me the words match the music and feeling in a complete package. Do you see?
Incidentally, it was Wilber's clear writing style that drew me to him in the first place. That I, like many, confused this clarity with his authoritative content is understandable. The magic power language holds on us, even (and perhaps especially?) if we are meditative, non-conceptual purists?
Andrea Diem-Lane's recent article at IW discusses Blackmore's memes. Therein she says:
"Quite clearly, ideas that tap into the emotions have a better chance of spreading....two are primary: desire and fear (or, as Freud would have it, Eros and Thanatos).... Overall, all of this suggests that content is secondary to transmission. How a message is spread is more important that what the message says."
Later she brings in developmental stages. While she only focuses on different interpretations here (content) we might put emotions on this scale as Wilber has done,* noting that feelings of awe and compassion, for example, are more complex than base fear and desire. Still, some points are that emotion is 1) not a lower level as in body-emotion-thought and 2) consequently there are developmental emotions at every stage, much like correlative bodies (e.g., subtle and causal). (That there are interpretative and metaphysical problems with such higher bodies in kennilngus I've addressed elsewhere.**)
So interpretative content is indeed also important, since we need a postmetaphysical view** to match the emotion of compassion, which itself has developmental components in to whom it is extended, i.e., tribe, nation, all people, cosmos. Thus Bryant's rhetoric, while in itself inspiring a feeling tone of mysterious awe, also addresses a post-egoic, compassionate and postmetaphysical (no essences) worldview in removing anthropomorphism in not only philosophy but in the real life application of politics.
* "But then there are the 'vertical affects,' as it were--which are a type of subtler and subtler emotions--and these occur as part of the process of actual growth and development itself--and include such affects as care, compassion, mercy, universal love, and transcendental bliss."
** Like here and following posts.
theurj:For me Bryant answers your charges nicely in this post about his garden.
“I have to surrender myself....I don’t have mastery over any of this, but can only collaborate with all of these entities and negotiate, opening myself to surprise and the tendencies of these agents.”
Well yes and no. To manage one's surrender with such control is a contained surrender, which, if sustained, is no surrender at all. It will take one far, but then reach a limit where a greater surrender will be asked. It’s a mark of how good he is to my mind that he takes you to the point where lack is felt. We may take this an indication of a type of extraordinary acuity/acumen, and I do. To draw an analogy: I notice this particularly with movies and books: nothing less than the truly excellent awakens one to the absolute without actually quite attaining that absolute – thus lack is felt. I’m sure Bryant the Lacanian could run with this lack as constitutive to the world.
theurj: Sure we don't see this “practice” in his philosophical writing, but that's because he's doing philosophy. And in practicing philosophy I see him, per Loy/Dogen, as “liberating thought” through his lucid clarity.* Clarity, I might add, that I find lacking is most philosophers lost in jargon and specialization.
Sorry, to liberate thought is not a simple matter of clarity. There is more to thought than simple indexicality, no matter how skilled. If, following OOO we have a flat ontology and language is going to occupy the same immanent plane as all else, then we are directed to think on the body of that language use. That is, we are directed to the medium and style of the language delivered and how they align/misalign with the intended meaning. Liberation as I understand is to creatively objectify that relationship. That is to objectify (reify if you like) a higher order realization of the very relationship between content and expression, intention and enactment. In so doing we suture the rift between the two. And the rift is healed, not by unity but through a realization of the very relationship between these two aspects.
This is the very movement of spirit itself- from abstraction to manifest. And this relationship has both a particular and generic quality: It can only be expressed through particularities, which nonetheless have global resonance. For Proust and Dogen this takes positive form in new expressions of language whose very play of qualities body forth both their own self-integration and by 'fractal resonance’ the integration of all. I want to try and be clear here: it’s not that Bryant always has to express a perfect accord between concept and the performance of those concepts, it’s that he has to abstract and make manifest the nature of the relationship between them - the movement from one to the other. The nature of that relationship is the nature of the world amongst its parts, the parts within themselves, the world to itself. Objects all the way up and all the way down in relation. And a higher order objectification the buddha nature of all, including that very objectification of the previously abstract. This then is a poise across alignment/misalignment, life and death, manifest and void. And able to traverse all, therefore, both present and absent to all - beyond life and death, in short. I ramble, a little, still there is something essential to what I say.
Explain to me, if you will, your conception of the liberation that might be attained via the register of lucid thought alone. You mean that finally the world is perfectly explained by lucid thought? And Bryant is, tantalizingly, almost there? Just a little more explanation and we’ll almost be done – the world perfectly articulated, at our disposal. Right there in our grasp, finally. And Levi Bryant the new Archimedes?
theurj:The problem arises only when we attach so much to it that we fail to see that liberation can be had via other systems of philosophy. And that the liberation so had will not be of the exact same kind, if we accept polydoxy's claim to a spiritually plural referent (see Balder's paper “Kingdom Come”).
Indeed, but to say that liberation can be had does not equate to liberation actually being had. I can recall reading Wilber very early on, and on finishing the book, feeling both wowed and oddly empty. My thought at the time was that it was like reading the most wonderful menu. All the food had been described most deliciously, yet still, at the end of it all, one had not actually taken a bite. Bryant is a different meal than Wilber, yet in that gap between content and substance there is something similar. With Wilber my feeling was of enchantment named and ordered beautifully, but not actually experienced in the moment of reading. With Bryant my feeling is of thought that is bright, clear, poised, energetic polished intelligible, yet somehow curtailed or clipped. Always too finished and polished. A theory of immanence that in some important way is not immanent enough to its own field of study.
The issue as I see it, is, that not only my view of matters, but that Bryant's very own thought, theorizes bodies (objects) in assemblage. And within each body another plurality of bodies in assemblage. It’s objects all the way down and all the way up. What I - and Keys - are pointing to, is that the bodies operating within Bryant's thought appear to be blind to each other in such a way that undercuts the force of the semantic content. It’s very simple - if the thought maintains that content should be embodied – which is entailed by a theory of objects/actants, and body and content don't seem that aware of each other, then the thought is not alive to its own suppositions. Here I’m simply turning Bryant’s own OOO back onto his manifestation of those very ideas. Let me emphasize – Integral thematizes practice and OOO thematizes objects. Are these not both about the world bodying itself forth? In this light is it not proper to question Bryant’s thought on the grounds it should manifest both the appearance and withdrawal it theorizes. Or rather it should make manifest the very nature of that accord or lack thereof. I have the impression that Failing Keys would like to see some sort of coiling and uncoiling through presence and absence performed by the text to show meaning ebbing and flowing , passing and arising. And I would like that same text to manifest in a fully positive embodied metaphor that makes gives manifest expression to the abstraction that is the very movement from idea to enactment. This to me is a manifest position at the heart of all – one both empty and full.
theurj:Of course my academic training in lucid writing predisposes me toward affinity with this means of liberation. Attaining such written clarity is one of my own never-ending practices. And I dare say that I'm pretty good at it, enough so to appreciate a master like Bryant at work.
Ok, but isn't being a play of light and shadow? Of presence and absence, of form and emptiness, of clarity and mystery. I recall conversation with an old friend of mine – long gone - neither of us a patch on Bryant's erudition, lucidity, or sheer brain power. Still our talk would spark one another and proceed with a sort of thrill and energy until we'd find ourselves on the edge of a space where we could say no more. It wasn't that we couldn't spin around and find something more to add, it was that when we did so we soon found ourselves on the brink of that same void again at which point we’d laugh in exasperation and pleasure. Great stuff. Now, if we’d been a Dogen or Proust or Eckhart we might have filled that silence with those ‘healing’ words of Loy. Those plays on both form and emptiness, intention and expression, that un-do fundamental dualities and make them as whole. Not nice tidy romantic wholes, necessarily, but relationships realized that are then free to move and mutate on the same plane of immanence as all else.
Graham Harman, of course, is famous in his scorn for the frequently proclaimed ‘lucid’ values of analytic philosophy. Lucidity is necessary and wonderful, but if that is all there is, then we know that something is being held apart. To then go on to talk in a highly lucid fashion of that very separation, and that very thing that is being held separate, is admirable, but really just a busy treading of water while you pick out the features of the circling sharks – this, I believe, was an aspect of Fragile Keys critique.
It’s interesting, also, to throw Jane Bennet into the mix of this discussion. I know Bryant is a great fan and has taught at least two of her books to his freshman classes. There are differences in approach, however: Bennet argues that a recognition of enchanted places and conditions provides a necessary ‘alter-tale’ to modernity’s story of discontent. She feels this alter-tale is required as ‘enchantment’ engenders an openness to surprise and otherness, and a generosity and care for the world. There is, therefore, an important ethical element involved in enchantment. Moreover, this enchantment, and the aesthetics that it is closely allied to it, can be cultivated and tempered appropriately. Enchantment is, of course, a species of the change in consciousness that Integral is grounded in. In comparison, how much does Bryant talk about states/changes of consciousness? The answer is almost never. He has little interest or feeling for this aspect of being as something to be cultivated or sought.
Bennett finishes her book by recommending the disciplines of body and mind examples of which can be found in the later Foucault’s study of the Greeks. That is, she recognizes that to make the link between ethical idea and action the body needs to be involved: the body needs to experience changes in consciousness that then dispose one towards openness, generosity and care. And that these changes in consciousness can be appropriately cultivated via the body and mind working together. The result is affective motivation that acts to mobilize action in the world. And behind all this she suggests not a perfectly argued ground - which is impossible to obtain – (pace Bryant) but a ‘weak ontology’. That is, an ontology accepted - without endless critique - for its virtue of disposing us towards outcomes we find of essential value. Doesn’t this sound more like an Integral thought and metaphysics. Isn’t this the sort of thought we should be exploring? Where do we find this link between states of consciousness, the body, and action made in Bryant? - nowhere, as far as I can tell. Yet doesn’t his very thinking with its claims for objects suggest that the body should be actively involved in theory? Not only Integral but Bryant himself actually points in this direction.
I think you actually can argue for spirit and the body in Bryant. But to do this you’d need to go back to spirit’s move out into the secular and everyday post the enlightenment. This argument made, we might see Bryant as much as spirit’s voice and body as anything else in this ontologically flat and enchanted world. More so, in fact, as he’s arguing creatively at one of its leading edges - a bright object in his own terminology. This argument hasn’t been made, however, and in any case, even if it had, we would still be noting an unexpressed gap between content and body in a thought that thematizes the body and flat ontologies.
None of this is to say we cannot find Bryant enormously admirable and informative. None of this is to say we cannot use his thought. I detect a current that says we must take him as whole, take him as perfect or not at all. This was the meaning of my ass-holon quip. How is it that you dismiss claims the world is a seamless whole, yet somehow act as if thinkers – Bryant - must be taken/rejected on those very grounds – perfect/imperfect wholes. My view is not that Byrant is not perfect and therefore we cannot take his thought as useful. My argument is that Bryant’s thought, like every other object/actant, is a perfectly imperfect becoming – ie. imperfect, and accordingly that we must take his thought as we find fit, and employ it tactically/strategically. It has a place in our thinking – maybe a very large place if such is your taste, but not a monopoly. Nor is thinking in this way to imagine ourselves better thinkers than Bryant, – it is rather to find a balance between our own thinking and Bryant’s that weighs them carefully and places them accordingly.
Speaking of worth, I’d like to finish by saying that what I really love about Bryant’s thought is its pure positivity. This is a general theme of OOO – produce concepts not critique – and I think it supplies both a clue to his anger towards Keys and to how one might address any failings felt. Keys repeatedly questions Bryant in the comments section about what is lacking in his thought. Bryant responds again and again and finally he tires and we get to witness a self-overcoming of the less edifying variety. (please, don’t tell me that knee-jerk diatribe about linguistic idealists and saving the world was Bryant being on-point and lucid) What Keys – or you, or I, really need to do is take Bryant’s thought, and apply it within a positive construction of our own that in so doing provides a set of new (positive) concepts that go beyond/supplement that aspect of Bryant we find lacking. Or, use Bryant to brilliantly supplement the thinking of someone whose overall project we resonate with more fully. I think there is an understandable bitterness in Bryant and Harman, which I’m guessing is derived from a group who in their early days of exploring and building OOO online used to harass them. And I think they’re right in their response: providing new interesting productive ideas is the bomb. Graham Harman thinks that, Levi Bryant thinks that, and so do I. Following which, we might add that an Integral thought that is happy to rest with Levi Bryant’s thought is betraying it’s roots. Further, in so doing it’s going to end up lacking the power that is native to Integral, (practices that move the body and transform the mind), and doing little better than shadowing the brilliance of Levi Bryant whose heritage and fundamental sympathies are elsewhere .
And if you think we’re not up to staring the great Levi Bryant in the eye, it’s time to take a break and imbibe some Ranciere on democracy and radical equality. In this mobile, becoming world Levi Bryant has no greater purchase on being than any of us. We begin where we are and move from, and with, where we are. Such is our power. And no part of the world, when taken as object, has any less power than any other part. T’is true - that is, if self-overcoming is your measure. Or, maybe I mean to say that's the only power we truly can have..
I really like the sound of that conference. And thanks for the Ivakhiv reminder. His response to OOO will be well worth reading.
This talk of an embodied perception or realization beyond mind, or at least distinct therefrom, never did sit well with me (or kela). We've discussed this many times and ways in several threads in this forum and its predecessor at Gaia. (The Levin thread at this forum and its predecessor thread are examples. A sample here and below.*) It's as if there is a kind of purity involved, in that meditation discloses a kind of direct and unfiltered perception of that which is, Reality, which is somehow clouded over and/or distorted and/or obscured by the mind. This thread kela started, and this post and following, offer some of the more recent discussions about this. A few excerpts:
"The word 'intuition' has suffered many abuses, so we had better establish at once what it means. Certainly nothing mystical or irrational, such as 'woman’s intuition' and 'moral intuition.' I am using it in the sense given to it by John Locke in his very sober Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Locke meant by it the kind of direct perception that may go through any available avenue of sense: the perception of relations, such as greater than, before, after, between, richer than; to the right of, like, different, same, and so forth. Also, the perception of form, pattern, unity of form, wholeness, gestalt."
And like with L&J it is from this distinctly human and pre-reflective intuition that concept is built. It is the bridge between sensori-motor environmental perception and abstract thinking, the latter of which can then consciously integrate and transform the former through downward causation so that it becomes something in never was heretofore, art, again through the medium of image.
I also like this from the above referenced Langer article, that we cannot return to the pristine Eden, but we can create a new one and often do:
"The upshot of the shift from instinctive action to intuitive rationality…is that human beings probably do nothing exactly like animals. They have the same basic impulses to eat, sleep, chase, procreate, and (more than most other animals) make noise; but conception alters even our most direct enactments of such impulses…. Every new power is bought at a price; in the great shift from animal mentality to mind, in the development of imagery, intuition, and social communication, we have lost our elaborate instinctive patterns…Such concepts, of course, can be formed and maintained only by symbolic means; and those means are our holy symbols, rites and liturgies, and magical objects."
* Here's an excerpt from my referenced thread that demonstrates “using a mytho-poetic language...to evoke in us...this reconnection with both the always already and not yet."
Levinas' language is intended to evoke a “deep, bodily felt sense” that is a “return effected by phenomenology.” It is pre-conceptual in a sense, this return to body. As we've discussed before, only in one sense, since the return is also an integrative move that is more than what was before concepts.... Hence Levinas language uses such mythological motifs and tropes that move us deeper than conventional experience based only on concept, back down into those roots of morality in the body where we are more directly connected to the other. In a way his language is magical in that it takes us to a place both before and after language by the use of language. But language is part of the equation, right in the middle of it, hence Hermes is indeed a messenger that uses language to convey meaning.
Levin makes clear that meaning, like being, builds on the "always already" but is extended into novelty by the "not yet." And these two are in continual relation, at least after the "fall" or "rise," depending on your interpretation, of the ego. But since its advent there is no simple return to the always already of the pre-egoic, no pristine or original awareness. The belief in the latter is in fact one of the symptoms of metaphysics, since it is now the "not yet" that transforms the "always already," but without which the not yet would not exist.
Here's another clear and intriguing essay from Tom Pepper. I like the clarity of his writing. And a nice discussion in the comments, too. .