The 2nd AIBR International Conference of Anthropology brings together anthropologists from different parts of the world under the theme “Identity: Bridges, Thresholds, and Barriers.”
[6:58] So what is the relation between the life of the soul and soul life, or to put it in more general terms, between the particular life and life itself. Is it a relation of part to whole? Now, I have nothing against the idea of life as a whole, so long as we do not think of this whole as a totality. Holism is one thing. Totalization is quite another, and it is vital to acknowledge the distinction. Totality to my ear at least implies addition and completion, but life itself is never complete, nor, as I have tried to show, can we approach it by any process of summation, whether addititive, additive or multiplicative. It is not a completion but the continual origination. Life as one elder from among the women she Cree of northern Canada told the ethnographer Colin Scott life is continuous birth. It is the generative potential of a world in becoming a world that is forever worlding.
[8:20] So is the particular life a part of life as a whole. Is the life of the soul apart of soul life? And, again. I have nothing against the idea of lives as parts but then we should think of these parts too, as ways of carrying on like the voices of a composition. And the analogy I have in mind is that of polyphonic music in which every voice, for every instrument, carries on along its own melodic line. In music the relation between parts and whole is not summative, it is neither additive nor multiplicative, but contrapuntal. Think of the tenor part in the chorus or the cello part in the symphony and I want to think of the life of every particular soul.
[9:19] Likewise, as a line of counterpoint, that even as it issues forth, is continually attentive and responsive to each and every other. Souls as we might say are answerable to one another, a condition that carries entailment of both responsiveness and responsibility. Precisely because souls go along together and because their continual regeneration is nourished and impelled by the memory of their association the composition formed by their contrapuntal movement cannot be decomposed without causing grief if not destruction to the lives of its parts.
[29:02] And I think it is to the oneworldness of this whole that anthropology must remain committed.
[29:11] As I stated at the outset the world is a conversation, it is not the object of our conversation. In this conversation lies ontogenesis, the becoming of being. And it is high time to restore ontogenesis to life. We will then see that every particular life is both an open-ended exploration of the possibilities of being that are one world affords, and a contribution to it its ongoing formation, that is to its worlding.
[29:49] It is in a sense a never-ending quest for an answer to the problem of what being human, or what living in this world actually means. But every answer is a response, and not a solution. Responding to the question, we respond to one another, that is, we correspond. And in this we do not so much look out from a position as long for one that is forever beyond our grasp
[30:22] Life is a question to which there is no answer but in this one world of ours we are all tasked with looking for it, and it is in the search that all life is lived. And it is just as well that there is no final solution for that indeed would put an end to us all.
Plenaria Tim Ingold 1 | September 2016 | AIBR Antropólogos Iberoamericanos en Red at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TbG2Lo_9fk
Plenaria Tim Ingold 2 | September 2016 | AIBR Antropólogos Iberoamericanos en Red at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn9DfiAteFQ
2nd AIBR International Conference on Anthropology program is at http://2016.aibr.org/en/programaen/search .