Volume 16 · Number 2 · Pages 172–181
Anchoring in Lived Experience as an Act of Resistance

Claire Petitmengin

Log in download the full text in PDF

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment

Abstract

Context: The pandemic we are going through is an unprecedented situation from which tragic consequences loom. Disturbing and painful though it is, we should, however, remember that it is but a symptom of a profound ecological crisis that is already generating tremendous suffering, and threatens with extinction most living species and perhaps all humankind. This ecological crisis is due to our way of life based on frantic consumption, which exhausts the earth’s resources. Problem: Where does this insatiable desire for consumption come from? This article explores the hypothesis that our way of life and the ecological disaster it is bringing about originates in our blindness to what is nevertheless closest to us: our own lived experience. Our awareness of it is not only partial, but mistaken, which leads to dramatic consequences. Method: To check the accuracy of this hypothesis, I collected fine-grained “micro-phenomenological” descriptions of experiences essential to our human lives, such as the emergence of ideas, of perceptions, the process of verbal expression and the experience of intersubjective encounters. I also relied upon the work of researchers who explored them. Results: These investigations highlight, at the heart of these processes, a dimension of experience that we usually do not recognize: the “felt” dimension of experience, where the separation that we usually think we perceive between “inner” and “outer” space becomes permeable and even vanishes. At the cost of considerable tension and without our knowledge, we try to maintain the separation between these two spaces, which has the effect of depriving them both of life, of dis-animating them. Outside space, the non-human “environment” is perceived as an indifferent and inert space, filled with objects intended to be possessed and exploited. We ourselves lose contact with the felt dimension that is the very stuff of experience and the source of meaning. Implications: Most of our activities - education, medicine, architecture, agriculture - are based on this rigid separation and on the concealment and stifling of the felt dimension, which has the effect of exhausting us. The weaker we become, the more we try to satisfy ourselves with frantic consumption, and the more we exhaust the earth. This rupture with the living heart of our experience is therefore an essential condition for the survival of our current economic system, which strives to maintain it. Liberation from this enslavement requires recognizing and loosening the tensions that cut us off from this source. Retrieving contact with our experience is thus an essential condition for us to find the strength to stop transforming any aspect of our life into an object of consumption, and to regain enough lucidity, dignity, and courage to change our model of society. Keywords: Ecology, ecopsychology, felt meaning, lived experience, micro-phenomenology, political ecology.

Citation

Petitmengin C. (2021) Anchoring in lived experience as an act of resistance. Constructivist Foundations 16(2): 172–181. https://constructivist.info/16/2/172

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)

References

Cahour B., Brassac C., Vermersch P., Pachoud B. & Salembier P. (2007) Etude de l’expérience du sujet pour l’évaluation de nouvelles technologies: L’exemple d’une communication médiée [Study of the experience of the subject for the evaluation of new technologies: The example of mediated communication]. Revue d’anthropologie des connaissances 1(1): 85–120. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Créno L. & Cahour B. (2015) Triangulation des méthodes pour une analyse écologique de l’expérience vécue de gestion des emails chez des cadres surchargés [Triangulation of methods for an ecological analysis of the lived experience of email management in overloaded executives]. Psychologie Française 2: 129–144. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Desmurget M. (2019) La fabrique du crétin digital: Les dangers des écrans pour nos enfants [The factory of digital idiots: The dangers of screens for our children]. Seuil, Paris. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Fuller R. B. (1940) World energy. Fortune. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Giono J. (1996) L’homme qui plantait des arbres [The man who planted trees]. Gallimard, Paris. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Gladwell M. (2000) The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. Little, Brown and Company, New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Illich I. (2001) Tools for conviviality. Marion Boyars Publishers, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Jack A. (2013) Introspection: the tipping point. Consciousness and Cognition 22(2): 670–671. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Loy D. (2018) Ecodharma: Buddhist teachings for the ecological crisis. Wisdom Publications, Somerville MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Petitmengin C. (2007) Towards the source of thoughts: The gestural and transmodal dimension of lived experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14(3): 54–82. https://cepa.info/2372
Petitmengin C. (2016) The scientist’s body at the source of meaning. In: Schoeller D. & Saller V. (eds.) Thinking thinking: Practicing radical reflection. Karl Alber, Freiburg: 28–49. https://cepa.info/6837
Petitmengin C. (2017) Discovering the microgenesis of the hard problem. Constructivist Foundations 12(2): 159–162. https://constructivist.info/12/2/159
Petitmengin C. (2017) Enaction as a lived experience: Towards a radical neurophenomenology. Constructivist Foundations12(2): 139–147. https://constructivist.info/12/2/139
Petitmengin C. (2021) Exploring experience veiling and unveiling processes through meditation and micro-phenomenology. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, in press. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Petitmengin C., Bitbol M., Nissou J. M., Pachoud B., Curalucci H., Cermolacce C. & Vion-Dury J. (2009) Listening from within. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16(10–12): 252–284. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Petitmengin C., Remillieux A. & Valenzuela-Moguillansky C. (2019) Discovering the structures of lived experience. Towards a micro-phenomenological analysis method. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18(4): 691–730. https://cepa.info/6664
Petitmengin C., Remillieux A., Cahour B. & Carter-Thomas S. (2013) A gap in Nisbett and Wilson’s findings? A first-person access to our cognitive processes. Consciousness and Cognition 22(2): 654–669. https://cepa.info/931
Petitmengin C., Van Beek M., Bitbol M., Nissou J.-M. & Roepstorff A. (2017) What is it like to meditate? Methods and issues for a micro-phenomenological description of meditative experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 24(5–6): 170–198. https://cepa.info/4439
Petitmengin C., Van Beek M., Bitbol M., Nissou J.-M. & Roepstorff A. (2019) Studying the experience of meditation through micro-phenomenology. Current Opinions in Psychology 28:54–59. https://cepa.info/6665
Schoeller D. & Thorgeirsdottir S. (2019) Embodied critical thinking: The experiential turn and its transformative aspects. Philosophia 9(1): 92–109. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Weizsäcker E. von, Lovins A. B. & Lovins L. H. (1997) Facteur 4: Deux fois plus de bien-être en consommant deux fois moins de ressources. Un rapport du Club de Rome [Factor 4: Twice the well-being while consuming half the resources. A report of the Club of Rome]. Terre vivante, Mens. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.