Volume 22, 2020
Mirrors and Other Technologies
La riflessione impossibile e il rispecchiamento nel mondo. Dall’esperienza infantile alla surréflexion
This essay builds on two questions: the relation of the child with the other and the child’s way of knowing, in which the resistance of the unreflected is not yet problematized. Through a reconstruction of Merleau-Ponty’s critique of Piaget’s idea of the child’s linear intellectual progression toward reflexive abstraction, I highlight the moment of unreflection by taking up the notion of ultra-thing, which Merleau-Ponty borrows from Henry Wallon. These ultra-things are entities with which the child entertains a vague relation and which always remain at the horizon of her perception without yet being possessed in a representation or grasped in a concept. They include, for example, the sun, the sky, the Earth, the body as an object, existence before the birth of the child – uninhabitable dimensions or, to the contrary, ones that are necessarily inhabited. The concept of ultra-thing has not been sufficiently explored in Merleau-Pontian studies and its importance remains underappreciated. This essay thus formulates a hypothesis about the relation between ultra-things and hyper-reflection.