It was a startling reminder that thesis-writing was an act of material as well metaphorical distillation. I had built a thesis out of books and notes and drafts, no differently than I had built a desk out of boards and pegs and paint over the previous summer. Martin Heidegger once wrote “Denken ist Handwerk”—thinking is craftwork. This observation, simple and revolutionary, contains within it the assertion that thinkers and intellectuals are bound into the same matrices of morality and creativity that control all humans who build things—that is, everyone.
Dermot Moran, commenting on Merleau-Ponty (blogged about at However Fallible and Perverse Egalitarianism), argues that seeing is tactile, that even when our gaze moves from one thing to another, "we do not drop into the invisible." After a thing drops from visual focus there remains a background of the visible, analogous to a tactile background that remains after something has been touched. Moran then presents what appears to be an exceptional case. "Reading is a kind of seeing that has transcended the seeing of the letters and marks on the page and resides in the pure incorporeality of the meanings," he says. I, having expressed the view here that reading is coporeal, will offer a few words to elaborate my sense of reading and then, hopefully, further a critical appreciation of reading. [...]
The case of reading does not appear to a simple matter of transcendence into pure incorporeality. As in the past, I ask that you attend to your own experiences of reading as you think about the issue. As much as the eyes, reading resides in the voice and in the hands. 12:13 PM