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Incarnate Experience and Keeping the Soul Ajar

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This essay offers a phenomenology of the new that entails hospitality and depends on an understanding of being as poetic; this poiesis is, per Jacques Derrida, hospitable, and per Maurice Merleau-Ponty, incarnate. This poiesis intertwines with aesthesis, as action and perception intertwine. Avoiding problems faced by both the materialist and idealist, Merleau-Ponty’s poetic phenomenology shows that perception always indicates a transcendent and vertical excess: the invisible lining of the visible. Two poems which speak of the human hosting the divine Stranger, one by George Herbert and one by Emily Dickinson, illustrate this poetic and incarnate hospitality, which permits the appearance of the divine other.


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