Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rodolfo Kusch, "Américan Thinking," Indigenous and Popular Thinking in América

It is different among the Aymara. An equivalent to Da-sein might be cancaña. According to Bertonion, cancaña means "barbecue spit, being, or essence"; it is also linked to "flow of events."But the term utcatha is much closer to the indigenous sensibility. Bertonion translates utcatha as "estar." Moreover, it appears to carry in the first syllable a contraction of the term uta, or dwelling, which would link it to the concept domo—that is domicile or being-in-the-house (estar en casa)—so vilified by Heidegger and Gusdorf. It also means "to be sitting down," which paradoxically takes us to sedere which is the source of the Spanish word being (ser). Finally Bertonio mentions the form utcaña, "the seat or chair and also the mother or womb where woman conceives." In short, the meanings of utcatha reflect the concept of a mere givenness or, even better, of a mere estar, but linked to the concept of shelter and germination.

The depth of feeling of an Indian when he is on Buenos Aires Street in La Paz and decides to take a bus to his ayllu must be understood in terms of utcatha and Da-sein. That is, he will inhabit his mere estar and under no conditions will feel the fall of any being (ser). Why? Because it appears that in that mere estar of utcatha, another element is present, which Bertonio points to when he transcribes a related term, namely, ut.ttaatha, "to exhibit or take things out to sell . . . in the plaza." Here the concept of plaza has an evident archetypal sense from the point of view of deep psychology since it is a symbol of the center of a world plotted in a magic planmy worldthe same one that Guaman Poma plots when he draws the map of Perú with the four couples that govern it. It is the existential and vital world of Guaman Poma and of the Indian in general that consequently has little or nothing to do with the real world detected by science, but rather with the reality lived daily by each person. And now the question can be posed: is this preference for the real which comes from a full feeling of estar no más [mere estar]is this not perhaps profoundly Américansomething in which both Indians and whites participate?

It is evident that a way of thinking sparked by a term like utcatha will not lead to a philosophy in the sense in which we understand that term today, but rather to a strict "love of wisdom." That is why it will not give rise to a theory of knowledge, but rather to a doctrine of contemplation. Terms such as sasitha, which Bertonio translates as "fasting in the manner of gentiles," or amuchatha, "to remember," whose first part, amu, or flower, also has a deep meaning in the psychology of the unconscious, seem to corroborate that the contemplative attitude toward the world predominates in indigenous thinking.

1 comment:

  1. Denise Levertov, "Some Notes on Organic Form:" "The varying speed and gait of different strands of perception within an experience (I think of strands of seaweed moving within a wave) result in counterpointed measures."