Phenomenology of Green Tea box 1

The green tea box.

Actually from where I’m sitting typing it is a rectangular box sitting on my red counter, with the French side turned toward me. Vert. But green nonetheless . . .

There are coils of green swirling on it, light greens shading into even lighter greens, all a refreshingly verdant foliage of genuine Chinese tea meaning-stuff. But isn’t it really ‘just a box of tea’? And yet the phenomenologists are telling me that, regardless of whether its green or vert or grun, IT still is the green object of my perceptual intent, which intent gathers it ‘there’ on my counter, curled onto a collective lap of comforting continuity in time and space. And these tendrils of language I use to fix the flux in place, when looked at more closely, reveal a strange complexity, an interactive multi-media art show of layered cognition, sensation, memory, whispering seamlessly beneath ‘it’s just a green tea box’. And just beginning now, or anytime, to consider it that way, like catching the trick of a perceptual illusion (Am I looking inside the transparent cube, or at its top?), thereby tampering with my own ‘taking it for granted function’, does change everything, does open up a whole new landscape of seeing, or injects a certain kind of poetic precision into ‘green tea box on red counter’. Reading Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Gendlin, I find myself haunted by the immense labour they put into explicating ‘the felt sense’ of their own versions of green tea boxes–a red book cover, an ashtray, a window that might or might not be opened if even noticed at all, a bus line-up, ‘democracy’.

This intellectual-cum-perceptual project is not a deconstruction, but an engagement with what is really at hand; it is grasping the green tea hand’s warm perceptual flesh, as it reaches out from the mysterious juncture that is me and my object.

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