"I just want to dispel hidden realities which betray their appearances, or illusory facades which belie some more authentic realm... I don't want to bridge the abyss: I want to obviate the need for the bridge by unconjuring the abyss - closing the gap."I completely agree. The world is much more intimate than the gap-conjurers would have us believe. The distinction between ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ qualities only exists if you rely on a 17th century theory of cognition. And the distinction between ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ only appears if we privilege ocular experience over our other sensual capacities. Full-bodied human experience is neither merely visual nor reliant on some metaphysical distinct realm of the sensual in its contact with the world. What the gap-conjurers fail to appropriate is our contemporary knowledge of how human awareness is embodied, extended and deeply visceral. We directly encounter and experience other things through our bodies, through our flesh. Interacting entities are thus collisions between the inherent properties of relatively distinct objects and the capacities they individually embody. And all such 'collisions' are catalytic events with variable affects.
Such intimate contact between things is revealed everywhere. Our bodies have an ancestral continuity with stars, geological formations, bacteria, minerals, cellular communities, etc, that can afford earthly things direct access to each other. For example, objects can penetrate us and we them. Entities can be literally absorbed by us and we them. There is a dark creeping intimacy between all living and non-living beings that cannot be ontologized away. We are all of this world.
However such access is never complete. Our fleshy encounters are only partial because each entity retreats into its individuality – as realized in its material and organizational depths. The individuality of an existent being is an expression of that being’s organized extensive properties and intensive relations. And these rambling assemblages of temporal properties and relations can be said to “withdraw” into the depths of their onto-specific structural complexity, which makes it hard for us to contact or experience them in their entirety.
Likewise, ‘withdrawal’ is also only ever partial precisely because all objects/assemblages remain intertwined, embedded, supported and in contact with the world. All objects come from the same ever-present background. That is to say, all individualities are intimately of this world - emboded immanent properties and relations that can, for the most part, be touched, investigated and intervened upon given the right methods or tools.
Take, for example, the encounter between an apple and a horse. An apple is partially ‘withdrawn’ from a horse who holds it in its teeth because the teeth of the horse are only in contact with the skin of the apple, leaving the inner non-skin parts of the apple “hidden” and temporarily in excess of the horses bite. It is in this sense that the horse can be said to be in direct contact with the real apple, but not in its entirety. There are aspects of the apple that are partially withdrawn. Yet when the horse bites into the apple a deeper kind of access is granted, and the apple’s individuality has been compromised. And when the horse subsequently begins to digest the apple the very distinction between the apple and the horse begins to break down. In this case the interaction between apple and horse seemlessly evolves from a) partial contact and withdrawnness to b) deeper disclosure and access, and eventually to c) total absorption and disintegration in a way that completely obviates the need to posit an unbridgeable ‘gap’ between either the two objects ‘in themselves’, or between the horse’s encounter with the apple and its experience of that encounter. In an intimately enmeshed and complicated cosmos these things often touch, mix and mingle in ways that are specific to what they in fact are.
Similarly, there is no good reason why we should conjure a gap between the real and the sensual. And we need only look at one more concrete example to understand why. Take, for example, when two humans interact and shake hands. When people shake hands they make direct but partial contact via their epidermal extensions (skin), while at the same time the ‘totality’ of each person’s individuality remains more rather than less ‘withdrawn’. Such contact triggers a cascade of reactions from the extensive properties and capacities of the skin throughout the body and central nervous system that eventually affects the wider self-system and governing dynamics of the individuals involved, and in very specific ways – depending on the biology, personality, memories, cultural leanings, dramaturgical background and intentions of each individual. This cascade of direct but partial contact and affective stimulation is a more or less intimate experiential event that, again, completely obviates the need to conjure up a distinct and mediating sensual realm outside of 'the real' where "vicars" bridge the gap between encounters and experience. Our worldly (actual) properties mingle directly but partially with the relatively withdrawn or undisclosed worldly (actual) properties of the other person. And the same goes with all objects. The mix and mingle (and sometimes mangle) of objects is always direct (immanent) and partial (withdrawn).
And to reiterate, in the context of the hand-shake example, just because two people contact and experience each other directly on an immanent plane of actuality, or a shared worldliness (of hand-shaking), doesn't mean that they necessarily experience each other completely (e.g., simultaneously having access to each other’s spleens, brain stems, bones, etc.). Their encounter is direct but partial precisely because there are aspects of each other’s individuality that are structurally withdrawn.
It is in this sense that I suggest objects do in fact “withdraw” but are also partially vulnerable to direct intervention and contact with other objects. There are points of contact between things even while things themselves are partially structurally withdrawn from each other.
See Also: ‘Emanating Sensations and Immanent Properties’