In his new Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Cultural Liturgies) , James KA Smith provides this deft summary of Merleau-Ponty’s description of our “interinvolvement” with the world (p. 44):

“We build up a habitual way of being-in-the-world that is carried in our body, one that is ‘known’ on a level that precedes and eludes conscious reflection and objectification. ‘The body is the vehicle of being in the world, and to have a body is, for living creatures, to be inter involved in a definite environment, to identify oneself with certain projects and be continually committed to them.’ . . . My body is not just an object that moves through otherwise neutral space; rather, my body is surrounded by this ‘practical field’ that shapes and constitutes its world. The cup is pick-up-able because I have hands and it has a handle. It’s not even that I ‘see’ the cup ‘as’ pick-up-able; that is too objectifying. It is pick-up-able for me, for my body. The stairs or rocks are climbable because my practical field already constitutes them as such. So we can no longer separate the body as physiological mechanism from the ‘habit-body’ that has built up over time.”

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