The Meaning of Institution: the Deposited Sense
According to Merleau-Ponty, institution has to do with the deposit of a sense. This operation invokes a gesture of completion that is left to a future of recovery, modifications and alterations that expose that deposited sense to dialectical tensions between orthodox conservation and inevitable deviations. The decisive issue at stake is then announced precisely around this ambivalent status of the institution, which becomes the guardian of the deposited sense, not to fix it in a systematized repetition but to welcome, measure and ensure its evolution. Thus “instituting” indicates the ouverture d'un champ, the possibility of setting the sense in a container with an extensible shell. It deals with the capacity of preserving the duration of the sense originally deposited but also of increasing the quality of its substance in the course of history. On these dynamic potentialities of the “deposited” and administered sense Merleau-Ponty’s notes manage to glimpse an essential technical quality that, for example, Christianity has been able to exploit to the maximum.
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