Doubled inhabitations

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At Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Who is fooling who? Is anyone just simply there?

Doubled inhabitation is not between a social role and a neutral observer. There is a danger that we will take the duality to be the division between a role being played and a Weberian or economic maximizer behind all the roles. But the stage manager is not nakedly maximizing personal utilities from a position outside all rituals. There is no naked self behind it all, watching.

We often fantasize an absence of this doubling of participating and staging. We yearn for an impossible childhood without such duality. However, children too can live doubly. Once a three-year old child and I were playing Scare Me!, making faces and popping out from behind cushions; the child seemed completely terrified -- screams, frenzied face, trembling -- then suddenly he became quite calm, suggested changes in my mode of scaring him, then became all fright again.

We project back simplicity on children, as on our ancestors. What makes young children seem to have a one-level inhabitation is that they don't know as much about the cultural and physical machinery involved in staging our lives.