Philosophy and daily life

Student: "Happy the land that breeds a hero."
Galileo: "No. Unhappy the land that needs a hero."
(--Bertold Brecht, Galileo)[fn.112a[ Go to footnote! ]]
"It's not a civilized situation; it's a heroic one."
[fn.60b[ Go to footnote! ]]

[ Study at the School of Athens (Pierre Hadot + Raphael)! ]Philosophy does not exist in itself, but only in the philosophizing activity of persons. Edmund Husserl, whose philosophy is often characterized as an idealist (i.e., removed from daily life) solipsism, in fact hoped for the the transformation of daily life in all its aspects, especially including childrearing and education, to become pervasively self-reflective and self-accountable, thus realizing the practical institution of philosophy as an ongoing community of philosophers [Better: The open-ended and ever again self-renewing reconstruction of the human species and each individual human as the practicing realization of philosophy...].

Following is a quote in which Husserl describes the relationship between secure conditions of daily life (what D.W. Winnicott called: "a holding environment"...) and the possibility of philosophizing. I would like to contrast this statement with fashionable clichés about adversity and even madness being a condition for creative accomplishment -- for instance, Nietzsche's dictum that: "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger" -- Nietzsche's own biography providing evidence against this hypothesis!

Elsewhere on this website, I have referred to Josef Pieper's argument: Leisure is the Basis of Culture. Also, I have quoted lines from a Cat Stevens song, about the vulnerability of the human spirit: "...[T]ake your time. Think a lot. Think of everything you've got. For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not."

Insofar as philosophy (art, etc.) exists in adverse conditions (e.g., where the person must expend most of the best hours of his or her days at some job which does not contribute to the person's work in an honorific sense, but only provides them with an oxymoronically denominated: "living") -- under such conditions, I argue: the person's cultural accomplishments are despite, not because of (in the sense of being: facilitated by...) the adversities undergone. Furthermore, the best are not always the strongest, as the case of the father of modern evolutionary theory attests: Charles Darwin was a fragile person who was able to do his great work only due to inherited wealth and the ministrations of a devoted wife.

"To the philosopher and to a generation of philosophers, acting responsibly in a human and cultural space, there accrue, also deriving from this cultural space, responsibilities and corresponding actions. It is the same here as it is generally for men in times of danger. For the sake of the life-task that has been taken up [e.g., reflective thinking, and the reconstruction of the social world as self-reflective, self-accountable community], in times of danger one must first let these very tasks alone and do what will make a normal life possible again in the future. The effect will generally be such that the total life-situation, and with it the original life-tasks, has been changed or in the end has even become fully without an object. Thus reflection is required in every sense in order to right ourselves." (Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, Northwestern University Press, 1970, p. 392) [ ]
[ Go to Internet Husserl resources! ]
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This page is dedicated to my late friend and teacher, Prof. Emeritus Louis Forsdale.
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For the last decade of his life, he was hindered from pursuing his scholarly work, and his daily life was largely preoccupied, by coping with shoulder pain consequent to a chance "bad" arm motion, unnoticed when he did it, but which "strained something" -- such as any of us could do at any moment.
Read  Husserl's lecture: Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity (1935).
[ Study at the School of Athens! ]Study at The School of Athens (Pierre Hadot + Raphael).
[ For the 21st century: Slow food! Slow reflection on all the fast things us running around! ]Leisure is the basis of culture.  [ Leisure: Luxe, calme et volupte is the basis of culture! ]
Read Rabelais' description of a good place to live (Thélème).
Learn why a city can deserve to exist (Louis Kahn).
Return to description of a student's unleisured education at Havard.
What use is Husserlian "bracketing" of experience in daily life?
See also my page on Civilization and its Discontents.
Go to website Table of Contents.
Return to Brad McCormick's home page.
Return to site map.
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Copyright © 1999-2003 Brad McCormick, Ed.D. [ Email me! ]
11 March 2006CE (2006-03-11 ISO 8601)
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[ ] What is phenomenology?
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"In phenomenology... there is a method for philosophy. There is a reflection upon oneself which wants to be radical. It does not only take into consideration that which is intended by consciousness, but also searches for that which has been dissimulated in the intending of the object.... [T]he object in phenomenology is reconstituted in its world and in all the forgotten intentions of the thinking that absorbed itself into it. It is a manner of thinking concretely. There is in this manner a rigor, but also an appeal to listen acutely for what is implicit." (Emmanuel Levinas, Is It Righteous To Be?, Stanford Univ. Press, 2001, pp.93-94)
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[ ] [ Read Husserl's Vienna Lecture! ] [ Visit building to study The Decline of The West! ]
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[ Remember, reflect, renew.... ]
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[ Read brief quotes about the meaning of time! ]
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[ Erasmus of Rotterdam, writing.... ]
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[ This way to the egress! ]
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[ What does this fish mean? Check it out! ][ ] [ Dilbert cartoon: Clarity and accuracy vs meaningfulness ]
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Each person needs to be a peer member of a world, a family and a community: cosmos, oikos and polis.
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