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]|
|"It's not a civilized situation; it's a heroic one."|
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!
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."
nsofar 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
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)
|This page is dedicated to my late
friend and teacher, Prof. Emeritus Louis Forsdale.|
|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.|
|| Husserl's lecture: Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity (1935).
Study at The School of Athens (Pierre Hadot + Raphael).
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.
Copyright © 1999-2003 Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
11 March 2006CE (2006-03-11 ISO 8601)
||What is phenomenology?|
|"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)|
|Each person needs to be a peer member of a world, a family and a community: cosmos,
oikos and polis.|