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My Philosophy - Boogie Down Productions - VAGALUME
Philosophy did not mean simply cognisance of the universe that results from the sum total of the sciences in constant indetermination and transition , nor epistemology which is a subject of logic , nor the knowledge of the systems and texts of the history of philosophy such knowledge touches only the surface of thinking. Philosophy grew in me through my finding myself in the midst of life itself. Philosophical thought is practical activity , although a unique kind of activity. Philosophic meditation is an accomplishment by which I attain Being and my own self, not impartial thinking which studies a subject with indifference.
To be a mere onlooker were vain.
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Even scientific knowledge, if there is anything to it, is not a random observation of random objects; for the critical objectivity of significant knowledge is attained as a practice only philosophically in inner action. Philosophy as practice does not mean its restriction to utility or applicability, that is, to what serves morality or produces serenity of soul. The process, in which knowledge is employed as a means of thinking out the possibilities that, bear upon a finite objective, is a technical, not a philosophical, activity. Philosophising is the activity of thought itself, by which the essence of man, in its entirety, is realised in the individual man.
This activity originates from life in the depths where it touches Eternity inside Time, not at the surface where it moves in finite purposes, even though the depths appear to us only at the surface. It is for this reason that philosophical activity is fully real only at the summits of personal philosophising, while objectivised philosophical thought is a preparation for, and a recollection of, it.
At the summits the activity is the inner action by which I become myself; it is the revelation of Being; it is the activity of being oneself which yet simultaneously experiences itself as the passivity of being given-to-oneself. The mystery of this boundary of philosophising at which alone philosophy is real, is only circumscribed by the unrolling of thoughts in the philosophical work. Since the basic questions of philosophy grow, as practical activity, from life, their form is at any given moment in keeping with the historical situation; but this situation is part of the continuity of tradition.
The questions put earlier in history are still ours; in part identical with present ones, word for word, after thousands of years, in part more distant and strange, so that we make them our own only by translation. The basic questions were formulated by Kant with, I felt, moving simplicity: 1. What can I know? What shall I do? What may I hope? What is man? Today these questions have been reborn for us in changed form and thus become comprehensible to us anew also in their origin.
The transformation of these questions is due to our finding ourselves in the kind of life that our age produces:. Science has gained an ever-growing overwhelming importance; by its consequences it has become the fate of the world. Technically, it provides the basis for all human existence and compels the unpredictable transmutation of all conditions.
Its contents cause wonder and ever greater wonder. Its inversions cause scientific superstitions and a desperate hatred of science. Science cannot be avoided. It extends further than in Kant's time; it is more radical than ever, both in the precision of its methods and in its consequences.
The question "What can I know?
Seen from our point of view Kant still knew too much in Wrongly taking his own transcendental philosophy for conclusive scientific knowledge instead of philosophical insight to be accomplished in transcending and too little because the extraordinary mathematical, scientific and historical discoveries and possibilities of knowledge with their consequences were in great part still outside his horizon. The community of masses of human beings has produced an order of life in regulated channels which connects individuals in a technically functioning organisation, but not inwardly from the historicity of their souls.
The emptiness caused by dissatisfaction with mere achievement and the helplessness that results when the channels of relation break down have brought forth a loneliness of soul such as never existed before, a loneliness that hides itself, that seeks relief in vain in the erotic or the irrational until it leads eventually to a deep comprehension of the importance of establishing communication between man and man.
Even when regulating his existence man feels as if the waves of events had drawn him beyond his depth in the turbulent ocean of history and as if he now had to find a foothold in the drifting whirlpool. What was firm and certain has nowhere remained the ultimate. Morality is no longer adequately founded on generally valid laws. The laws themselves are in need of a deeper foundation. The Kantian question "What shall I do?
For the truth of generally valid laws for my actions is conditioned by the kind of communication in which I act. How can I reach the depth of possible communication? We experience the limits of science as the limits of our ability to know and as limits of our realisation of the world through knowledge and ability; the knowledge of science fails in the face of all ultimate questions.
We experience limits of communication: something is lacking even when it succeeds. The failure of knowledge and the failure of communication cause a confusion in which Being and truth vanish. In vain a way out is sought either in obedience to rules and regulations or in thoughtlessness. The meaning of truth assumes another value. Truth is more than what we call truth or rather correctness in the sciences. We want to grasp truth itself; the way to it becomes a new, more urgent, more exciting task. What can we know in the sciences?
How shall we realize the most profound communication?
How can truth become accessible to us? The three fundamental drives for knowledge, for communication and for truth produce these questions. Through them we reach the path of searching. But the aims of this searching are man and Transcendence or: the soul and the Deity. At them the fourth and fifth fundamental questions are aimed. In the world man alone is the reality which is accessible to me.
Here is presence, nearness, fullness, life. Man is the place at which and through which everything that is real exists for us at all. To fail to be human would mean to slip into nothingness. What an is and can become is a fundamental question for man. Man, however, is not a sufficient separate entity, but is constituted by the things he rices his own. In every form of his being man is related to something other than himself: as a being to his world, as consciousness to objects, as spirit to the idea of whatever constitutes totality, as Existenz to Transcendence.
Man always becomes man by devoting himself to this other. Only through his absorption in the world of Being, in the immeasurable space of objects, in ideas, in Transcendence, does he become real to himself. If he makes himself the immediate object of his efforts he is on his last and perilous path; for it is possible that in doing so he will lose the Being of the other and then no longer find anything in himself.
If man wants to grasp himself directly, he ceases to understand himself, to know who he is and what he should do. This confusion was intensified as a result of the process of education in the nineteenth century. The wealth of knowledge of everything that was produced a state in which it seemed that man could gain mastery over all Being without yet being anything himself. This happened because he no longer devoted himself to the thing as it was, but made it a function of his education. Where humanity founds itself only on itself, it is experienced again that it has no ground beneath it.
The question about humanity is pushed forward. It no longer suffices to ask beyond oneself with Kant "What may I hope? If the Deity is, then all hope is possible. Hence the question "What is man? The thesis becomes possible: Transcendence alone is the real Being. That the Deity is suffices. To be certain of that is the only thing that matters. Everything else follows from that.
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Man is not worth considering.