Is order synonymous with a clean mind
Fictional conversation between Martin Buber and Christine Schnaiter
Buber: "It is the question of the principle of being human, that is, of its beginning. This cannot be meant as a beginning in time. It is not appropriate to try to determine when and how a certain species of living being takes place to be satisfied, like the others, with the perception of things and conditions, and also began to perceive one's own perception to find out where it has its basis and beginning "(Buber, 1960, p. 9).
In my book "The Problem of Man" I start from the fourth - the anthropological - question of Kant:
4. "What is man?"
The first three questions
1. "What can I know (also not know)?"
2. "What should I do?"
3. "What can I hope for?"
are questions that deal with the finitude of human beings and that have to be answered in terms of metaphysics, morality and religion. The fourth question, however, is about finitude in man, about the "essence of existence" itself. The meaning of the fourth question can be traced back to the first three: "What kind of being is it that can know, do that should that may hope? " The essential knowledge of this being is revealed to me. At the same time as finitude we must recognize participation in infinity. The finite works in him, and the infinite, not as two properties, but as the duality of a process (see Buber, 1954, pp. 11-15).
Christine: The "essence of existence" - how a person is there, in what way he is a person, how he is part of finitude and part of infinity - that is my topic that interests me very much, in connection with the disabled People. This is where the anthropological question comes to a head in a special way today, when the human condition of severely disabled people is being questioned. Can it make sense to be born as a disabled person and to live or have to live? Can there be a difference in being human? Do such questions only matter to people who are confronted with them, or do they ultimately concern everyone?
It is part of the essence of man to reflect on himself and his fellow human beings, to create a picture of himself and the others. Often it is personal difficulties, disappointments, hopes, longings or fears that raise the question of the human image. For me, the trigger was the personal involvement in dealing with and working with disabled people. Does a different image of man apply to them - perhaps unconsciously - with regard to dignity, justice and the right to life?
Buber: I could now say "No, there can only be one image of man for everyone, because man is essentially indivisible - a whole". I hope, however, that after our conversation and after studying my related books on anthropology, the philosophy of dialogue and the explanations of my concept of spirit, you will come to this conclusion yourself. For this we want to retrace the path of the problem in order to see what history the human spirit has gone through.
Man is himself the most worthy object of reflection. Nevertheless, he shies away from treating this object as a whole, according to its meaning and being, which has repeatedly led to resignation. Either one takes care of other philosophical things between heaven and earth, or one divides people into districts - that is less problematic and less binding (see Buber, 1954, p. 9f).
Kant also did not attempt to clarify his fourth question as a whole. He must have made a wealth of valuable remarks about human knowledge, e.g. about egoism, about sincerity and lies, about fantasy, about fortune telling, about dreams, about mental illnesses, about jokes, etc. But he does not ask what a person really is and not according to the problems that are implicitly given in this question, such as:
the special position of man in the cosmos
his relationship to fate
its relationship to the world of things
his understanding of others
its existence as a being that knows about dying
his attitude in the encounters (see ibid., p. 12).
Kant's sub-areas are of course interesting and also important for your topic, but if we do not reflect the totality of the human being, we cannot come to the view of human being that you are looking for, which is valid for everyone. We have to systematically record all differences (human species, peoples, types, characters, ages, etc.), every peculiarity in its dynamics, from the ever-new evidence of the one in the many (see ibid., P. 18).
Christine: An image of man for everyone has long been a fundamental right requirement in our society and given the recognition of the "General Human Rights" of the United Nations from 1948. These human rights are part of a general human morality that can be traced back to the Christian doctrine of natural law by Thomas Aquinas. In 1975 there was also a resolution of its own on the rights of the mentally retarded, which forbids any kind of discrimination. But these moral concepts, about which there is largely consensus, were only partially realized, which probably results from the political-economic conditions, from the attitude of society towards minorities and from the lack of solidarity of the individual (see Anstötz, 1990, p. 41- 47).
Buber: It has a lot to do with the lack of recognition of being human itself - with the I-You, I-It, as I expound in my philosophy of dialogue. But more about that later.
In order to come to a self-reflection, to come to oneself as a person, to be able to recognize the wholeness of the human being, I have to crystallize everything that I find in myself, subjectively - not objectively as a viewer. If I want to know, I have to perform every dimension of being as a concrete act of life, expose myself to no philosophical security, "throw myself into the foaming waves in order to recognize the waves"; lose myself - otherwise I only learn about people as one thing among things. Only when one is only there is wholeness there, can it be grasped (see Buber, 1954, p. 20f).
Christine: It often happens in the care of disabled people that the person is no longer seen as a person, but as a thing about which one determines. I think of the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson, who really let himself - at first not entirely voluntarily, but in the end - really let himself be "disabled" and not only, which would be a positive thing , on the "handicapped". He has immersed himself in this dimension of human existence, has identified with it and has thus come to a completely new understanding of the disabled and, as a result, to a different way of dealing with them.
The psychoanalytical educational counseling recommends this identification - this entering into childhood - by parents and educators in order to change problematic situations from the ground up.
Buber: These examples confirm my theory that people tend to reflect on themselves only when they are in trouble, when they are lonely, when they are alone with their problems. Then the thoughts become fruitful, the person meets himself. "In the history of the human spirit I distinguish between epochs of dwelling and epochs of homelessness. In some, people live in the world as in a house, in others they live in the world like in the open field and sometimes does not even have four stakes to pitch a tent. In the first there is the anthropological thought only as a part of the cosmological, in the second the anthropological thought gains its depth and with it its independence give a few examples here and thus take a look at a few chapters of the prehistory of a philosophical anthropology "(ibid., p. 22f).
The world of Aristotle (384-322 BC), the world of the Greeks, was an optical one, shaped by the sense of sight and the hegemony that enabled the people to lead a pictorial existence and to base a culture on education - a world of things. Man is one thing among firmly established things, an objectively comprehensible species alongside other species; not like the platonic person who was only a guest abroad. He has his own safe home in the world house and therefore the prerequisites for the question of the essence of man are missing (see ibid., P. 23f).
Christine: I would like to add the social development in dealing with the disabled to this problem story. Perhaps connections will become recognizable.
Classical antiquity had a negative attitude towards the disabled - visibly deformed or sick children were usually killed. The child should be raised to be a strong soldier. Special help was only available for war invalids because they had made a contribution to the preservation of the state (see Haeberlin, 1988, p. 45).
(There are still remnants in our society - war invalids, for example, are better off than civilian invalids in some areas).
In Judaism, people believed that all illnesses, ailments and possessions are caused by evil spirits. The evil spirits were confronted with the power of God (see ibid., P. 46).
A new time dawned with Jesus - he was probably "unhoused" in the world, a "lonely" one. A good prerequisite for the spirit and the anthropological thought. He took special care of the marginalized and disadvantaged and valued them by describing them as particularly loved by the "father", which gave their existence meaning. Jesus healed the sick through "touch" and advocated letting them live in community. The healing of the possessed of Geresa (Mk. 5, 2-20) reports - in addition to a dramatic frame - that Jesus spoke to him and the "healed" then sat "clothed and sensible" among the others (integration).
Buber: Augustine (354-430 AD) was the first to re-pose the anthropological question after Aristotle. Aristotle's unified world had long since disintegrated. The dualism of gnosis separated mind and matter. The globe was split into two parts - an above and a below, a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness, heaven and hell. Here man can no longer be a thing among things, and he can no longer have a fixed place in the world. The human being, consisting of soul and body, became the arena of battle and the price of battle - divided between the two realms. The house had crumbled.
Augustine was a homeless person in the world, lonely between upper and lower powers. In direct address he asks: "What is the person that you think of him?" namely the one who can give information - God. Man's astonishment at himself, as part of an amazing world, is what makes Augustine tremble. He takes refuge in the Christian doctrine of redemption. Christianity becomes the new cosmic house - one closed in on itself.
Thomas von Aquin (1225-1274) finds in the sheltered, calm, unproblematic person no self-confrontation and no drive to ask the anthropological question (see Buber, 1954, pp. 24-28).
It is only 200 years later that people are taken seriously as people. Nikolaus Cusanus (1404-1464) writes: "All being prefers its own way of being to all other kinds of being". The human being becomes more and more perfect in his way and thus contributes to the harmony of the universe. Man has all things in him as relationships and values - like God, who is his archetype.
The human being is autonomous and power-conscious, so that he does not perceive the actual question about his being. Man can know, but there is no question of "what can he know?" opens up. Man is not yet lonely (see ibid., P. 28ff).
Christine: There have been many examples of Christian mercy towards the disabled since the Middle Ages, but a lot of misunderstanding and disastrous superstitions originate from this period, some of which we still have to struggle with today. E.g .:
The amalgamation of the abnormal and the abnormal with the evil up to the demonization of the frail child and corresponding exorcisms (see Haeberlin, 1988, p. 45f).
"According to M. Luther (1483-1546) there are children who have been superseded by the devil, whom he calls 'Wechselkinder', 'Wechselbälge' or 'Kielköpf'. He calls such devilish children 'massa carnis' (a piece of meat); he wanted to 'risk the homicidium (human murder) on it' by drowning "(Rotter, 1987, p. 111).
"The amalgamation of the question of cause with the question of guilt (intoxicated children).
The projection of the cause into a transcendent area in such a way that the frail child is perceived as a punishment from God against the parents or the society "(Haeberlin, 1988, p. 46).
These thoughts still have their effects today, as we will see in Part II.
Buber: It is time to give the mind more space.
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) breaks the house through the question of the infinity of the world, and thus the perspective arises: "What is the person who is exposed to infinity?"
Christine: So the higher order is being called into question. The response of society, especially the church, was accordingly. Panic fear for their world spread. The human being, the earth, is no longer the supposed God-willed center of the universe. Scientists like Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei were condemned as heretics and it took 400 years for them to be rehabilitated.
Buber: Blaise Pascal`s (1623-1662) loneliness is even more complete and harder to overcome than that of Augustine. He poses the anthropological question even more radically: "What is the infinitely great, what is the infinitely small?" The question of human limitations and inadequacy arises.
What special position does a person have, whose spirit can still recognize in the passing away - recognition of the relationship between the world and oneself. This leads to a new set of problems: "How does a person stand in relation to the world?" (see Buber, 1954, p. 30ff).
That was the end of a worldview, a world security that led to ever new questions for homeless people. The way from one crisis to the next was to go. New, unprecedented things could well result in a new worldview, but not a new world house in which to settle down. No dwelling can be built from infinity and infinity.
Even much later, after Albert Einstein (1879-1955), who made the concept of finite space conceivable but inconceivable, the world could no longer be converted into a house. The person who thinks the world no longer really lives in it. (Space had not yet conquered space). Later on, no worldview will be sustainable at all. When we have processed modern cosmology into our natural thinking, we will have to give up having a picture of our world. To live in a world that cannot be formed will be our world feeling (see ibid., P. 33ff).
Christine: We must also refrain from classifying and evaluating people. If we create a grid to categorize people, we can only see a small section - but we miss the entire person.
The post-relativistic understanding of my time is epistemologically no longer rooted in the humanities, but in the natural sciences, which are increasingly turning to philosophy: in physics (especially thermodynamics and quantum theory), in chemistry and biology. A corresponding worldview and thus also an image of life and the evolution of living things - including the development of an individual - is anchored in complex theories, which are referred to with the keywords of self-organization and co-evolution theory. In this context it becomes clear that fundamental psycho-social properties of living systems cannot be denied even to people in whom we cannot perceive them. We are only guided by an extremely narrow sector of perception. This holistic way of thinking, this holistic conception, this diversity of the manifestations of human life, which does not allow the term "otherness" and thus also "mental handicap", must find its way into a new image of man. Connected with this is criticism and departure from scientific-objective reason and unlimited functionalism (see Feuser, 1996, p. 5).
In such an understanding, one cannot speak of "learning disabled" or "poorly performing". Because everyone learns and performs for a lifetime.
Buber: But back to Spinoza (1632-1677): He accepted astronomical infinity and robbed it of its eeriness. Expansion is just one of the many attributes of Infinite Substance - God. This infinite substance loves, it loves itself and it also loves itself in people, and especially in people. So man is a being in whom God loves himself. Cosmology and anthropology have been reconciled. Nevertheless there is no new security of being-in-the-world, but homelessness is no longer a problem.A reconciliation has taken place out of the knowledge of God's love (see Buber, 1954, pp. 35-38).
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) took up the anthropological problem as an answer to Pascal's concern, the dubiousness of humans in the face of infinite space. Epistemologically, he says that the secret of space and time is the secret of your own understanding of the world and your own being. The answer to the question "What is man?" you have to look for yourself. This is a legacy to our age - a time of self-restraint and self-reflection: the anthropological hour. He himself did not answer the question, but posed it with such clarity and urgency that it remains posed (see ibid., Pp. 38-41).
Christine: It is a very long way before a person can penetrate to his essence. Too much happens around him and with him, too little is man concerned with the actual "being" and the "difference" of being human. In the Enlightenment thinking, the intellect is in the foreground. How could one deal with intellectual disabilities? The mentally retarded child is pushed aside as uninteresting. And yet there was a man, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who combined the Enlightenment belief in reason with a deep piety. He was convinced of the need for education and the ability to be educated in all children, including the mentally handicapped.
This in a time when disability was equated with poverty, need, helplessness and unhappiness (see Haeberlin, 1988, p. 47). These ascriptions, which are always associated with social weakness, are still held by disabled people today.
In the second half of the 19th century, the first special schools emerged, which were boarding schools and were based on initiatives by individuals (no state schools) (see ibid., P. 51). The theoretical foundation of the racial ideology, which was then particularly taken up by the National Socialists, also fell during this period. The French Arthur Gobineau (1816-1882) and the English Charles Darwin (1809-1882) formulated the principle of selection. In society, on the other hand, the poor, the sick, the weak, the handicapped (the "inferior") are protected through "humanity", which is actually a "humanity drudgery", through modern medicine and through social reforms, and thus the law "of the natural" Selection "withdrawn. The "inferior" are favored at the expense of the "valuable".
The "social question" also became significant: in industrial society, the "useful" formed the staff of the new factories. For the "unusable" special institutions of the social care system served - old people's homes, madhouses, prisons, etc. were set up. Society was divided into "valuable" and "inferior", "worthless" people.
A tightening of the handling of those stigmatized as a social "burden" brought profitability accounts that have not yet been overcome. (A lecture by Peter Singer at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Innsbruck at the beginning of the 1990s was: "What does a person cost?"). In 1911 the Frankfurt magazine "Umschau" (a weekly for the progress in science and technology) wrote a competition with the topic: "What do the bad racial elements cost the state and society?" The text of the invitation to tender stated, among other things: "... The reduction in the generation of negative variants is becoming an increasingly imperative requirement of our time ..." (see Malina, 1990, pp. 134-140).
Buber: An important man before that time who tried to build a new house was Georg Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831). Hegel actually turned away from the anthropological question. It starts from reason and not from people. Man is only the principle in which world reason reaches its perfect self-consciousness and thus its perfection. "What is man?" Seems to have been answered: "Reason!" In truth, however, the question has been obscured and canceled. Man can know without limits. According to the idea he can realize everything that is in reason. Hegel's house is a house in time - in the finite and in the infinite, but not a house in space - in the world. Time is the highest power of all being. As history it can be fully experienced and understood, as the rational realization of the spirit; but as a home?
The rebellion comes at once (not just as in earlier times in several centuries of critical work), namely the question of the anthropological perspective. The Hegelian World House is admired but not entered. The ancient man felt at home in the world of Aristotle, the Christian man in the world of Thomas Aquinas, but modern man does not really enter the world of Hegel. Hegel was unable to calm the anthropological unrest. The thoughtful worldview based on the cosmological time cannot give a feeling of security. Cosmological time is not man's concrete time, but his mental time. You can think of it, but you can't live with it. History is without knowledge of the future and without consciousness of the pure present. Conviction in development cannot replace messianic faith.
Let’s recall the three big attempts to secure:
1. the cosmological of Aristotle (Man is thing among things, objectively comprehensible species alongside other species)
2. the theological of Thomas Aquinas (Faith in God explains people)
3. Hegel's logological (Man is the principle in which reason comes to perfection).
Christine: So whenever a person has built a secure order, "humanization" has gone downhill. So when I'm sure, I'm no longer open to others, and I'm slowly becoming curious as to whether there will ever be a house that will last, in which the spirit can settle. A house, too, in which we humans can live without being at the mercy of the constant fear of the new / strange, and in which we can nevertheless penetrate to the essence of humans. I suppose you are dealing with such a utopia?
Buber: Yes, and it doesn't have to be a utopia. The human being finds his meaning and his task in the community. However, getting involved with the other and the "in-between" is also accompanied by fear. But it can be mastered by the double principle of being human, the rhythm of actuality and latency. But more of that in Part II.
Now we are approaching perspectives that see people not only as individuals, but as a community - an important step in development.
Karl Marx's (1818-1883) history theory is based on Hegel's dialectic. Assurance as to man's perfection in the world is proclaimed; messianism is being secularized. This gives rise to a belief based on sociological reduction. A worldview is no longer conveyed, but an image of society. Instead of the Hegelian idea or world reason, the human relations of production appear. For Marx they are what is essential and essential. There is no other origin and no other principle. A change in society results in a change in human relations of production and vice versa. The perspective of being, in which there is first and last, is dispensed with. This creates a home in which the human being can live. A security is established in which the proletariat will exist and live on. The future is tied to the immediately experienced present and secured by it. Life itself - not thinking - has the power to build life. The mind recognizes the power of life (see Part III, The Reality of Mind).
With Hegel a speculative certainty grew out of the star orbit and the path of history. In Marx, the human world is ascribed security of the future. Today this security is lost in the orderly chaos of a terrible historical turn (written in 1954!).
A new anthropological fear has arisen, but no longer in philosophical garb but in the nakedness of existence (not only in thinking, but in concrete life). Overshadowed by despair, man must try to answer the question of man's nature through his own decision (see Buber, 1954, pp. 42-57).
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872): The sociological reduction of Marx is preceded by the anthropological reduction of Feuerbach. He opposes the dialectic of Hegel insofar as he does not use abstract reason, but the real and whole essence of man as a principle. Pure being - the human being - not an immediate object - the first - is the beginning of philosophy. The world reason of Hegel is only a new concept for God and shifts the human being from concrete being to abstract being. Feuerbach wants to make people, anthropology, a universal science that makes the whole person the beginning of philosophizing. Thereby being is now reduced to the human being there. But the question "What is man?" has not entered it. Yes, he renounces it. That makes people unproblematic. But the real human being, who also faces his non-human being, is not without its problems. On the contrary, it is the beginning of all problems - as with Nietzsche.
Feuerbach's great merit is his concern for people in community. For him it is not about the individual person, but about the essence of the person in community, about the person with the person, the connection between me and you - an elementary event. But it is not about the essence of the human being.
From Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) My philosophical-anthropological question about being human is entangled with your social history of the disabled, and with wholeparticularly tragic effects in National Socialism.
Nietzsche sees humans as problematic beings. He poses the anthropological question with strength and passion, but unfortunately without interpersonal relationships. Man is something that is only just becoming. He suffers from the separation from the animal past. He suffers from the problem of his mind. It is a transition, an embryo of the human being of the future. He's just gone. Why should he do this to himself? Why should he suffer if it's not about him at all? Nietzsche has no answer.
Christine: That is also the argument in favor of euthanasia. Why suffer? A question that is certainly difficult to answer, and certainly not if we do not believe in our possibility of self-transcendence. If people can ask and answer this question for themselves, that's not the problem either. But if someone is to be determined, and this is the case in the area of severely disabled people, in my opinion no one can ask and answer this question because we cannot determine the value of life for someone else (see Part II, Euthanasia).
Buber: With Nietzsche, life unfolds out of the will to power. Only ascetic ideals and a bad conscience hold down the striving for power. If man yielded to the will to power, he would have a clear conscience. We should create these people. - Basically an animal, but an animal that can promise the future.
This answer is wrong: man is mighty, but power alone cannot be a goal. The goal is the realization of being human. Power without a goal is a sick relationship - empty. The spirit no longer becomes flesh.
Nietzsche did not create a positive foundation for a philosophical anthropology, but gave it a powerful impetus. Man is not a species, but a category. We perceive something in people that we cannot explain to ourselves from nature and its development alone. Nietzsche does not recognize this primal problem and reduces the human being to the genetic.
Kant created man as a border problem between nature and another realm (ether of the spirit). Nietzsche made it a marginal problem: pushed from the inside to the edge, to the dangerous end of natural being, to nothing. Perhaps man is the forerunner of a future being; a becoming? Man is either a decadent animal - destined to die out, or he is the superman as something new and successful (see ibid., Pp. 58-74).
Christine: Something new, perfect - without weaknesses? The argumentation of utilitarian philosophers and bioethicists such as Murphy or Singer, which I will come back to later, is very reminiscent of this "non-anthropology", which also led to the terms "unworthy life" or "master people" under National Socialism.
This way of thinking led to the forced sterilization of suspected "hereditary offspring" and ultimately led to the extermination of 70,273 people. When Hitler officially stopped euthanasia on August 27, 1941 because of the protest of the churches, the target of the killing of 65,000 - 70,000 disabled people had already been fulfilled. However, child euthanasia continued.
These thoughts were already present in the First World War. The fear arose that the best would sacrifice themselves in the struggle for existence, while the "inferior" and "unworthy of defense" would get away scot-free, which would have a negative effect on reproduction. In 1920 the lawyer Karl Binding and the physician Erich Hoche published a text: "The release of the destruction of unworthy life" (see Malina, 1990, pp. 140-155).
Buber: Nietzsche undertook with passionate seriousness to understand humans from the animal world. In doing so, the specific problematic of humans has not faded, but has only really become visible. The question has arisen how man emerged and stepped out of the animal world. It is a fact that there is a being in the world who recognizes a world as a world, a space as space, a world time as world time and who knows himself therein as knowing. That means that the real world in our sense only exists through man. Nietzsche did not care about the sociology of knowledge, tradition, language, generation, human interaction, the sociology of human beings with human beings in general. Yes, he despised this basic fact.
The person who knows a world is the person with the person. This emergence cannot be understood from the animal world itself. And so the question is posed with renewed urgency. We must call on spirit and nature and ask the community for information so that they can tell us what they have to say. At different times the mind was turned once more (in the sense of intellect), once more of nature (in the sense of animal) to, the power of the community has not been invoked (see Buber, 1954, p. 75ff). Such catastrophes as you have described are not possible out of the community, out of the I-Thou relationship.
Christine: Georg Feuser said: "How else could the killing of a severely impaired life, its high costs and its low social benefit, be resisted and put to a halt, as is hard calculated today, than through the shared community of disabled and non-disabled people in all life- and learning fields? " (Feuser, 1996, p. 2).
Buber: We will reflect on this in more detail in Part II and Part III. Now I am going to continue my history of human problems with recent experiments:
In our time the anthropological problem has matured and is recognized and treated as an independent philosophical problem. Two factors contributed significantly to this:
the sociological factor: the old organic forms of direct human coexistence have disintegrated. These communities were of such a qualitative nature that time and again people are born into them or grow into them as fate and vital tradition - that is, not as the result of a free agreement. Such organically grown communities are: families, plant cooperatives, village and town communities. The French Revolution had made people politically free and led to a bourgeois society. The loss of the hierarchical order resulted in an increase in human loneliness. Now the homeliness of the organic community, a sociological security that saved him from the feeling of being completely abandoned, slipped away from the person who had already lost the home of the world. The new forms of society - the association, the trade union, the party - could well ignite a collective passion, but they could not fill human life. The old organic forms, if they continued to exist, had become empty and soulless. It was time again for the deep loneliness, which was often masked by the hustle and bustle, but which again confronted people with the reason for existence.
the intellectual or soul-historical factor: A completely new crisis arose: man's lagging behind his works. The world created by man himself was no longer manageable. She became stronger than man. She now faces him independently, and he no longer knows how to tame her. This experience took place in three areas:
in the field of technology: the machines that should serve people take them into their service.They are not - like the tools - the extension of the human arm, but the human being becomes their extension. He "operates" the machines.
in the field of economy: production, enormously increased, has not been properly coordinated and seems to outgrow human beings (1954!).
In the field of political events: During the First World War, people learned how they were at the mercy of incomprehensible powers which, although related to the will of man, ran down everything human and destroyed everything on all sides. (How much more so in World War II, the Balkan Wars, etc.). Man seemed to be a father of demons that he could not control. This is one of the reasons why the most important works in the field of philosophical anthropology were written after the First World War (see Buber, 1954, pp. 81-84).
Christine: These two factors have also shown their effects in the area of disability. Sociologically, the human being is institutionalized: State madhouses arise. Scientifically and technically everything seems to be feasible. Today we are working on the "construction" of the "perfect" person who "works" and causes the state as few follow-up costs as possible. Reproductive technologists, genetic engineers and human geneticists seem to be calling for ghosts here too, which they may no longer be able to keep under control.
Buber: Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), the creator of the phenomenological method, as a member of the Jewish people was deeply affected by both factors. As a Jew in Germany, he was discriminated against and later even persecuted. It was not inhabited (1). As a German with a Jewish tradition, technology and business "overwhelmed" him and made him feel insecure (2).
Husserl did not work on philosophical anthropology himself, but wrote a treatise on the human problem:
The greatest historical phenomenon is that which struggles for its self-understanding, and not only that of the historians and philosophers, but also the quiet struggle of the human spirit to understand the mystery of human existence. To this end, one can show a historical path of philosophical anthropology for the development of man.
In the second sentence Husserl questions the man of reason. Reason cannot be represented as specifically human and that which is not reason as non-specific. Since Descartes there has been repeated attempts to look at what is common to non-human beings as what is "natural" in human beings. "Rather, the depth of the anthropological question is only touched when we recognize what is specifically human in what is not a rational being in a person. Man is not a centaur, but rather a person. One can only understand him if one knows on the one hand that in everything human, even in thought, there is something that belongs to the general nature of living beings and can be grasped from it; on the other hand, that there is nothing human that belongs entirely to the general nature of living beings and only from it The hunger of man is not the hunger of an animal either. Human reason is only in connection with human non-reason (Mind and drive) to understand. The problem of philosophical anthropology is the problem of a specific wholeness and its specific context "(Buber, 1954, p. 87).
"Humanity in general is essentially human in generatively and socially connected humanities" (ibid., P. 88). The essence of the human being is not to be found in isolated minorities but in the bond with their generation and with their society (see ibid., Pp. 85-88).
Christine: Husserl speaks from my soul. In terms of nature, humans can never be equated with animals, even if the phylogenetic descent goes back to the animal. (This thought has only existed since Charles Darwin (1809-1882) - before that, humans never had the idea of comparing their nature with animals).
Attempts to define being human according to certain criteria, as distinguishing features from being an animal, have never been satisfactory either. Attempts by certain bioethicists to determine a time for human life to begin go from conception to four weeks after birth. During this time killing should be allowed (as we also kill animals) - severely disabled people even later. We come closer to this topic in Part II in the discussion of the rights of life that we inevitably have to hold.
The criteria by which human existence is judged are:
reflective intelligence, self-confidence, uniqueness, self-control, responsibility, sense of time: future-present-past, knowledge of transitoriness, ability to relate and communication, thirst for knowledge, knowledge of death, balance between rationality and feeling, the neocortical function: the brain function, without the there is only organic life, but no person (see Anstötz, 1990, pp.74-80).
Animals also meet some of these criteria. On the other hand, each of these criteria does not exist in certain phases of human life, e.g. in fetuses, small children, in trance, in unconsciousness, in sleep, etc. It is also not possible to determine exactly when they will come into force again. Especially with regard to the ability to have relationships, limits cannot be defined, because when can it be said with certainty that a severely disabled person has no relationship?
Buber: Sören Kierkegaardrepresents the relationship to God as the highest. How much less can we presume to regard human life as ended with the loss of the ability to relate. Because how can we know when our relationship with God will end in this world? Probably only when death has occurred?
With his theological anthropology, Sören Kierkegaard (1813-1855) influenced Heidegger's phenomenological anthropology and laid the foundations for today's philosophical anthropology. Kierkegaard says that thinking cannot authenticate itself, but can only be authenticated from the existence of the thinking person. The same is true of faith. Faith must transform life at its core. Faith must be a relationship of life, an existential striving, otherwise it is worth nothing (see Part III, The Reality of Spirit). The lack of this practice of faith is his criticism of Christianity. Faith must be realized and embodied - a transition from possibility in the spirit to reality in the wholeness of the person. Kierkegaard places man - in his problem of ontic connection with the absolute - in a mutual relationship from person to person, i.e. the absolute enters into this relationship as a person (see Buber, 1954, pp. 89-93). Man faces God, only that is important; not the relationship between humans and humans or even humans with animals or things.
Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976) takes fundamental ontology, i.e. the doctrine of existence as such, as the basis. Dasein is a being that has a relationship to its own being and an understanding of this being. As such a being we only know man. Fundamental ontology does not deal with the diversity and complexity of humans, but exclusively with their existence. Man is only interested in his behavior in which he comes to himself and in his behavior in which the self is missed (see ibid., P. 94).
Christine: When does man miss his self? What if he has deficits? The disabled person is often judged according to his deficits and it seems to me that precisely because of this there is no room left to come to the self. Probably only the person can miss his / her self, who culpably misses the relationship in your sense.
Buber: I won't go into that until later, in the chapter on the spirit of relationship.
It is anthropologically not justified to detach existence from real human life, as Heidegger does. Does this separated existence have anything to do with actual human beings at all? Real existence can only be grasped in connection with the relationship to one's being and with the nature of the being to which man relates. E.g. the human being as existence is a being towards death. There is no sustaining force without the destructive one. How does man see his end? Does he have the courage to anticipate the wholeness of existence, which is only revealed in death?
In objective being, death is there every second as a force that struggles with the force of life and not only at the time of death. This struggle determines existence, the behavior towards being in every moment.
Man cannot be separated from this understanding of reality. However, Heidegger only takes individual categories, such as the individual's behavior towards their own being, but not how they relate to others. But that only opens up a part of life to us - probably with an independent character - but not a part of the whole real life as it is actually lived. We are in a strange chamber of the mind with profound rules, but only "rules of the game" of an ingenious game that can be fatal because it only partially encompasses real life.
Some such "chambers" could still be passed through, such as the concept of guilt. Heidegger assumes that from everyday life that
someone "owes" someone else,
someone is "to blame" for something,
someone "becomes guilty" of another, that is, causes a lack in the existence of another.
Here, however, it is only a question of "indebtedness" not the original and actual guilt of man, which makes it possible to become guilty. According to Heidegger, existence in itself is already guilty insofar as it is not fulfilled. It gets stuck in the general human and does not bring man's self into being. Dasein does not come to being through the guilt of Dasein (see ibid., P. 98).
Christine: Would that be equated with the original sin of the Catholic Church? Original sin is a state in which all people are born. This original sin goes back to the fall of the angels. Lucifer, of his own free will, refused obedience, the relationship, to God - he wanted to shine out of himself. The temptation to sin against Adam and Eve resulted from this original guilt. Only from the "irrevocable character" of the decision did "evil" come into the world - as something caused, not something created (see Catechism, 1993, pp. 128-133).
Buber: In my book "Pictures of Good and Evil" I go into more detail on this topic. It is actually the indecision that is the first stage to evil; but here we get far into theology. Perhaps we can learn more about this in Part III (Spirit - Sin Against the Spirit), but it is true that being guilty always has to do with denial of a relationship. Cain responded to God's call: "Where are you?" "Where is your brother?" not answered (Buber, 1986, p. 28).
"Heidegger is right that all understanding of indebtedness has to go back to an original guilt. He is right that we are able to discover original guilt. But we cannot do it by cutting off a part of life, the part where Dasein is related to itself and to its own being, but rather through the fact that we become aware of the whole of life without reduction, of the life in which the individual person is essentially related to something other than himself "(Buber, 1954, p . 99).
If I am not really in the present - and the presentness of being changes its shape, it can often be terrifyingly different - then I am guilty. "If I answer the call of the present being 'Where are you?': 'There I am', but I am not really there, that is, not with the truth of my whole being, then I am guilty. The original being guilty is the by But if a figure and appearance of the present being passes me by and I wasn't really there, then from the distance of its disappearance comes a second call, so quietly and secretly, as if it came from myself: 'Where have you been? "That is the call of conscience. It is not my existence that calls me, but the being that is not me, calls me. But I can only answer the next figure, who has spoken, can no longer be reached. (This next figure can of course sometimes be the same person, but then just another, later, changed appearance of him.) "(Ibid., P. 99f).
If we now come back to the history of ideas: Whenever a person becomes lonely and lives alone in a strange and uncanny world, he is looking for a divine one (spiritual) Form of being, with which he can interact, to which he can stretch out his hands beyond the world. We find this person in Augustine, in Pascal, in Kierkegaard. A path leads from one such period of loneliness to the next: every loneliness becomes colder, stricter, and rescue from it becomes more difficult. Then it may be that the hands can no longer reach out: God is dead, as Nietzsche put it. The reaction is the exclusive contact with oneself. We find that with Heidegger. I consider it impossible that one can stretch one's hands towards one's self, but one can reach one's image or mirror image. For this reason, Heidegger's teaching cannot be valid for human life itself and for its anthropological understanding, even if it provides valuable information.
Christine: But how can a person recognize himself? Is that even possible?
Buber: Man recognizes that which he faces and with which he can enter into a real relationship between being and being as just as real as himself. He transcends his conditionality into the other, into the other. Man can never find a being in himself that is whole in himself. It is only through the dialogical character of human life that it touches absoluteness. "Man can become whole not through a relationship to his self, but only through a relationship to another self. This other self may be just as limited and conditioned as he is, in togetherness the unlimited and the unconditional are experienced" (ibid., P. 102). Heidegger's existence is a monological one that disguises itself as a dialogical one. For a long time one layer after the other may answer, but at one point the silence of being becomes insurmountable and the ontological categories can no longer be applied to reality. The person of "self-being" is not the person who really lives with the person, but the person who can no longer really live with the person, who only knows how to deal with himself. This is no longer real life - only appearance - an unfortunate game of the spirit (see Part III, sin against the spirit).
Heidegger's human being is not just existence, but also being. As are the things that surround him and that he uses, so are other people who in turn - in contrast to things - are being and being, that is, they stand by themselves. For him, these people are not objects of use and "concern" like things, but of "care" according to their essence, i.e. even if they are none of his business. They are the subject of his understanding (see ibid., Pp. 100-104).
Christine: Care seems to have found broad ground, especially when it can be done remotely from those affected. New records for calls for donations such as "Licht ins Dunkel" are being set. Everyone is nice and nice to the poor Hascherln and "how happy I am that I have healthy children". I like to give something for that. And "they are all so well looked after in the special institutions". What is left to be desired? Forgive me if I have become sarcastic, but I encounter such attitudes every day, and my concern to integrate the "disabled" into the "normal" world not only meets with contradiction, but also with incomprehension.
Buber: As long as I cannot recognize myself, I cannot grasp the essence of being human. As long as I cannot and do not want to recognize my own handicap, I cannot deal with handicapped people in my world either.
Christine: "When I meet a" disabled "person, look at him and think how he could be, I describe myself - my perception of the other. Whether I use the resulting opportunity to recognize myself is another matter. ..! " (Feuser, 1996, p. 1).
Buber: First and foremost, the real togetherness arises from the "determination" towards oneself. Heidegger seems to recognize the relationship to the other as essential. But the relationship of care cannot as such be an essential relationship, because the being of one person is not related to the being of the other, but only the caring help of the one to the needy need of the other. In a relationship that is only caring, man remains essentially to himself and does not open up to reciprocity. "Such a relationship can only partake of essentiality if it means only the effect of something essential in itself, as between mother and child; it can of course lead to the creation of one, as if there is a real friendship between the carer and the object of his care or love arises "(Buber, 1954, p. 105).It is better and more often the other way round: the essential relationship results in care incidentally.
Heidegger's human being reaches as the highest level that of the free self, mature and determined for the right existence in and with the world, but the barriers of the self are not broken, there is not even the desire for a relationship between I and you.
Christine: It also happens that people take up a "helper" job to heal their own broken identities. The disabled person then becomes an object and is no longer a you on the same level of being human. - But I'm anticipating again.
Buber: If we compare Kierkegaard and Heidegger once more, with Kierkegaard the individual is an open system towards God (towards the absolute). In his fear and worry he stands alone before God and should only get involved with the other with caution. He must renounce the essential relationship with another in order to become an individual. He could say you to the other person, but he refrains. Community is also not desirable, on the contrary "crowd", "man" is falsehood. The individual who breaks out is truth because he confronts God. For Kierkegaard, the essential relationship of the relationship between person and person does not come first, but the relationship to the absolute. - Man becomes an individual for God. This relationship endures everything, is stronger than death than loneliness and builds a bridge over the abyss of world fear, from being oneself to being oneself with God.
Heidegger, on the other hand, secularized the individual, i.e. cut off the relationship to the absolute. His existence is an existence without God. In his worry and fear, man stands alone in front of himself and further in front of nothing. He has no essential relationship with another. He can't say you, just enter into a caring relationship. His relationship to the community, to the anonymous general public, is an escape from himself. The "one" takes responsibility, existence is absorbed in it. It is an act of life to get rid of it. "Man" is purely negative, self-destructive, reprehensible. Existence has to wriggle out of itself in order to come to being itself.
That may be right from time to time, but the highest level is not isolation, but the determination to be with others. Heidegger's existence is an existence without the absolute. The opening up of existence to itself is its ultimate closedness.
The salvation from the one cannot be separation, but a real connection. I plead for the complete realization of the you (opposition you, he, it) and accordingly also for the true we (opposition to man). This true we arises from several people who have grown into self. The you is potentially included. The inner structure aligns the effect and the energies and makes them fertile and passionate. Of course, this essential relationship can only be lived in alternation between topicality and latency.
Christine: Now you've said it. "Not segregation, but real connection brings redemption". That must affect the whole person, the whole human community and thus of course also the disabled and all other minorities. Only a lived togetherness, in which the you is potentially included, can bring us further humanly.
Buber: Let's take a look at the living conditions in which we are and let's compare between Kierkegaard, Heidegger and my view:
Relationship to the world and to things:
Missing from Kierkegaard. Things are just parables.
Technically useful, but not essential for Heidegger.
Essential in their entirety in my opinion.
Relationship to people (to the individual and to the multitude):
In the case of Kierkegaard this is questionable. - Can be overcome.
Heidegger: Relation of care, so not essential.
As far as I know: essential. Barriers have to be broken.
3. Relationship to the absolute:
The only essential thing at Kierkegaard. His (world and human) = God.
Not at Heidegger, the individual is secularized.
My goal on the way can only be connectedness of all three living conditions -
Connectedness of all beings that God created.
There is a fourth relationship in life: the relationship to one's own self, (Symbolic interactionism) but that is not a real relationship because there is no real duality and there is no consummation.
The perfection of the relationship (you-say) to things is art; to people: love; to the mystery: the religious proclamation. Man can only come into being when all three kinds of his living conditions become essential.
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