Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Misconception of "Knowing"

"Knowing is only one relation among many that we may take up to the things of the world." I really like this. I think there is a misconception in many humans that to experience something or to become accustomed to it is to know it. Or perhaps we think that knowing is the best relation we can have to something, or the final product of the relationship between two things. This is certainly the way I feel about literature, as if reading a book were akin to solving a puzzle with an ultimate solution. Not only is this misconception limiting, but it is also a very anthropocentric stance to take. By that I mean to understand that "knowing" is a uniquely human activity and to think that "knowing" is the ultimate relationship one can have with an object places humans at the forefront of all harmony between things, and I think that's pretty misguided and also gross. Instead, Heidegger tells us (or rather Heidegger's summarizers tell us) "if we decline this course, then we realize that the right way of getting to know about a range of entities depends in part on the nature or being of those entities."

Heidegger says, "May not philosophy in the end do something with us, provided that we engage ourselves with it?" In thinking about the nature of entities and the relationship Dasein has with them, I think we are engaging ourselves with philosophy, with questions of the "extraordinary."

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