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What Edmund Husserl said…

April 30, 2009

“Intentionality is the hallmark of consciousness” –Husserl

Edmund Husserl

This statement jumps out at me like a specter.  Husserl’s remarks give me sense of personal responsibility, purpose, and focus.  He is reminding me to be attentive to what it is I express.  On one hand, in and of itself, the quote is amoral in that Husserl seems to say purpose and experience are what define my reality.  That purpose is left to me to resolve.  On the other hand, he seems to be approaching a tenet for a buddhist thesis of life.  He seems to be making a statement about mindfulness. I know Husserl was a European philosopher, but it is interesting to me that he is expressing the notion of purpose tied to every act I perform.  Am I aware of all that I do?  If I am not, is it possible to attempt to be attentive to all that I do?  Is it possible to be fully acquainted with myself and behave in a right-minded fashion in all that I do?

Here’s some great phenomenology in action from John Carpenter’s super cool movie Dark Star

If as Edmund Husserl believes, experience is the source of all knowledge, then it is our mandate as a species to teach others through an intimate practice.  It is time for us to get our hands dirty, and our feet wet again.  Developing knowledge and learning is an act of communion between people (and place!).  Learning is a result of a shared experience.  If we are to truly express our knowledge, then let us ho’ike.  Let’s do it.  Let us, as the kids say; represent!           

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2009 12:23 pm

    That’s a great quote. it touches on something I have struggled with for years; namely, why is it that so many people seem not only to not know why they do the things they do, but not know why they believe the things they believe. Self-reflection seems to be one of the major disabilities of Western society….or perhaps just American society. Some of it can be laid at the foot of America’s often weird and semi-hysterical forms of Christianity—after all, what better excuse for not thinking something through too much than, “God thinks this way, therefore so should you”—but that’s hardly the bulk of it. It seems as though we’re just no longer geared for critical thinking. I blame the Internet and those baggy pants the kids are all wearing. 😛

    • May 10, 2009 1:35 pm

      Yo Andy, thanks for the feedback!

      There has got to be a correlation between pants bagginess X critical thinking! If it is actually an age thing, then it’s our fault as mentors for not teaching the skills. I think we elders are losing the skills though. The kids are begging for meaning and purpose, we just don’t seem to have a line on providing it to them. It’s ironic that you should site the internet (half jokingly) as a problem. We are always being told how collaborative and relational the “web 2.0” world is and how the “killer apps” are flatting out our world. Could it be we are so overwhelmed by the tools themselves that we forget what we really need to use them for? Personally, give me community or give me death! I find my assessments are not valid unless I’ve engaged others in the reflection process. I don’t think very critically in a vacuum! So if I’ve got to place blame on something, I direct my spotlight to the one-way broadcast medium of television “culture”. Bill Moyers, and Charlie Rose accepted.

  2. May 11, 2009 5:27 am

    It’s ironic that you should site the internet (half jokingly) as a problem. We are always being told how collaborative and relational the “web 2.0″ world is and how the “killer apps” are flatting out our world. Could it be we are so overwhelmed by the tools themselves that we forget what we really need to use them for?

    Oh, I wasn’t joking at all about the Internet. While an expanded community of peers is a great thing, much of what has come to preeminence on the Infobahn are tools to make things shorter, faster, less contextualized. This is one of many reasons why I don’t personally subscribe to RSS or Twitter feeds; if I don’t have the time to go read something, then I don’t have the time. I don’t like stripping content down to handy McNugget-sized morsels for faster consumption. It’s all part of the great concentration-shattering, critical-judgement-impairing multitasking conspiracy, IMHO.

    Some topical reading: The Autumn of the Multitaskers.

    • May 11, 2009 9:02 am

      Context and coherence are key, you are absolutely right! The web can take on a “cocktail conversation format” if you are inclined to take it to that place. But there is something of value in facilitating and maintaining personal networks of like-minded indiviuals. I like sharing the occasional interweb nugget. Twitter has been a nice way for me to share with my fellow garden tweets instantly. The service has managed to gather us occasionally for community efforts. It’s also a nice way to instantly share a photo of my friend from the Hilo Symphony playing cello in our community garden!

      http://twitpic.com/4vzrq

      I think many people just don’t use the “tools” effectively and are content to be fed, rather than feed.

      wheat and chaff and wheat and chaff and wheat and chaff

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