Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Philosophication

Serendipitous convergences can charm, bemuse or astound. I was struck by the timeliness of having The Second Coming come to me at a time when I’ve been pondering Heidegger.

Trust me, I don’t ruminate about philosophies very often (why, oh why, must philosophers be so pedantically obtuse?). I read Heidegger’s Time and Being more than 30 years ago for a college class. God, what a dense, arduous read! I read the book, hated it, answered the essay questions on the final exam, passed, and immediately jettisoned Heidegger’s work from my consciousness. That is, until a month or two ago. I’ve been haunted by Heidegger ever since. Funny how lectures heard in youth are sometimes only understood in old age.

Frankly, I don’t remember all that much from Time and Being. I hesitate to summarize the teachings of the “father of existentialism.” I do remember this: Heidegger concluded that we must encounter the world/reality/life twice. The first time we confront reality we are made anxious (are filled with “angst”). We suffer and retreat. It then falls to us, if we are to be truly “authentic” beings, to confront life again. It falls to us to discern our heart’s desire and then strive to satisfy that desire with courage and determination…a “second coming” if you will. It is then, and only then, that we become whole, engaged and authentic. Come to think of it, wasn’t that the moral of the movie “City Slickers”…discover the “one true thing” and be happy?

Anyway, here I am, heart, mind and soul haunted by Heidegger, and along come Will and Allie: two beings, filled with angst, suffering death in life, trying to find what it is they wanted. Thanks, Nels, for recommending this book. Thanks to all of you who voted for it. It packed a huge emotional wallop for me…this serendipitous convergence.

I have now taken to pondering what happens if you find your heart’s desire and, despite all the courage and determination you can muster, you realize you will never be able to satisfy that desire? What then? What then, Martin Heidegger, what then? Sigh. If anyone can recommend a book or two addressing that theme, pass it along.

Incidentally, I just finished reading I Don’t Want To Talk About It by Terence Neal. The book deals with male depression. What I found most interesting were the author’s observations about the way we raise our children, the subtle gender differences we express and reinforce…and their consequences. Lots of food for thought.

1 Comments:

Blogger Nels Nelson said...

A small clarification, I only voted for this book, Jon, I didn't recommend it. Don't want to take credit for buying a big salad that someone else paid for.

Cheers

6:43 AM  

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