Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Great Stage on everydayness.
So much of our every day life – conversations in queues, reading newspapers, watching television – is routinely superficial. It involves little reflection or analysis. It’s what German philosopher Martin Heidegger called ‘groundless floating’ – a sort of existential treading water, which adds little to our character. We lose ourselves in daily interaction with things and people, rarely questioning the fundamental ideas or values we’re upholding – perhaps they’re a little frightening. And the entertainment media feed on this, of course. If it’s ‘idle talk’ we want, magazines like New! will supply it: a few minutes of distracted bliss, where the abstract failures or triumphs of famous strangers can take us away from ourselves. Price’s sex life is a vaporous lure for groundless floating. But when, then, does the shallowness end? What moments offer us retreat from surfaces and reflexes? For someone like Heidegger, it presumably ends with philosophy or poetry – with some radical authenticity, or re-envisioning of Western civilization.
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