Monday, February 18, 2013

Quick reflection on state of mind

After explaining my project/blog in class last week, Greg wanted something more specific: what is your/my state of mind? Basically, what is your einstellung?  Um, ahh, I don’t know.  I was caught off guard because I hadn’t really thought about it in the last couple of weeks.  My classmates and I seemed to identify some important ideas from Wenders’ Once: einstellung, attunement, aesthetic attitude, journey over destination, encounters with people, landscapes and things. But I couldn’t connect and identify my own einstellung.   We took a break and when we returned to what my/Phil’s state of mind is, I said simply a twofold attitude: thankful and frustrated.  I’m thankful for being able to think, to (have) engage(d) with others who can think (in often much more complex ways than me), and to try to extend or restructure my thinking. I’m frustrated with the lack of thinking people (appear to) do.  I don’t expect people to be rocket scientists and I don’t necessarily expect all people to be intellectuals.  They simply have to think, or try to think, about complex ideas.  I’m by no means special or even that great of a thinker.  But I try.  And when others don’t try, I get frustrated. But why?  Why do I care if others don’t think?  I guess my frustration lies in that when people don’t think, the microcosm neglects the macrocosm.  The connection of the micro to the macro is disconnected and often results in selfish and cruelty to others (whether consciously or unconsciously).

Part of me wants to say my state of mind ― thankful-frustrated ― is too simple, too general.  Being “thankful” is cliché and being “frustrated” is limited to developing an aesthetic attitude.  However, last Wednesday Joan had mentioned to me that I should check Heidegger’s “thinking and thanking” concept, which Heidegger discusses in What is called thinking?.  What I want to do next is reread Descartes’ Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy and Heidegger’s What is called thinking?.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to read and write about these texts, but I hope to do so before Part 1 of the project is due.  Possibly, reading these texts might offer a readjusting or reconfirming of my state of mind and contribute to my allegory of prudence.  

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