You described in your last blog, in this series about what is going on in the world, in a very clear way how we fail to connect to the other person and how our judgement-building is not based on a good dialogue between people with different views and feelings.
I would like to reflect on this observation from a philosophical point of view. As I discovered while composing my book The Human Creation philosophy is not about telling the truth to others but it is an exploration on how to create sense connected to real life questions we have today.
I think the question you observed is really in the heart of what keeps us busy today.
In this book I explored the issue of the soul. During more than 2000 years we struggled with understanding the soul. Is there a human soul and how is it to be understood. Philosophers like Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas and others go back to what Plato and Aristotle and later Kant and Nietzsche explored. They came to the conclusion that there is a world of being out of which we come forth and there is a world of becoming. This world of becoming is what keeps us busy and I see the issue of the soul as part of this world of becoming. We are co-creating our own soul. The soul appears and manifest itself in our thinking, feeling and willing and it appears in all the works that we create. I have called this the organized world and that is a world we create in the context of a cosmic-natural world, a world of being.
The only thing that remains of this world of becoming, the organized world, is the status of our soul. Over time the human soul develops and that manifest itself in the common language we speak, the memory we have and the moral consciousness of our deeds. We stand so to say as soul on the “soul-shoulders” of our ancestors.
We have developed over time as Hannah Arendt describes first a free thinking and then a free willing and today we struggle as humanity to achieve a free judgement building. Our soul is occupied with all kind of influences that try to rule our soul. Ideologies, beliefs, strong convictions and they hinder us to come to good judgements together with others. We tend to fight with others, try to convince others of our view, exclude others that do not agree.
It is in the personal meeting with the other that we can appeal to the “I” of the other. The unique personality of the other can appear when we call for this to happen. As Søren Kierkegaard said: “We can see the second face appear in the other person.” We can meet and share and then we can come to judgements that are based on real personal life experience and that add a sense to what we are experiencing. Because that is the goal: to add sense to our lives that gives us fulfilment of the soul and in which we can support each other to make this happen together.
I see this as a basis for a new type of community, the personal community. In this community we are together with others, unique personalities that we trust and love and respect and with whom we can come, out of freedom of thought and will, to common judgements on which we can base our life decisions.
I think this is what we can strive towards and it is a blessing when we can experience this to be possible.
It is a very stimulating idea that our own efforts to make a step in our personal soul development and to do this in dialogue with others, can contribute to the overall development of the soul of humanity. This is what gives the next generations a good fundament to continue.
A few weeks ago, I bought the recent Dutch publication of this book of Hannah Arendt on judgement. It is a collection of studies of Arendt related to this topic. Reading her thoughts, I feel connected with generations of great thinkers who were dealing with common questions. I also appreciate very much your efforts to relate this philosophical research with our IMO approach in working with clients and working together.
Thanks to those old and wise souls we can develop our soul together to become more sensitive, more open, more divers and agile.
In your book The Human Creation you learned to reflect on the soul in a new way, as part of our organized life in which we can become the soulmate of each other. We can do this by working together in meaningful projects, by helping each other to build a community and by studying on sense-making subjects. I experience this myself in the IMO group of colleagues. It really is an inspiring and supporting constellation of individuals. Often when I tell about it people become curious how it works.
I want to continue this consideration in the line of you draw about the possibility of a free meeting, or the meeting of free people. This is so important, because we have to form our judgement in days of so called ‘fake news’, upcoming populism, dictatorship, terrorism and new geopolitical constellations? These phenomena are the enemies of free thinking. The same Hannah Arendt explains how the awareness of community is always a premise for the forming and expression of our judgement. When I, for example, want to state that in our city we should house asylum seekers, I have to communicate this with other citizens and try to make my arguments acceptable for them. Especially nowadays because the populist party got the second largest number of votes in our city. So, the question is: How can I relate to the ‘I’ of other people and build a kind of authority of what I have to say on a horizontal way? How not to use power? How not to rely on slogans as a repetition, a downloading of fixed opinions? How not remain closed the circle of people I feel familiar with?
In essence I think the challenge will be: How can I develop myself in dialogue with other people? No: How can I develop myself out of the dialogue with other people? Is it possible to experience a deep feeling of fulfilment that goes deeper and is stronger than feeling save and comfortable in our own well known bubble and pattern?
I read in an essay of Hannah Arendt, “Philosophy and Politics”, what she wrote about Socrates and his dialogue with friends in the city, at the market, on the street. He was talking all the time with very different people to find out together what make sense in life. We can still read those dialogues and become impressed by what occurs between the speaking people.
These conversations were not just a philosophical kind of leisure, just for academic people to relax. There were political consequences because the ‘vertical powers’ of the city (‘polis’) became agitated and started a trial against Socrates.
Dear Adriaan, let’s continue here. Do you see responsibility for the public community, the city, the country?