Transcendent Selfhood: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life

Transcendent Selfhood: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life

Transcendent Selfhood: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life

Transcendent Selfhood: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life

Excerpt

At the beginning of our philosophy stands Socrates’ precept: Know thyself. It is difficult to imagine a more neglected principle in contemporary thought. This neglect stems certainly not from a low degree of introspectiveness. Seldom has man been more concerned with himself than today. But which self? Little self-understanding can be gathered from the closed circuit of everyday consciousness. Yet philosophy seldom breaks through that circuit and, for the most part, conceives of the self as a subject of worldly experiences. Rarely does it take account of those unconscious states or open-ended experiences in which everyday consciousness is left behind altogether. Yet an adequate concept of the self must include the self-surpassing states and experiences. For to be a self is by its very nature to be more than the actuality of one’s being, more than what can be described in purely immanent terms.

I believe it was through the study of Marx that I first became aware of the inappropriateness of describing as mere actuality what is, above all, dynamic potential.1 But Marx conceives of the transcendent aim of . . .

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