THE EXISTENTIAL APPROACH IN PSYCHIATRY
EXISTENCE ITSELF, the beingness or mode of being proper to an individual, cannot be studied or described as if it were an object to be apprehended by some form of immediate awareness. Even if one were to claim that such a direct intuition of another's existence can be attained, it still would not be possible to communicate the content of such a vision. For all properties we ascribe to a person and by which we try to characterize his peculiar, individual being, designate relations with the world wherein he lives. All that we are able to say of him is that he responds to certain aspects of the world in this or that manner. And we understand him, so far as this is feasible at all, only when we realize what particular view of the world prompts his behavior, his utterances, and determines his whole being. Understanding another means, in fact, precisely placing oneself on his "standpoint" so as to become aware of the manner in which the world appears to him.
To understand the poet one must go to the poet's land, and to understand poetry one must visit the land of poetry, Goethe remarked.1 As the second part of this saying shows, the land is not simply a geographical region, nor the sum total of customs and suchlike things, but the totality of the world that is peculiar to the poet and the totality of the world-interpretation which makes up the sense of poetry.
Each of us lives to some extent in a world of his own, at least as long as he leads an "authentic existence." "All men____________________
Motto: "Noten und Abhandlungen," appended to the West-östlicher Divan.