Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Phenomenology


I was reading the intro to The Phenomenology of perception
 By Maurice Merleau-Ponty today and came across this spectacular quote. This represents a very honest and what I consider eloquent assertion about the nature of reality. It also does well to point out what the almight science really is. There is far more to the theory and indeed, recognizing that this assertion is just a component of the reality of human perception is where the rest of introduction proceeds. Still, I find this quote stunning on it's own.

"Science has not and never will have, by its nature, the same significance qua form of being as the wold which we perceive, for the simple reason that it is a rationale or explanation of that world. I am, not a 'living creature' not even a 'man', nor again even a 'a consciousness' endowed with all the characteristics which zoology, social anatomy or inductive psychology recognize in these various products of the natural or historical process - I am the absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical and social environment; instead it moves out towards them and sustains them, for I alone bring into being for myself (and therefore into being in the only sense that the word can have for me) the tradition which I elect to carry on, or the horizon whose distance from me would be abolished - since that distance is not one of its properties - if I were not there to scan it with my gaze. Scientific points of view, according to which my existence is a moment of the world's, are always both naive and at the same time dishonest, because they take for granted, without explicitly mentioning, it, the other point of view, namely that of consciousness, through which from the outset a world forms itself round me and begins to exist for me. To return to things themselves is to return to that world which precedes knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the country-side in which we have learnt beforehand what a forest, a prairie or a river is. " p ix-x


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