After the War, Maldiney first worked as a philosophy teacher in the Belgian town of Ghent and then took up a post as professor of philosophy at the University of Lyon, where he retired in Maldiney died at the age of on December 6, For Maldiney, phenomenology mainly consists in elaborating our perception, our Anschauung, as Husserl would say, and not in reinterpreting the philosophical theories of others. K P rinciples I now give a short outline of three key principles of Maldineyan thought: sensing, rhythm, and openness to the event.
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After the War, Maldiney first worked as a philosophy teacher in the Belgian town of Ghent and then took up a post as professor of philosophy at the University of Lyon, where he retired in Maldiney died at the age of on December 6, For Maldiney, phenomenology mainly consists in elaborating our perception, our Anschauung, as Husserl would say, and not in reinterpreting the philosophical theories of others.
K P rinciples I now give a short outline of three key principles of Maldineyan thought: sensing, rhythm, and openness to the event.
S ensing According to Maldiney, human beings stand out not for their capacity to think, but their capacity to sense. Maldiney believes that human reflection, through which we intentionally relate to ourselves and the world, is always lagging behind our pre-intentional and spontaneous bodily sensing of ourselves and the world.
Erwin Straus , to whom Maldiney repeatedly refers, speaks of sensing Ger. For Straus, as for Maldiney, the sensing of the self and the sensing of the world are interdependent. To explain this idea, Straus ibid. Sensing is sympathetic experience, i. Consequently, in terms of sympathetic sensing, the self is never static, but in a constant state of becoming in relation to the world.
Hence, sensing and moving are intrinsically linked. Through sensing, the self gets in close contact with what is sensed, moves toward it, and is moved by it. For instance, we can only touch something by moving our hands, we can only smell an odor by inhaling i. Only through our own bodily movement does the world really disclose itself to us Maldiney, , pp.
Rhythm is what structures and stabilizes our communication with the world Maldiney, , pp. Here we may not only think of the rhythms of our breath, of our heartbeat, and of our bodily movements and gestures, but also in a much larger sense of a rhythm of our existence, that is, a certain way of doing things, a style of being in the world, of approaching the world or withdrawing from it, of opening up and closing, and so on.
Accordingly, rhythm for Maldiney refers to the individual and dynamic gestalt of a person in relation to the world. One may think of the rhythms of being touched, of tastes, smells, sounds, and visual structures that come and go.
We then are summoned to react, to move, and to move on, but we may also stop, freeze, fail to respond. This might even, in extreme cases, lead to situations where we lose ourselves in groundless chaos and become mad. It is for Maldiney by definition impossible to predict an event, that is, to know what or who is going to surprise us. If we were able to do so, an event would not actually be surprising and, thus, its definition would lose its meaning. As a general account, Maldiney therefore uses terms such as "alterity," the "other" or—with reference to Schelling —the "ground" of our existence.
All these terms, which Maldiney often uses interchangeably, indicate something or someone indefinable and unprecedented that erupts into our existence.
But in principle an event could be anything at all: it might be "a face, a voice, a piece of sun on a wall or the current of a river that all of a sudden rips the film reel of our everyday life apart and surprises us by being and by being there" , p. It is not something happening within the horizon of expectations of our world; although the hunter is tensely awaiting the appearance of the chamois, although everything, the entire structure of the meaning of his pursuit, seems already to be predefined, the appearance of the chamois itself cannot be preempted.
As soon as the chamois shows up, the hunter has to react in an unforeseeable way. His world has to adapt itself to this event and therefore depends on the event ibid. Maldiney therefore speaks of a "field of incidence and reception" ibid.
This is what Maldiney refers to as openness. It is this very openness for alterity and a surprising event through which our world may constantly renew and transform itself.
Maldiney, , p. But, admittedly, openness is not per se related to pleasure and joy. Our openness may also turn into an uncanny abyss, in which our existence is abolished, which according to Maldiney is why we tend to shy away from it in everyday life.
The frightening and dangerous aspect of openness becomes especially pertinent in the case of madness, which for Maldiney means both affective and schizophrenic psychosis.
Henri Maldiney : une existence philosophique
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