“Not diverse from things”: Emersonian Materialism
It is often said that the problem with our culture is that it is too materialistic. We may be surprised, then, to hear a philosopher like Heidegger emphasize the importance of “things” when he talks about what it means to dwell. From Socrates onward, we are accustomed to picturing philosophers (and even philosophy itself) as keeping their distance from material things. Platonists are notorious for treating the particulars with disrespect. But Plato, the writer of dialogues, is not a Platonist; nor is Heidegger. Dwelling is not an abstract idea that we somehow inhabit. It is something we inhabit in the full sense of the word—habitually, through our actual engagement with the world and with each other. By receiving the sky and initiating mortals, dwelling brings us closer to God, but not by separating us from the earth.
KeywordsMaterial Thing Abstract Expressionist Superficial Sense Standing Reserve Nautical Almanac
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