Interplay among the Provinces: Religion, Humor, and Literature
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The humorous and religious provinces of meaning permit the intrusion of pragmatic purposes from everyday life, but these intrusions reveal that the mere adoption of an overarching attitudinal stance is not sufficient for emancipation, but that what is also needed is exposure to a perspective beyond one’s own: the transcendent’s or one’s humorous interlocutor’s. While the emancipatory purposes go beyond the enjoyment of humor or the service of the transcendent, they are continuous with the emancipation that begins when one enters these provinces, as opposed to the pragmatic purposes coming from everyday life. The encompassing intentional attitudes of religion and humor and exposure to an interlocutor—the ingredients of emancipation—are thoroughly consistent with the intersubjective and phenomenological emphases in Schutz’s own oeuvre. Finally, Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Temple of the Holy Ghost,” illustrates how the finite provinces of humor, religion, and literature can overlap in the support of human emancipation.
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