Thursday, February 14, 2008

A philosopher faces death ... and mysticism

A philosopher, Ernst Tudgendhat, muses on the fear of death:
I just have this worry that I could have missed out on the main thing. But in the meantime this feeling's been pushed to the side by mysticism.

But how can mysticism help?

It helps you recognise that in any event you're not so relevant. That has to do with amazement at what Heidegger called being, or, as Wittgenstein said, that this world exists at all.

If you're not important yourself, then where do you get the motivation to live? Isn't it debilitating to believe that everything is important, except yourself?

No, I'm just as important, but no more so. In addition, I do have philosophical ambitions, and I'm happy when I'm successful in what I do, even if in fact I condemn such an attitude. I try to downplay my own importance, but in point of fact I experience how important I do consider myself.

He has some interesting things to say about Heidegger too.