Fall 2005

Towards a Phenomenology of Dwelling

Holger Zaborowski

“No one truly dwells who lives as if he could move again at any moment. But at the same time no one truly dwells who lives as if he were going to dwell forever and ever exactly where he is.”

1. Philosophizing—Thinking—Dwelling

Philosophy is concerned with fundamental and comprehensive questions. It deals with the great questions, questions concerning the whence, the what, and the how of things, the destiny and purpose of our life, questions concerning the why and what-for, the reasons [Gründe] and mysteries [Abgründe] of what, for lack of a better term, we call reality, questions concerning being and nothingness, the open paths and errant trails of thinking, willing, feeling, and acting. In the face of such questions, is it not true that philosophy often appears as the arduous, Sisyphian—indeed, impossible—art of posing questions that admit of no definitive answers? But doesn’t the philosopher in this apparently hopelessly insecure situation nevertheless find himself always with a roof over his head? Can he not always manage to settle down somewhere and feel at home? Or does he remain a nomad, a pilgrim, who has always already placed every holy destination in question and feels compelled to go further? Would it not in this case have been better, more comfortable, and more certain to remain in the cave of pre-philosophical life? For either the philosopher entangles himself in long, laborious reflections that can hardly ever be brought to a conclusion and thus remain always provisional, or he never manages to reach beyond platitudes, the wisdom of proverbs and general sayings—and thereby betrays his proper vocation.

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