“There Is No Absolute Position”
There is no privileged, absolute or advantaged position for any one of us to stand from, since there is always a side to our situation that can not be seen (Merleau-Ponty, 1964). And yet, we have the capacity to look at ourselves, to perceive and reflect in what we see: “… it is a self that is caught up in things, that which has a front and a back, a past and a future…it is caught in the fabric of the world and its cohesion is that of a thing. But because it moves and it sees, it holds things in a circle around itself” (Merleau-Ponty, 1964:163). Phenomenologically speaking, when we are in a situation, “…it’s hard to really look at it” (George Berguno in class, 1st May, 2002).
Despite our sophisticated way of contemporary living in the 21st century, there is actually nothing new to this way of ‘being’ for anyone of us, in any given situation (Schutz, A. 1973). Socrates questioned everything, and challenged anyone who thought they knew even something about anything. He was called the wisest man, but Socrates was aware of how little he knew. It was his capacity and skill in being able to see something without conceptualizing it that perhaps gave him his reputation. He had a phenomenological attitude. He was curious and participative, constantly ready and open to receive what was there. He would return to the phenomena over and over again, by constantly describing and re-describing and in doing so let the phenomena of the issue speak to its inquirer. He skillfully practiced a process of phenomenological reduction where he was looking to ‘elucidate’ and not ‘interpret’ or even ‘manipulate’ the phenomena (Monk&Raphael, 2000:14).
Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961), challenged ‘totalising thought’ and the philosophies of consciousness that considered it possible and praiseworthy. He did his best to render thought enigmatic by showing its roots in perception, phenomenology. The philosophers’ thinking (forever beginning, as Husserl was...