Circumspective concern decides as to the closeness and farness of what is proximally ready-to-hand environmentally. – Being and Time, 142.
This quote reflects Heidegger’s discussion of the manner in which we attempt to bring the world ‘close’, which is to say have it concernfully, subjectively, before us. The examples given is that while glasses and pavement can be the most spatially present they are often the most concernfully distant entities to us.
Much is of often made of the silliness which postmodern philosophy seems to concern itself with respect to our inability to be present to realities and truth around us. A while back I posted a quote on Facebook from Heidegger in which he said, “In principle the chair does not touch the wall.” Now in what follows I am not claiming some sort of direct correspondence or example of this quote, though I think it relates to the initial quote of the post.
I can still vividly remember driving in a new section of Winnipeg that I was not familiar with. I generally have a good sense of direction and ‘bearings’ so I was sort of going on my gut at that point thinking that I was at least heading generally in the right direction. At one point an overhead sign was approaching and it basically communicated to me that I was heading in exactly the opposite direction as I thought I was. Now at some point earlier in the drive I had made this shift but not noticed. Now with the communication of this sign the reality of being turned around was ‘brought close’ to me immediately and physiologically I felt as though I had been spun around, I felt nauseous. This always struck me as strange though I could not quite frame the experience. Now what happened was the neither the truth of what already happened nor was it the direct response to some change in my bodies spatial direction. What happened was a particular subjective appropriation that I can’t imagine would happen to everyone nor what it likely happen again to me in the same way. It is this experience that helps me understand his earlier statement which says,
Yet this ‘subjectivity’ perhaps uncovers the ‘Reality’ of the world at its most Real. (141)
This thinking often does not effect (affect?) many aspects of everyday life but it follows as a spectre or hangs as a reminder which, I think, in certain situations should call us both to boldness and humility when faced with those claiming to have ‘direct access’ to the world or ‘Reality’ as such and how such decisions are enacted.