2002/08/06

Well, I suppose I can provide an explanation of phenomenonology now, albeit not a concise one. There has been some progress in my education in the past five years.

[The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus (trans. Justin O'Brien)]

Camus has now discussed how the phenomenologists end up escaping the absurd in a different yet essentially the same kind of “leap of faith” that the “theistic” existentialists did. Instead of deifying the irrational and turning to religion, they turn to Reason (with the capital R, yes) to provide meaning to the universe. Yet the absurd is a confrontation with the meaninglessness of life so it again denies the absurd like Kierkegaard and Chestov. I don’t really understand phenomenology that well, so I’m just assuming Camus is correct. He says that the phenomenologists, especially Husserl, see consciousness as a direction of attention and believe that all experiences of all objects are equally important. Sounds good so far? They don’t deny the fragmented nature of our perceptions and do not assert the “unifying” principle of reason. We cannot explain the universe; we can only describe. Still pretty good, right? And then somehow, this all becomes understanding the “essence” of an object through being conscious of it. What? Je me suis perdue! Again! Anyway, if anyone can provide me with a concise explanation of phenomenology, I’ll be very, very grateful.