A new relational oeconomy: The proximate and existential turn.
How to philosophize according to Kierkegaard (introduction)
An existential revolution
To Vaclav Havel
Let it go!
Primoz Martin Repar
In memory of Miklavz Ocepk (1963-2005)
I thought for a long time about how to start this introduction, which would encourage deeper attention to the overall theme that our symposium has set itself. A topic that we dedicate not only to the memory of Kierkegaard, but also to the challenge of his thought itself, which would inspire each of us in particular, not only as connoisseurs and researchers of his thought, such as philosophers, theologians, writers, etc., or only intellectuals, but also to concrete living individuals, who do not care about the fate of the world in which we live. It seems that a heavy curtain of heartless enslavement to hopelessness has fallen over the destructive world. It’s as if life has stopped as if it has surrendered to (social) recklessness, which is more and more at odds with (private) life. It is as if corrupt existence prevailed at every step, in every point of reality. The group/mass man is desperate because of the dimensions of this existence, unable to be transformed, so he often becomes a weapon in the hands of related fundamentalisms of one kind or another.
The living world is a world in motion, living is always in the process of creation. Kierkegaard here adopts Aristotle’s definition of kinesis as that which provides motion and change, changing formation and changing transition to existence. That existence is always in crisis, and that makes dialogue with contemporary thought possible. If we accept Kierkegaard’s suggestion that the transition is simultaneously both individual and universal, hence double, then precisely this trans-historicity makes historical freedom possible. The gift of freedom, which is a transcendental gift, would not be possible if it did not imply the qualitative understanding of existence if it were not connected to the logic of interiority, anakron. The universal principle is a unique and individual call, which in the reflection of the “general human interior” speaks to everyone who has the courage and ability to hear it.
We cannot assume that movement, and change because historical existence is always an unfinished activity. That is why the fundamental role of the individual (single individual) is unique and at the same time a social being, which constantly encourages us to make decisions. But do we recognize the call to resist the force and power of “invisible totalitarianism”? Do we know how to be in a lively polemical relationship towards our own era? And what kind of qualitative change can polemical as a gesture of skadalon bring to being? Is it just a qualitative change, a leap into a “new existence”, where the friction between kinesis and krisis takes place?
How to preserve love, as a self-evident virtue, and at the same time keep the focus on the homogenizing logic of that “system”? Here we are left to our own responsibility, where there is nothing at hand and where “one should act contrary” to established expectations. Of course, only on condition, that we don’t hold back from acting if we leave behind the stagnation that obscures and prevents communication.
With existence in crisis, with the world in crisis, there is nothing essentially wrong, as long as we do not indulge in irresponsibility, which occupies the living space of our world, until the closedness and stagnation of the environment prevails, which shapes us and in which we ourselves we even participate by passively imitating “others.” In that case, we refuse communication, we avoid both personal, social, and physical relations.
This happens when I deviate from myself as I am, and I accept myself only in an abstract way, and only uncritically I do accept social roles. In this case, I radically avoid the relationship with myself, I cancel the responsibility towards myself and towards the other (as other). I become an anonymous and atomized individual (single individual), a man of the masses, on whom power is easily imposed and who is easily manipulated. That is why we must ask ourselves the question, what is the personal responsibility of the individual (single individual) today?
This is precisely why the category of “single individual” is so important for personal and social universality in Kierkegaard (in polemics, and resistance against the masses, and against power and force), which, due to its ineffability and immediacy, has a paradoxical nature. But precisely that immediate concreteness can be the basis for the new oikonomy of relations. In other words, precisely because of this paradox, the “individual” does not avoid the public sphere, but on the contrary, it requires a change in knowledge and action, requires fundamental changes that are not only personal but also social. They are only possible in a disjunctive way with an existential turn and with the boldness of decision-making, which marks a path to the root self-choices as an individualized embodiment of action and sets an example for others in their uniqueness, which co-realizes the original humanum of the human original state, the council community, the common home, the oikos.