In my book Walking I used several times the word “physiognomy”; it corresponds to “there” of Heidegger’s “being there” and to the “narrative” style, today appreciated as a way of making philosophy and theology. Heidegger showed that being is not abstract, but it is always a “being-there”, that is, a being that is always somewhere and in some time, it is local and temporary, historical, is always particular, destined to change and even to finish; it is in fact a “being toward death”; it is not the being, but always a being.
This way of thinking, that decides to pay attention to the particularism of our experience, is opposed to the mentality that we have inherited from Greek philosophy, a mentality that tends to generalize, to seek universal ideas, senses and meanings not subject to time and space; in other words, an objectivist, realist, metaphysic mentality. In this sense, relativism, subjectivism, are merely different ways of expressing the “there” of Heidegger’s “being there”. Pessimism, boredom, nausea, a sense of end of everything or end of philosophy, which in different ways and shades we can find in such authors as Nietzsche, Sartre, Cioran, can be considered nothing more than results of our difficulty in stripping ourselves of the Greek universalistic thinking, mainly due to lack of alternative perspectives. In short, stripping ourselves of a power is never enjoyable, because power spoils, deforms, distorts and returning to something closer to honesty, authenticity implies a considerable conversion work; I don’t want, by these words, to let think that I believe honesty or authenticity as objective values: they are just alternative experiences.
From the work of adopting this different mentality to which I referred, a particularistic, humble and modest, “physiognomic”, narrative mentality, important consequences are derived and it will be worth to examine them in detail in my future posts.