Note to the Reader

pk-schiffeimdunkelnDear Visitor,

This website combines a blog with selected texts from the philosophical, psychological,  theological, and literary traditions that influenced me most.

The focus of my interest is the philosophy of the subject, therefore I named this project “Philosophical explorations of the human mind.” Even though this expression evokes a spatial metaphor, it is important to note that the “human mind” is not like a geographic region or an entity of any kind. Philosophy is mostly self-reflection, and therefore it is useful to think of mind as space, and to conceptualize the philosophical effort as a life-long journey. We are biological creatures, and yet we can abstract from our own physical existence. We can think about ourselves, and we can transcend our concrete life through language, art, science, theology, and philosophy. The question: “what is the human being?” is inexhaustible, because it is our very nature to reflect on our own foundations and possibilities. On this website, you will find many ways to ask the question, and some answers as well. I have summarized my own thoughts about the constitution of human existence into a list of philosophical assumptions.

The concept of “philosophy” needs a clarification as well. I use it mostly in a liberating sense: the engagement with philosophical thinking helps us to free ourselves from misconceptions. Philosophy, therefore, subtracts more than it adds; it demolishes false beliefs that are all too common, rather than to burden us with more knowledge.

There is a reason for this choice in the definition of the concept of “philosophy”. We live in a period of extraordinary transformations, and our ability to simplify our lives and to adapt to the changes around us becomes key for our well-being. Practically everything has begun to change with increasing speed. The word “revolution” itself suddenly has an almost nostalgic flavor. We need to find orientation in the flood of information, and for this reason we return to old philosophical questions: What are the visions we have for the human future? How do we balance humanity with technological progress? What is humanity in the first place? What do we mean by “nature,” and how do we relate to the nature around us, as well as to our own nature? How do we gain consciousness of ourselves in the midst of our struggles to keep up with the change?

As important as these questions are, many people don’t want to pursue them in the medium of pure thinking. We already drown in philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, and expert opinions. Because of this inflationary use of words,  we have to protect our ability to think for ourselves without a sense of urgency, threat, or fear. Life should be more of a celebration, and not an endless struggle for survival, or even crisis. But we also live in a culture of entertainment, which is not about the celebration of live, but about consumerism, and the distraction from the  important question of human existence. In this context, philosophy can only be a critical tool. Real celebration of live begins when we express ourselves artistically; when we get inspired and focused. For this reason, I have also included a section about poetry and art. You will find some of my own photos and drawings as well.

Please take a look around; I hope you like this website. If you do, please sign up for email notification for new posts, or connect with me on one of the social networks.

Thank you for visiting!

Jürgen Braungardt


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