I accept the absurdity of a public apology on a blog that has an infinitesimally minute readership. One could compare the scene to a man muttering to himself on the street while passersby skirt their gaze away from him. Nevertheless, whether I mutter to myself or speak just loud enough for one or more of you to hear me, an apology is warranted.
At the very end of March, I promised a future series on Friedrich Schleiermacher, one of the most influential theologians of the 18th century, whose work carved the path which modern mainstream Protestantism has followed in many respects to this day. Little did I know that in a few weeks I would receive the call for which I had waited since the previous fall, to begin working full-time with Nike. The additional hours at work, joined with the already busy personal schedule and course-load, meant that the energy which I had originally allocated for this project would now be turned elsewhere.
Having the distance of a few months from the original promise, I can look back and say that it’s well enough that Schleiermacher waited another day for study. Other, more pressing topics concerned me. In fact, I’ve begun to clarify for myself what it means to do theology, philosophy, etc., as a Christian. Although my schoolwork suffered with the increased hours at work, the long shifts and mindless labor meant that I had time to think and allow the mind to wander. However, Schleiermacher never wormed his way into my subconscious — hence this apology. Nevertheless, thanks to the time I had spent recently reading Tillich and Pannenberg, it was as though I had caught the aroma of an ex-lover while I worked. I remembered the hours spent devouring Sartre, Hegel, Merleau-Ponty (well, we had a fling), de Beauvoir, Heidigger, and Camus.
Their writings resonated with me in a manner that most of the other philosophers I had read failed. They attributed a significance to human choice and action that meant our lives had substance, even if in the final analysis we return to nothing. They took seriously the uniquely human apprehension of the abyss. They acknowledged the inherent complexity of human life, and faithfully the implication of that to the real obscurity and limitations of moral reasoning and rationality as such.
I want to return to these figures, having the benefit of a few more years of maturity (one can hope) behind me. There are two books by one of these philosophers that I want to tackle first. Simone de Beauvoir is the fountainhead of contemporary feminism. My experience with her so far has been limited to her work The Ethics of Ambiguity, published in 1947. This will be the first project. The second will be her most well-known piece, The Second Sex, which she published in 1949.
Until next time.