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The Metaphysics of Photography

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  1. Introduction
  2. The emotional, and not necessarily conscious, question of preserving the present
  3. Francis Ponge's model in De partea lucrurilor
  4. Ponge
  5. Discovering Chinese painting
  6. Martin Heidegger
  7. Conclusion

Digital camera completely democratized photography, making it available to anyone who feels interested, and a lot of people are and will be more and more interested. Why is that ?

In this interest one can see ?the hunger for the concrete? of the modern man, as Petre Tutea names it. It seems to be a consequence of the abstraction of life, of its more and more emphasized ?algebrization?. A huge Anonymous Time absorbs us in its vortex, making our own life appear as a lost time. There takes place a disembodiment of the human being, a virtualization of his existence. Although the sages and mystics have always warned us that this reality itself is a virtual one, man has only amplified it.

If there is a coherence of the becoming of human species, it consists in the ever rapid cerebralization of the human being, in the distancing from the human condition and in living in a parallel, built world of the possible.

The human denaturalization has amplified by entering History and was also the beginning of the distortion of existence, an autonomization of human life enslaved to its own technology. And when we saw with our own eyes how much demonic violence inspired technology in the last century, we can but laugh at the idea of progress of humanity. Human logic has adapted to unremitting doing, causality and purpose being merely a derived product of our action. ?You always go towards a purpose and know nothing else. You want to win. But what do you find under your poor victories??

[...] European metaphysical thinking on whose serious structure ideologies were built seems today to be in a position to find Truth in the contingent area. To tell what was happening to a man who had lost confidence in metaphysics and, returning to his childhood town after graduating from a university, had to live, just to live, seems to me a natural way of philosophizing. I remember that once back home, disappointed by European philosophy, I was looking for something else and at the same time I felt a vague but determined desire to take pictures, and it was the landscape, the images of forests I used to roam through as a child. [...]

[...] always go towards a purpose and know nothing else. You want to win. But what do you find under your poor victories?? Malraux said in an imagined polemic with the Western civilization. All this tireless activity gave birth to the anxiety which manifests itself as a permanent need to organize the world, to ?humanize? it. The unnatural has become our second nature while man became a tense human being, oriented towards a goal that seems redeeming, a purpose that he has come to attribute to the world, positioning himself as a privileged being, as a purpose of the creation of life. [...]

[...] The silence of photography reveals the divine gratuity of the world and lost time is found again in all its beauty. Sure, I knew that my photos were amateurish, but what counted was the joy of taking them. To take pictures of the same places in different hours, days, seasons meant a meeting with Time and gave me the feeling that I could enter the picture, just like Daozi the painter disappeared in the mists of a landscape that he had just finished painting. [...]

[...] Haiku is not but is read? in the very surrounding reality, but it's a moment that leads to real From the paulownia without a breath of wind? falling leaves. (Nozawa Boncho) We face time-itself, a-causal and a-finalist, before the passage that can't be passed through, the only reason, essence of essences. The Haijin discovers an epiphanic event amid a state mu-shin, of a restraint of the spirit. This state is an open existential attention, sensitive to revealing events, to the divine game of the coincidence of opposites or the disjunction of the identical, in which the real that embodies this reality is fleetingly revealed. [...]

[...] All of these meditations have led to the question whether modern European sensibility tends not, through the experiences of its great artists, towards a haiku-type spiritualization, in which the monumentality of the being in classical metaphysics is abandoned. For Nichita St?nescu haiku, which he himself aimed at in the last period of his creation, was understood as mythic ontology. ?Through the spirit of haiku something of the mystery of light is foreseen. Through light nothing can be foreseen. May it be the Uroboros serpent, who would feed by eating its own tail? We think What is haiku? [...]

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