Body and Time in Sesemann's Philosophy of Culture: Preface to the Publication of the Vasily Sesemann's Manuscript "Sport and Contemporary Culture"

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Abstract


This publication presents manuscript of the famous Russian-Lithuanian philosopher Vasily Seseman (1884-1963) accompanied by a preface. The manuscript "Sport and Contemporary Culture" is the text of Seseman's manuscript collection, which is located in Vilnius University (F122-79). Manuscript is a preparatory text for the article "Time, Culture and Body" (first published in 1931 under the pen name "V. Chukhnin", and then in 1935 under his real name). In "Time, Culture and Body" Sesemann develops his ideas concerning the objectifying attitude, which leads to human's alienation towards body and time. Sesemann claims that the time is perceived as a meaningful entirety only when the time is contemplated from the point of view of work. Work is a purpose-attaining activity where subjective creativity is oriented towards an objective result in future. Working in pursuit of one's goals helps to avoid facing the emptiness of time, but at the same time it alienates the present. Work helps the subject to overcome his individual limitations and to become a part of the objective culture. By hiding behind the results of an objective activity people avoid direct contact with the time because it may appear as an interruption of meaningful relations and as a boredom. The tendency to objectify time is accompanied by the process of objectification of body. Previously, a primitive person could trust his body more than tools. In the modern culture body is gradually downgraded because tools, machinery and even separate institutions take over its functions. In this way the centre of culture is moved to the world of objects which is beyond a subject's control and body plays a merely auxiliary part. A person can overcome his alienation towards time and body only by being wakeful - here and now, by self-knowledge and self-control. Sesemann describes the self-control as the practical ability and mood, which he called "presence of mind". In this state of mind person is able to fing oneself, concentrate and mobilise all his strength to his utmost, maintain inner composure, calmness and balance of spirit.


About the authors

Dalius Jonkus

Vytautas Magnus University

Author for correspondence.
Email: phenolt@yahoo.com
58, K. Donelaičio, 44248, LT-44243, Kaunas, Lithuania

PhD, Professor, Department of Philosophy

References

  1. Sesemann W. Sokrat i problema samopoznania. Evrazijskij vremennik. Berlin; 1925;(4): 224—267. (In Russian).
  2. Sesemann W. Platonism, Plotin i sovremennost. Logos. Mezhdunarodnij ezhegodnik po filosofii kultury. Prague; 1925;(1):51—107. (In Russian).
  3. Sesemann W. [V. Chuhnin] Vremia, kultura i telo. К poznaiju kulturnyh zadach sovremennosti. Tridcatye gody. Utverzhdenie evrazijcev. 1931;(VII):147—190. (In Russian).
  4. Sezemanas V. Laikas, kultūra ir kūnas: Šių dienų kultūros uždaviniams pažinti. Kaunas: Spaudos fondas; 1935.
  5. Sesemann W. Die logischen Gesetze und das Sein. Eranus. Kaunas; 1932; (2):59—230.
  6. Hadot P. The Present Alone is Our Happiness: Conversations with Jeannie Carlier and Arnold I. Davidson. Stanford University Press; 2008.

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