What can a phenomenologist see when they look at the world?

Husserl talks about gegebenheit when describing the process of perceiving something in the world. In translation to English we usually use the word ‘givenness’. Givenness illustrates two aspects of the world. It is a quality of that which is given, or perceived, as well as the act of it being giving.

Givenness has a generous, immediate and egalitarian quality. It is a process of offering rather than exchange or ‘having’. The world perceived ‘displays’ and ‘contains’ givenness. It is a condition. It is not ‘displayed’ for us to have, nor are we asked a price for it.

Givenness is a quality of the process of being. The givenness of a tree is not hidden nor delayed from our perception, it is immediately present. The givenness is neither reserved for certain types of creatures or those with endorsed qualifications. It is there for all and every and always.

If you look you will see that the world gives itself to you. You don’t need any documented credentials, or socially endorsed status, or sanctioned knowledge. You don’t have to be a celebrity, or a person with a title, or CEO of McMeaters.

The whole world is given to you; how will you describe what you perceive?

 

Image: Delegation admiring Tom Bass sculpture ‘Ethos’

 

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