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Of Wonder and Waking

  • Author(s): Axel, Brian Keith
  • Advisor(s): Otte, Ric
  • Hoy, David
  • et al.
Abstract

In this dissertation, I have merely wished to explore four basic possibilities: First, that beings, or individual subjects, possess wakefulness and wonder in their very nature. Second, that wakefulness is available to, and already present for, each being in every moment. Third, that every being is always already awake. And fourth, that every individual being as a subject lives in forgetfulness of its true nature - a forgetfulness which it is compelled energetically to sustain. This latter is a critical element in the composition of what I have called the illusion of personal identity. Thus, although it is nothing special, some philosophers - like Kant - believe the moment of wakefulness is something of an achievement that requires proper cultivation. Others, like Kierkegaard and Heidegger - as well as myself - feel otherwise, i.e., that the cessation of forgetfulness is quite mundane. Such an everyday access to the absurd, Kierkegaard calls: the sublime in the pedestrian. There are, however, significant differences - as well as critical sites of emergence and intersection - within and between the texts of these philosophers. Each of the chapters of this dissertation attends to these in precise ways.

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