center of philosophy

In fact, the meditating Ego can never suppress its inherence in an individual subject who knows all things from a particular perspective. Reflection can never make it the case that I cease to perceive the sun on a hazy day as hovering two hundred paces away, that I cease to see the sun “rise” and “set,” or that I cease to think with the cultural instruments that were provided by my upbringing, my previous efforts, and my history. Thus, I never actually bring together or simultaneously awaken all of the originary thoughts that contribute to my perception or to my present conviction. Critical philosophy ultimately attaches no importance to this resistance of passivity, as if it were not necessary to become the transcendental subject in order to have the right to affirm it. It thus implies that the philosopher’s thought is not subjugated to any situations. Beginning from the spectacle of the world, which is the spectacle of a nature open to a plurality of thinking subjects, critical philosophy seeks the condition that makes this unique world offered to many empirical myselves possible, and it finds this in a transcendental I in which they all participate without thereby dividing it, because it is not a Being but rather a Unity or a Value… Thus an absolute Unity will no longer be asserted, which is even less doubtful now that it does not need to be realized in Being. The center of philosophy is no longer an autonomous transcendental subjectivity, situated everywhere and nowhere, but is rather found in the perpetual beginning of reflection at that point when an individual life begins to reflect upon itself. Reflection is only truly reflection if it does not carry itself outside of itself, if it knows itself as reflection-upon-an-unreflected, and consequently as a change in the structure of our existence.

Phenomenology of Perception, The Phenomenal Field – Maurice Merleau-Ponty

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