La Pensee logique et politique de M. Merleau-Ponty

by Joseph M Labaki

Maurice Merleau-Ponty is the giant phenomenologist of his time in the entire French-speaking world. He is not an epistemologist nor a moralist. For him, the beginning of the beginning is human flesh; the flesh becomes word, the word becomes flesh, and both die. There is science, and there is experience/perception. The mother is the latter. They aren’t contradictory, but complete and depend on each other. With regard to language, for him, there are words, and there is grammar. A word is never empty, but carries its own weight; even a lie is full of meaning. Liberty resides in grammar, an individual function and independent from books. It’s in the grammar where singularity lives. Thinking and talking are the same. Wherever there is human life, there is meaning, and that is irrespective of age, culture, religion, education or social position. Merleau-Ponty is not a Marxist nor a communist. According to him, history is blind; it has no mind. He also finds a flaw in Freudianism. Flesh is an infinite universe full of stars and black holes. Following Merleau-Ponty, verity is devoiler, and devoiler is verity, but verity is never absolute. One must take a step back.There is light and there is shadow; they never coincide in human life. The shadow is always first, and no matter how one tries to run, he will never catch his shadow.

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