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Grenzen Der Gemeinschaft by Helmuth Plessner

Only if a thing takes up a relationship to its boundary, does it become open in its own characteristic way to what lies outside and to what lies inside.

It becomes a living thing. Only then does it allow its environment to appear in it and it to appear in its environment.

What distinguishes human beings from other living entities is that they are eccentrically positioned: From their eccentric position, human beings have to establish artificial boundaries and also embody these boundaries.

Plessner puts the thesis of eccentric positionality to the test in the areas of society, history, politics, language, art, music, and generally within the scope of the expressivity of the human body. The human condition is characterized by indeterminate relationships to the self, to others, and to the world.


Groups of human beings become aware of their own historical transformations and gemeihschaft the fact that other communities ded other ways of shaping their horizon. They are able to understand that their own culture expresses the unmediated essence of the human being in a mediated way and also that, by virtue of this artificial mediation, their own culture not only uncovers this essence in a particular way but at the same time always hides some of its aspects.

Grenzen der Gemeinschaft by Helmuth Plessner

Insight into the structural obscurity of the self i. These accomplishments precede and form the basis of our cognitive access to the world. Positioned eccentrically between mind and body, the person is capable of rationally abstracting from his sensuous existence, without, however, completely detaching himself from it.

Indeed, the opposite is the case. The eccentrically positioned human being pushes the different senses to gemeinschfat greater accomplishments in mathematical geometry, fine arts, or musicthereby approximating the extremity of distance and resonance. Finally, the notion of eccentric positionality takes us to an anthropology of the subjective dimension of human existence.

Thoughts – Helmuth Plessner Gesellschaft

In the enigmatic and ineffable expression of a laughter bursting with joy or an uncontrollable crying, Plessner identifies forms of behavior that are only suitable for a living subject who, in a permanently fragile relation to his own body, must find self-control and a sense of meaning in all possible life situations Lachen und Weinen,translated as Laughing and Crying, Laughing and crying are just as essential to human life as the ability to use language.


These forms of behavior represent perhaps an even stronger objection to Cartesian dualism than the linguistic capacity, as they demonstrate that human beings form a unity that is broken and intermittent but not divided into body and mind as separate substances.

Since this bourgeois spirit of idealism cannot develop any valid standard to employ in matters of public concern, it is not able to oppose grenzeb force plezsner final solutions in times of great practical upheaval. And finally this power of judgment is a medium for the development of a practical scepticism. Helmuth Plessner Biography Thoughts Photographs.