chapter  2
18 Pages

Aesthetics and the search for moments of self-experience

WithLambert Wiesing

Martin Heidegger’s suggestion is, therefore, that anxiety is defined not only as a potential way of experiencing an exceptional revelation of existence but, in light of this power to reveal existence, an experience of heightened value, to the point of being represented as a desirable state. While Heidegger and Jaspers can hardly think of a life without fear and border situations, for Friedrich Schiller a life without experiences of play is not only thinkable, but, in fact, the rule. Schiller’s Letters may be read as an answer to the question that was central for Heidegger in Being and Time. In Schiller’s view, wholeness cannot be grasped theoretically or ontologically. For him there is no propositionally definable principle of wholeness appearing in all forms of human existence. Even Schiller understood his own suggestion of becoming aware of one’s humanity through play to be a diagnosis of his time: Namely as an explicit reaction to the French Revolution.