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Showing posts from February, 2010

Apples and Roots

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Injuries, Organizations, Bodies

What is peculiar to what is initially at hand is that it withdraws, so to speak, in its character of handiness in order to be really handy. --Heidegger (SZ, 69-70)

Heidegger is talking here about the way in which really useful things make themselves invisible. When our practices are running well, they flow smoothly along, and we do not notice them at all. The sign of health is a sort of invisibility of the body. And this is one thing that the runner seeks through his practice. The great run is not centered in the body at all, or at least not the body that we normally imagine. The run is not felt in the legs, but in the mind, or--to use a quaint word--the spirit. Running, we say, is flying. Floating on invisible wings.

The flip side of this truth is that the unhealthy body makes itself noticed. Heidegger puts it like this: "The more urgently we need what is missing and the more truly it is encountered in its unhandiness, all the more obtrusive does what is at hand become, such that …