Contributions from abroadFilosofiaSenza categoria


 There are countless times when people constantly wonder about their place in the  world, in space and time. Human existence is embodied and extends -within- and with   its body, as the spatio-temporal becoming within life becomes familiar. We don’t  think about the world, we live it, writes Maurice Merleau Ponty in his work  “Phenomenology of Perception“.[1] Human existence opens up to the world, constantly communicating with it, without, however, possessing it, because the world is  inexhaustible. 

 Just as the world is inexhaustible, without limits, so is human thought. Already, from  Pre-Socratic thought, concerns and questions regarding cosmological evolution and  structure were raised. Is the universe infinite? Is it infinite and eternal, or does it have   a beginning in time?[2] And the basic question: What is the position of man who lives in  the universe? These questions still plague man. Although, of course, no definitive answers were given, the Pre-Socratic philosophers had realized that cosmological matter is not a dead matter, on the contrary, each of the natural elements is governed by an inner force, which is responsible for their perpetual evolution and by extension and of the whole universe. 

 Fire in Heracleian thought is paralleled with the soul, water in Thales carries a transcendent force of vital importance, in Empedocles the natural elements are united  by forces of friendship (Φιλότητα) and separated by the forces of disunion (νεῖκος). These opposing  elements, although opposed, interact with each other,  as seen in the thought of Heraclitus, and they alternate constantly, with a natural consequence of the perpetual dynamic movement of renewal and evolution of the universe. [3]

 The world is not limited by space and time, as the Renaissance philosopher Giordano   Bruno[4] argued, the universe is infinite and the worlds are innumerable. These  innumerable worlds are governed by the innermost dynamics of infinity, which meets  the singularity of the transitory dimension of human existence. The innumerable worlds that make up the infinite universe are not only the spatio-temporal worlds, because each human being constitutes a unique world, a psychosomatic whole that  appropriates the space-time of the universe in which it resides and is constantly opening.  The existence of multiple worlds has been put at the center of modern scientific thought, especially Quantum Physics, and even great scientists, such as Stephen Hawking.[5]

 According to theories of quantum physicists there are not just multiple universes, but  parallel universes. Does man also live in multiple states within parallel universes of  which he is unaware? “Time exists in order that everything doesn’t happen all at once… and space exists so that it doesn’t all happen to you,” as author Susan  Sontag[6] put it. So, even if we exist in some parallel universe, it is not our embodiment self, since we do not experience as corporality the space-time horizon in which the other self is.  So it is a self that I am not aware of, since my body does not inhabit it, nor is it  inhabited by it. In fact, as the visionary Maurice – Merleau Ponty had formulated in his work “Phenomenology of Perception“, “I have consciousness” means nothing  more than “I am in”,[7] “I am in my body, I am it“. [8]

 The individual as a being inhabits his body, which as aktive Leib (active body) particularizes his ontological identity, while the self in some parallel universe constitutes a potenzieller Leib (potential body), a non-being, which is waiting , since it has not been synchronized in the hic et nunc of human existence. 

 Our physical self resides within the hic et nunc, but the energetic self flows through the time scales of the past, present and future, at the speed of light, as it radiates from the present event, to the event of the future, according to the well-known physicist  Jean- Pierre Garnier Malet. If our physicality is governed by an energetic self, which runs through past, present and future, then as the great Albert Einstein said: “The  distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent  illusion”.[9]

 But what happens to human existence when the embodiment and energetic self are synchronized in the hic et nunc that runs through the world that human existence inhabits and appropriates the evolving space-time..? 

 Human Being  appropriates the space-time he inhabits. Usually, the verb inhabit refers to one’s  particular home, but one’s home constitutes the complex universal multiplicity. After  all, as the well-known writer, Henry David Thoreau, said: “What  is the use of a house if  you don’t have a tolerable planet to put it on?”.[10] These words of Thoreau are more relevant than ever, especially in the modern era of socio-economic mutations,  technological challenges and environmental alterations. 

 In 1845 Henry David Thoreau leaves the city and decides to live on the shores of  Walden Lake in Concord, Massachusetts. There he is in complete harmony with  nature. The co-inhabitation of the human body with the natural landscape strengthens  the vitality of Thoreau, who ponders, studies and writes all that his corporeality  appropriates within the space-time in which he inhabits. Thoreau realizes the infinity  of space-time through the power and harmony of nature. Space and human existence  are in a perpetual relationship in which they coexist. Man appropriates nature, but never conquers it, since nature constantly claims for itself everything that man has  appropriated.[11]

 Space inhabits man and is inhabited by man, within the universal space of familiarity.  Man inhabits his body and at the same time is inhabited by it. The spatiality of the human body is coextensive with the cosmological spatio-temporality, which man  acquires in the midst of events, actions and choices. 

 My body is here, present,[12] within space and time shaping the flow of event. The facts  are inherent in the primordial encounter of the human being with his Being. Human  existence acquires its Being through bodily action within the world. The human being appropriates its   Da-Sein (Heidegger, Sein und Zeit),[13] as a spacious and timely  being. 

  The body affirms the ambiguity of human existence, its Being and at the same time  its non-Being. Man comes into life only with his body and leaves the world again only  with his body. The body is the house in which the human essence dwells and is  particularized. The body is the house within which man lives and gives form to the  space-time that is inscribed in human physicality.

  Space is not an abstract concept since it is particularized by human physicality. The space acquires a form, a face, the face given to it by human actions, the choices and  actions that make up the inner world event. The space of each house is different from  another. The house means a lot to the owner or tenant, since the space emits images  that awaken the memory. For someone else, however, who has not mastered this house, space is an abstract, enigmatic space, within which his corporeality has no  experiences, nor has it inscribed its own spatiotemporal imprint within this space. 

 The person is in a relationship of waiting, a relationship of challenge – invitation, in  the context of which, the space challenges and invites the person to discover it. On the other hand, the individual himself longs to reveal the space, and at the same time to   reveal his Being within the space. Every house and a whole world in which the human  body dwells, which is inhabited by human existence.  

 In the Pseudepigrapha,[14] in the dialogue between Hippocrates and jovial Democritus, Democritus introduces Hippocrates to the following reflection: he therefore suggests to him to think about what they would see if they had the opportunity to see  inside every house, without any obstacle. They would see some crying and some  laughing, some eating and some hungry. Some to prepare poisons and others to invent  accusations against their friends. Others collect furniture, others statues and others  paintings. How many different space-time events! 

 Time is inexorable, it runs at a dizzying speed with which it penetrates the  infinite different spatiotemporalities, which govern the microcosm of each separate  existence. The flow of time synchronizes in the present, the past and the future these  countless spatio-temporities. Of course, the synchronicity of the spatiotemporal  existences depends on the modalities of familiarization of the spatiotemporal hic et nunc by each human singularity.

  Many times we think about the movement of the earth around its axis, the time difference that one country has from another, a difference of about two hours between European countries, while the countries that are across the Atlantic on another continent, are twelve hours apart in space and time hours from European countries.  Our day is their night and vice versa, their past is our future and vice versa. 

 However, spatiotemporal changes are not only found in the time difference, but also  in the different time of inhabiting a space. Spaces as geographical points remain fixed,  immovable, but as inhabited spaces of familiarity they are changed by the human bodies   that shape the events within space and time. Let’s imagine, for example, an apartment  that has been rented and lived in at different periods of time by different people. The apartment as a house remains unchanged in the same location, but as a place of  familiarity, it changes through the different feeling of inhabiting each existence. 

 Since ancient times, the home has been a defining space for the extent of human life.  In ancient Greece Hestia was the protector of the house, not only as a dwelling, but  also as a home. In Roman mythology, the deity that was similar to Hestia was Vesta, who was the protector of the hearth and of the wider family, since she was considered the protector of the house and at the city-state level, symbolizing the alliance between   cities and their colonies. [15]

 As it can be seen, since ancient times, the house was not a one-size-fits-all word defining exclusively the roof, but the familiarity of the space and the closeness between the individuals who extend as beings within the specific space, a fact  highlighted by the importance of hospitality. Hospitality, as indicated by the  etymology of the Greek  word philo – xenia,expresses the treatment and care of a stranger  (guest), at home. Hospitality was a moral duty and a sacred rule. Xenios Zeus was considered the patron of hospitality, in fact people at that time believed that foreigners  were sent by God, that is why they considered them holy and respectable persons. [16]

 The guest not only enjoyed the comforts of a house as a dwelling, but much more he  got to know the warmth and created strong friendships with the hosts. The guest enters the individual spatio-temporality of the host, forming a new spatio-temporality  that encloses it with familiarity. 

 The guest feels the feeling of living in the home as a home, but above all, as a  condition of closeness and friendship. Man becomes familiar with his friend, inhabits  his own space-time and, correspondingly, his own space-time is inhabited by his  friend. He experiences a kind of domestication by discovering and revealing his deepest self from the beginning, the moment he feels the tension of friendship towards  the other. 

 The space of the house is sculpted by the friendliness that emanates from human corporality, since the bodies that inhabit it, at the same time shape the time that flows  through the inhabited space, their own special space-time. The body has the absolute  consciousness of the present Here, as it particularizes the manifestations of Dasein.[17]

 The body of existence is inhabited by existence itself, which inhabits the house by  kinesthetically particularizing the space. The abstract, as a concept, space is transformed through the proprioception of the body into its own space by experiencing the atmosphere, moods and events that run through it and give it a personal texture. 

 The states of the body, that extends, moves and embraces its inner worldliness, fluctuate within the house. The body of human existence subjectivizes domestic space and the  objects within it. The actions of intertwining the human body with domestic objects  and the kinesthetic visual proprioception of the existential corporeality that manifests   in them intensify the feeling of coziness within the domestic spatio-temporality. The warmth of the hearth strengthens the vitality of the body that lives in the house and  familiarizes itself with space and time.  

 The familiarization of space and time through the feeling of dwelling is inscribed in the space-time of the home and at the same time in the physical spatio-temporality of the person. The human existence  resides within the space amidst events that permeate through the space and are engraved as images-memories in the physicality of the human being.  Even if the house is renovated or reconstructed, the space-time of familiarization still governs the space of the hearth, with the consequence that the house has changed as a  house, but not as a familiarity. 

 A characteristic story that expresses the familiarity of space and time through the feeling of inhabitation is told by Tarkovsky describing the filming process of the film “The Mirror”. The building on the farm where the filming took place had fallen into  disrepair over the years, but was rebuilt and eventually became exactly as it was forty  years ago. Tarkovsky’s mother lived in this place in her youth, and when she found  herself there again after many years, she felt she was returning to the past. [18] The  white flowers in the garden awakened Tarkovsky’s childhood memories. In fact, as he mentions in his work with his personal testimonies “Sculpting time[19], this image was  one of the most essential details of his childhood. No matter how many journeys man makes, no matter how far he goes, no matter how many experiences he collects, he will always miss (nostalgia nostos = return- algos = pain) his own particular horizon that has  defined him, wishing at some point to return, like the Odysseus in Ithaca. 

 Human corporality inscribes its time within the space it inhabits. The time of  familiarization constitutes the opening of the individual to the horizon. Space, without the familiarization of the individual through the sense of inhabitation, is an infinite void that extends limitlessly parallel to eternity that also extends to eternity, without  void extending into eternity, nor eternity into void. These two concepts begin to shine  into each other through the sense of inhabiting human existence. The body of human existence appropriates space, which is transformed from emptiness into a particular personal space, while eternity is particularized, as it is inscribed as a definite time in  human existence. 

 Familiarity exists as a need in the human being. The human being has a need to shape  the eternal through memories that express specific moments in time, which inscribe and particularize eternity. The mature human being appropriates the space he inhabits, turning Everywhere into Here. 

 Man, although governed by his inherent tendency towards the eternal, feels the need  to assimilate and give a face to everywhere and always. These supernatural  enigmatic forces, everywhere and always while inviting man, at the same time  drive him away causing him fear to the point where he experiences more than ever his limitation. As Emily Dickinson put it: “They say God is everywhere, and yet we always  think of Him as somewhat of a recluse.” [20]

 Human existence inhabits his body and is inhabited by it, therefore the need to determine the spatiality of his own life is innate, because by determining the space within which he  extends his essence, he determines his Being. Man’s tendency to determine exactly where he is stems from his innate tendency to determine who he is. This tendency is due to the fact that man as a whole inhabits a living body of  familiarity (Leib).[21] The inextricable connection of place – human existence was pointed out by the penetrating psychiatrist, Jacques Lacan, who emphasized not only the revelation of his patient’s words, but the revelation of the place within which they  are expressed. 

 The space meets the physical space of the human being and gives the  corresponding dimension to words, emotions, actions and events. Words, actions and events take on the modalities that corporeality takes on within the space.  The movement of factual energy is endless, since the existential body constitutes a  presence within space. Human corporality it does not exist as a mere material object in space (kӧrper), but as a visual presence. 

The space acquires a personal dimension thanks to the presence of the living body, consequently the bodily presence becomes noticeable, and the bodily absence just as strongly. A space without human presence is an empty space from which the feeling of inhabitation, presence  and absence is absent. 

 The human presence inside the house became intense during the last three years of the coronavirus pandemic. In the last three years human existence has been confronted with the condition of quarantine, confinement and isolation. Everyone’s personal space took on  terrifying forms, since the terrifying modalities of fear and anxiety diffused into the   space stigmatizing the flow of the event. 

  Spacetime is bisected. The suddenness (εξαίφνης) (Plato)[22] of the pandemic brings man face to face with the vertigo of agony (Kierkegaard).[23] The individual makes superhuman efforts to catch up with time by experiencing in the most violent way the  spatiotemporal uncertainty of self-determination. The home with the help of technology (tele-working, distance learning) becomes a multi-space, since during the   pandemic period it brings together activities that under normal conditions were carried out in special spaces. Human being continues to extend the complex manifestations of life within the home, as he gets to grips with the agonizing vertigo of the pandemic’s spatio-temporal flow.  

 The personal space of the house, especially during the period of the first quarantine, was transformed from a place of comfort into a condition of irreversible repeatability,  since anxiety makes time immovable and impenetrable. Many people have tried to shape their personal space, renewing its aura, in such a way as to make clear the  spatio-temporal reality of secrecy that governs modern life. The well-known Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965), believed that when the sun enters the  house, it also enters the soul of those who live in it.[24] This phrase of Le Corbusier becomes more relevant than ever, since the visibility of personal space becomes necessary in the gloomy complex becoming, within which the human essence  extends. 

 Accommodation of space-time through dwelling means that man is placed within it,  discovering himself already bound to it. Human existence discovers itself at the same  time as it discovers the world. She embraces time as a whole and is present in her own body, because she is present in the world, in a world within which she struggles, so  that she can learn to see it clearly again.[25]

[1] Ponty, M.M. Φαινομενολογία της Αντίληψης, ( Phenomenologie de la perception), (μτφρ. Κική Καψαμπέλη), εκδ. Νήσος, 2016, Αθήνα ( Gallimard, 1945), Μέρος 2ο, ΙΙ.

[2] Ι.Σ. Σκλόφσκιι, Καρλ Σάγκαν, Το Σύμπαν, (μτφρ. Ντίνος Γαρουφάλιας), ©Holden – Day Inc., Για την ελληνική έκδοση: Ν. Ράπτης, Αθήνα, 1978, κεφ. 10, σ. 180.

[3] Zeller, Nestle,  Ιστορία της  Ελληνικής Φιλοσοφίας,,( μτφρ. ,από τη 13η έκδοση, Χ. Θεοδωρίδη), εκδ. Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης,  Κάλβος Αθήνα 1942,  [    Dr. Eduard Zeller , Die Philosophie Der Griechen , Leipzig, O. R. REISLAND 1892].

[4] Giordano Bruno, Περί του Απείρου, του Σύμπαντος και των Κόσμων, [De l’ infinitouniversoe mondi], ( Επιμ. Παναγιώτης Δόικος, μτφρ. Ισιδώρα Στανιμεράκη), εκδ. Ρώμη, Θεσσαλονίκη, 2015.



[7] Ponty, M.M. Φαινομενολογία της Αντίληψης, ( Phenomenologie de la perception), (μτφρ. Κική Καψαμπέλη), εκδ. Νήσος, 2016, Αθήνα ( Gallimard, 1945).


[9] Michio Kaku, Ένας άλλος εαυτός σου σε ένα παράλληλο σύμπαν, ©2022 The New York Times Company and Michio Kaku, ανακτήθηκε από  Capital.gr


[11] Henry D. Thoreau, Walden (Η ζωη στο δάσος), (μτφρ. Βασίλης Αθανασιάδης), εκδ. Κέδρος, 11η έκδοση, 2007.

[12] Ponty, M.M. Φαινομενολογία της Αντίληψης, ( Phenomenologie de la perception), (μτφρ. Κική Καψαμπέλη), εκδ. Νήσος, 2016, Αθήνα ( Gallimard, 1945), Μέρος 2ο, ΙΙ.

[13] Martin Heidegger, Είναι και Χρόνος ( Sein und Zeit1927), (Μεταφρ: Γιάννης Τζαβάρας), εκδ. Δωδώνη, Αθήνα, 1η εκδ. 1978, 2η, 2013.

[14] Γεράσιμος Βώκος, (2008), «Ο Ιπποκράτης και η τρέλα του Δημόκριτου», Το Βήμα,  ενημερώθηκε (2000)



[17] Martin Heidegger, Είναι και Χρόνος ( Sein und Zeit1927), (Μεταφρ: Γιάννης Τζαβάρας), εκδ. Δωδώνη, Αθήνα, 1η εκδ. 1978, 2η, 2013.

[18] Tarkovsky Andrei, Σμιλεύοντας το Χρόνο, (μτφρ. Σεραφείμ Βελέντζας), εκδ. Νεφέλη, 1987, Αθήνα, σ. 182.

[19] Όπ.π. Tarkovsky. 


[21] Husserl Edmund, Για τη Φαινομενολογία της συνείδησης του εσωτερικού χρόνου, (μτφρ. Νίκος  Σουελτζής), εκδ. Πανεπιστημιακές Εκδόσεις  Κρήτης, Ηράκλειο 2020, Εισαγωγή, σ σ. 50-51. Τίτλοι πρωτότυπων κειμένων: Husserliana 10, σ. 3-134, «Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstesensins (1893- 1917) [« The Phenomenology of  internal time-consciousness (1893-1917)»], επιμ. Rudolf Boehm. Χάγη, Ολλανδία: Martinus Nijhoff, 1969.  Husserliana 33, σ. 3-49, «Die ‘Bernauer Manuskripte’ über das Zeitbewußtsein (1917/1918)» [ The ‘Bernauer Manuscripts’ on Time – Consciousness], επιμ. Rudolf Bernet & Dieter Lohmar , Ντόρντρεχτ , Ολλανδία: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001. 

[22] Σωκράτης Δεληβογιατζής, Ζητήματα Διαλεκτικής , 4η έκδοση, εκδ. Ερωδιός, Θεσσαλονίκη 2010. 

[23] Παναγιώτης Δόικος, Kierkegaard και Molla Sadra, Το ζήτημα της ύπαρξης και η ανατολική σκέψη, εκδ. Ρώμη, Θεσσαλονίκη ,2013, κεφ. 7, σ. 95.


[25] Ponty, M.M. Φαινομενολογία της Αντίληψης, ( Phenomenologie de la perception), (μτφρ. Κική Καψαμπέλη), εκδ. Νήσος, 2016, Αθήνα ( Gallimard, 1945), μέρος 3ο, ΙΙ, ΙΙΙ. 

Thomae Ragia

Thomae Ragia was born in Thessaloniki. She completed her undergraduate studies in the department of Education and Literature of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She also holds a MA degree in Systematic Philosophy. Since 2019 She is a PhD candidate at the same university focusing on the field of Philosophical Anthropology, Dialectics and Phenomenology. She is also engaged in Poetry and has published three poetry collections.

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