Story of noumena NOUMENA: A THING IN ITSELF, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM A PHENOMENON OR THING AS IT APPEARS.
There is a philosopher in each of us, but it is commonly thought that using our common sense is a philosophical act in itself. But the opposite is really the case. Philosophy that is intuitive is rarely worth reading - it is only intuitive because it is telling us what we want to hear, that we are completely correct as we currently are. That is useless to us and harmful if we take it seriously, since it projects barriers to revising our mistaken beliefs. We can all be better, we can all change.
Each of us has probably asked life's most fundamental questions: What is life? What is my place in it? What choices does this obligate me to make? No one is philosophically perfect. Everyone has places where their views need refinement or revision. It is because of this that we read, and sometimes write, philosophy. I believe that life should be a quest for values, reasons, and purpose—and filled with passion! I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to speak to so many runners as a runner, but I am cautious of the values I am getting people to accept. People may accept things as fact because I am a runner, and I want people to understand that I am a thinker and want people to become thinkers too. My personal goal is to explore how I have come to know myself as a runner. I envisioned this “blog” as a place to write about my values and beliefs about running in hope of refining them, and in turn sharing them with other runners (and thinkers)!
The story of noumena
In critiquing pure reason, Kant conceptualized two realms: noumenal and phenomenal. The noumenal world is that which is thought and is distinguishable from what is perceived by our senses, the phenomenal world. Running is often discussed as a purely phenomenal experience; as bloggers we get ourselves trapped in writing about the regiments of our training and racing, what we eat before/during/after training and racing, and insert captions of our lives to make connections with others. Should all runners blog and tweet? The wired cacophony we endure already competes with knowledge, as we struggle to wade through a growing stream of random conversations about our lives. Noumena, or the mental, is not superior to our experiences, they are interconnected concepts in a philosophical position. Noumena is the thing itself that prevents our simple intuition to be extended to our experiences. I believe that running is more than a bodily experience, and there is more breadth to talk about than how we train and eat. Lost? Good. It is impossible for us to actually visualize or understand our world without senses, but to simplify noumena is what we use to understand why we come to perceive the world in the way we do. Don’t worry, this is not a critique of running, and this is the extent of the philosophical jargon. This is the thinking that goes on behind the words I write on the pages and I am taking responsibility for writing them, and how they may influence our thinking on running.
Our consciousness and physicality are not the same thing
Physical literacy is developed from phenomenological and existential schools of thought. As an existentialist, existence precedes essence. The nature of our being is a result of the accumulated experiences we have in the different environments we inhabit. We are quintessentially beings of the world. As we become familiar with the world about us we also come to realize the wide range of capabilities we have with which we can interact with the world. Interaction is the key to life, the stimulus to our development.
Simone deBeauvoir can be described as one of the most rigorous yet practical philosophical thinkers in modern times. One of the greatest minds in Existentialist thinking, deBeauvoir argued that to be human is to be free. It is not her famous book The Second Sex that I came to admire deBeauvoir, though it was my introduction to her, it is in exploring her works of fiction that I came to understand her ethics, the way in which she lived her life and philosophies, and in particular her political and personal investigation of choice in an absurd world. What is unique to her ideas is the tension between our experience of ourselves as solitary beings while simultaneously being intertwined with others: she explored our embeddedness in the world and our essential relatedness to each other; and she presented the position that we can not act for another nor directly influence their freedom, but we must accept responsibility for the fact that our actions produce the conditions within which the other acts. Her works have given me an ethics of hope.