Open—Or Empty?

In the work of Professor Germino's prime mentor, Eric Voegelin, and that of Hannah Arendt, the subject of Professor Young-Bruehl's biography, we have the head and the heart of a theory of man that understands politics as phenomenality, as self-disclosure in a space of appearances, originating in the "experiential locus of humanity." This locus is a problematic "Between" in which, according to Germino, "man experiences the pull of the Divine Ground and the counterpull of evil and death," or in which, according to Hannah Arendt, man experiences "the world," including the "love of the world": "The world lies in between people," and people themselves are "between past and future." In either case, however, it is a theory which, politically, seems remarkably self-centered. Hence it does not seem whole, or even fully political. It does not see itself as it is or as others see it.

Certainly, one would not deny that the work of Eric Voegelin and much in the work of Hannah Arendt provide an effective positive rallying point for anti-positivists—or more generally, for those who tend to resist what Jan Huizinga in 1935 called "the anti-noetic tendencies of our whole age." But resistance to the antinoetic tendencies of our age and political philosophy are not necessarily one and the same thing; besides, resistance to the...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here