What defines you? Or your actions and emotions? Your Material Possessions?
Immanuel Kant’s theory of phenomenon and noumenon
Kant grew up in the Eastern Prussian city of Konigsburg, which today is located in Poland.
He was an 18th century German Philosopher and was the last influential philosopher in modern Europe during the Enlightenment.
Kant was famous for his study
of the metaphysical body pertaining to hope, and the will of man.
Phenomenon A phenomenon can be an exceptional, an unusual or an abnormal event- but it must be perceived through the senses (empirical data). According to Kant’s theory, a noumenon is what results in the presentation of a phenomenon.
Phenomenal objects are tangible objects that we can experience through the use of our five senses.
Noumena are objects of intellectual intuition; or events known only to the mind, independent from our senses. A derivation of the Greek word meaning “I think or I mean”. Examples: emotion, the imagination and the soul. Noumenon
“All right, I let you out of it. It’s better than what I’ve got. But every man feels from his soul that he has got to carry his life to a certain depth. Well I have to go on because I haven’t reached that depth yet.” (p.105) Henderson is coming to the realization that his life is lacking some intangible aspect (noumenal). Henderson the Rain King: Quotations
“My soul is like a pawn shop. I mean it’s filled with unredeemed pleasures, old clarinets, and cameras and moth-eaten fur. But “I said, let’s not get into a debate over it. I am only trying to tell you how you make me feel out here in this tribe. You’re great Itelo. I love you. I love the old lady, too. In fact you’re all pretty damned swell, and I’ll go get rid of those frogs for you if I have to lay down my life to do it.”(p.81) This excerpt reflects Henderson understanding that his life up until now has consisted of his acquisition of empty tangible belongings. Now he is feeling the sense of belonging to a cause greater than his selfish tendencies. Henderson quotes… continued
“Your own soul is killing you. Its you who makes the world what it is. Reality is you.”(p.123) George Bernard Shaw said it best when he said "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” These two quotes correlate because you control your own reality. Life is what you make it; or what you want to get out of it. Henderson quotes… continued
This different cover portrays the transition of Henderson’s life in Africa quite literally. From a phenomenally dominated life, to the development of a connection within himself and his soul.
Batman – Bruce Wayne
Henderson surprisingly shares many aspects of his life with the fictitious character Batman.
Both have virtually unlimited resources, as well as a strong void within themselves beckoning for the nuomenal.
“We can’t allow ourselves to lie down and not do our share and imitate the greater entity”.(p.79)
Batman…continued Bruce Wayne inherited his multi-million dollar corporation Wayne Enterprises after his parents were tragically murdered before his very eyes. Just as Henderson departed on the search for himself in Africa where he experienced a rebirth: Bruce Wayne fled the country and was taught the ways of the warrior while conquering his fears. With his newly acquired skills, he created his alter-ego Batman to police the crime ridden city of Gotham. To protect the innocent civilians and satisfy the absence of his nuomenal life.
The Role of Kant’s Phenomenon/Nuomenon Theory in Our Lives What is the main reason why you all are students here at Suffolk County Community College? Over the past few weeks I’ve conducted a poll of the students here at SCCC and out of 50 students, all 50 students replied “money” or a “high-paying job”. While I agree that money is a critical to live a comfortable life, I believe happiness supersedes it.
Happiness that is achieved through experience and accomplishments rather than a materialistic addiction cannot be duplicated.
A life addicted to materialism fuels your desire for ultimately unnecessary things.
“I want, I want, I want” .(p.43)Is a common theme throughout Henderson and the Rain King.
This principle is explained in Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean” theory.
“By an equal or fair amount, I understand a mean amount between excess and deficiency.”
Happiness Lucretius was a Roman philosopher lived two centuries after Aristotle’s death but shared common ideologies. “The greatest wealth is to live content with little, for there is little want where the mind is satisfied”. “Hot fevers do not part your body more quickly if you toss about on pictured tapestries or rich purple coverlets than if you lie sick under a poor mans blanket.”
Happiness Happiness to the individual has been evasive since the beginning of mankind. Just as Henderson learned, life is not about the phenomenal but rather the noumenal. Now we must apply this knowledge to the task at hand in our own education and our own lives.