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History, Metaphors, FablesA Hans Blumenberg Reader$
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Hans Blumenberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501732829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.001.0001

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(p.525) 21 Pensiveness
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores Hans Blumenberg's “Pensiveness” (1980). When confronted by a question, every form of life strives to supply an answer without delay or deliberation. The model of stimulus/response is a drastic simplification of things and events, yet it is the latent ideal for the behavior of organisms. Man alone demonstrates the opposite tendency; he is the creature who hesitates. Pensiveness is considered an unseemly, idle use of time. Thought and thought about thought may bestow competence in a field; pensiveness is not claimed as a part of any profession or discipline. One of the descriptions of pensiveness is that whatever comes to mind is allowed to pass through one's head unaltered. Pensiveness is an experience of freedom, especially the freedom of digression. The reactions of bystanders faced with the digression of the pensive man range from the high points of humor to the exasperation of those whose point is to reach a goal.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, pensiveness, hesitation, thought, freedom, digression, pensive man

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