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Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 19:30:56 +0100
Reply-To: Nold Egenter
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From: Nold Egenter
Subject: COSMOS AND COSMETICS
To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU


COSMOS AND COSMETICS

Are we measuring our human world with 'galactic' scales?


In Ancient Greece the word 'kosmos' had a similar meaning like cosmetics, a harmonious arrangement in the human domain (Kerschensteiner 1962).

The discoveries of astronomy since Copernic, Brahe, Bruno, Galilei, Kepler and Newton brought vast spaces into our conscience. This relatively recent notion in terms of cultural history was generalized first in the natural sciences, then in philosophy and religion, with increasing industrialisation also in modern architecture and urbanism, similarly in all systems of mobility and communication. Three questions:

1) Modern environments: Are these unconsciously used 'planetary' and 'galactic' scales widely responsible for the increasing disruptions of our human environments?

2) Metaphysics, religion: Do we retroproject the evolved modern concept of space perception on environmentally conceived early history and thus delegate our human responsibilities to virtual historicisms?

3) Did (and still do) the humanities project evolved concepts of space perception on traditional societies and thus 'primitivize' them instead of acknowledging objectively their achievements in terms of environmental equilibrium?

Environmental sciences definitely realised the complex interdependence of phenomena in the biological environment and became aware that large scale optics conventionally distorted facts considerably. Gradually the environmental concept also enters the humanities (see e. g. program of AAA Annual Meeting 1996).

Unfortunately one of the most important books in regard to the 'environmentalisation' of the humanities has not been translated neither into English nor French until today: the 'anthropology of space' outlined by the German philosopher and phenomenologist O. F. Bollnow. You will find a detailed review of his book 'Mensch und Raum' (Man and space, 1963) on the following site (English, German, French):

http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter/010K_ImploBollnDEF.html

Cosmos and cosmetics:

we would very much like to start a discussion of this topic!

- * -

BIBLIOGRAPHY

O. F. BOLLNOW
1963
Mensch und Raum. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart

KERSCHENSTEINER, J.
1962
Kosmos; Quellenkritische Untersuchungen zu den Vorsokratikern. Mčnchen

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Nold Egenter
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e-mail: negenter@worldcom.ch


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