Arquivo para June 16th, 2022

Being and Contemplation

16 Jun

The thinker Byung-Chul Han developed the themes of Hannah Arendt Vita Activa and Vita Contemplativa in his book “A society of Bournout”, where he reveals that “the loss of the contemplative capacity is in correspondence with the absolutization of the vita activa – which measure to the hysteria and nervousness of the modern society of action”, and this leads to tiredness, depression, self-exploitation and Burnout.

According to the Korean-German thinker, current life has led to the “imperative of work, which degrades the person into animal laborans”, which makes him lose the “world” and “time”. new “the contemplative vita in your bosom” and “put yourself at your service again” (O Aroma do tempo. A philosophical essay on the art of delay, 2009).

Despite this loss, there is a renewed interest in spirituality in Western civilization, but it does not consider traditional religions more important, which occurs in the sphere of a phenomenon called “mindfulness”, linked to neurosciences and in health care, education and business.

There is no deeper meaning in this relationship that reaches the divine, the superhuman or the beyond-human, it turns to what Peter Sloterdijk calls “the exercise society”, without the possibility of a true spirituality, or a despiritualized asceticism.

Hannah Arendt had touched on the problem lightly, it must be remembered that her thesis was on “Love in St. Augustin” without the help of the divine it does so without success, it remains hidden.

“With the title Vita contemplativa, that world in which it was originally located should not be reconjured. It is linked to that experience of being, according to which the beautiful and the perfect is Immutable and Imperishable and withdraws from any and all human use” (HAN, p. 35), although for the author the contemplative capacity is not necessarily linked to the imperishable Being (p. 36).

The concept of what the soul is was treated by Saint Justin, in the second century of the Christian era, before becoming a Christian he had approached the Stoics, but they did not consider it important to know God, then he approached the Pythagoreans and had to dedicate himself to numbers and music, and finally it was Plato’s disciples who thought as much about corporeal things as about ideas, but the key problem that distanced him was the question of the “soul” and is in his “Dialogue with Trypho”.

For older Christians (Catholic, Orthodox and Eastern) Eucharistic Adoration is the greatest contemplation, because God makes himself a piece of bread, a consecrated host.


Han, Byung-Chul Sociedade do cansaço. tradução de Enio Paulo Giachini. – Petropolis, RJ: Vozes, 2015.