Oral History, Hermeneutics, and Embodiment

In the article “”Oral History, Hermeneutics, and Embodiment,”” Friedman brings into standpoint how Hermeneutics and embodiment relate to each and the process of psychoanalysis within human beings. The Embodiment thought is a confusing one according to Friedman because one-of-a-kind philosophers have different views. Most of the contemporary experiences of human beings occur via mental states, but body structures of human beings are the sources of thinking processes, concepts production and movements in the universe. Friedman as a psychologist argues that instead of holding the old Descartian separation of the physique and mind, it is prudent that both the body and mind are built-in. This implies that for human beings to exist as a whole, there is the need for integration of the human body and mind because it is only through the body systems that people think.

Friedman focuses on the expression of the embodied channels of communication or the non-verbal bit of embodiment. He stresses that the body language speaks volumes on top of the semantic meaning in any interview or face to face communication. He says, “embodied communication channels are a significant part of the performance of the oral interview.” (Friedman 291). Research by Warren Lamb reveals that posture and gesture go hand in hand in communicating a message during interviews or face to face communication (Friedman 292). The article emphasizes on the deeper understanding of the embodied communication as a contribution to better understanding and interpretation of oral history (Friedman 292). To further bring out the relationship between oral history and verbal and non-verbal communication, the article cites McMahan who gave an example of interviewee and interviewer and how they use non-predictable and improvisationally ways to coordinate in their communication.

According to Friedman, “Hermeneutics is a philosophical sub-discipline within philosophy that addresses how one both understands and interprets one’s life-world, which includes an understanding of objects and conditions in the world” (Friedman 294). New Hermeneutics is totally different from textual interpretation because it delves into ontology which is the ability for people to address their self (Friedman 294). The article keenly focused on Martin Heidegger’s perspective regarding time consciousness, and Heidegger focused on temporality which is the ability of an individual to integrate the past, present and future tenses to allow him to involve in the care of oneself (Friedman 294).

This interpretation by Heidegger supports the topic of losing someone but still keeping memories. As much someone might be gone and does not exist in an individual’s life, the fact that one is taking care of himself makes it necessary that he integrates the past and the present. According to philosopher Hubert Dreyfus “an ecstatic temporal structure opening up the past, present and future” is what comprises temporality (Friedman 294). Intention emerges when there is a need for something, and that need only comes into being through a dynamic relationship between an individual and life-world in the past. Heidegger argues that time consciousness explicit produces outcome whose main goals is the attainment of intentions that come from the past experiences (Friedman 295). The awareness of being that is attained through explicit time consciousness enables an individual to narrate (Friedman 295).

Freud’s psychoanalysis reveals that the nature of human mind is self-deceptive because of the nature of the conscious mental activity. Freud’s theory suggests that there are three levels of mind for human beings. According to Freud, the first level of mind is the consciousness that is made up of thoughts that many people tend to focus on, but that is just the tip of an iceberg. The second level of mind is the preconscious mind that contains all the information that can be retrieved from memory. The last level of mind is the unconscious mind which is the most significant because all the processes that causes behavior are found in this region. This mind is a repository that is kept at bay by preconscious region. Freud’s theory presents a psychic apparatus that is composed of instincts, reality, and morality which guide the mind of an individual in every action taken. The three levels of mind affirm that an individual can lose a person but still keep that feeling in the memory because that is how the mind is programmed.

Philosopher Elliot Jaques presents an argument that perceptions of individuals relate to both grounds and figure approaches in a lived world (Friedman 298). According to Jaques, little theoretical research has been done on ground approach to communication of experiences. More emphasis has been put on figural approach to communication.

The article is relevant to the research topic under consideration because it shows how the integration of the body and the mind contributes to the better expression of oneself and revelation of semantic meaning. It shows how it is impossible to separate the past, present and the future because they are interrelated and they lead to time consciousness explicit.

The article “Oral History, Hermeneutics, and Embodiment” concludes by calling on oral historians to understand and reconsider the fact that embodied channels of communication are fundamental in producing meaning. Lastly, an embodiment is fundamental for an individual to realize their being in the world.

Work cited

Friedman, Jeff. “Oral History, Hermeneutics, and Embodiment.” Oral History Review 41.2 (2014): 290-300.

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