On Hope

Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002)

In his 102nd year, [humanist philosopher Hans-Georg] Gadamer was asked for his reaction to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. He answered in German, “Es ist mir recht unheimlich geworden,” Meaning that the world had become strange, even uncanny, to him. He went on to add that “people cannot live without hope; that is the only thesis I would defend without any restriction.” Yet, when his pupil and successor Dieter Henrich visited him for the last time in Heidelberg, he repeated that one cannot live without hope, but added that this hope had become this small, and he raised his hand and showed the tiny gap of light between his thumb and index finger.

Simon Critchley
The Book of Dead Philosophers (2008)

Photo: Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002)

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