Advances in Anthropology
2013. Vol.3, No.3, 173-178
Published Online August 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 173
Beyond the Clash between World-Views: Revisiting Husserl’s
Concept of the Life-World
Rosemary R. P. Lerner
Departamento de Humanidades, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Perú
Received February 15th, 2013; revised March 16th, 2013; accepted May 3rd, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Rosemary R. P. Lerner. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Com-
mons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, pro-
vided the original work is properly cited.
Husserl shares the European view whereby (physical and psychic) nature is the common denominator
upon which the diversity of cultures are built, a vision that motivates the quest for the conditions of pos-
sibility of encounters beyond cultural differences, truth beyond multiple perspectives, and moral recon-
ciliation beyond antagonisms. The American-Indian worldview seems to challenge that view, for it rather
proposes a multinaturalism built upon a type of human and spiritual community common to every cosmic
being. Husserl’s notion of the “life-world” is revisited, whereby what appears at first sight as “in-com-
possible” world-views shows indeed traits of an amazing proximity.
Keywords: Nature; Culture; Multinaturalism; Multiculturalism; Western Versus Indigenous Worldviews;
Euro-Centrism; Life-World; Husserl; Phenomenology
Certain contemporary philosophical reflections—among whi-
ch the contributions of Husserlian transcendental phenomenol-
ogy are found—have dedicated themselves to examine the in-
tersubjective conditions that foster encounters beyond cultural
differences, truth beyond multiple perspectives, and moral
reconciliation beyond ideologically motivated antagonisms.
The presupposition behind these reflections is that the differen-
tiated multiplicity of cultures and perspectives emerges beyond
the natural common world of humanity and other living species,
dragging with it potential conflicts. But the ideal telos of a hu-
manity entirely reconciled beyond its differences is also forged
with this plurality.
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, in a relatively recent anthro-
pological study entitled “Perspectivism and Multinaturalism in
Indigenous America” (2003: pp. 191-243) where he describes
the worldview of Amazonian (Brazilian and Peruvian) ethnical
groups, seems to challenge seriously the dominant and general-
ized Western European worldview in some of its core convic-
tions. Indeed, the Amazonian ethnical worldview does not con-
ceive nature as the common soil upon which the diversity of
cultures and worldviews are erected, but it rather conceives
nature as the terrain of diversity and multiplicity. It is thus a
cosmological “multinaturalism”, whereby the unity (“universal-
ity”) of a cosmic spirit rises above the diversity (or “particular-
ity”) of the natural bodies (Viveiros, 2003: p. 192). Although
this worldview is not symmetrically opposite to the Western
one, since it does not have the same contents or statute, it is
totally heterogeneous to it. Indeed, the Western view that issues
from Cartesian dualism and the subsequent mathematization of
bodily nature with its “physicalist” and “objectivistic” interpre-
tation purports the unity of nature (its “universality”, “objectiv-
ity”), and its founding character. Correlatively, it purports the
“subjective-relative” particularity and multiplicity of “secon-
dary qualities” and of the human psychic realm, as well as, a
fortiori, the particularity and diversity of the product of that
psychic realm of cognitions, volitions, emotions and instincts,
namely, of the spiritual realm of human cultural performances.
Now, if one briefly examines the structure of Husserl’s Ideas
II, subtitled Phenomenological Investigations on Constitution
(Husserl, 1989; forthwith Ideas II), it seems that his views
share the Western logo- and Eurocentric view, for the constitu-
tion of the spiritual or cultural worlds (cf. Ideas II: §§48-64) is
there preceded by the constitution of animal nature and psychic
reality (cf. Ideas II: §§19-47), through the body (cf. Ideas II:
§§35-42) and in empathy (cf. Ideas II: §§43-47), and this in its
turn is preceded by the constitution of physical nature and of
bodily things in general (cf. Ideas II: §§1-18), which appears
with a “founding” character in relation to the different strata of
the constitution of sense and validity. Seen from the surface, I
repeat, Husserl keeps sustaining this idea mutatis mutandis later
on, for towards the end of the twenties (Sowa, in Husserl, 2008;
forthwith Hua XXXIX: p. lxx), in his research manuscripts on
the “life-world”, he keeps proposing the task of bringing to
light the “nuclear abstract stratum ‘nature’ from the concrete
world of experience” (Hua XXXIX: p. 259 ff.), by means of an
“abstractive deconstruction of everything subjective from the
concrete world of experience in view of obtaining mere nature
(Hua XXXIX: p. 265 ff.) or the “natural nucleus of the world”
(Hua XXXIX: p. 275 ff.), whereby the structure “nature” has
precisely, so Husserl, a “founding” character (Hua XXXIX: p.
281 ff.).
It could thus seem that Husserl’s conception is trapped
within a euro- and logo-centric worldview that would entail its
“cosmic antagonism”, alongside the rest of Western culture,
with American-Indian primitive worldviews, thus seeing itself
seriously affected in its foundational pretenses to become a first
and universal philosophy.
Before returning to this question, and of reexamining central
elements of Husserlian phenomenology in order to determine
whether it really possesses enough tools to face those chal-
lenges or not, let us briefly review Viveiros de Castro’s conclu-
sions on the “perspectivism” and “multinaturalism” of Ameri-
can-Indian worldviews.
The “Relativity of Perspective” and the
American-Indian Animism
A common view shared by many indigenous people of the
American continent is what various authors name “relativity of
perspective” (Gray, 1996). This Amazonian “perspectivism”
means that they consider the inner form of all cosmic beings
(such as “the moon, the serpent, the jaguar, and the mother of
smallpox”, as well as spirits such as the gods, the dead, plants,
meteorological phenomena and geographical accidents, among
others), as “spiritually anthropomorphic”—namely, as “hu-
man”—according to which their habits and behavior belong to
some sort of culture. Now, although there is an inner anthro-
pomorphic form common to all beings, according to their “per-
spectivism” each species of cosmic being sees itself and sees
other species and the world in a different way as how other
cosmic beings see themselves and see the others and the world.
Indeed, all cosmic beings see others either as preys or as pred-
Nevertheless, according to mythical narratives, originally
there was an undifferentiated stage among humans, animals and
the rest of cosmic beings, whereby the “difference of perspec-
tives is at the same time annulled and exacerbated” (Viveiros,
2003: p. 197). “The myth, universal starting point of perspec-
tivism, speaks of a state of being in which bodies and names,
souls and actions, the I and the other, interpenetrate each other,
submerged in the same pre-subjective and pre-objective mi-
lieu” (Viveiros, 2003: p. 197). However, this original condition
is not that of the animal, whence humanity rises, but rather the
contrary. Nature sprouts from culture, and not the way around.
Animals, according to these myths, tend to lose the inherited
attributes that are maintained by humans. Animals used to be
humans, and not the contrary, and they still are “although not in
an evident manner”, “Humanity is primordially the matter of
the plenum, or the original form of practically everything, not
only of animals” (Weiss, 1972: pp. 169-170), as the Peruvian
Campa mythology sustains. Thus, Amazonian “animism1 pur-
ports a sort of ontological continuity between nature and culture,
according to which human dispositions are attributed to natural
But “what is then the difference between humans and ani-
mals?” (Viveiros, 2003: p. 208). For Westerners and Ameri-
can-Indians what defines the human character differs substan-
tially. Indeed, a subject or a person is the one that possesses a
soul endowed with capacities such as intentionality and con-
scious agency—this being the case of animals and spirits. Ani-
mals and other animated entities are not subjects because they
are humans, but are humans because they are (potential) sub-
jects (Viveiros, 2003: p. 213). Both, humans and wolves, see
themselves as humans, and yet “if the common condition of
humans and animals is humanity, not animality, it is because
humanity is the name of the subject’s general form” (Viveiros,
2003: p. 213). However this should not be interpreted as the
typical “anthropocentrism” of Western views that projects con-
sciousness and intentionality upon non-human beings. But ra-
ther, Amazonian anthropomorphic animism says that any ani-
mal may be human. Now, if according to this animistic per-
spectivism each species appears reflexively to itself as human,
on the other hand—and asymmetrically—it does not appear as
human to other species (Viveiros, 2003: pp. 215-216).
Amazonian “Multinaturalism”: Epistemological
Identity and Ontological Plurality
This takes us back to the Amazonian “multinaturalism” that
arises from a quite different “perspectivism” than that of West-
ern “relativism”2. Indeed, it should not be understood as if dif-
ferent species have “multiple representations” of the “same
world”, but rather that these species represent different worlds
the same way3. Thus Viveiros de Castro argues that we here
face a sort of “identity” or “epistemological sameness” versus
an “ontological plurality” or “diversity” of worlds. As a conse-
quence, animals see other things than what we see, even though
they may see them the same way” we do.
If different species see different things it is because their
bodies are different. However, Amazonian cosmology does not
view “bodies” as distinctive physiologies, but rather as a “group
of ways or manners that constitute a habitus”. What marcs their
difference with other species or beings is thus their bodies, not
their souls (since animals also have them) (Viveiros, 2003: p.
220). American-Indians never doubted that Europeans also had
souls; they doubted rather that Europeans had the same type of
body, for example if their corpses would also be affected by
putrefaction. Thus, according to Viveiros de Castro, Ameri-
can-Indians “imagine a metaphysical continuity and a physical
discontinuity among cosmic beings” (2003: pp. 220-221). The
first gives rise to animism; the second, to American-Indian
Perspectivism is intimately related to the exchange and reci-
procity of perspectives; it is thus a “relational ontology”
(Viveiros, 2003: p. 223) characterized by a “cultural universal-
ism” in collusion with a “natural relativism” (Latour, 1991: p.
144). This is the meaning of “multinaturalism”. In this context,
the body is the great “difference maker” for American-Indians,
with an intense semiotic use of bodily languages and ornaments
in the definition of personal identity and social values. The
body is the confrontation site between humanity and animality,
as well as the basic instrument of the subjects expression. It is
simultaneously a privileged object for the other’s vision. If the
body’s archetype is the animal body (and thus its greatest social
objectification is carried out with ritual animal feathers, colors,
masks and prosthesis), the paradigm of spirits is human spirit.
Animals never dress as humans, whereas humans use animal
skins and feathers as costumes.
2According to Western relativism, all of the different perspectives should be
valid, while for Amazonian perspectivism, the point of view of one species
should not be attributed or adopted by other species—it would even be
wrong that it should (Viveiros, 2003: p. 216).
3“Different types of beings see different things the same way”. Thus, “What
for us is blood, for the jaguar is tapioca beer” (Viveiros, 2003: p. 218).
1This “animism” should be distinguished from Amazonian “totemism”—a
sort of “objectification of nature” whereby the relationship between nature
and culture is merely metaphorical—although both are frequently given
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
In-Compossible Worldviews
The conclusion of this examination is that the Amazonian
worldview is totally in-compossible with the Western world-
view if one tries to reach their “com-possibility” from a West-
ern point of view—namely, merely as another “worldview” or
“culture” pertaining to an alien “personality of a higher order.”
The author of the text that presents the American-Indian view,
concludes that if both worldviews are compared to a two- leg-
ged compass the Western worldview leans on the leg of nature
(as its stable, underlying stratum) so that the other leg (that of
the various cultures and worldviews) may freely spin round.
On the contrary, the Amazonian worldview leans on the leg of
culture or spirit (as its stable, underlying stratum) so that nature
may be subject to continuous inflections and variations (as
multiple worlds of nature) (Latour, 1991: p. 234). However,
Viveiros concludes with two remarks. First, that both com-
passes—the Western one and the American-Indian one—are
articulated in their vortex—namely in an original point that
precedes the distinction between nature and culture. Conse-
quently, so Viveiros de Castro, the Western modern vortex
would reveal itself only as an “extra-theoretical practice,”
whereas in the Amazonian worldview this vortex is the object
of mythology as the virtual origin of all perspectives according
to which the absolute movement and infinite multiplicity of the
external form of nature’s material is not to be distinguished
from the frozen immobility and unfathomable unity of the inner
spiritual form (Latour, 1991: p. 114; quoted by Viveiros, 2003:
p. 234). Second, that the difference between Western and Am-
azonian cosmologies is not a cultural difference, let alone a
mere difference between mentalities, but rather a difference that
con- cerns worlds not merely thoughts4.
My question at this point is whether Husserl’s phenomeno-
logy finally fails in its attempt to overcome the apparent in-
commensurability and relativity of plural cosmological per-
spectives when it succumbs to the Euro- and logo-centric
Western universalism, or if it contributes something new into
this discussion.
Indeed, as we were initially saying, Husserl’s static phenol-
menological inquiries have their starting point in constituted
objectivities serving as “guidelines”, such as those that he finds
in the pre-given surrounding world. It should be pointed out in
passing that his static interrogation, that leads to the constitu-
tive experiences of the sense and validity of those constituted
objectivities, finally turns into a genetic interrogation that at-
tempts to “reconstruct” the formation of those same constitutive
experiences themselves. This genesis, originated in the primal
instinctive affection, equally marcs the beginning of subjectiv-
ity in the first infancy, and ultimately it is the genesis of “world
constitution” itself (cf. Hua XXXIX: pp. 409, 445 ff., 466-481).
Now, as we have already pointed out, our “acquisition” of
the world follows according to Husserl the order of “appercep-
tive types” starting from “inanimate things,” passing through
“animals, cultural objects,” until it reaches “object-subjects as
carriers of cultural meanings.” (Hua XXXIX: pp. 426 ff.) Thus,
he first describes the “constitution of material nature” as the
basic, stable stratum of experience upon which the “constitution
of animal nature” is rendered possible as well as the “constitu-
tion of psychic reality by means of the body.” Finally, he con-
cludes that in the “constitution of the spiritual world”—that
presupposes the previous strata of constitutive experiences—the
person appears as the center of a practical surrounding world of
finite ends and interests, both cognitive as practical sensu stric-
to (Hua XXXIX: pp. 307-308), wherein the diversity of personal
communal associations is in its turn constituted, and finally the
various historical cultural communities. Each one of them con-
stitutes for itself a “familiar world” of typicalities, (Hua XXXIX:
p. 157) where the same customs and traditions are shared, the
same goals are pursued (cf. Husserl, 1973; forthwith Hua XV:
pp. 220 ff., 224 ff., 430), and the behaviors and the course of
perceptions can be horizontically anticipated within a context of
“normality” (Hua XV: pp. 430-431; see also Hua XXXIX: pp.
207 ff. and 215 ff.). This is the “proximate familiar world” that
begins with the “family” and that increasingly extends in con-
centric circles to the community, the nation, the continent, etc.
(Hua XXXIX: pp. 145 ff., specially pp. 154 ff.). Each cultural
community initially identifies its own “familiar world” with the
world itself, and it identifies itself with humanity as such. The
“alien” worlds appear instead as “distant” (Hua XXXIX: pp.
175-179), because we cannot analogously anticipate in them
their customs, traditions nor behaviors; even their perceptual
worlds appear under a “spiritual” or “cultural” light. The ap-
pearance of an “alien world” within the context of experience
of the “familiar world” constitutes a first threat to the view that
the latter has of itself as supposedly coincident with the world
and with humanity as such (Hua XXXIX: p. 339 ff.). But
Husserl remarks that, just as in our own “familiar” world there
are “anticipations” of the “unknown in the style of what is
known to us”, the possibility of opening up to “alien” worlds
already belongs to our familiar world. Thus, a child grows and
learns new things within its own community (Hua XXXIX: p.
158), until a time comes whereby the first “familiar world”
recognizes a “foreign world” as another familiar world that has
its own validities and convictions (Hua XXXIX: pp. 158, 170).
Simultaneously the convictions and validities of the first famil-
iar world lose their absolute and unique character. Suddenly
there arises the possibility of multiple “worlds” and “humani-
ties” (Lohmar, 1993: pp. 74-75), as well as the “inter-inten-
tional connection of alien people” (Hua XXXIX: pp. 345 ff.). In
this context of reflection, Husserl believes that in Ancient
Greece an additional step was taken towards the constitution of
“universality”, of “an objective world for all” (Hua XXXIX: pp.
354 ff.) when the multiplicity of familiar worlds finally gave
rise to the idea of one world, one humanity, one nation, one
ethics, one rationality and one science, “not tied to a familiar
world” (Lohmar, 1993: pp. 76-83)5. According to Husserl, this
did not happen as a mere projection of the Greek “familiar
world”, imposing itself over other Mediterranean cultures, but
rather by constituting the idea of a “super-nationality” by
means of a “fusion of horizons” on the occasion of maritime
commerce, that rendered possible an en- counter, exchange,
and personal mediation of Greek sailors and merchants with the
4“We may yet discover some day that in both mythical as in scientific
thinking the same logic is operative, and that man has always thought well.
Thus, the progress—if we are allowed to apply the term in this case—would
not have consciousness as its theater, but the world, where a humanity
endowed with constant faculties would find itself confronted, in the course
of its long history, with new objects” (Lévi-Strauss, 1955: p. 255; quoted by
Viveiros, 2003: p. 235).
5Lohmar asks whether it is possible an “ethics not tied to a familiar world”,
and simultaneously argues in favor of “reasonable foundations for the
preservation of a plurality of forms of familiar-worldly ethoi” (1993: pp.
83-91). Although his concept is wide, for he also refers to it as an ethos, we
deliberately extend the field of interrogation to the possibility of recogniz-
ing the universal as such in its relationship to the simultaneous preservation
of particularity in general.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 175
representatives of other cultures (Husserl, 1993; forthwith Hua
XXIX: p. 338). Only that personal encounter “broke the nor-
mality” of the Greek familiar world, relativized the national
myths and allowed the spiritual foundation of philosophy6.
Thus, the peaceful encounter among a plurality of familiar
worlds, not the factual imposition of a cultural community over
others, enabled the development of the spiritual idea of a uni-
versal common point of view, a supra-national humanity and
the idea of theory and science in a common world (Hua XXXIX:
pp. 158, 677- 680), beyond the particularities and diversity of
However, seen from the outside, and for example based on a
unilateral interpretation of Husserl’s “Vienna Conference” (The
Crisis of the European Humanity and Philosophy) (cf. Husserl,
1970: pp. 269-299; forthwith Crisis), it would seem that his
view regarding the appearance of the universality of theory and
science in Ancient Greece is a mere logo-centric projection of
his own convictions belonging to a factually- historical Euro-
pean “familiar world”. According to this, it would seem that we
should agree with the anthropologist’s point of view and sustain
that Husserl’s description of the pos- sible constitution of a
“common world” beyond the cultural “familiar” and “alien”
worlds, and his description of the con- stitution of an “objec-
tive” truth in evident and concordant ex- periences is seriously
biased and is nonetheless a unilateral proposal, wholly incom-
patible and “in-compossible” with alien worldviews.
The Life-World
Husserl himself asks whether the “objection of historical rel-
ativity” has any sense, an objection that he expresses thus:
“This is your European (and finally personal) mode of thinking,
it produces a European truth, a European logic, a European
world view, namely, an existing world in the sense of Europe,
as well as a European theory of knowledge, etc. Primitives have
their own logic, their own worldview, and it occurs with every
particular humanity, that it thus completely drifts away from
yours in an effective or possible way. If this happens with the
human being, does this not happen with his world, his science,
his art, his God, etc.?” (Hua XXXIX: p. 170 ff.). But Husserl
himself objects this objection: “Is it not rather a nonsense that
the universe of my truth and my being may be in an insoluble
conflict with the universe of any knowable others, such as the
primitive?” (Hua XXXIX: p. 170) or even with all those that do
not belong to the anticipated “normality” of our familiar world:
such as the mentally impaired, the children or the animals?
Husserl indeed asks himself whether we do not have the possi-
bility of confronting our respective “familiar worlds” and “car-
ry out a critique”, whereby neither my familiar domestic world
nor his/hers may be simply identified with the world, but rather
that both “familiar and homely worlds” in their turn be- long to
the unity of a wider home, of a unified—true—world that in-
tentionally embraces the various worlds and humanities (Hua
XXXIX: p. 171). To be sure, he does not deny “that our mutual
understanding precisely does not reach too far, and that the
things, the men, etc., of the world that we all experience do not
mean for them the same that for me, (…) as is visible from their
behavior” (Hua XXXIX: p. 171). In spite of these difficulties, he
sustains that “In dealing with others the understanding is
broadened, although it still remains something precarious. I
practically gain terrain with them on the basis of my progres-
sive, effective, and supposed understanding, and with it I si-
multaneously attain ways to confirm or correct my second un-
derstanding” (Hua XXXIX: p. 171). Furthermore, Husserl adds,
in my own surrounding familiar world we prove that our coin-
cident experiences of the surrounding world, which we antici-
pate as developing within a framework of “normality”, are ex-
periences shared with others, our fellow beings, with whom we
find ourselves in a “community of thought”; thus, the coinci-
dental experiences of our own familiar world necessarily pass
through them (Miteinander und Durcheinander). Thus Husserl
thinks that the extension of our knowledge to the knowledge of
the alien-other, of the foreigner, is gradually given with the help
of our own fellow-beings. He sustains: “We help each other to
get to know their alien nature” (Hua XXXIX: p. 172).
Now, everything that is previously given in the natural atti-
tude is revealed, so Husserl, to him as a “scientist” of a new
kind. He thus proposes a “descriptive science” completely alien
to the Western paradigm of “objective” sciences, whereby the
methodical concrete exposition consists in abiding by the pure-
ly given as such in sensible intuition (Crisis: §45), according to
the “principle of principles” of phenomenology (Husserl, 1982:
p. 44, forthwith, Ideas I). The object of this new science is pre-
cisely the “life-world,” namely, this “living in the ‘surrounding’
horizontic ‘pre-given’ world of us all,” except that with his
peculiar method Husserl believes that one may get to know it
by determining it “in a gradually more complete way in its
typicality”. It is thus a “science of the experience of the world”
(Hua XXXIX: p. 172), as he argues, not a science of the differ-
ent surrounding worlds in the natural attitude, not even a sci-
ence of the European surrounding world, in the natural attitude,
but a science of that which involves its experience; it deals with
the “how of the life-world’s subjective modes of givenness” and
of its objects (Crisis: p. 143 ff.). The existing objectivities for
each one of the different familiar surrounding worlds, with all
their cultural and ideological differences and hues in senses and
validations, are taken as mere “indexes” of “subjective correla-
tion systems,” namely, as mere “guidelines” for a retrospective
inquiry that leads back to their “modes of givenness” or ex-
periences themselves.
Ultimately, this “science of the life-world” is indeed the way
to a deeper, transcendental, dimension, which has no affinity
with the traditional “immanence” of Cartesian dualism, the
psychic immanence opposed to the transcendent character of
the world with its real or ideal objectivities. It rather deals with
the domain of transcendental “immanence” that is not properly
or merely something intra nor extra mentem, but the transcen-
dental realm of intentional correlation—the realm whence
emerges the world’s sense and validity of being, with its sub-
jective-relative character, as a universal totality (Crisis: pp. 142,
151, 196 passim). At this level, Husserl’s response to the “ob-
jection of historical relativity” that presupposes an absolute
incommensurability or untranslatability of worldviews, is that
this objection is a product of the natural attitude whereby every
human being “appears in a mutual externality” (Crisis: p. 255)
regarding each other. However, by executing the epoché and
the transcendental reduction, “it is shown that for the souls in
their own essential being there is no separation among them”,
that the said “localization of souls in the living bodies trans-
forms itself, in the epoché, in a purely intentional one-in-the-
other” (Crisis: p. 255), for “All souls make up a single unity of
intentionality with the reciprocal implication of the life-fluxes
6“Precisely this normality first breaks when human beings enter from their
vital national space into that of the alien nation” (Hua XXXIX: p. 388).
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
of the individual subjects, a unity that can be unfolded system-
atically through phenomenology; what is a mutual externality
from the point of view of naïve positivity or objectivity is,
when seen from the inside, an intentional mutual internality”
(Crisis: p. 257).
Thus, briefly summarizing what is discovered in the research
on the life-world as a pure world of experience, presupposing
already the universal a priori structure of correlation, one could
say that it is the realm of “what is perceptible in a wide sense”
(Hua XXXIX: p. 41), where “dead things, plants, animals, also
human beings, such as they are precisely pre-given in a worldly
surrounding way and apperceived as objects” (Hua XXXIX: p.
172) are given. This experience has also a horizontic structure,
which means a multiplicity of things. For example, that things
are pre-given detaching themselves from non-attended back-
grounds in a continuously streaming and changing multiplicity
of modes of givenness, whereby are also considered our affec-
tions as stimuli of our attention’s orientation (Hua XXXIX: p. 23
ff.). For sure, this horizontic structure also implies horizons of
empathy, since the surrounding world is given to us as a world
shared by us all in an intersubjective present, but also in spa-
tio-temporal horizons of proximity and distance (Hua XXXIX: p.
84 ff.). It is indeed an originary temporal-spatiality, wholly
different from its geometric and exact idealization in modern
mathematical physics (cf. §9 passim.); it is rather constituted in
the perceptive experience that takes place starting from the
centrality of our own bodily orientation, and the centrality of
our ego regarding conscious life’s stream of lived-experiences
with its anticipated and recalled horizons. Thus the orientation
structure of the life-world means that every access to the sur-
rounding world is both spatially as well as temporally “ori-
ented”, and in an intersubjectively oriented praxis (cf. Hua
XXXIX: Pt. III, specially No. 19 and No. 16). On the other hand,
the surrounding world is oriented from and around my “incar-
nate human-being”, regarding which the “apodictic certainty”
that we have of the world that surrounds us by means of the
coincidental experience that corroborates its validity, has as its
central axe the apodictic certainty of our own body (cf. Hua
XXXIX: Pt. IV). Furthermore, that pre-given surrounding world
has according to Husserl an “axiological countenance”, colored
with values, within a “normality” of modes of appearance fa-
miliarly anticipated, the course of which is “broken” time and
again highlighting the “abnormal” or “alien” elements (cf. Hua
XXXIX: Pt. VI). Thus, beyond the world’s “natural nucleus” and
its “founding structure: ‘nature’” (cf. Hua XXXIX: Pt. V), as
Husserl points out, the intersubjectively pre-given life-world
has a personal, individual and communal countenance, and a
cultural countenance, with its tools and goals, determined in
each case by its basic needs. Summing up, the subjective-rela-
tive life-world of experiences and the modes of givenness of
familiar surrounding worlds, involve the following: “horizon-
consciousness”, the “communalization of experience”, and the
“basic subjective phenomena of kinesthesis” belonging to the
sentient living body, whereby the changes of perspectives of
proximity and distance are determined by kinesthetic proc-
esses—that have the character of the “I do”, “I move”, or “I
stop”, etc. Finally, it also involves “alterations of validity”
whereby our concordant experiences within an order of “nor-
mality” suddenly see themselves interrupted by unexpected
“abnormal” events, that force us to “amend retrospectively” our
convictions (cf. Crisis: p. 161).
This description is for Husserl valid for all of the surroun-
ding and familiar life-worlds. It constitutes the common basis
of experience whence each familiar life-world gradually opens
itself to the understanding of alien familiar life-worlds, and by
means of an inter-intentional connection among alien people, it
gradually becomes an all-embracing historicity, as well as it
eventually “awaken(s) the interest in an objective world for all”
(cf. Hua XXXIX: Pt. III, No. 16 and 17; Pt. VI, No. 36).
In conclusion, as we have already suggested by exposing
Husserl, the life-world is according to him a “path” towards a
more primitive, originary, realm that definitely transcends the
Western opposition between nature and culture. Indeed, tran-
scendental experience or subjectivity, reached only by means of
a universal phenomenological reduction, is a realm beyond and
previous to those constituted realms of nature (albeit physical
and psychical, or psycho-physical) and culture (of objectivities
endowed with a spiritual meaning) (cf. Crisis: §71). This do-
main, wherein the functioning subjectivity is recipro- cally and
inter-intentionally involved in a mutual implication with other
subjects, is thus that of the world’s origins, of the originary
constitutive experiences at the basis of the sense and validity of
being belonging to all worldly objectivities (natural and cultural)
and to the world in general. We had pointed out that phenome-
nology initially started from these objectivities and the world as
“guidelines” of its retrospective inquiries (static, genetic and
finally generative) that lead back to the originary domain.
Now, similarly, according to Amazonian cosmologies, it
seems that it is also possible to step back towards a common
cosmological vortex that one reaches through myths, an origin-
nary stage that precedes the difference between the unity of the
cosmo’s inner spiritual form (culture) and the multiplicity of its
material outer nature. Thus, although the world constituted by
Amazonian ethnical groups is entirely “other” and diverse re-
garding Husserl’s constituted (first natural, and then cultural)
Western world, both are referred to as a previous originary
stage whence everything emerges or is constituted. The Ama-
zonian cosmological myths talk about an “undifferentiated
stage between humans and animals”—being the “universal
point of departure of perspectivism”—where the “difference of
perspectives is at the same time annulled and exacerbated”, in
an original “pre-subjective and pre-objective” milieu in which
“bodies and names, souls and actions, the I and the other mutu-
ally inter-penetrate each other”. Simultaneously, according to
transcendental phenomenology, regarding subjectivity “(Hera-
clitus’) saying would doubtless be true of it (regarding the psy-
ché): ‘You will never find the boundaries of the soul, even if
you follow every road; so deep is its ground’” (Crisis: p. 170).
Likewise, this condition that is referred to by myths as being
originally human, whence animality arises, is for transcendental
phenomenology mutatis mutandis an “absolute ultimate subjec-
tivity” that does not belong to nature, being neither physical
nor psychical. For Amazonian cosmology, and concretely for
Campa mythology, in this undifferentiated stage referred to by
myths, what prevails is “the humanity (that) is (…) the origi-
nal form of practically everything, not only of animals”, but
also of bodily nature. For transcendental phenomenology, ab-
solute intersubjectivity that is accessible by means of a tran-
scendental reduction, is the ultimate origin of every sense and
validity, of every being and non-being, of every esthetic and
ethical value, of every cultural norm, in sum, of every natural
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 177
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
and cultural “object” in the “how” of its modes of givenness
and modes of validity. Finally, as Husserl remarks: “(…) we no
longer move on the old familiar ground of the world but rather
stand, through our transcendental reduction, only at the gate of
entrance to the realm, never before entered, of the ‘mothers of
knowledge’” (Crisis: p. 153).
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