TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

The Perception of Space

“The human receives a particular historical consciousness from his ‘space,’ which is subjected to great historical transformations. The variegated forms of life correspond to equally differentiated spaces. Even within the same time period, the environment of individual humans for the practice of daily life is already defined differently by their different life occupations. An urbanite thinks the world otherwise than does a peasant farmer, a whale-fish hunter has another living space than an opera singer, and to a pilot the world and life appear otherwise not only in other lights but also in other quantities, depths, and horizons.”

—Carl Schmitt, Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation

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“With its fable-like quality, philosophical tone, and deep historical orientation, Land and Sea is one of Schmitt’s most powerful and evocative works. A profound meditation on the forces shaping twentieth-century history, it challenges us to think anew about the possibilities (and risks) of our global future. Yet, as Zeitlin’s meticulous introduction demonstrates so clearly, the origins of Schmitt’s thinking on these themes must be traced to the specific political and military ambitions of the Third Reich. This tension between Schmitt’s grand philosophical history (fluidly translated here) and the often brutal concreteness of its compositional context makes Land and Sea an even more fascinating—if troubling—work.”
David Bates, Professor and Chair, Department of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley

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