An Ethics in Timing
In his foreword, Wayne Cristaudo writes:
This book represents a major philosophical breakthrough–not only in ethics but more generally in the human sciences. For it succeeds in doing two major things. First, it identifies the aspects of responsibility and reality (interior as well as exterior) with which the major ethical paradigms and orientations are preoccupied. Second, it brings ethics itself into a bigger conversation with the human and social sciences… introducing three different modalities of time into the picture: the different times of (1) daily decisions, (2) biography, and (3) “history as such.”
There is one other important aspect to the book that should be mentioned. Its framework is deeply indebted to… Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. It was Rosenstock-Huessy’s ambition in his magnum opus, Soziologie… to radically transform the human or social sciences by what he called a grammatical method. He argued that what we are and express, long for, and make of our past, present, and future are grammatically encapsulated communications–a function of speech between souls…
Otto Kroesen has taken Rosenstock-Huessy’s method and applied it to the great ethical dilemmas we face today. Most conspicuously–after taking us through the major different philosophical alternatives within ethics today, and relating them to the role played by organizations in shaping our existence–he reflects upon the great spiritual traditions that are the enormous forces “trajecting” behind all the peoples of the world. Arching over this book is the great question of how creative concord can be achieved in a world that is open now to vastly different forces that have been shaped by enormous technological, commercial, geopolitical and administrative forms. These forms pull us all, with our vastly different traditions, priorities and social memories, into a common world.
Kroesen asks how social dialogue can create a common support base for dealing with change, and how economics and politics can be organized around such interaction, to prevent a clash of civilizations. Differences should not be erased; instead, they must be coordinated by timely alternation. By listening to the times and to each other, we create a common understanding of the way forward. The Christian heritage of Western modernity must be combined with older layers of culture from the East and the South, since we all have to find our way by making creative use of many traditions. Such intercultural management contributes to the re-creation of the planet and, in the process, people find their personal destiny within a planetary biography.
Wipf and Stock, 2014. Paperback, 226 pages.