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Author(s): Cezary Wozniak

Journal: Studia Humanistyczne AGH
ISSN 1732-2189

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2008;
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Human existence is temporal. In a wider, over-individual dimension, we use the term ‘history’. We usually think about history in the context of historical events, wars, or scientificdiscoveries that have a strong impact both on the life of societies and the existence of individuals. We try to think over history, to point out what makes one fragment different from another, and to distinguish periods which we can define by emphasising their typical features. The aim of such procedures is to understand history. There can be different perspectives on such an understanding. According to Martin Heidegger, the widest, most fundamentaldimension of history seems to be the history of being, i.e. the history of the very understanding of the word ‘is’.The past brings pre-formed concepts and meanings, through which we understand ourselves and the world. These shapes of thought last in time – alone, subject to interpretations, or in new forms. By understanding this history, we can comprehend the present time,and this seems to be of some importance. As hermeneutics teaches, being and its understanding belong to each other; “understanding is the original character of the being of human life itself”1. If we exist, understanding is always a part of our existence, and we alwayssomehow understand the world and ourselves.What can be said about the contemporary situation of human beings, about their understanding of themselves, about how they understand the world today? How can we understand our present time, while also taking into consideration the historical aspect of thisunderstanding? If we accept the thesis on the occidentalisation and globalisation of the contemporary world, these questions become even more universal.
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