Analiza i Egzystencja (Jan 2020)

Towards a Poor Phenomenology. On Certain Structural Similarities between Phenomenology and J. Grotowski’s Philosophy of Theater

  • Daniel Sobota

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 49


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In his phenomenological manifesto (1911), Edmund Husserl presents the famous motto, which should be realized by the new philosophy: “Weg mit den hohlen Wortanalysen. Die Sachen selbst wir müssen befragen. (...) Ganz trefflich! Aber was sind denn die Sachen (...)?“ Consequently, the history of phenomenology is presented as the sum of the efforts to reach the deeper level and more fundamental areas of the original "Sachen". Husserl’s discovery of the domain of pure consciousness was only the beginning of a long way leading to more original areas, such as life, existence, body, intersubjectivity, historicity, humanity etc. With this journey towards deeper fields of sense-constitution, the meaning of the phenomenological method was changed. Phenomenology cannot be a simple work of lonely soul looking for self-transparency in the field of its own consciousness, but it must be a kind of action, a deed, an existential transformation, and an increase of experience. Recently, e.g. Natalie Depraz presented a similar view. In my paper I would like to explore the possibility of a new perspective on phenomenology, which gives the philosophy and theatrical practice of Polish theater reformer Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999). Although he was neither phenomenologist, nor a philosopher, in his notes on the human performance, collected and entitled Thoward a Poor Theater, he opens, as it seems, new possibilities of phenomenological practice.