Hermeneutic, Nativistic

Due to the “home advantage” enjoyed by existence one must proceed very carefully when attempting to find out whether someone is “happy to have been born”. Just the questions alone “Are you happy to be alive?” or “Would it perhaps have been better if you had never begun to live?” will tend to activate the drive to self-preservation, the involvement of which may bring it about that these questions are answered in a way that is merely defensive, without any real thought or reflection about the topic going into the reply. What is required, then, is a subtler nativistic hermeneutic which does not “assault” the questioned party with a symbolic threat to his existence in the form of an “all-or-nothing” interrogation[1]. Such a subtler manner of proceeding would gingerly try to explore in what measure the questioned individual’s life really is important to him, by taking into account any risky behaviour this latter might engage in and his contentment from moment to moment.

[1] Sarah Perry was quite right to point this out; see Perry, Every Cradle is a Grave, p. 187.

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