There are periodicals that grace their issues with topics and that are in turn graced with contributions that relate to said topic by mere association. The second issue of our magazine has no topic, but it was graced with contributions that orbit the same problem, and we consider ourselves luckier for this synchronicity. Just as the ship is only christened when it’s launched into the water, let us name this problem as the issue is launched into the world: Let us call it “strategies of individuation”.
With a smirk of irony one might note that there’s nothing less problematic in the world than the individual, something so common to our day-to-day life that we might quickly discard it. The more audacious is the endeavor. We will not dare say that the fact that all of the contributions of this issue pose this seeming banality as a problem is a sign of ‘something being in the air’, but we can’t help but remark this happy coincidence.
Why do we say “problem” and not “topic”? It is not that our dear contributors have sent us their musings about this arguably nebulous and lofty ‘thing’ called the individual. They have unfolded what we can’t help but call strategies, strategies to think individuation, to grasp it, or to realize it — note the difference between the individual and individuation. Strategies can be parts of games or wars, but in any case it’s about winning or losing. If there’s no question of danger, there’s at least something at stake, and only then can we speak of a problem, of something becoming problematic. And it seems that our contributors share the notion, or at least the intuition, that what’s at stake is the individual and that we’re in need of strategies to win it, maybe to conquer it even. Now this is in no way a new idea and it is no coincidence that they’ve chosen grand protagonists of modernism as their allies — Hegel, Heidegger, Freud, Bergson and Kierkegaard. We invite you to each site of battle, maybe as mere judges, maybe as participants.
We consider it a strength of this issue that its contributions are conceptually incompatible. They can’t be synthesized into a grand strategy of individuation and we gladly circumvent the deceit and false promises of self-help books and the like. Instead of clinging together like thin branches into a bundle, they enrich each other by bringing different shades of individuation to light. As we note in our attached manifesto, setting out to an endeavor means not letting go of it and one might say that it is this gesture that all of our contributions share. It is the sole gesture of hope.