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The Second BirthOn the Political Beginnings of Human Existence$
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Tilo Schabert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226038056

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226185156.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

At the Start

At the Start

(p.5) At the Start
The Second Birth

Tilo Schabert

, Javier Ibáñez-Noé
University of Chicago Press

As the present book deals with the beginnings of human existence in political existence, this chapter undertakes the preliminary task of elucidating the notion of a “beginning” (Anfang) in human existence through a contrast with the idea of a “start” (Beginn). Whereas a start lies in the past, through a beginning the future (or future possibilities) is pre-shaped through the drawing of boundaries. In this way, there is an element of freedom in a beginning that is not found in a start. This distinction overlaps with that of a first and a second birth, insofar as the bodily birth, which concerns the individual as individual, lies outside the sphere of freedom, whereas the second (or “political”) birth happens only in freedom, which is inevitably intertwined with the exercise of power in a social context. Thus the Gestalt of power, which creates humans for a second time, must be understood as the Gestalt of humanity as such, i.e., of the life of human beings with their peers.

Keywords:   the start, beginnings, power, First birth, Second birth

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