Experience and Understanding
To ask about W. H. Hudson’s understanding of nature, and existence in general, is to ask such questions as: How does Hudson approach existence? What is the foundation or basis of his perceptual and interpretative awareness? In what ways does existence appear in Hudson’s writings? These are some of the issues I will be attempting to deal with. Specifically, I will be fastening upon the notion of attention, in relation to an ‘open’, engaged, empathetic or participative mode of understanding. Attention occurs from a given, finite standpoint, involving a particularised horizon; and it is directed towards an understanding of existence in terms of its various modalities of being. This is not a simple procedure where the beings and things of existence — whatever they may be — are revealed totally, transparently, within an act of knowing: rather there are always layers, depths, degrees, shifting perspectives of illumination, and the process of understanding is an open-ended response to an essentially mysterious alterity. Beyond this, Hudson’s reading of natural and existential details is ultimately directed towards the disclosure of the spiritual or supernatural.
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