[Report]2nd Academic Frontier Lecture Series 2023

On April 14, 2023, the second lecture of the Academic Frontier Series titled “Flowering Air” was delivered by Professor Takahiro Nakajima (Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo). The term “Flowering Air” comes from the phrase “flowering existence” used in Toshihiko Izutsu’s introduction to sophism. Professor Nakajima further replaced the concept of “existence” with “air” and made up the concept of “Flowering Air.”

Referring to the disparities in modern society between people and other species  and biopolitical issues that control our lives, Professor Nakajima argued that we need to change our “social imaginary.” He sought hints of this in the emergent relationships found in the travels of Zen monks and Tadashi Nishihira’s philosophy of yōjō (self-cultivation). Also, he introduced Shiro Yamauchi’s discussion on energeia, which is a growing process in which purpose is inherent in itself, just like a flower blooming, and further developed the concept to “allergeia,” which opens the concept of energeia to the outside world.

Professor Nakajima emphasized that the valorization of air is not the establishment of value as essence, but the very process of valorization itself, which first emerges in interaction with others. And since air is something shared by all life, the problem can no longer be limited to human beings. His discussion, in which he linked the concept of “air-conditioning” to “human co-becoming/flowering.,” encourages us to work with others. Indeed, democracy will also be realized through this way.

Report by QIU Zheng-peng (EAA Research Assistant)