Volume 7, 2007
Jan Patočka and the European Heritage
Patočka on Ideology and the Politics of Human Freedom
This essay examines Patočka’s reflections on the ideological battles in the middle of the 20th century and the nature of ideology as such. Drawing on Patočka’s texts from around the time of the Second World War and the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, the essay describes Patočka’s analysis of the main philosophical schools of the age, how they conceive of Man, and how they seek to use Man for their own purposes. The essay shows how this external materialization of Man dehumanizes and thus abuses. Only an idea respecting human freedom will do justice to the human experience. Lastly the author reflects on whether Patočka’s analysis of the human situation 60 years ago under various types of totalitarianism is still relevant today.