The class challenge: Is there some object that is so foreign that we cannot find a “way in”? Is there ever a place where we don’t have horizons?

Conclusion on 10/28/10: It is impossible to have no horizons; we always have some relation to something; our horizons help us interpret an object; there is always a way in to something

Imagine this is true … that within your head is “some bit of knowledge” that can help you relate to some object, no matter how strange or foreign that object appears.

So here’s the visual culture object I’d like you to relate to: a film clip from The Lost Weekend. I have heard some recovering alcoholics say that this is a realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be an alcoholic; this is an example of an alcoholic’s alcoholic.

But, and here is where it gets interesting to me: I have heard some Alcohol & Drug counselors argue that you can’t counsel or help an alcoholic unless you’ve been one … so they would disagree with Gadamer; they would say there is no way in to the life-world of an alcoholic unless you’ve been one and been through it. Watching a film, reading a book, observing, talking with an alcoholic, won’t work — to understand an alcoholic’s life-world you must have lived it.

So, I’m wondering, is it possible for a non-alcoholic to find a way in to the world of an alcoholic? What might a non-alcoholic say to convince an Alcohol & Drug counselor that they could understand the life-world of an alcoholic?

I’m not sure if what I’m asking and wondering is related to Gadamer exactly, but I do know that there are many films and objects that attempt to give viewers a glimpse into the life-worlds of others. I guess I’m still not convinced that there is always a way in to everything.

Here’s the film clip:

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