Gerald C. Cupchik
Siegfried Schmidt: Founder and Facilitator
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And so here we have an account of some of the influences and experiences that shaped some of Siegfried Schmidt’s most important work. And how does one conceive of the legacy of a still very active scholar? To my mind we ask the question: How has his work or perhaps the institutions that he helped create shape the ongoing careers and thoughts of others? Let me suggest an important way in which my encounter with Siegfried and IGEL has shaped my own current thoughts. While I have not experienced his works in German, not speaking the language, I have a deep feeling for his constructivist viewpoint and continually revisit this theme in examining how I construct my own life-world. If Siegfried sees his work as extending outward beyond the individual into the Umwelt, then we can ask about how constructivism interacts with the Eigenwelt. How do we imagine the individual in an effort after meaning (Bartlett, 1932), always searching for cause, always being bombarded by the perceptual moment?

Interpretation is not merely a conclusion, but an ongoing process, alternating between the immediacy of experiencing and the distance implied by reflection. And what of the layers within; those that encompass a life history, both distance and momentary? And the body itself, that collection of lenses through which meaning gains it experiential form? These are the questions that are necessitated by a dialogue with Siegfried Schmidt’s constructs. In a sense, the constructivist metaphysic is a process, a never ending effort to peer through Husserlian brackets and find the self within, and without. Thanks always to Siegfried for prompting that search and providing a home within which to dialogue about it.

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