Famous philosophers have become identified with their big ideas put in slogans. When we hear the words: "All is flux," we think of Heraclitus. Socrates is known for his statement "the unexamined life is not worth living." Ludwig Wittgenstein is easily linked with the idea that "the limits of my language are the limits of my world."
There haven't been many documentaries about philosophy although this field of academic study has made a bit of a comeback in the last few years. Being in the World is an ambitious film directed by Tao Ruspoli which focuses on Dr. Hubert Dreyfus, a well-known and controversial philosopher who has a passion for the vision and understanding of life as espoused by Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). He is contrasted to the more well-known philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650).
Dreyfus explains the differences between the philosophy of Descartes and that of Heidegger. The former is best known for his slogan "I think therefore I am" which separates mind from body and has led to an emphasis on head trips. Heidegger espoused the importance of being. We exist in the midst of life and those who make the most of this adventure live authentic lives. Although a handful of other academic experts on Heidegger wrestle with explanations of his work, the filmmaker helps us see just what this means in fascinating portraits of a Japanese master craftsman, a soul-food cook in New Orleans, and several jazz musicians who have mastered the art of improvisation.
With its distinctive blend of academic commentary and glimpses of the everyday lives of ordinary people doing the best they can, Being in the World ought to enchant both avid students of philosophy and complete beginners.