This glossary, composed by Benjamin Alberts, provides an overview of the most important terms of the philosophy of orientation. More terms will continually be added.

Note: The chapters and the page numbers refer to the book by Werner Stegmaier, What is Orientation? A Philosophical Investigation, translated by Reinhard G. Mueller (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2019).


Paying more or less attention is orientation’s way of dealing with unsettlement. Attention is essential to life in order to face dangers and to be aware of favorable opportunities. As an attitude, a state of tension, it for the most part is and must be without a particular focus because it is unknown where dangers and opportunities may originate.

In orientation, most things happen unnoticed. Only a few things attract special attention breaking the attention thresholds that block out most irritations and thus ensure orientation’s undisturbedness. This kind of focused attention usually only lasts for a short time and then, if not voluntarily sustained, involuntarily digresses back into general vigilance (chap. 3.3 and 8.4).

3, 10, 19, 32-38, 56-59, 69-70, 88, 97, 102-103, 111-113, 119-122, 137, 151-152, 193, 195, 197, 215, 218, 227, 229, 239-240, 243-244, 249, 254, 277-279

Calmness is the hallmark of a successful orientation. It means a decrease of the pressure of time and the pressure to act, and it may indicate a sovereign orientation. While the lack of orientation causes unsettlement, i.e. the counterpart of calmness, a succeeding orientation that has a clear view and is able to sufficiently explore and actualize opportunities for getting by feels reassured, calmed down, and at ease. Every orientation that has succeeded calms down; and it calms down because it has succeeded. In reassurance, the need for or the necessity of orientation ceases. However, both calmness and unsettlement may cause irritations: one can be unsettled by calmness or calm, too, in the face of persistent unsettlement due to always changing situations. Thus, orientation permanently oscillates between these two poles of unsettlement and reassurance.

Balanced characters stand out by staying calm even in difficult situations; they are able to curb these oscillations (chap 3.2). To reach calmness, orientation can learn to distinguish between sustainable and unsustainable footholds (chap. 6.4) and to detach itself from the situation by thinking (chap. 9.2).

29-32, 38, 60, 83-84, 111-114, 122, 163-164, 189, 199, 236, 250, 279

It is the basic condition of all orientation to operate under uncertainty. Since orientation can never be sure about all the circumstances of a given situation, there might always be surprises. Every certainty orientation has acquired remains its own certainty and, facing new and unforeseen circumstances, might always become uncertain again (chap 1.3). The constant need for certainty can lead orientation to hold onto firm religious or metaphysical beliefs leaving behind all uncertainties along with the struggle for certainty, at least temporarily (chap. 13.3 and 17). Politics, however, faces uncertainty as such; it is the planned handling of uncertain possibilities of action in a society (chap. 12.4).

XI, XV, 9-10, 15, 29, 34, 54, 59-61, 95, 114, 132-133, 165, 167, 176, 185, 190, 193, 201-204, 241-242, 255, 257, 260-261, 265-267, 269, 272, 276, 280, 283

Since all orientation is uncertain, it needs to be courageous. With every single decision we face dangers and take unavoidable risks. Courage is the key to overcome the paralyzing hesitation in the face of this uncertainty and thus enables us to grasp promising opportunities (chap. 3.3). Even if we know we could have always decided differently, courage allows us to decide for certain footholds and to be determined to hold on to them despite persistently unsettling conditions (chap. 6.4).

This is especially observable in professional economic orientation that requires courage to take financial risks in a market with limited surveyability (chap. 12.2). Religious orientation might strengthen the courage to act to the extreme, all the way up to sacrificing one’s own life (chap. 13.3).

15, 34, 61, 160, 202, 241-242

In death, orientation ends. It is an end of all standpoints and perspectives: if we are dead, we can no longer say that death is here. It is also the horizon of all temporal (and spatial) horizons: an absolute temporal horizon and thus, at the same time, no longer a horizon. As a sign of absolute finality, death affects most of our routines but can also function as a final calming of orientation. It is as certain as nothing else is and thus orientation’s strongest and firmest foothold and the yardstick of all its certainties. However, it is also uncertain, because one does not know when or how death will occur. Also, death does not refer to other footholds, and thus is not a foothold that one can hold onto.

In everyday orientation, one can thus forget about death for the most part – not by anxious repression, but because it usually does not help orientation to gain further footholds. The one clue the certainty of death may give us, though, is that we live life to the fullest (chap. 18).


Digitization changes and intensifies the human orientation: its potentials and needs, and along with these both its certainty and uncertainty. New means of communication like e-mails and social media constantly generate new modes of abbreviated, accelerated, and more or less distanced interindividual communication. Your orientation in the world is concentrated within the smartphone in your hand. You surf the web partly with, partly without intentions, you do not find the things you were looking for, and you find things you were not looking for – orientation in its pure form.

The internet was created under the conditions of an increased uncertainty of communication during the Cold War as a new and decentralized communication system for the then not unlikely case of a nuclear war. Today, the internet strongly intervenes in our everyday orientation especially by transforming our orientation to other orientations. Along with big data and artificial intelligence, the internet entails not only new solutions, but also new problems, particularly regarding digital security. Individual and societal orientations are both more and less secure than ever before; and the need for both trust and mistrust in security systems has never been as high as today.

These developments and the continuous challenge of continually distinguishing between facts or fictions (including designed identities) and between reliable and helpful or holdless and misleading footholds magnify the now spectacular pressure of time. If intelligence is enhanced by digital technologies, as is currently the case, then this brings about an ongoing competition for more intelligent orientation abilities and actions, which in turn increasingly drives the evolution of the digitization of communication forward. The constantly looming uncertainty of the internet may, in the long run, enhance the intelligence of orientation (chap. 16.3).


Double Contingency of Communication
Following Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann, the double contingency of communication refers to the fact that in orientation you can never have a totally reliable knowledge of your interlocutor. Individuals are black boxes as their different standpoints are never fully transparent to one another. Since your interlocutor’s statements can always differ from what you expect, communication is contingent; it is doubly contingent as far as both anticipate this when speaking with each other. To allow continuity in communication nonetheless, one will try all the more to respond in such a way as to provide the other with an opportunity to respond in an expected way. As double contingency must be mastered in ever-new circumstances in ever-new ways, it does not seem helpful to presume certain predefined commonalities like truthfulness or willingness for consensus. Rather, orientation tries to stay connectable for others, uses diplomacy of signs , builds trust, and thus allows leeways for alternatives which are not preemptively decidable (chap. 10.5).

130-135, 141, 152-153, 156-157, 159, 168, 186-188, 208, 216, 239, 241, 243, 256, 272

Ethical Orientation
Ethical orientation starts from the everyday difference of moral orientations . It takes seriously this difference by not supposing moral reciprocity. By one-sidedly forgoing this moral reciprocity, ethical orientation opens up to a morality for dealing with different morals. Some daily examples for virtues of ethical orientation may be open-mindedness, benevolence, tact, cautiousness, politeness, nobility, striving for tolerance, dignity, peace, justice among people who follow different moral standards, and ethical sovereignty (chap. 15.1–15.3).

Ethically sovereign are those individuals who can impartially, resolutely, and silently follow their own moral standards, mastering difficult situations involving others who follow different moral standards. The morality of dealing with different morals does not cause them distress but comes natural to them. It is these kinds of individuals where morality loses its coercive element; since they are rare, we are pleased that they exist (chap. 15.4). The globalization of human communication needs ethical orientation (chap. 16.1).

8, 32, 40-42, 133-134, 175, 186, 203, 206, 212, 221, 225, 235-246, 250, 263, 282-283

In orientation, nothing is fixed. Even though in everyday orientation we regularly rely on the convenient distinctions of the persistent and the changing or the essential and the inessential, there is nothing persistent, essential, or substantial for all time. Everything, even the strongest footholds can be subjected to change and reorientation, e.g. human beings including their character and body, personal and ascribed identities, values, languages, and all political and societal orders. But orientation is able to deal with these changes. It can find hold even in what may be called fluctuance. Unlike traditional substances, fluctuances are able to change their allegedly substantial determinations in a continuous process. Ultimately, the only hold of orientation onto things and persons is its own continuity in changing their determinations.

94, 107-109, 119, 129, 141, 155, 173, 250, 263-264, 267


A foothold (point of reference, guide, clue, lead, indicator, pointer, German Anhaltspunkt) is what human orientation holds onto. Human orientation relies and, at the same time, does not rely on them for footholds that at first appear tenable can always turn out to be untenable. As points connected to other points, they do not actually exist, but are arranged, defined or constructed by orientation within its situation. Footholds are abbreviations of a situation where relevant matters of this situation seem to converge. In this way, orientation can, for the moment, neglect other matters and gain an overview of what is relevant in a situation. Footholds proffer themselves, standing out from the other circumstances of the situation, but are selected by every orientation in its way. Footholds are chosen, largely without an awareness of the choice being made, or decided upon without a final certainty.

It depends on the particular needs of an orientation within its situation which reference points it gets involved with. Footholds attract attention and bind it only for a certain time (chap. 6.1). All knowledge eventually emerges from the evidence provided by points of reference, clues, leads, and footholds – none of these ever being completely certain (chap. 6.2). Choosing footholds is a paradoxical decision about something that is in fact undecidable; thus, the decisions are to be met with decisiveness and resoluteness (chap. 6.3). They involve affective reactions (chap. 6.4) and are simplified and become routined by organizing footholds in fittings, patterns, and schemata (chap. 6.5).

XVI, 55-66, 69-72, 83, 90, 99, 104, 113, 137-143, 146, 159-161, 165, 173, 179-180, 195, 199, 209, 276-277


Horizons limit the overview of human orientation. One can see or understand something only if one limits one’s view. One does not at the same time look at the limit, but leaves it in the periphery, the background. Thus, one is not aware of one’s limits in orienting oneself. A horizon is a paradoxical limit, because when you look at it, it is no longer the horizon but something you look at before another horizon. This makes horizons temporary and flexible limits of delimiting spaces of viewing or understanding (chap. 5.1 and 5.4). One extends, restrains, or changes them all the time while changing one’s standpoint or perspective.

3, 12, 43-44, 49-52, 224-225, 276

Identities are the steadiest footholds of orientation and particularly of our mutual orientation. In every orientation and doubly contingent communication, they are indispensable. Fixing our image of things, processes, of others, and of ourselves helps us to orient ourselves over a longer period of time – we thus stabilize our orientations. Therefore, identities have become seemingly natural and self-evident. There are, however, no identities per se: it is in every case someone who ascribes or attributes identities to things, processes, and people. Ascribing identities to people may be discriminating.

The discourse of descriptions and ascriptions, usually called identity politics, is always a discourse of inclusions and exclusions. One can distinguish between many kinds of identities like logical, semiotic, corporeal, bodily, sexual, gender, judicially legitimate, genetic, personal, autobiographic, narrative, designed vs. authentic, public vs. private, social vs. individual identities (chap. 11.1–11.3). When dealing with others, we do not only carefully protect our personal identities but also act or give a performance of an acceptable identity by managing our impression on others (chap. 11.4).

An ascribed identity is an identification you can identify with within certain leeways or not. Thus, you can avoid discriminations or fight against them. Moral identifications select a person as a whole; they are the strongest kind of abbreviation (chap. 14.3). Over time, you develop an identity in dealing with identities (chap 11.5).

33, 77, 91, 108, 137-153, 166, 170-171, 186, 196, 200, 213-215, 219, 240-241, 250-251, 258

Irritations unsettle orientation by disturbing its routines. They prompt orientation to search for their causes and thereby stimulate it to correct or reorient these routines of perception, behavior, action, and interpretation (chap. 3.2). Human orientation can even self-irritate through conscious thinking, enabling it to create and control alternative distinctions (chap 9.3). However, irritating signals are also only clues that have to be decided upon: your orientation may or may not respond to them (chap. 8.4).

While media orientation may be characterized as irritation through surprises (chap. 12.3) and artistic orientation as irritation through creative disorientation (chap. 13.2), religious orientation can rule out all irritation and disorientation through a resolute and unshakable faith (chap. 13.3).

29-33, 67, 88, 103-107, 111, 120, 123, 126, 148, 150, 163, 196-198, 201, 205, 231, 279

Orientation uses leeways. A leeway (allowance, clearance, elbow room, latitude, range, room for maneuver, room to move, scope, tolerance, German Spielraum) is a regulated limit of an unregulated behavior. In everyday life, a leeway is necessary for everything that is to move within a certain frame of something, e.g. a door in its frame. In human orientation, the versatile and multi-faceted leeways of thinking, communicating, and acting specify the freedoms of orientation (chap. 5.6). Depending on the situation, they open alternatives that can and must be decided on.

Instead of blindly following rules and norms, we usually weigh their significance for the respective situation. These leeways in dealing with rules and norms amplify both the efficiency and complexity of orientation. Leeways for action can be legally guaranteed (chap. 12.5), narrowed or extended. They can even be shut down without reservation by moral coercion (chap. 14.1), but can also be restored by perspectivizing the moral coercion (chap. 14.6). Usually one wants to maintain leeways everywhere for one’s own orientations and decisions, even on a global scale (chap. 16.1).

15, 53-54, 57, 65-68, 73-75, 93-109, 119, 129, 132-133, 153, 155, 178-181, 183-185, 195, 202, 208, 220-223, 226, 249, 253, 261-262, 276

Looking for unconditional certainties, metaphysics transcends the conditions of the fundamentally uncertain orientation. However, it does not simply oppose orientation, but is rather a possibility of orientation, since it can be necessary and helpful in specific situations. Keeping a critical distance from final answers, orientation can make use of metaphysics for a certain period of time (chap. 17.1). The history of metaphysics is a history of the critique of metaphysics. It teaches us that metaphysics originates in the needs of orientation: the metaphysical term of being responds to the orientation problem of time, the term of world to the problem of unsurveyability, the term of soul to the problem of controllability, and the concept of God to the problem of uncertainty as such (chap 17.2).

XV, 41, 54-55, 72, 77-82, 95-96, 107-108, 176-177, 265-273, 275, 283-284

Moral Orientation
Prior to all justifications or normative demands, a philosophy of orientation starts with an observation of moral orientation. On the one hand, one’s morality limits one’s leeways of orientation, binding not only one’s actions but also one’s thinking. On the other hand, modern democratic societies allow for a pluralism of morals and thus for a morality for dealing with different morals.

Morality’s most striking and strongest foothold is the inner coercion to help others who are, in immediate proximity, faced with an emergency situation they cannot master themselves. This kind of moral orientation closes the leeways of your orientation, without reservation in the respective situation. It shuts down the complexities of double contingency, thus enabling trust in the reliability of others when being in an emergency situation (chap. 14.1).

For its stabilization, moral orientation develops moral routines (e.g. the expectation of reciprocity), shapes moral identities that distinguish between good and evil, and adopts prevailing or dominant moralities that best relieve the needs of a certain group or society (chap 14.3). Moral characters, norms, and values permit for various leeways in different orientation worlds (chap. 14.5). Orientation can again detach itself from its moral coercions by perspectivizing them (chap. 14.6). Sustaining its own morality while forgoing reciprocity, moral orientation can turn into ethical orientation.

XIII, 8, 11, 15, 62, 98, 113-114, 124, 134, 149, 156, 159, 161, 166, 172-175, 180, 196, 205-246, 248, 250, 263

Orientation is the achievement of finding one’s way in an unsurveyable and uncertain situation to make out opportunities for actions so that one can successfully master the situation. Orientation is not only essential to human beings, but to animals and some plants as well. It is, like nutrition and breathing, a fundamental, irrefutable, and ineradicable necessity of life.

As it is always dealing with a specific situation, be it private, social, or global, human orientation as a whole is the ability to keep up with the times, i.e. the strength to make decisions in ever-new situations on how things may continue to run successfully – decisions that promise to hold for at least some time until new situations make new orientations necessary.

This makes orientation an achievement of an individual ability: orientations are individual orientations of individual human beings in individual situations. Since every orientation may face unforeseen and surprising circumstances where its abilities might fail, one can never be entirely sure of one’s orientation. A philosophical analysis of orientation needs to take into consideration all of these aspects. Since orientation may altogether involve surprising structures, the leeway of its analysis should not be limited too much beforehand and one should be as cautious as possible not to make premature philosophical decisions (chap 1.1).

XI-XIV, 1-3, 5-6, 15-23

Orientation Worlds
Orientation worlds connect specific routine patterns. In one’s working life, for instance, there are routines about when and how to work, take a break, and have meetings and discussions, whereas in social life, there are routines regarding conversations, invitations, having dinner, and so on. These can each include entirely different orientation processes, which are, however, perceived as coherent orientation areas.

We usually stay only in one orientation world at a time and forget our other orientation worlds during this time. This relieves our orientation altogether. Orientation worlds are separated by thresholds of attention to such an extent that if one world is noticed in the other one (e.g. your children call at the office), this is experienced as an irritation, as a pleasant or an unpleasant surprise. However, we usually routinely transition between the orientation worlds without the need for a central instance governing these processes.

Generally there are individual, interindividual or communal, societal, and global orientation worlds (chap. 8.4 and 8.5). They all have their own moral values, norms, and sanctions (chap. 14.5 [4]).

XII, 51, 87-91, 117-118, 149-150, 156-157, 162-163, 166-168, 194-196, 198, 223-226, 250, 259, 278

Paradoxes irritate thinking but at the same time function as new beginnings of thinking. They arise when a binary distinction whose values negate each other is referred back to itself with its negative value (e.g. when one says ‘I am lying’ while saying the truth that he or she is lying). If you cannot decide between the two contradicting alternatives, they make your thinking block. Such paradoxical self-referentialities have been dreaded by science and philosophy throughout history and into modernity, and they have made every effort to resolve these paradoxes. Everyday orientation, on the other hand, is not troubled by paradoxes; it deals with them quite naturally. As Niklas Luhmann discovered, one cannot go behind paradoxes that block thinking, which is exactly why one can utilize them as new beginnings of thinking. They allow thinking to operate with both alternatives and thus help orientation to explore new leeways of thinking. Plenty of paradoxes – such as the unjustified justification, the temporary atemporality, the stocks of a stock exchange sold at this stock exchange, or dead persons who are no longer persons – are effective in human orientation (chap. 1.2).

2-3, 8-9, 11, 13, 28, 33, 39-40, 44, 46, 53, 55-56, 59-60, 80, 84, 94-96, 100-101, 134, 145, 153, 157, 165, 169-175, 178-179, 199, 201, 203, 223, 231-233, 261, 275-281

Perspectives provide alternatives for the views of orientation. A perspective enables us to view things in various ways that exclude but also complement and enrich each other. Perspectival art and especially painting can teach us that, for instance, the eye does not see depth, but rather constructs it. Thus, all apparently natural optics can be seen as perspectival artistry.

In everyday orientation, a multiplicity of perspectives is always at work: we are accustomed to dealing with perspectives knowing that there are always different perspectives and that the texture of perspectives always changes in our orientation. As far as orientation is – and has to be – always in movement in order to keep up with the times, fixing one’s perspective is an exceptional and only temporal case. Usually one perspective leads to the next in a continuous crossover, and reorientation happens as a continuous shift of perspectives – the continuous shift of perspectives is orientation’s mode of continuity (chap. 5.3 and 5.4).

XII, 23, 43, 47-52, 101, 226-231, 239, 275

Plausibilities (and routines) are what orientation relies on. Something is plausible if one agrees immediately without the need of further questions or justifications. Plausibilities are self-evident, go unnoticed, and thus are usually not made explicit. Once they are articulated, they become questionable. If plausibilities are called into question, new plausibilities for questioning plausibilities come to the fore. These implicit plausibility standards allow for a self-evident orientation to another individual orientation in a group or society. Groups and societies protect their respective plausibilities in their ways of life against further questions and maintain their implicit legitimacy.

Also all scientific argumentations end in plausibilities and proceed from them. In philosophy, this has mostly gone unnoticed while it strived for last justifications (chap. 1.3).

XIV, XVII, 9-14, 64-65, 84, 104, 129, 160, 187, 198, 216, 269-272

Routines are a means for the self-stabilization of orientation and its main foothold. When everything runs as usual, familiarity and confidence develop as the basic stability one relies on. A routine is exactly this confident mastery of well-established orientation processes. Everywhere in human orientation, routines develop. These can be bodily routines, routines of actions and work as well as daily and weekly procedures, routines of speaking (chap. 10.4), moral routines (chap. 14.3 [1]), or even highly controlled social routines, such as pedagogical, workout, economic, bureaucratic, judicial, political, religious, artistic, and scientific routines. Routines become fairly natural over time: one does not feel them positively, but one only becomes aware of them if they are interrupted or fail (chap. 8.2). Then routines for replacing routines or reorientation routines may develop (chap. 8.3). While media render surprises an everyday routine (chap. 12.3), art may irritate and thus remove an orientation from its routines of perception, behavior, action, and interpretation (chap. 13.2).

XII, 77-91, 103, 116, 119-123, 128-129, 134, 144, 150-151, 155, 163-164, 176, 197, 209, 213, 215, 227, 235, 251, 256, 278-279

Signs abbreviate and, thus, accelerate orientation. As footholds that are specifically made to attract attention, signs are especially attractive for orientation: orientation can easily hold onto them, but they might also lead into a false direction. Thus, signs simplify orientation, but they also increase its risks. As the most important elements of the memory of our orientation, signs are retained throughout changing situations detached from the specific situations in which they are used. Signs refer to signs and can be abbreviated by means of signs in a system of signs. They are useful and understandable, even though they are not signs for certain things that you can point to.

People use signs in similar situations in a similar way, making them a kind of social support (chap. 7.1). In order to make this work, signs must be able to adapt their meanings to changing situations within certain leeways without having one meaning across all situations and for all time (chap. 7.2). In light of its ability to abbreviate what is occurring in a situation into footholds, signs, names, and terms, orientation altogether becomes an art of world abbreviation (chap. 7.3).

Not in spite of the fact signs leave room for interpretation but because of this, we are able to communicate with each other; given differing situations, the meaning of the signs must be adapted to them. They cannot be used the same way in every situation. In everyday interindividual orientation, we cultivate a diplomatic use of signs (e.g. by intentionally allowing for different meanings or by looking for other terms that are more palatable to others). This requires consideration, caution, circumspection, foresight, and a high level of attention to the ways that others use their signs. Such diplomacy of signs keeps communication going and gains time for new and more promising opportunities for connecting with others (chap. 10.5 [3]).

23, 39, 69-76, 97, 99-106, 114, 119-121, 125-128, 132-133, 141-142, 160, 168, 184-185, 194-195, 198-201, 203, 212, 236, 241, 245-246, 251, 278-279

A situation is what orientation copes with. The terms ‘situation’ and ‘orientation’ are correlates. However, orientation itself draws the distinction between itself and the respective situation trying to differentiate this situation. The correlation of orientation and situation is the premise of all further distinctions. It cannot be justified with further reasons because this would again only be possible by means of further distinctions. A situation encompasses all that is given for an orientation; when a new situation emerges, nothing may be excluded as irrelevant. At first, orientation means looking for, discerning, and assessing the relevance of the footholds offered in a situation. A situation is always singular and individual. Dealing with the surprises and contingencies of a situation, orientation involuntarily decides on what is relevant or with which it can make something.

A situation is generally not limited, neither in space nor in time. The present consists of relevant matters from the past for the future. But orientation limits the situation which it is to explore and widens it as needed at a time.

Orientation already changes the situation by exploring and mastering it. Thus, orientation always renews the need for orientation. It continuously renews itself by continuously making recourse to its own results from orientations in former situations (chap 3.1).

XI-XII, 1-2, 5-7, 23, 25-38, 55-61, 63-65, 71-76, 81-82, 84-86, 96-100, 103-107, 111-114, 126, 151, 160-162, 168, 185, 188-190, 193, 198, 209-212, 214-215, 221, 227-228, 241-242, 245, 249, 260-261, 265-266, 269, 271

Standardization allows for routined global interaction and communication in a modern, globalized, and unsurveyable world. Where global culture is standardized, an initially problem-free orientation at any time and place is warranted. Standardized orientation signs, for example, abbreviate communication in global travel as well as in online communication by giving quick and unambiguous instructions. The standardized orientation language of English covers more complex needs of global orientation, while standardized orientation technologies like GPS simplify the geographic orientation. All of them create new leeways for new surprises by inviting you more and more to go on adventures in unfamiliar areas without ever being totally reliable themselves (chap. 16.2).

XV, 1, 11-12, 130, 141, 187, 196, 198, 215-217, 224-226, 235-236, 239, 245-246, 251-253, 258-261

A standpoint is the reference and starting point for any kind of orientation. It is not only a geographical point but involves everything somebody brings with him or her to his or her orientation, be it one’s body, mood, psychophysical state, opinions, commitments, convictions – the whole biographical, educational, and cultural background. You can distance yourself from this standpoint only within (more or less narrow) limits. Since all orientation is relative to it, the respective local, temporal, and cultural standpoint is the absolute in orientation. However, while you see and think everything from this starting point of your orientation, you cannot see your standpoint itself. It is first of all given in your orientation, but it is only given as an imaginary point. Like the horizons of your orientation, the standpoint is paradoxical. (chap. 5.2 and 5.4).

XII, 3, 12-13, 18, 23, 43-47, 49-52, 99, 111-112, 117, 125, 183-190, 198, 208, 226, 249, 271, 275

Orientation is temporal in itself. As far as it always copes with new circumstances, new situations, and never-ending change, orientation also deals with time. Its function is thus to find its way with time, to keep up with the times. Orientation is always an orientation about time in time or an orientation for a time (chap. 1.2). Time in its most unlimited sense means that all things can change (including the sense of time). Precisely this is why everything is always (more or less) uncertain. In situations of orientation, time is experienced as time shortage and time pressure in finding, assessing, and selecting points of reference, clues, leads, and footholds that change in changing situations (chap. 3.2 and 6.2). Trying to fix time, we conceive of it by fixed terms that allow measuring it. This works. But apparently fixed terms can change over time as well. Thus, a fixed time is time and not time at the same time (if you say ‘now,’ now is just gone). As a result, time is paradoxical, and all that involves time becomes paradoxical, too.

XI-XIII, XV, 2, 8-9, 26-29, 49-57, 60, 63, 73-74, 76, 81, 94-95, 98-99, 107, 160, 164-165, 169, 184-185, 193, 195, 199, 211, 216, 227, 247-248, 253, 256, 260, 262, 267-271, 276, 281, 283

The lack of orientation causes unsettlement. It drives us to look beyond all the footholds that we have so far relied on for further footholds. Since orientation constantly copes with irritating and therefore unsettling surprises, its basic mood is unsettlement. If unsettlement increases, it can grow into anxiety, despair, and depression. But if orientation succeeds, one feels reassured, calmed down, and at ease; regularity and familiarity ensue.

Orientation permanently oscillates between these two poles of unsettlement and reassurance (chap. 3.2). Even though successful decisions might suspend the unsettlement, it is only for a limited time (chap. 6.3). Other people with their different orientations, especially in face-to-face situations, can unsettle or reassure one more than anything else (chap. 10.1).

29-32, 38, 60, 83-84, 111-114, 122, 163-164, 189, 199, 236, 250, 279

Sight is usually the most important sense to orient oneself. The crucial role of having a good view for a successful orientation is reflected in the everyday language of orientation: the alignment of attention is articulated primarily by the word field of seeing, viewing, and sighting. One has to view the situation, scan it, spot anything conspicuous, and, at the same time, select what is relevant in it. When sifting the situation, orientation focuses, i.e. it centers, concentrates itself and distinguishes between center and periphery (chap. 4.1). Having gained an overview of the circumstances of a situation, one is able to overlook everything that is relevant in this situation. When one overlooks (übersehen) something, one paradoxically both sees everything and misses all the particular details. Orientation then has to oscillate between focusing and defocusing to gain an overview that enables it to make something of it (chap 4.3). One can distinguish between aspects (Hinsichten), intentions (Absichten), views (Ansichten), consideration (Rücksicht), circumspection (Umsicht), precaution (Vorsicht), foresight (Weitsicht), supervision (Aufsicht), insight (Einsicht), indulgence (Nachsicht), and confidence (Zuversicht) (chap. 4.4). They are specific virtues of orientation.

12, 35-50, 59, 97, 111-112, 122, 139-140, 149, 160, 183, 188-190, 225, 235-238, 247, 263, 268, 281