There are many people who are artists. Some are disguised as engineers, some as businessman, some as bankers, some in simple day to day activities and some as philosophers. There is one who is a brilliant artist disguised as a philosopher. The name is martin Heidegger. He put his mind in the clumsy chattering known as western philosophy.
He started writing a story of ‘existence’. The words are very much tricky in philosophy. People use many words in abundance and mean different things in essence. Heidegger started tracking the concept ‘existence’ after the movement of phenomenology. Phenomenology provided a soil which was helpful to Heidegger. In my opinion the subject of research was poetic itself. Poetic and courageous. What does it mean to be existing ?
As every philosophy is, Heidegger started structuring a beautiful story. It does not mean that every philosophy is just an imagination and it never touches any objective reality. My tone is not of a proclamation. I am just suggesting that no attempt of philosophizing can touch objectivity, if there is any. And this makes all of the philosophies into beautiful stories. A subjective attempt of a subjective being to stare in the eyes of obscure vastness. Our lives are stories, our expressions are stories, we understand stories, every word is itself a story in itself.
In my opinion Heidegger had a sense of this notion and therefore he made his philosophy into a literary and etymological attempt as well. He never tried to introduce any technicalities or any mechanical system but just a beautiful play of words to explain his alive structure. The structure is like a musical composition which makes itself appear vast in meaning and which reveals itself differently each time. Heidegger’s later philosophy confirms this poetic spirit of his philosophy, in my opinion.
So what is existence according to Heidegger then? He started off by explaining what existence is for all the common people and then for those who have accessed their authentic self or existence. Tripartite structure of a being. First projection. This part is about our experience in this world. This explains that we understand things the way we understand is because can project into the future their use or relation with us. The second part is facticity. This explains the mood of a being. A mood which we carry along into every moment which plays a crucial role in our experiences as we experience them. This depends on our past history of emotions. And the third is falling. The falling is need for us to identify ourselves with something ‘the they’ create for us. Falling is the inauthentic identification of being with things within the world. The identity which other people, society creates and confirms for us. Now together all these three, the projection and consequently existentiality, facticity and falling is all about our day to day existence. We fall into ‘falling’ or flee into it is because we want to avoid angst, the dread or fear of open ended-ness of being’s existence. The anxiety caused by this open ended existence of being is the main cause of our possible finding of our authentic being. The main cause we have anxiety is because we care. We care about our existence. We care about its survival, its future. Our being is an issue for ourselves. To care is to be anxious. So being is care.
So the first part as we discussed of the structure is function of future, second is the function of past and the third is the function of present.
Now there are two things by which a being approaches to the authentic self. By ‘being ahead of itself’, being understands that it is moving towards its death. So the first part of authentic being is living with its ‘being toward death’. By ‘being already in the world’ being understands its authentic potentiality which in other words is its limitations, the finitude of its existence which stems ‘guilt’ in a being. Guilt of not being in total control, guilt of depended-ness.
These two things, these two realizations which are when incorporated in being’s existence, it approaches towards a state called ‘anticipatory resoluteness’. Anticipatory is the part taken from the ‘future’ sense of a being. A part which is being ahead of itself understands that it is moving towards its death. The part of resoluteness is taken from the ‘past’ sense of being. A part which is ‘being already in the world’ and which is exposed to the ‘existential guilt’. In short, anticipatory resoluteness is a resolute acceptance of my guilt in the anticipation of my death. So when a being or as Heidegger calls it in German, ‘Dasien’, reaches its anticipatory resoluteness, we can say that being is now hearing the call of its own authentic existence. It is no longer ‘falling’.
Looking at the whole structure of existence it is clear that the most important part in it is the underlying ‘Temporality’. So we can say that the deepest meaning of what my mode of existence is, is that time is one’s authentic self coming towards oneself as already always having been there in the act of making entities present or recognizing the presence of entities. So in conclusion being’s existence is based in a time structure.
All the above explanation of what he has explained in his book ‘being and time’ about ‘dasein’s existence’ is very brief in its own context. It is very much to be contemplated than just to be understood as as a structure. It is a world of its own. A world which claims to have mirrored our own existence. A creative genius which is very much worth contemplating.