Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dasein


Dasein.  They've translated the term as "being there," which became the title of a book which became a movie.  It all started with Heidegger's 20-century existential philosophy for a post-Nietzschean Gott ist tot world.  I contemplated Dasein when I was devouring academic philosophy in my early twenties.  It was a concept that fit my own personal understanding, at the time, of my sense of individuation, alienation, and aloneness in the world.  Today, I feel it might be a concept worth dusting off, and reconsidering.    

F. Kafka's personally projected characters in his stories of bureaucratic nightmares and Dasein would go well together, hand in existential hand.  And add on the context of Orwellian 1984 in the background, and we got ourselves ideas relevant to 21st-century human beings of today. Having some awareness about the situation of the globe is not a bad thing, but despair could really drag us down.

It was easy for people of the day to read dystopian novels and think of them as precautionary tales, but we needn't look too far back in history to see that those futuristic, fictional dystopias had popped up everywhere around the globe.  But what if the entire globe now is dystopia?  What if everything is so interlocked into place, that even if there were peoples, millions and billions of them, who were aware of the dystopia, were powerless to stop it?  What if the people who had built the global dystopia are now powerless to stop it, because the systems in place, like Frankenstein, have taken a life of their own?  And what is the flip side to all this?  There's always a flip side.  What is it?  What's the whole picture?
  
Humans are Dasein caught in limbo of birth and death, and whatever happens in the limbo interim, is truly one's own existential business.  When I was a student, I experienced a waking, conscious vision.  It was a simple one.  A person, a generic biped, stood on a sphere.  The person and sphere were surrounded by infinite space.  That was all there was to the brief vision.  The vision was about being there, and that's all.  Being there, surrounded by infinite space.  Hide in the masses all we want, be entrenched all we want, nothing we do will change the existentially shocking fact, truth, that we are surrounded by infinite space.  

I hate religion, politics, and ideology. To me, they're all wrapped up in a single bundle labeled 'poison' with skull and crossbones.  Every now and then I dabble, retreat, recover, and dabble again. But I dabble, dip my toes in the water and swirl it around a bit, but I never whole-hog dive into that bottomless sea of humanity's poisons.  Neither should anyone wallow in it too much.  You are Dasein, and your immersion in the world's machineries is strictly circumstantial.  There has to be more to the Cosmos, don't you think?