Are You Authentic?
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Episode 10: Are You Authentic? | (Martin Heidegger on Dasein)
Written & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Narrator: Nathan Lowe
Animation Producer: MB X. McClain
Original Music & Sound by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Academic Consultant: Mia Wood
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Are You Authentic?
(Heidegger + River City Ransom)
How do we live authentically?
Since the dawn of philosophy, thinkers have posed questions such as “Does this plank exist?” or “Does God exist?” But 20th century philosopher Martin Heidegger thought that before questioning whether something exists, we must first ask “what is the meaning of being?”
In his notoriously difficult book Being and Time, Heidegger introduced the concept of the human being as Dasein. Dasein is that being that stands back from everyday consciousness and recognizes its own existence. Dasein asks the question: what does it mean to “be?”
“Dasein… in its very Being, [is] that being is an issue for it.” (Being and Time p.32)
At first, however, Dasein does not distinguish himself from the world
around him. He is completely immersed in the world, or what Heidegger calls “being-in-the- world.” But how does this relate to authenticity?
Living authentically involves, in part, Dasein’s understanding of itself as something that exists- and potentially doesn’t exist.
One way to think about it is like this- we carry on with our everyday activities out of habit, we do things but do not consciously consider THAT we are doing them. For example, a craftsman uses his hammer every day without thinking of it as an object independent from himself- until something goes wrong.
When the hammer breaks, I come to look at it not as just an object in the world, but as an object THAT exists separately from myself.
This is one way that Dasein becomes aware not only of THINGS not being,
but also the possibility of Dasein’s own NOT BEING- that is, Death. Living with the awareness of one’s own NOT-being is a crucial element of living authentically.
The authentic Dasein is constantly aware of MY existence as MY OWN- to be defined by myself, and not others.
The inauthentic Dasein lives lacking an awareness of its own existence. When one’s everyday activities are lost in the mindless grind of the “public,”and allows it’s self to be socially constructed, authenticity is lost- one becomes lost in the “they”.
But that’s not to say that one must isolate one’s self in order to live
Authentic living is more of an attitude, an attitude towards confronting one’s own mortality, seizing one’s existence, and making it one’s own.
Alas, Heidegger’s work in Being and Time remains unfinished, for he was
never able to comprehensively define what it means to exist.
Nevertheless, his efforts have lead to nothing less than a revolutionary interpretation of what it means to be human.