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Notes on Heidegger's "The Possible Being-a-Whole of Da-Sein and Being-Toward-Death "


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The Possible Being-a-Whole of Da-sein and Being-Toward-Death

Note: Da-sein = existence of a thing—of man as a being; Simply, it is being, particularly of man in the world

1. The seeming impossibility of ontologically grasping and determining Da-sein as a whole a. Care * Forms the totality of the structural whole of Da-sein * “Being ahead of itself” * Da-sein is always after its “potentiality-of-being”; it is influenced by being ahead of itself even when there is nothing further ahead of it. * Hopelessness does not tear away da-sein from its possibilities/potentiality of its being; it is simply another way towards them. * Da-sein always lives for the sake of itself * There is always something “outstanding” in Da-sein that has not yet become real (it is merely a potentiality for its being) thus exists a feeling of incompleteness and the presence of a “nothing” * Eliminating what is outstanding (i.e. attaining “wholeness”) annihilates Da-sein’s being. Should this occur, it will never again be experienced as a being-in-the-world * ------------ b. The impossibility of grasping Da-sein as a whole 2. The Possibility of Experiencing the Death of Others and the Possibility of Grasping Da-sein as a Whole c. Death brings Da-sein to wholeness. Death is the transition from “being there” to no-longer-being-there. d. Death takes away the possibility for da-sein to experience it (death) as something “experienced” e. We may look then to the death of others to understand the no-longer-being-there, in the sense of “no longer being in the world.” Death becomes “objectively” accessible through the death of others and gain an “experience” of death, considering how Da-sein is essentially a “being with others.” f. However, due to the presence of a corporeal thing (i.e. corpse), in a sense, there still remains a being as something objectively present. In other words, the end of the being of Da-sein is the beginning of the being of this corporeal thing that remains. Moreover, a corpse is not merely a corporeal thing. Through it we encounter not only something that is lifeless, but also unliving (note life vs. being alive) which has lost its life g. Regardless, “deceased” (as opposed to the corpse) has been torn away from what’s left behind. The being-with experienced by people who are “with” the deceased is a being-with that is in terms of this world, the deceased is no longer factically (having the nature of being thrown in the world) there. h. Death does not reveal itself as a loss, but as a loss of those left behind. Phenomenally, The loss of being the deceased “suffers”/experiences is not accessible those left behind (they experience a different loss). i. Since we are seeking to understand the dying of a person (the loss of his being; of his potentiality of being), and not of the being-with and the still-being-there of the corporeal object with those left behind, we cannot find it in this manner. j. Note that in many cases, Da-sein can be represented by another in its possibilities-of-being and being-with-one-another in the world.These representations always underlie a form of care for “one’s [own/subjective] world”. In this sense, one Da-sein can “be” another Da-sein. k. However, no one can represent another in death. No one can take another’s dying from him. l. In understanding the totality of Da-sein, which entails also understanding its end (i.e. death) and totality of itself, this approach (looking through the deaths of others) will not suffice as it requires one’s own experience of death to understand Da-sein fully. 3. What is Outstanding, End and Totality? m. At this point, an effort to find an ontological understanding of end and totality are required in order to obtain an ontological interpretation of death. n. Thus far, we have 3 main points established about death * As long as Da-sein is, a not-yet belongs to it, which it will be—what is constantly outstanding * The coming-to-its-end of what is not-yet-at-an-end (in which the outstanding is liquidated) has the character of no-longer-being-there (i.e. The coming to an end of something has the character of not being there) * Coming-to-an=end implies a mode of being in which the actual Da-sein cannot be represented by another in its place o. Outstanding as “lacking” is based on belongingness. As when a debt that is yet to be paid is outstanding, the paying off liquidates what’s outstanding, in which case the “money comes in” wherein the not-yet is filled out until the sum owed is “all together.” Thus, to be outstanding means that what belongs together is not yet together. In understanding, what is outstanding has the same being as something that is “at hand” (i.e. objectively present and ready for use). The together and untogether are characterized as a “sum” that is a piecing together of things that are already at hand. p. However, the characteristic of not-yet that Da-sein carries is not the same as that of something that is outstanding. Da-sein does not have the same being as something that is objectively present/at hand. The not=yet already exists and belongs to Da-sein. q. But are there not objects that exist to which a not-yet also belongs? Take the moon for example. Before the moon is full, the not-yet appears as the shadow and gradually disappears as its fullness approaches. Apart from the fact that we cannot wholly grasp the moon even when it is full (note the darks ide), it doesn’t signify the not-yet-being-together of parts that belong together, but this phenomenon only pertains to the way we grasp it perceptually. r. The not-yet of Da-sein, however, is significantly different. It is not only preliminary and inaccessible to one’s/another’s experience, but it is not “real” at all (hence potentiality). s. To define the being of the not-yet in the character of Da-sein, we must look to beings whose kind of being involves a “becoming.” Take for example an unripe fruit as it moves towards ripeness. The ripeness is not pieced together as something not yet objectively present. The not-yet (unripeness) is not something that is “other” and objectively present with and indifferent to the fruit. The unripeness is the fruit in a specific kind of being. The ripening fruit is the unripeness; a constituent (part of the whole). The not-yet is included in its being. * Possible argument: can we not then consider any other form of “not-yet” also a constituent of what is “completed”? t. Similarly, Da-sein is simultaneously what it is and what it isn’t. The not-yet in Da-sein is neither a “summative together which is outstanding” (i.e. different pieces being added to the sum until the outstanding is “filled out”) nor a “not-yet that has become accessible.” Rather, it is a not-yet that any Da-sein always has is, as a ripefruit is essentially also always unripe in that it wouldn’t be so if it first wasn’t. u. However to note, death (of Da-sein) and ripeness are ends that do not coincide in their ontological structures. The distinction lies in fulfillment. My understanding of fulfillment here is: the achievement of what one wishes to achieve. This understanding makes it possible to fulfill many things, yet not all things. In ripeness, the fruit fulfills itself. In this context, the fruit fulfills itself in that it fulfills what it set out to do. But is the death of Da-sein the fulfillment of itself? True, death implies Da-sein has “completed its course”, but has this necessarily exhausted all its possibilities (that generally revolve around one’s desires)? Are these not what gets taken from it? In general, Da-sein ends in unfulfillment, or ends disintegrated and used up (all possibilities). v. Ending does not necessarily mean fulfilling oneself. On that note, we ask in what sense does death “end” Da-sein? Initially, death only means “stopping.” E.g. the rain stops and seizes to be objectively present. Now take a road that stops, for example. The ending does not cause the road to disappear, but rather determines this road as an objectively present one (which, at certain points, starts and ends). With these, end as “stopping” can mean either to change into absence (no longer objectively present) or to be objectively present only when the end comes (note objective presence). * Given these definitions, why can we not say that the road is objectively present even before the end? Perhaps he means to describe a road with this particular objective (i.e. in all aspects defining it; non-infinite) quality. * Apparently I was right. The latter description of ending can be determinative of something unfinished (e.g. road under construction) or constitute the fininshedness of something (e.g. a finished painting with the final signature) w. Ending as “finishing” does not by itself include fulfillment. On the other hand, what has to be fulfilled must reach its finishedness. In other words, not everything that ends/finishes is a fulfillment, but every fulfillment is a finish. x. None of these modes of ending are able to characterize the end of Da-sein appropriately. If the end of Da-sein were to be understood in the same ends described, then Da-sein would be posited as something objectively present(which isn’t the case, obviously). Da-sein is neither fulfilled nor disappears in death; it has not become finished or available as something at hand. * Da-sein does not finish in death because finishedness is determined by the ending of something objectively present, which Da-sein is not. Fulfillment itself is a form of finishedness. Given that death, let alone Da-sein, is not objectively present, we can say that Da-sein is neither fulfilled nor finished in death. * Note that Da-sein’s non-objective presence is defined by its capacity to Care and therefore project and work toward something not objectively present. y. Rather, just as Da-sein is constantly its not-yet, it is also always its end. More specifically, the ending in view of death is not the being at an end of Da-sein, but being “a being toward the end.” As soon as a human is born, he is old enough to die. z. To recap * The not-yet that Da-sein always is resists an interpretation as something merely “outstanding” * A constituent of Da-sein is to be toward its end 4. How the Existential Analysis of Death Differs from Other Possible Interpretations of This Phenomenon {. It is necessary that the boundaries of the ontological interpretation be established |. Death is a phenomenon of life. Life itself is a kind of being wherein a constituent of it is a being “in the world” }. In the context of biology and physiology, life will delve into the realm of “the world of animals and plants where humans can be ontically (a being, as opposed to being) ascertained.”In this sense, dates, statistics, numbers, etc. can be used to analyze this life. Death can be investigated in its varying “kinds, causes, arrangements, etc.” ~. However, the essence of death must still be defined in terms of the essence of life. The more or less established concepts on life and death in the ontic perspective have to be sketched out in order to gain an ontology (concerned with the nature and relation of beings) of Da-sein. . Note the terminologies: * Perishing – the ending of what is alive * Da-sein, too, has its physiological death. However, note that Da-sein can “end” without (physically) dying (note how one may end up being “used up”; e.g. the old men in the Well Lit ehe… reading). Also note that Da-sein does not simply perish (as established in the previous chapter). * Demise – the particular death of Da-sein. * Dying– being (of Da-sein) toward death. . The existentiell (ontic) perspective on death will not warrant any answers or insight on as to what follows death; whether Da-sein lives on, outlives itself, or is immortal. Anything viewed ontically will not enlighten one on things that are “otherworldly” as this perspective only concerns itself with things of this world. 5. A Preliminary Sketch of the Existential and Ontological Structure of Death . Note that with the earlier understanding of outstanding, end, and totality we have established the necessity of interpreting death as “being-toward-the-end” of Da-sein. . Also note the fundamental characteristics of Da-sein (i.e. Care): being ahead of itself, existence, already being in, facticity (having the nature of being thrown in the world), being together with, and falling prey. We must now define death (being toward the end) in terms of these characteristics since death, as are these characteristics, is very much a part of Da-sein. . Note that we cannot view the not-yet in Da-sein as something outstanding as this would posit that the not-yet is objectively present. Being-at-an-end means, existentially, being-toward-the-end. The “extreme not-yet” in Da-sein has the character of being related to Da-sein in that the “extreme not-yet” (its end; death)is imminent for Da-sein. Death is not an objectively present outstanding element reduced as it is “paid off”; rather it is an imminence . However the character of imminence itself is not distinct to death. For example an incoming storm, remodeling a home, arrival of Emilia; but note that these are objectively present. Death is not. But then there are also other imminences such as a discussion or a renunciation of a thing—Da-sein’s possibilities as a being-with-others . Death is an imminence that Da-sein has to take upon itself. In this understanding, Da-sein stands before itself in its ownmost (individual) potentiality-of-being. Death is the inherent possibility of no longer being able to “be there” (in the world) in Da-sein. In death, Da-sein is completely thrown backupon its ownmost potentiality of being (i.e. Da-sein faces the imminence of the ownmost potentiality of death).

Since death is a part of Da-sein, Da-sein becomes imminent to itself in that within Da-sein lies the possibility of no longer being. Consequently, the imminence of the dissolution of all relations to other Da-seinalso lies within Da-sein itself and is therefore nonrelational. As a “potentiality-of-being”, in which the potential of death also lies, Da-sein is unable to bypass the possibility of death.

Death is the possibility of the absolute impossibility (i.e. Da-sein is not absolute) of Da-sein. Thus, death reveals itself as the ownmost non-relational possibility not to be bypassed. Death is an eminent imminence. Da-sein is essentially disclosed (revealed) to itself in that what is ahead of itself (death), and likewise imminent in itself, is revealed.

Da-sein does not create this “ownmost nonrelational possibility not to be bypassed.” Rather, Da-sein is thrown into this possibility, however, typically, one is not immediately aware of this. . “Throwness” into death reveals itself more clearly in the experience of Angst. Angst about death is distinct from fear of one’s demise. Opposed to fear which is directed at a particular object, angst is an eminent yet undirected feeling. Angst discloses to Da-sein the fact that it (da-sein) is going to die, along with all the characteristics of it. Angst is the dread of the imminence of death. (par. 3 onward) 6. Being-toward-Death and the Everydayness of Da-sein . As a being-toward-death, Da-sein is related to itself as an eminent potentiality-of-being. Da-sein is dying, and it is very much a part of its own being. . However, the everydayness of oneself (ones particular mindset in common/everyday situations) is that of the They. Da-sein, as a being-with-one-another, frequently engages itself in idle talk. . Note that understanding is always attuned (in harmony; I guess with Da-sein) and is the basis for interpretation. We must the find how the ‘understanding’ lying in idle talk has disclosed the being-toward-death of the They. . The everydayness of the They “knows” death as a constantly occurring event, as in “cases of death” (e.g. death of a neighbor, horse, pineapple, etc.). Death is encountered as an inconspicuousness everyday. In other words, the They has established an interpretation for this event. The idea is that “One also dies at the end, but for now one is not involved.” . In this understanding, death is some indeterminate thing which first has to show up from somewhere, i.e. it is something not yet objectively present and therefore no threat. In a manner of speaking, the notion that “One dies” implies that death strikes the They, and not (yet) oneself, because in applying death to the They, one can convince himself/herself that it is not he who dies, for They in essence is no one. Death is “leveled down” to something that does not concern the particular Da-sein, for it belongs to no one in particular. . Given how ambiguous idle talk can be, so does it become with the topic of death. So death, which is essentially and irreplaceably mine, becomes a public occurrence belonging to no one. Basically, the They avoids/runs away from/evades death . One’s neighbors frequently convince one another (particularly in the case of an ill or dying person) that he/she will escape death and be able to return to the “tranquilized everydayness.” This “comforting” is not only for the dying person, but also for oneself. In which case, the They ensures a constant tranquilization about death.” Even in cases of actual demise, the They has developed a “carfreeness” as it views it as a social inconvenience, if not even a tactlessness, that one should be spared. . The They has established a particular way to behave regarding death. For example, thinking about death is regarded as “cowardly fear” or a sign of insecurity (is it really…???); a dark flight from the world. “The They does not permit courage to have angst about death.” Angst itself is misinterpreted as fear. With this, the collective They establishes an indifference that estranges Da-sein from its own-most nonrelational potentiality of being. . Note the temptation (to think one will not die), tranquilization (comforting and denying the imminence of death), estrangement (from what one essentially is) characterize the being of falling prey. One’s everyday being-toward-death is a constant flight from it. . It is important to note that in finding out that one tends to evade death, there is a “death” to be evaded, in which case we can phenomenologically pinpoint Da-sein’s own understanding of death. 7. Everyday Being-toward-Death and the Complete Existential Concept of Death . Note that the they does not doubt their own death . However, this “not doubting” ambiguously doesn’t imply the type of certainty that corresponds to Da-sein’s own death . This kind of evasive certainty is not “Authentic certainty” . Authentic Certainty: * To hold something as true, with the something being true in itself * Truth = “discoverdness of beings” * Discoverdness = (ontologically) based in the most primordial/fundamental truth. * Double meaning of certain and truth: In essence, Da-sein is “in truth” as a being that discloses, is disclosed, and discovers, and these things that he discovers are also called “truth” (e.g .being toward the end of Da-sein) * Similarly, when Da-sein is certain about something (i.e Da-sein is being certain), we refer to it as certain. * Conviction: a mode of certainty; letting the testimony of the thing itself (which in itself is true) be the sole determinant of truth (i.e. the testimony is said to lead to the true object itself) * In this sense, the testimony becomes transparent to itself with regard to the being it is derived from (the truth) * In this sense, the conviction is simply an opinion . Because Da-sein covers its own death, it is living in untruth. In this regard, the certainty is an inappropriate way of holding something as true. It is not an “uncertainty” as with doubting, but a false certainty that hides what it is certain about. In this sense, being certain that death occurs around the world does not get to “being-toward’the-end” . Da-sein can only be certain of its death if it is certain of one’s own. The they convince each other that death is not their own despite the fact that they experience each other’s “dying” daily . However, even when Da-sein thinks about death in an “appropriate way”/the right way, he can only be certain about it empirically. Da-sein will never be unconditionally certain/apodictically certain . “The Da-sein entangled in everydayness knows about the certainty of death, but avoids being-certain.” However, this evasion does reveal something phenomenally about death: it is certain. Hence we say that death is the “ownmost nonrelational certain possibility not-to—be-bypassed” . When the they refers to death in everydayness, they say that death certainly comes, but not right away. This but denies the certainty of death. Death is postponed to sometime later by relying on the “general opinion.” This covers over the fact that death can happen at any moment. It is indefinite of its “when.” . Everydayness reduces death into something definite by saying “not today…” and by interspersing itself in everyday matters nearest to us. . Covering over the indefiniteness covers over the certainty. The character of death as a certainty yet indefinite is veiled. . With this understanding, we arrive at this definition:
As the end of Da-sein, death is the ownmost nonrrelational, certain and indefinite, not to be bypassed possibility of Da-sein. Death is the being-toward-the-end of Da-sein.

. Note that because Da-sein was thrown into being, it is also thrown into its being-toward-the-end. In this sense, Da-sein constantly ”dies” or is always “dying”. The everyday evasion of death is an Inauthentic being toward it. 8. Existential Project of an Authentic Being-toward-death . We have established that the everydayness of the day is an inauthentic approach to being toward the end. We must now find an understanding of death that would allow one to “live authentically”. At this point, we know that this understanding must be one that does not flee from death or cover it over . First, we must characterize being-toward-the-end as a being toward a possibility—an eminent possibility in Da-sein itself. * Being toward a possibility can mean “being out for something.” That is, being toward and taking care of its actualization. In the field of things objectively present, these possibilities can take the form of what is attainable, manageable, viable, etc. This kind of possibility has a tendency to annihilate the possibility of what is possible by making it available. However, note that the relevance of things that are actualized by taking care of them is relative. The very characteristic of it need to be cared for already implies valuie. * Death is not something objectively present, but rather a “possibility of being” of Da-sein. Therefore, Da-sein is not “out for” the actualization of death i.e. it does not live to prepare for its death. * So if death is not an “actualization,” it consequently also isn’t meant “it dwell near the end of Da-sein’s possibility.” In other words, “thinking about death;” it’s possibility (how…) and when it might be actualized. In one word, “brooding” (over death… so three words apparently) * Brooding does not take away from death the character of its possibility. Rather, what it does is it “weakens” death by calculating it and having it at one’s disposal. As a possibility, death characteristically reveals as little as possible about its possibility/actualization. Given this characteristic, it is vital that the nature of death is not to be weakened. * Instead, it must be understood, cultivated, and endured as possibility. * Da-sein relates to the possibility of something possible by expecting it. But with expecting, are we not already, in a sense, “taking care” of the possibility, which as mentioned earlier must be avoided? * To expect something is in a sense to “have” it in regard to whether, how, and when it may be objectively present. It’s not simply looking away from the possible actualization, but waiting for it. In other words, what is possible is brought into the realm of the real. * To be able to properly word the relation of being-toward-death of Da-sein toward its extreme possibility (death), we will term it as anticipation of the possibility. * But doesn’t this imply an approach to the possible, with the actualization emerging from the nearness achieved in said approach? It should be noted that his approach does not make something real/available to be taken care of. Rather, it is an approach and come nearer in understanding and as such the possibility of what is possible becomes “greater.” (how so?) * “The nearest nearness of being-toward-death as possibility is as far removed as possible from anything real.” In other words, the nearest Da-sein can be to (the possibility of) death is in being farthest away from anything real. The more clearly this possibility (of being toward death) is understood, the more it will be seen as “the possibility of the impossibility of existence in general.” To quote, “The possibility of death gives nothing for Da-sein to actualize and nothing which Da-sein itself can become. It is the possibility of the impossibility of every mode of behavior toward… [anything]; of ever way of existing.” Basically, the impossibility of existence is that we can’t possibly live toward anything in every possible way. The way we live toward anything, including death, takes away other possibilities—possibilities that then become “impossible.” By anticipating this impossibility (which Heidegger refers to as the possibility of impossibility), the possibility itself becomes greater. By going ahead to this possibility, it is revealed to us as something which knows no measure at all; it is the possibility of the measureless impossibility of existence. * This possibility of impossibility essentially does not support becoming “intent on something” i.e. spelling out/specifying the real thing that is possible, for this forgets the nature of its possibility. * “As anticipation of possibility, being-toward-death first makes this possibility possible and sets it free (as possibility).” * Being-toward-death is the anticipation of a potentiality whose being is anticipation itself. In this anticipation, Da-sein discloses itself to itself with regard to its most extreme possibility; its death. In order to understand one’s ownmost potentiality means to understand oneself in the being of death itself: to exist. * Anticipation shows itself as the possibility of understanding one’s ownmost and extreme potentiality of being. This possibility of understanding one’s ownmost… is the definition of an authentic existence. We must remember that understanding does not primarily mean staring at a meaning, but understanding oneself in the potentiality-of-being revealed in understanding the subject. . Death is the ownmost possibility of Da-sein. Being toward death discloses to Da-sein its ownmost potentiality-of-being in which it is concerned about the being of its (Da-sein’s) absolutely. Here, it is revealed to Da-sein that its eminent possibility of itself, and is thus separated from the they. In this sense, Anticipation tears itself away from the they. . The ownmost possibility of Da-sein is non-relational. Anticipation reveals to Da-sein that he has to face his death himself. Understanding death in anticipation individualizes Da-sein to itself. This reveals the fact that any relation to anything or anyone else fails when one’s ownmost potentiality-of-being is at stake. However, despite the “failure” of these things in the end, it doesn’t mean that they are to be cut off to live authentically. They are essential structures that constitute Da-sein in that Da-sein is also essentially a being-with. This applies to being with things taken care of and “concernful being-with.” Anticipation of the nonrelational possibility forces the being into the possibility of taking over its ownmost being of its own accord, hence freeing it from the they. . The ownmost nonrelational possibility is not to be bypassed. This lets Da-sein understand that the most extreme possibility of existence is imminent. Anticipation, opposed to inauthentic being-toward-death, does not avoid this inevitability, but rather frees itself for it. Becoming free for one’s death in anticipation frees one from being lost in “chance possibilities” (I’m guessing these are just random possibilities/experiences) that urge themselves upon us which then allows us to factical possibilities lying before death can authentically be understood. Anticipation discloses that ultimately, one would have to give up the existence one has reached. It reveals to Da-sein that its possibilities, and that of others, are finite, which prevents the danger of failing to recognize that it is getting overtaken by the existence-possibilities of others (does this mean recognition that others are doing better than oneself?) or that it may misinterpret these possibilities and cause one to divest/strip one’s ownmost factical existence. The nonrelational characteristic individualizes, but only as the possibility not to be bypassed. This allows Da-sein to understand as being-with the potentialities of others. Also, because anticipation reveals to Da-sein an understanding of the possibility of impossibility, the anticipation will have also revealed (existentielly; objectively present) the possibility of the being whole of Da-sein; a whole potentiality of being.

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