Heidegger Essay Research Paper Heideggers Conceptual EssencesHeideggers

Heidegger Essay, Research Paper Heideggers Conceptual Essences Heideggers Conceptual Essences: Being and the Nothing, Humanism, and Technology Being and the Nothing are the same. The ancient philosopher Lao-tzu

Heidegger Essay, Research Paper

Heideggers Conceptual Essences

Heideggers Conceptual Essences: Being and the Nothing, Humanism, and

Technology Being and the Nothing are the same. The ancient philosopher Lao-tzu

believed that the world entertains no separations and that opposites do not actually exist.

His grounding for this seemingly preposterous proposition lies in the fact that because

alleged opposites depend on one another and their definitions rely on their differences,

they cannot possibly exist without each other. Therefore, they are not actually opposites.

The simple and uncomplex natured reasoning behind this outrageous statement is useful

when trying to understand and describe Martin Heideggers deeply leveled philosophy of

Being and the nothing.

Lao-tzus uncomplicated rationale used in stating that supposed opposites create

each other, so they cannot be opposite, is not unlike Heideggers description of the

similarity between the opposites Being and the nothing. Unlike Lao-tzu, Heidegger does

not claim that no opposites exist. He does however say that two obviously opposite

concepts are the same, and in this way, the two philosophies are similar. He believes that

the separation of beings from Being creates the nothing between them. Without the

nothing, Being would cease to be. If there were not the nothing, there could not be

anything, because this separation between beings and Being is necessary. Heidegger even

goes so far as to say that Being itself actually becomes the nothing via its essential finity.

This statement implies a synonymity between the relation of life to death and the relation

of Being to nothingness. To Heidegger, the only end is death. It is completely absolute, so

it is a gateway into the nothing. This proposition makes Being and the nothing the two

halves of the whole. Both of their roles are equally important and necessary in the cycle of

life and death. Each individual life inevitably ends in death, but without this death, Life

would be allowed no progression: The nothing does not merely serve as the

counterconcept of beings; rather, it originally belongs to their essential unfolding as such .

Likewise, death cannot occur without finite life. In concordance with the statement that

the nothing separates beings from Being, the idea that death leads to the nothing implies

that death is just the loss of the theoretical sandwich’s bread slices, leaving nothing for the

rest of ever. The existence of death, therefore, is much more important in the whole

because it magnifies the nothing into virtually everything. The magnification of the nothing

serves as an equalizer between Being and nothing because Being is so robust and obvious

that it magnifies itself. In this case, the opposites are completely reliant on each other, not

only conceptually but physically. Heidegger gives new meaning to Lao-tzus philosophy

that opposites define each other when he tries to uncover the true essence and meaning of

Being, and he reveals another level of intertwination between the nothing and Being. In

order to define Being, it is mandatory to step outside of it, into the nothing because:

Everything we talk about, mean, and are related to in such and such a way is in Being.

What and how we are ourselves are is also in Being. Being is found in thatness and

whatness, reality, the being at hand of things [Vorhandenheit], subsistence, validity,

existence [Dasein], and in the there is [es gibt] . Heidegger is very adamant on the

importance of unbiased judgments and definitions, and how could he possibly calculate the

exact meaning of Being while viewing it from a state of Being? Thus it is necessary to step

out into the nothing to fully comprehend Being. For this reason, human beings are the only

beings capable of pondering the essence of existence and nonexistence. Dasein are the

only creatures capable because they are held out into the nothing: Being and the nothing

do belong together . . . because Being itself is essentially finite and reveals itself only in the

transcendence of Dasein which is held out into the nothing . The highest determinations of

the essence of man in humanism still do not realize the proper dignity of man. When

Heidegger rejects the title humanist, it is not because he is anti-humanity or even

pessimistic about the fate of the human race. Rather, he rejects the category because he

rightly sees humanism as defined with man at the center, which is a point of view he very

strongly rejects. Perhaps in some other era, Heidegger could fittingly be called a humanist;

however, he believes that the word humanism … has lost its meaning . The modern

connotation of humanism is not suitable for Heidegger mainly because in relation to the

cosmos, other beings, and even life itself, Heidegger believes that man is essentially out of

control. Instead of Heideggers philosophy revolving around mankind, it is centered on the

question of Being. Dasein is often the main character of Heideggers elaboration, but not

because he is the center. Instead, it is because he is the mechanism through which the

nothing and hence the answer to Being can be discovered: If the answer to the question of

Being thus becomes the guiding directive for research, then it is sufficiently given only if

the specific mode of being of previous ontology–the vicissitudes of its questioning, its

findings, and its failures–becomes visible as necessary to the very character of Dasein.

Because of their trancendence and resulting link to Being and the nothing, they are the

best route to the answer of Being. Even his focus on Dasein, however, leaves no trace of

humanistic qualities: he doesnt even keep the title human: The analysis of Dasein thus

understood is wholly oriented toward the guiding task of working out the question of

Being . When Heidegger does speak of humanitys goodness, he does not incorporate the

entire species in his statements. Only a percentage of the race is included in his vision of

humanity. This is because he sees humanity as a goal for mankind. If he were reffering to

all of humanity, wouldnt he just use the word mankind? Heidegger believes that part of

mans essence is the ability to step out of his essence. This ability he calls ekstaticism, and

it means that there is no question as to whether or not man is at the center. The answer is

no because man is actually outside of what humanity claims revolves around men. This

transcendence is often unrecognized to the point of causing man not to understand or fully

evaluate his environment, which just reiterates that he is not in control: Because man as

the one who ek-sists comes to stand in this relation that Being destines for itself, in that he

… takes it upon himself, he at first fails to recognize the nearest and attaches himself to the

next nearest. He even thinks that this is nearest . Paradoxically, this eksistence

characteristic of Dasein, which gives him the ability to transcend and reach a level of

humanity also can cause inhumane acts. In this way, the possibilities of eksistence threaten

its goals: the inhumanity that mankind is capable of threaten the very concept of humanity.

If man were at the center, he would be granted control. His control would be indicated by

his initiation, recognition, and decision. But he is not the beginning or the end, and neither

does he understand them. From the point of view of Heidegger, control is something men

obviously lack. Man is not even in control of his own existence. He does not decide to be

given life. Being is given to man, but man does not command it; man occurs essentially in

such a way that he is the there … that is, the clearing of Being. Man through thinking takes

over this gift, but does not own it. Man does not even own his thoughts. Being does not

revolve around man. Man is thrown into his eksistence; Da-sein itself occurs essentially as

thrown. Man revolves around Being, and serves as one of Beings expressions. Humanity

believes that because man is the center, it is his place to rule over all other life forms on

the planet. Heidegger strongly refutes this notion. He recognizes the elementary aspect to

the logic applied in the claim that because men are more intelligent than animals, they are

better. First of all, men are not mere animals. They exist differently because of their ability

to step out of their essence and into the nothing. People and animals are different, so they

are not comparable. The elementary concept that man is an animal better than other

animals implies prejudice against less intellectual persons. Technologys essence,

relationship with man, and future are at the hands of Being, not humanity. Heidegger’s

views of technology and its relation to ethics are complicated and difficult, not unlike his

views on nearly everything else. He saw the journey of technology as an inevitable process

that began slowly but quickened via its vicissitudes. He sees the process as a means to an

end. However, this “means to an end” is different from most “means to an end” because its

“end” is more “means,” so it inevitably progresses faster and faster. In other words, the

result of technology is more and more technology in larger and larger amounts. Also, he

believed that its progression is out of our control. Technology is inarguably the result of

thinking. Heidegger claims that no thought is original in that the thinker does not actually

conjure it. Rather, the thought reveals itself to the thinker, even if he is the first person to

ever think of it. So, human beings are not the creators of technology even if they created it

because the thinker only respond[s] to what address[es] itself to him. In this way,

technology existed even before some prehistoric ape scraped some bugs out of a piece of

bark with a twig. This means that there must be some other cause for technology besides

man. Heidegger says, thinking, propriated by Being, belongs to Being. At the same time

thinking is of Being insofar as thinking, belonging to Being, listens to Being. As the

belonging to Being that listens, thinking is what it is according to its essential origin. The

combonation of these two quotes means that Being actually created technology with

thought as its messenger to humanity. The handing over of the invention of technology to

Being intensely complicates things. Now finding technologys essence becomes almost as

difficult as finding Beings definition. Of course, it was necessary for Heidegger to

understand the essence of technology. The importance is due to the fact that man cannot

gain control or understanding of technology without knowing its essence and attaining a

free relationship with it. By free, he means free of bondage, subjectivity, and slavery. One

cannot objectively calculate the implications of technology while bound to it by lifestyle,

opinionated about it, or reliant on it to the point of slavery. This freedom is granted by

looking at the big picture, way back before technology in the modern sense existed, even

with the apes. This allows one to view technology with unbiased eyes. Then, the will to

mastery becomes all the more urgent the more tecchnology threatens to slip from human

control. The only control humanity has over technology is in internal will that leads to

understanding of the essence and eventually to mastery. Technology’s essence has two

equal conceptual divisions which are reliant on each other: Technology as instrumental

and as a human activity. Its means that lead to more means also have two characters: that

of revealing and that of self-creation. Thus, technology is an instrumental human activity

that self-creates its revealing with vicissitude. It cannot be controlled unless the

complexity of these concepts are understood.

All phenomenologists follow Husserl in attempting to use pure description. Thus,

they all subscribe to Husserl’s slogan ?To the things themselves.? They differ among

themselves, however, as to whether the phenomenological reduction can be performed,

and as to what is manifest to the philosopher giving a pure description of experience. The

German philosopher Martin Heidegger, Husserl’s colleague and most brilliant critic,

claimed that phenomenology should make manifest what is hidden in ordinary, everyday

experience. He thus attempted in Being and Time (1927; trans. 1962) to describe what he

called the structure of everydayness, or being-in-the-world, which he found to be an

interconnected system of equipment, social roles, and purposes.

Because, for Heidegger, one is what one does in the world, a phenomenological

reduction to one’s own private experience is impossible; and because human action

consists of a direct grasp of objects, it is not necessary to posit a special mental entity

called a meaning to account for intentionality. For Heidegger, being thrown into the world

among things in the act of realizing projects is a more fundamental kind of intentionality

than that revealed in merely staring at or thinking about objects, and it is this more

fundamental intentionality that makes possible the directness