Being You
Politics and Activism

Being You

You are the artist of your own existence, make it what you want.


“Da-Sein (The human being) is a being that does not simply occur among other beings. Rather it is ontically distinguished by the fact that in its being this being is concerned about its very being. Thus it is constitutive of the being of Da-sein to have, in its very being, a relation of being to this being.” -Martin Heidegger, from Being and Time (pg 117-118)

Three sentences, nine instances of the word “being,” what is this man trying to say? In short, this being-filled text outlying the being in which the being of Da-sein is concerned about its very being can be explained in three words made famous by a Mr. Jean-Paul Sartre “Existence precedes essence.” That's it, Heidegger seems to be stating exactly what Sartre later did, humans exist to create meaning, while other things are created with a meaning already planned.

I believe that Heidegger was very much correct in his idea that Da-sein is a being that is concerned about its very being because I know that I am a being like that. As an individual, I believe that my being is one in which I can shape simply by being towards the being that I wish to be. And I believe that this is the same for all human beings.

Heidegger claims that the Da-sein is, in its very being, a being who is concerned about its being. Though the writing is thick with what seems to be grammatical terrorism (and very well may be) Heidegger's point is clear. The human being lives to create meaning and to create itself. No one is born an artist, a lawyer, a doctor, a philosopher or anything for that matter. The only thing that we are born as is a human and that is an empty title. The only thing that being a human means is that the human being will create its own path, its own life, its own being.

This is exactly what Sartre argues here.

“What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world—and defines himself afterwards.” -Jean-Paul Sartre, from Existentialism Is a Humanism (pg 207)

Humans are blank slates when they're born. Canvases of pure white in which the being, the Da-sein, has the freedom to paint any picture that it may desire. Humans are free because we have the capacity to ponder our existence, to ask “Why do I do this?” and “What would I rather do?” We can ask ourselves who we are and who we want to be. Human beings are not stuck living life as nature entails us to because we have the capacity to question that which nature entails.

So, what is the takeaway from all this? How can a three sentence quote containing nine instances of the word "being" help someone find him/herself? Heidegger's quote shows that humans create themselves, so by understanding the quote and truly recognizing the truth held within, any average Joe can create him/herself. There is no need to find yourself when your “self” doesn’t exist until you create it. There is no reason to hold on to an aspect of your personality when it is you who creates that personality. Be who you want to be because in the end that’
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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