Martin Heidegger’s Fundamental Ontology – Fallenness Of Dasein In The Contemporary World
Martin Heidegger’s Fundamental Ontology – Fallenness Of Dasein In The Contemporary World
This work calls our attention to the conformity and other-directness that prevails in everyday behaviour. In this view calculating where one stands on the social hierarchy and concern for ones social status puts one in subjection to the other. To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.
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Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.For, in order to maintain ones standing, one must do what the others approve of, praise, command, require, and refrain from socially disapproved or forbidden behaviour.
In consonance with this, John Mills in his article “Journal of phenomenological Psychology” attests: This inauthentic mode of being is a retreat from the ontological obliteration that dasein demands. In these extreme modes, dasein is a reduced self; a stifled existence, a false being (42-65).
The above citation is true because, what we call a man in the world today is an “average man” who is most safe and in a right way only when he submits to the dominion of the norm and conventions of society.
Against this bankrupt, this research aims at addressing the cause of inauthenticity of man in the world. As Heidegger avers:
This “absorption in ….” Has mostly the character of Being-lost in the publicness of the “they”. Dasein has, in the first instance, fallen away from itself as an authentic potentiality for being its self, and has fallen into the “world” (220).
The implication of the foregoing is that human nature (dasein) is characterized with the tendency to lose itself in the everydayness of present concerns and preoccupations to such a degree that it only alienates them from their personal and unique future possibilities. And it is this incessant fallenness of man in the contemporary world that makes this research imperative.
State of the Problem
The work is a philosophical reaction to the fallen state of man in his contemporary world. The contemporary man has been caged in the submission and bondage to ones social norms, peers and leaders, and this results in averageness, therefore reduces social behaviour to a certain homogeneity and sameness. In everyday behaviour most people are not aware of their unique potentiality, individuality or of their possible authenticity and have not chose their own possibilities.
In regard to this, this essay will fundamentally address the problem of dialectical conflict brought about by fallenness which leads to the downward plunge into the authentic being of “the they” in which authentic possibility is lost in obscuring and under the guise of ‘ascending’ and living concretely.
Thus, it will address the related questions: “what is the cause of the fallenness of dasein in the contemporary world? And what is Martin Heidegger’s concern on fundamental ontology? Which appeared as a result of his decision to reinterpret phenomenology, using a neat set of ontological categories and his quest for overcoming western metaphysics.
Objective of the Study
We all as human beings have the notion of being; but what do we really mean by the word Being is a long standing question. As Heidegger put us to think there are many things that we designate as Being and we do so in various senses. Dasein (man) has the inherent running power of the artful wisdom, he involves himself in a continuous expression of self-transformation in order to understand himself and reach its genuineness. How is then that authenticity is lost and how to be regained and acted on in the social sphere?
In order to explore that, this work invites us to a cyclic journey-from the genuine existence of Dasein-to its falling in the world while loosing itself in a dreamy projection of possibilities – and lastly to the awakening of the sleeping beauty of its authenticity.
Nevertheless, the primary aim of this study is to examine the fallenness of dasein in the contemporary world. This research will also analyze Martin Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. It will as well enlighten people on the consequences or rather the problems associated with this fallenness of man. And lastly, it will proffer solutions to these problems.
Significance of the Study
The significance of this study lies in lessons to be conveyed when carefully studied. It has both literary and socio-moral justification.
More so, this work will help any reader that has not come across Martin Heidegger’s work; haven’t studied this work, the person will come to know Martin Heidegger and as well become acquainted with Heidegger’s philosophy with particular reference to his “conception of Dasein” which is deep rooted in his fundamental ontology.
The socio-moral (practical) justification of this research can not be over emphasized, in the sense that, if man should realize his real self and becomes aware of his possibilities that he hides from himself, he will start to live his authentic life, he will identify himself with himself and not with every other thing.
Again, if man should know the real meaning of his ‘being’, he will know that the things which he produces should be used in such a way that it will help him to realize himself, sustain himself and as well be able to use them as means to end; that is, helping him to survive in the world which he found himself thrown into. If man should adhere to the solutions proffered in this work, we will have a world where lives are being respected; there will be no more unnecessary killings, man will no longer be swallowed up in the anonymous crowd of the “they”. Every human person will thus be conscious of his individuality and uniqueness and as such act and live by his free choice, thereby accepting his own responsibility and thus leaving us with a world where “man knows himself”.
Method of the Study
Due to the fact that this essay is a philosophical research, it therefore made use of philosophical method of inquiry and investigation. The method used in the analysis of this work is the analytic, hermeneutic and descriptive methods of philosophy, while the documentation method is that of the new MLA (Modern Language Association) style.
This work also used library research method where some text-books, Journals, magazines and internet materials gave vital information which were used to widen the information in this work, thus, it makes use of secondary source of information.
The implication of this is that the methods of philosophical analysis, hermeneutic and description will be applied to ideas abstracted from relevant books, articles in edited books, journals, magazine and internet.
Scope of Study
Apart from the fact that this work deals with inherent problems and controversies involved in the fallenness of dasein in the contemporary world. The work equally attempts to expatiate on the conception of dasein (man), that is the study of being, a discourse in metaphysics.
In the history of western metaphysics, man had lost his desire for ultimate meaning, truth and Being and turned his attention in finding facts that worked. In relation to this, the scope of this work is quite a wide one. It will unavoidably run through the life of Martin Heidegger, whose philosophy paved way for the topic of this research. According to Heidegger, western human kind in all its relations with beings is sustained by metaphysics; thus, what remains unquestioned and forgotten in western metaphysics is Being. This brought about a culture that is technologically oriented, which saw everything, including man, as a tool that can augment the progress of the sciences and bring about better living conditions. Thus, this work is deep rooted in western philosophy with a particular reference to Martin Heidegger’s conception of dasein.
However, the limitation in scope helps us to give the work a justifiable treatment so that at the end of this work, people will see a reason for ‘authentic sense’ and ‘moral consciousness’, instead of enslaving themselves in the inauthentic and immoral ways of life; funding and engaging in a harmful and destructive technology and behaviour.
Definition of Terms
For this work to be comprehensible and vivid, we deem it necessary to operationally define certain concepts that are used in this work. Thus, we shall attempt to answer the questions “what is Dasein” and “what is Fallenness”?
What is Dasein?
Dasein is a German word famously used by Martin Heidegger in his magnum opus Being and Time, which generally translates to being, that is, being in its ontological and philosophical sense.
According to G.E Azenabor, Heidegger use “Dasein” as the starting point of his philosophy. For him, any metaphysics of Being must itself be a product of this “Dasein”.
The word Dasein has been used by several philosophers before Heidegger, most notably Ludwig Feuerbach, with the meaning of human “existence” or “presence”. It is derived from da-sein, which literally means being-there/there-being, though Heidegger was adamant that this was an inappropriate translation of Dasein. In German, Dasein is the vernacular term for existence, as in I am pleased with my existence.
According to Heidegger, however, it must not be mistaken for a subject, that is something definable in terms of consciousness or self. Dasein, as a human being that is constituted by its temporality, illuminates and interprets the meaning of Being in Time. Heidegger chose this term as a synonym for “human entity” in order to emphasize the critical importance “Being” has for our understanding and interpretation of the world.
Heidegger used the concept of Dasein to uncover the primal nature of “Being” (sein). Dasein is always a being engaged in the world, the fundamental mode of Being is not that of a subject or the objective but of the coherence of Being-in-the world and this is the ontological basis of Heidegger’s work.
On Heidegger’s account, traditional language, logical systems, and beliefs obscure Dasein’s nature from itself. Beings are Dasein even when they are ontologically wrapped up in a tradition which obscures the authentic choice to live within and transmit this tradition.
In this case, Dasein still authentically chooses the tradition when it is confronted by a paradox within the tradition or dismiss the experience of being confronted with choice.
Dasein is a kind of being which can understand the existence of beings other than itself, and as well understands its own being; dasein is a consciousness which belongs to human beings. Heidegger argues that Dasein has both an ontic (existential) and ontological priority over other kinds of being; the ontic and ontological structure of Dasein is the foundation for every other kind of being. The being of Dasein is different from the being of objective presence, in that Da-sein can project its own possibility. The factuality of Dasein, which includes projected possibility, is different from the factuality of what is objectively present. Dasein may be authentic or inauthentic, depending on whether its projected possibility belongs, or does not belong, to itself. Authenticity and inauthenticy are thus modes or conditions of possibility. Dasein reveals itself by authenticity, and conceals itself by authenticity, these two modes are the fundamental existential possibilities or determinations of Da-sein or of other kinds of being vary in their ontological character. Heidegger refers to determinations of Dasein as “existentials”,while he refers to determinations of being unlike Dasein as “categories”.Existential determinations are neither ”things at hand” nor “things objectively present”,but are instead constituents of the being of Dasein. Categorical determinations, on the other hand, refer to “things at hand” or to “things objectively present”.
The point envisaged in the foregoing is that Heidegger from his analysis of Dasein centers his philosophy around human person, he has emphasized man’s existential dynamism and ability to create himself, in contradiction to the traditional understanding of man, as a being with a fixed nature or essence of a particular sort. Heidegger placed individuality against collectivity and concreteness against abstraction.
What is Fallenness?
The fallenness of Daesin’s care is the absorption in the world as it is publicly interpreted. It is a losing of oneself in the they-self, and alienation from one’s own most, authentic potentiality-for-being.
Fallenness bars Dasein from its authentic being, and it promotes Dasien’s inauthenticity. Because Dasein’s care is for the most part characterized by fallenness (that is, inauthenticity), Dasein is said to evade its own most possibility of being.
However, each disparate category comes about as an expected outcome of the complete antithesis between the self-possession of true Dasein and the collective back of perception of an existence carried out in terms of “oneness” and “theyness”
Heidegger denoted this later state as verfall (a falling away from acadence into decline). Heidegger was careful to point out that the condition of ‘verfalleness’ (a fallen state) is not sinful, nor is the term meant to cast a moral value judgement, He wrote:
“Dasien has, in the first instance, fallen away (abge fallen) from itself as an authentic potentiality for Being its self, and has fallen into the ‘world”. ‘Fallenness’ into the world means an absorption in Being-with-one-another, in so far as the latter is guided by idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity. through the interpretation of falling, what we have called the ‘inauthenticity’ of Dasein may now be defined more precisely ( 220).
In the condition of inauthentic we fall away from ourselves ,Heidegger said that we simultaneously fall into a frenetic busyness and an emptiness that gives rise to a sense of uncanny.
Heidegger expands on a structural element in the ontological constitution of Dasein, that of “fallness”. This is the universal tendency of human beings to lose themselves in the everydayness of present concerns and preoccupations to such a degree that it only alienates them from their personal and unique future possibilities, thus reducing the fallen Dasman to a mere presence – at- hand. He posits:
This” absorption in……” has mostly the character of Being-lost in the publicness of the “they”. Dasein has, in the first instance, fallen away from itself as an authentic potentiality for Being itself, and has fallen into the ’world’ (id).
Dasein has fallen from ‘Being’ and has become absorbed with ‘Things’– Fallenness into this condition is a “fundamental mode of Dasein, such that when there is Dasein, there is fallenness (35).
It is necessary to understand that for Heidegger, the condition of “fallenness” consists mainly in the forgetfulness and estrangement of ‘Being’, and the preoccupation with ‘Beings’. There is also second level of forgetfulness; not only does Dasein forget Being, but Dasein also forgets that he has forgotten.
However, everydayness and fallenness are ontological and natural predisposition of Dasein and so are devoid of any value judgement, attached to them; they are nevertheless modes of inauthenticity, ones that cannot be avoided or refused. The degree to which one participates in these inauthentic modes, however, has a direct bearing on the existential status of falsehood. As a perpetual mode of inauthenticity, the falsenness of Dasein becomes manifested as a “leveling down…. Of all possibilities of Being (165).
The fallenness of Dasein is expressed most ostensively through idle talk, curiousity, and ambiguity.
From the foregoing, we understand that this dialectical conflict brought about by fallenness then leads to the “downward” plunge into the inauthentic Being of “the they” in which authentic possibility is lost in obscurity and under the guise of “ascending” and “living concretely”
The act of closing off dasein’s possibilities in the tranquility of fallenness, has become the canker worm that eats the contemporary man and, consequently, it draws the attention of scholars. Out of the myriad of books, articles, journals and various literatures on the fallenness of man, a selected few will be considered and analysed (reviewed) so that one can easily have a comprehensive understanding of this research work. Besides it will give us the opportunity to grasp the opinions of other scholars concerning the fallenness of man in the world today.
Mullhall, Stephen in his work titled “Heidegger, Being and Time” states:
“The ontological structures of Being-in-the-world do not make authenticity impossible but neither do they leave the question of which specific ontic states dasein might find itself in entirely open. If dasein is always thrown into a world whose roles and categories are structured in inherently impersonal ways, in which idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity predominate, then absorption in the they-self will be its default position (108).
The above citation means that the world into which dasein (man) finds itself thrown inherently temps it to fall away from itself and is expressed most ostensively (ostentiously) through idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity. This is true because, man’s everyday state is one in which he finds himself thrown into inauthenticity: idle talk is merely a reputation of the conventional an unscrutinized acceptance of the interpretations of the public; curiosity on the other hand is not motivated by the need for authentic understanding, it is merely an inauthentic form of solicitude; however, ambiguity is about the public gossip as well as inference to being-with-one-another and man’s being-toward himself, hence an inauthentic relatedness.
Against this bankrupt, Mulhall posits a retrogressive means towards attaining authentic life in the world, thus, he opines.
Since in this state, particular objects and persons within the world fade away and the world as such occupies the foreground, then the specific structures of the they-world must also fade away. Thus, anxiety can rescue Dasein from its fallen state, its lostness in the ‘they’; it throws Dasein doubly back upon itself as a being for whom its own being is an issue, and so as a creature capable of individuality (110).
The point buttressed here is that the fallenness of man shows him to be preoccupied with the world, but anxiety on the other hand forces him to recognize its own existence as essentially thrown projection, and as such shows him to be ahead of himself, aiming to realize some existential possibility.
However, the truth remains the anxiety is a double edged sword, in the sense that it helps man to realize himself in terms of possibility of himself, that is, to be himself or not himself. A man has to choose the possibility of himself or got himself into them, or grow up in them already. When man experiences anxiety, he recognizes his unsupported, isolated conditions in the world, and thereby may seek to protect himself by becoming yet more deeply engaged in the ordinary, the everyday and the practical fearing to leave his supports; he may throw himself entirely on the mercy of people in general and go on frantically pursuing his inauthentic goals.
He may, on the other hand, determinedly change character of his concern for the world, and keeping before his eyes his lonely and responsible position; he may exercise resolution, and launch himself forward into authentic existence.
In the opinion of F .Lawhead, William in his book titled The Voyage of Discovery: A historical introduction to philosophy, fallenness of man in the world today is as a result of being-along-with-the-entities-in-the world. We are necessarily and continually falling in with the things in the world that elicit our concerns, this immersion in the world also involves coexistence with other people. By emphasizing this point, Law head further avers:
Although falling in with and being involve with the things and people in any situation is an inescapable feature of any being-in-the-world, I can lose myself in any situation and fall away in my authentic self. In this sort of fallenness we become preoccupied with the world of objects, but lose ourselves in the whirl pool of endless activity. Instead of authentic relationships with other people, we identify ourselves with the anonymous impersonal entity called the “they” or the “one”. The “they” becomes the authority, the standard of the way things are and is created by the voices of gossip and social pressure (539).
The point underscored here is that man is a being with two modes of existence: a being-with others and a being along-with-the-entities-in-the-world; man in these inauthentic modes of life becomes alienated and uprooted from himself, thereby identifying himself with the things and other people in the world. He puts himself under the control of other people, so that he is no more responsible for his own way of life and then lives a de-personalized life.
The veracity of the above point is self-evident. In the world today, people do things because others are doing them; men take pleasure and enjoy themselves as “they” or “others” take pleasure, some see and judge things as others see and judge. That is why we hear some statements like “one doesn’t do that here “or” “you know what they say about her”. Man has equally identified himself with the things or the objects around him in the world. This can as well be seen in the case of human beings having sex with animals like dogs, by so doing, he has lose his personal authentic self to the impersonal inauthentic life.
Corroborating this stand point, Azenabor, Godwin in his article in the Metaphysics, Phenomenology and African philosophy entitled “phenomenology of Dasein” argue that “fallenness as an aspect of dasein is the tendency to let himself go, to give freeness’ to his urges’ without controlling himself. Arguing further, Azenabor states:
Human beings become fortified to the world as they give more attention to the distracting and disturbing cares of the things and people that surround them. Thus, inevitably and continuously, the forward driving “I” is sacrificed to the persistent and pressing “they” (id).
What is evident in the above citation is that the contemporary man is now being distracted in the petty concerns of everyday life; he has been engulfed in the daily routing of mechanical or conventional life, in a though less manner (id).
Thus, man in his fallen state become public, his life is with others; he is alienated from himself.
As a result of this, Azenabor asserts that by conforming to established usages, judgment and opinions, one is being assimilated to the general forms of human existence, thereby, sacrificing its own possibilities (ibid 272). Hence the tendency of dasein to lose himself in the “they” with things around him, with the crowd, is the tendency for man to become inauthentic.
In the book Contemporary Trends in Philosophy, U.O. Uduma, tries to paint a picture of the existential problems in the world today, He made a critical analysis of the cause of man’s fallenness in his contemporary world, the basic cause of this fallennes of man is his inability to overcome or rather defeat the problems that confront him; these problems are not those created by himself alone but by others and which he must overcome in order to attain his anticipated height. In this regards, Uduma attests:
Fallenness refers to the tendency for man to alienate himself, from his true self and live in inauthentic life. Forfeiture (fallenness) thus arises from man’s despair occasioned, as it were, by his inability to conquer all problems that confront him (79-80).
The relevance of Uduma’s work is that the work actually captures the immediate cause of man’s fallenness in his contemporary world: as man’s despair which was as a result of his inability to conquer his existential problems.
One basic problem with the above work is that it did not specify the kind or type of existential problems that confront man, which he was unable to overcome; whether economic, political, social or moral problem. However, we cannot agree with him holistically that despairation alone is the cause of the fallenness of man. Although, he suggested that man can overcome despair (fallenness) and constitute his identity if he creates himself by his free choices and actions (id), but he forgot that man can as well misuse his free choices and actions, by negating, annihilating and withdrawing from himself instead of withdrawing from things; he rather identify himself with material things then, tries to take refuge in a belief in determinism (even God) if his freedom weighs upon him or if he needs an excuse.
Trailing behind this, J.I. Unah in his book entitled: Philosophy, Society and Anthropology opines that forfeiture (fallenness) is the basic ontological characteristics of human beings that he forgets who he is, in pursuit of ephermeral particular things. It is a state of life with others and for others in alienation from the central task of becoming the self (254). The relevance of Unah’s work cannot be over emphasized as it points out the real state of man in his contemporary world. It is obvious that man has forgotten his original self as the “being-of-beings and identifited himself with the being-of-entities”. Man no longer values his worth instead; he values the worth of things he produces; what suppose to be his supplement now turns out to be his (man’s) complement.
In support of this notion, E. Stumph, Samuel and Fieser, James in their book titled Philosophy, History and Problems assert that man has fallen, in the sense that he loses his “authentic character”. Man’s authentic existence requires him to recognize and affirm his unique self and his responsibility for his every action. They further assert:
My drift into inauthentic is subtle but in every case it involves a tendency to escape from myself by finding shelter in a public self and an impersonal identity. I become an impersonal “one’, behaving as one is expected, rather than a concrete “I”, behaving as I ought to. I suppress any urge to be unique and excel, and thereby bring myself down to the level of an average person (455-456).
From the foregoing, we understand, that man is no longer a unique self, but rather, he preferred to be addressed or seen as an “average man”, this is not far from the truth because, the so-called “average man” oliterates his authentic self, then, rely on the “they” for his survival: “it is what people do everyday”; “will my own case be different?” and many more “anonymous one” statements.
However, Stumph and Fieser demonstrated that the problems of inauthenticity of being arise from alienation or from the forgetfulness of being. That is true, but in some aspect because the cause of alienation can as well be found elsewhere in our daily activities and not necessary in the depth of being itself. The problems may arise, from the epistemological point of view and from the practical point of view, the problems may arise from; whether we can satisfy our basic needs (economics), intellectual needs (education, knowledge), aesthetic needs (feelings), whether the means used are adequately or properly executed, whether or we can further our development both in terms of intellectual and natural interests and finally, whether there is a meaning in our daily life (hope, salvation etc.).
In relation to this stand point, V. Doan, Tran in his book Reason, Rationality and Reasonableness argue that modern man through science and technology has alienated from his real being and decides to be swallowed by the madness of technology.
Men are no longer in control of themselves as they were when the natural hierarchy of the soul was undisturbed. The ensuing disorder is most visible in the appetites of the flesh.
The import here is that morality is now a history, a theory that is no longer in practice. Human beings are scarcely masters of their own bodies, unable to subject the sexual organs to rational control.
The aforementioned disorder of human sexuality, that is, its lack of control is important for the ideas of mirror neurons in neuroscience. As Macro lacoboni in the Specular Image, entitled Mirror Neurons and Dasein writes:
When we get right down to it, what we human beings do all day long, we read the world. We read the actions and movements of the world we are “fallen “into, and we project forward possibilities in what or in most case who we should be. Now what has been observed in experiments is that when we encounter the other performing an action the mirror neurons fire as if we are performing an action the mirror neurons fire as if we are performing the action as well (1).
These quotations above have only given us a summary of the work of mirror neurons in the fallenness of dasein; how man or the self exist with the mirror of the other.
J.A. Seguna in her paper “Dasein’s Struggle with Others Emergent Australasian philosophers Issues 3, 2010.” Detail individual discussions of the three factors of fallenness; everybody; anybody and publicness. For her, these afford dasein the means of involvement in inauthentic behaviour and detachment from “difference” and result in its own diminution and that of the wider social conscience (3).
Considering the dangers inherent in cloning which is also another manifestation of fallen human nature, Rev. FR .S. Eseni in his article in The Sage Magazine entitled: the Rationality of Biotechnology” opines that…..
it incalculable tragedy for humanity. Man is de-individualized, creativity is dashed, interpersonal relationship Since it is determinate of values it eventually leads is vanquished, the corporation is hobbled by psychic Pathology and an creative since their thinking process is routinized. It leads to stress and tension passiveness of man, a syndrome of alienation (14).
From the above word of Eseni we understand that man’s alienation has resulted to some social problems in the world today, in the sense that a clone person is likely to encounter such problems as social unacceptability, medically unfit, emotional doom and so on.
What the foregoing critical review reveals is that the fallenness of dasein in the contemporary world is as a result of his (man) being alongside with entities in the world. Man has forgotten’ who’ he is and equally misused his free choice by chose to fall into the world. While the solution to the problem is said to be a total ‘resoluteness ‘to authentic living; a clear awareness of the self as a self, and a realization that one alone is responsible for the way one exists and can avoid the addictive corruption of the they-self.
THE CONCEPTS OF DASEIN AND FALLENNESS IN MARTIN HEIDEGGER’S PHILOSOPHY
A Short Biography of Martin-Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was born September, 26th 1889, to Friedrich and Johanna Heiddegger, in the Black Forest region of Messkirch. Heidegger began philosophy in 1907 with the reading of Franz Brentano’s 1862 dissertation, vonder Mannigfachen Bedeutung des seienden nach Aristotles. He was educated at Gymnasia in Konstanz and Freiburg before studying theology, medieval philosophy, and phenomenology at the University of Freiburg under Husserl. He gained his doctorate in 1914 and his Habilitation in 1916, and became a privatdozent at Freiburg. In 1922 he was appointed a professor at Marburg but in 1928 he returned to Frieburg to take over Husserl’s chair.
Having joined the National Socialist Party he was appointed Rector of the University in 1933. However, he resigned the following year (His equivocal attitude towards Germany’s Nazi period is still a matter of great controversy). He ceased lecturing in 1944 but was allowed to resume his professorship in 1955. From 1959 he lived in increasing isolation in the Black forest.
Martin Heidegger is widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century, while remaining one of the most controversial. His thinking has contributed to such diverse fields as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, political theory, psychology and theology. His critique of traditional metaphysics and his opposition to positivism and technological world domination have been embraced by leading theorists of post modernity. Heidegger died in Frieburg on May 26th, 1976.
Understanding Heidegger’s Philosophy
In Martin Heidegger’s philosophy, the problem which Heidegger sets out to investigate is not the problem of man or entities but the problem of being. Heidegger’s main interest was ontology or the study of being. In his fundamental treatise, “Being and Time”, he attempted to access being (sein) by means of phenomenological analysis of human existence (Dasein) in respect to its temporal and historical character.
He feels it is necessary to restate this ancient problem which ahs been neglected by philosophers, thus he avers:
Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word ‘being’? Not at all. So it is fitting that we should raise a new the question of the meaning of being…. Our aim in the following treatise is to work out the question of the meaning of being and to do so correctly (20).
By ‘being’ Heidegger does not mean any particular kind of being, he means ‘the being of beings’. It is that from which all beings derive their being and it is present in all beings, it is that which allows for the experience of all modes of being, that which “gives or dispenses” the being of entities to human experience.
Heidegger seeks to discuss the provenance of all modes of the experienced being of entities, and then, he thinks that we should start with man, since man is the only being that asks the question of being. The best way to approach the question of being therefore is by examining the being of man.
The very asking of this is an entity’s mode of being, and as such it gets to the essential character from what is inquired about, namely being. This entity which each of us is himself and which includes inquiring as one of the possibilities of its being, we shall denote by the term Dasein (27).
Heidegger sets out to answer the question of the being of the particular kind of entity that is the human being, which he calls Dasein.
As a student of Husserl, Heidegger felt that phenomenology, which lets the phenomena “show itself from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself”, was the only method by which to do ontology, the study of being.
“With regard to its subject-matter, phenomelogy is the science of the Being of entities – ontology. In explaining the tasks of ontology we found it necessary that there should be a fundamental ontology taking as its theme that entity which is ontologico-ontically distinctive, Dasein, in order to confront the cardial problem the question of the meaning of Being in general (Ibid, 61).
If phenomenology has to do with the logos of phenomena, if it lets that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself, then it is and must be our way of access to the Being of entities – its meaning, modifications and derivatives. Fundamental ontology is possible only as phenomenology; is ontology possible (Ibid, 60).
For Heidegger, modern philosophy had forgotten the question of being; that is modern philosophy has become concerned with the ontic (beings), and, thus, covers over that which makes such an understanding of beings possible :the “issues”(beings) of beings such that presence. And the unconcealing-revealing presencing of Beings is Dasein. He argues that ontology as phenomenology must necessary be hermeneutic or interpretative. The being of man (Dasein) reveals itself as a possibility and life towards his projected self. Man is a free being, in the sense that, if he chooses his own possibilities and lives towards them he thereby decides his own mode of life, and this means that he lives an authentic life, but if he refuses to decide his own mode of life, he lives an inauthentic life. Accordingly, Heideggers project in his philosophy falls into two parts, each consisting of three divisions. In the first part, an existential analytic of Dasein is provided (Division One), which is then shown to be grounded in temporality (Division Two), and time is explicated as the transcendental horizon from the question of Being (Division Three): In the second part, a phenomenological deconstruction of the history of ontology is worked out by means of an investigation of Kants doctrine of schematism and time (Division Two), and Aristotles conception of time (Division Three).
The Concepts of Dasein and Fallenness
In his philosophy treatise ”Being and Time”, Heidegger offers an existential ontology of selfhood as Dasein (being-there), there concretely existing human being who is there, as part of the world, Dasein, as being-with typically maintains itself in the Being of the they-self.
Heidegger asserts that in everyday behaviour most people are not aware of their unique potentiality for individuality or of their possible authenticity and have not chosen their own possibilities. Dasein has two modes of Being-with; the authentic and inauthentic, it has a choice of modes. It can either live authentically or inauthentically. It can immerse itself in the world of the “they”, or it can stand as an “individual” Dasein.Heidegger explains that the usual mode of existence of Dasein, in the “everyday”, is inauthentic, that is, falling away from oneself, and existing for the “they”. The “they” of Heidegger’s everyday Being-with (they-self of Dasein) is referred to as a Das man. This is an anonymous “they” that is comparable with the use of “one” in the statement “one doesn’t do that sort of thing here”, that is, it is a homogenous, hegemonic group that takes away Dasein’s responsibility for thinking, by offering the world-ready-understood.
Just as Dasein’s relation to the environment is that of practical concern, Dasein’s relation to the communal world is that of personal concern. As Heidegger explains, this form of concern belong to everydayness by necessity which will ultimately lead to modes of inauthenticity. As the “anonymous one”, the uniqueness of self-hood is diffused and lost in depersonalization and “averageness”. The life of dasein and fallenness is a life lived in conformity to the dictate of an authority, tradition, custom or habit, a depersonalized life, that is, an inauthentic life. As a being, in the world, and a being with others, dasein is a social being who essentially absorbs himself in the “they”, fallen away from his real being, there by, exhibiting the basic feature of fallenness.
Fallenness as an Essential Feature of Dasein
In the book “Being and Time” translated by Mulhall, Stephen, Heidegger believe that there is an intertwine relationship between fallenness and Dasein, that is why he said that, Dasein must first of all fall away, in other words experience inauthenticity, before it can come to its real authentic life.
Hear him (Heidegger):
This term does not express any negative, evaluation but is used to signify that Dasein is proximally and for the most part along-side the ‘world of its concern. This absorption in ….’ Has mostly the character of Being-lost in the publicness of the ‘they’. Dasein has, in the first instance, fallen away from itself as an authentic potentiality for Being its self, and has fallen into the ‘world’ (220).
This falling detachment from genuine self-understanding permeates Dasein’s philosophical activities as well as those of its everyday life.
Heidegger does not just claim that falling is a general phenomenon – one to which any and every facet of human culture is always vulnerable. He also emphasizes that its ubiquity is not accidental (Ibid, 108).
For if falling is internally related to Dasein’s absorption in the ‘they’, it must be just as much a part of Dasein’s ontological structure as the they – self: falling is not a specific ontic state of Dasein, but a definite existential characteristic of Dasein itself (Ibid, 220).
G. Steiner, in his article “Heidegger, The Harvester” attests that for Heidegger then, ‘inauthenticity’ and ‘fallenness’ are not mere mishaps or erroneans options. Rather they are essential components of existence, because Dasein is always Dasein-with and a Being-in-the-world into which we have been thrown. Acceding to the enticement of living a mundane existence is simply a part of existing itself. ‘Fallenness’ was a positive for Heidegger, in the sense that there must be ‘inauthenticity’ ‘theyness’, and ‘talk’, for Dasein to become aware of its loss of self and strive for its return to authentic Being. Verfall turns out to be the completely essential prerequisite towards the repossession of self, the struggle toward true Dasein.
However, being-with presents the possibility of comprehending our own Dasein as an everybody Being-with-one-another. Where we may come to exist not on our own terms, but only in reference to others. In so doing, we eventually come to not be ourselves, and surrender our existence to formless: “theyness” or alterity.
For Heidegger, the belonging to other’s is a drastic irresponsibility because the ‘they’ deprives the particular Dasein of its own accountability by making every decision and judgement for it. The ‘they’ can do this most easily because it can always be said that ‘they’ were responsible for such and such. Heidegger said that this passivity creates the alienated self, the ‘man’ who is fatally disburdened of moral responsibility. This ‘man’ can know no ethical guilt. Heidegger called this the ‘self’ of everyday ‘Dasein’ or the ‘they-self’, the total opposite of the solid singularity of a Dasein which has grasped itself.
The fact that Dasein is always thrown into a world whose roles and categories are structured in inherently impersonal ways, in which idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity predominate, then absorption in the they-self will be its default position. After recovering from its original lostness, it may then be able to find itself. That is to say that Dasein’s authenticity involves its ability to overcome inauthencity. Fallenness into this condition is a fundamental mode of Dasein, it is inherent in Dasein, such that, where there is Dasein, there is fallenness.
The phenomenon of falling doesn’t imply a corruption of human nature. Men are not drunk with, but rather characterized by idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity and thus characterized by fallenness.
There is a movement of the falling with temptation, tranquilising, alienation and entanglement as its essential characteristics. Dasein is actually using its own self to experience the world it has chosen to live in; and it is in-the-they that Dasein attempts to reach its ownself.
Fallenness in Heidegger is what we experience in everydayness. We are absorbed in the world with others to the point of losing subjectivity as a subject who is tempted to fall into the everydayness of idle chatter and such.
Heidegger writes in Being and Time “This term does not express any negative evaluation, but is used to signify that Dasein is proximally and for the most part alongside the ‘world’ of its concern. The transcendental structure of fallenness allow for the understanding of the uniqueness of human reality; of Dasein’s existence, and is correlated with the basic ecstasies (dimensions of time; past/present/future) to reveal Dasein’s existence as a whole.
Infact, ‘the-they’ sees averageness as a good thing, as a way of living the ‘right’ kind of life, or ‘living concretely’ (Ibid, 223); we think that if we do what is expected of us, we will live the best life possible.
However, Heidegger makes it clear that “…. The inauthencity of Dasein does not signify and ‘less’ Being or any ‘lower’ degree of Being. Rather it is the case, that even in its fullest concretion Dasein can be characterized by inauthenticity”… (68). The fact or truth remains that even though we try to break free from averageness and everydayness, our authenticity is still defined in terms of others. When we claim to be authentic, we are only authentic relative to “the-they”.
In other words, those who think they are authentic believe so only because they are comparing themselves with another type of self (that is, “they-self”) which is completely inauthentic. Therefore, we are never fully and completely authentic; we are only authentic, relatively speaking.
Another point we have to pinpoint out in Heidegger’s notion of fallenness is that authenticity and inauthenticity (that is, the fallenness of Dasein) are both essential features of our Being, both define our Beingness, and each belongs to us necessarily. Neither authenticity nor inauthenticity are features that are there by accident. We cannot escape this fact about our existence.
The authentic self and the inauthentic self are simply two different ways of being. Each is a basic structure of our being. Heidigger’s existential analytic follows the progression from an analysis of Dasein in terms of that which is “closest” to it: its “average everyday”, existential, pre-ontological, pre-thematic, “lived” understanding of itself, towards the hidden meaning and ground of Dasein’s primordial existential structure which lies concealed in its “everyday” understanding. The “who” of everyday Dasein is that which is closest to Dasein. Yet, proximally and for the most part, one’s own Dasein is not itself. This “who” of “everyday” Dasein is the “they” (das Man), which is characterized by distantiality, averageness and leveling down and constitutes “publicness”, The “they” is both everybody and nobody “to whom every Dasein has already surrendered itself in Bieng-among-one-another”. The “they-self” is the “not itself” of Dasein to be distinguished from authentic Dasein; authentic Being-one’s-self, therefore, is an existential modification of the “they” as an essential existentiale.
Thus, we can say that Dasein’s fallenness is its “Being-alongside” as, proximally and for the most part, it is occupied by its average everyday engagement with the world as the “they”.
When we ask the question what compels Dasein’s flight into the “they” as fallenness? We come to understand that in the world, Dasein is tempted into the lostness of das man by the tranquility which disburdens Dasein from having to face its own most potentiality for Being.
So far, from our exegetical treatment of Dasein, we have come to the knowledge that Dasein depicts the tussels of selfhood, as encompassing an ontologically structured falsehood (that is, its fallenness) that presupposes apriori Dasein’s existential disclosedness as Being-in-the-world.
In falling, Dasein itself as factical Being-in-the-world is something from which it has already fallen away. The world into which Dasein finds itself thrown inherently tempts it fallaway from itself; and part of that fallen state, part of the ambiguity inherent in it, is a prevailing assumption that its fallenness is in reality fully authentic and genuine.
In short, Dasein’s everyday state (within and without philosophy) is one in which if finds itself thrown into inauthenticity (that is, fallenness) “Dasein’s facticity is such that as long as it is what it is, Dasein remains in the throw, and is sucked into the turbulence of the “they’s” inauthenticity (Id). It can achieve authenticity, but when it does, it “is only a modified way in which (Falling) everydayness is seized upon (224).
The Relation of the Essential Feature of Dasein to our Beingness
As stated earlier, the fallenness of dasein as an essential feature of dasein is expressed most ostensively in our beingness; in everyday behaviour most people are not aware of their unique potentiality for individuality or of their possible authenticity and have not chose their own possibilities. The Being-with-one-anther dissolves ones own Dasein completely into the kind of Being of the others, in such a way, indeed, that the others, as distinguishable and explicit vanish more and more.
Although, we have earlier in this work constructed the analysis of Dasein with reference to the everyday involvement of human agents with the world, this involvement has, as it were, a downside in that it can be characterized as a ‘falling’. What this implies is that we can be wrapped up in our own projects, or in a habitual and unreflective following of social, cultural conventions, by conforming to what others (the ‘they’ or the ‘one’) do or say, so that we become self-forgetful.
Our beingness, that is, the individual’s being in the world, is often trapped by the everyday ordinariness of life into interpreting itself in terms of the world it knows and the tradition it inherits.
Concurring with this view, ancient sages believed that humanity had been cut off from the source and meaning of life. There is not a single ancient race or aboriginal culture that did not speak of a prehistoric age of gold, wise magi, dragon-slaying heroes, and high civilizations that eventually fell into oblivion due to moral declination and misuse of technological power. Even elders and shaman, they make no bones about it. In their estimation man has fallen from a great height and lost his way morally and spiritually. The world’s many myths and legends even go so far as to tell us why man became disconnected and unsafe. They preserve information that speaks of terrible celestial and terrestrial cataclysms that devastated the Earth and shook the consciousness of human beings to its foundations.
Regrettably, obscure myths and legends do not interest most mainstream academics. They are not inclined to spend time considering how human consciousness was affected and altered after an age when men witnessed not only fire and ice raining from blackened skies, but the universal annihilation of millions of Earth creatures.
However, our beingness is such that we are always conscious of how we are viewed by our fellows (other people); the content of one man’s consciousness is the content of every man’s consciousness. Our beingness in the world today do not allow the human cells to work according to an individual self-generated program of action. They work together in conformity to a general program of activity. Our beingness is such that exist in conformity to our own distorted image of our selves, or as others perceive us to be and thereby live inauthentically. Most human beings are subconsciously threatened by aspects of their own selves.
The point asserted in the above paragraph is to show that our beingness in the modern world have the opposite view to the beingness of man in the ancients, thereby, forces man to fall away from his original beingness. For the most part, today’s academics and laymen believe that, in the past, man was primitive and irrational. They believe, and have been well taught to believe, that modern man is moving toward greater understanding about himself and the world as time progresses. Give us time, they say, wait and watch. Tomorrow a perfect world will come into being-bright, clean, safe, just, and indestructible.
Modern man contents himself by envisioning a future in which all human dilemmas and predicaments will be solved, and when the great questions of Existence will be answered. Most moderns are basically utopians, convinced that man can, and one day will, inherit a perfect civilization.
But what do we see in our beingness today? We see wade in heavy stream, men become foul murderers and perjurers, and them who others wives seduce to sin, brothers slay brothers; sister’s children shed each others’ blood. Hard is the world, sensual sin grows huge. These are the sword-ages, axe-ages, shields are cleft in twain, storm ages-till the world falls dead.
Nevertheless, the fallenness of our beingness has violated man; in that the world and everything in it including man suffers violation at the hands of the madness of the ‘technological know-how’ that possessed man. Technological man probes into himself, and is fascinated as to how his brain functions and body “ticks”. He pays little or no attention to the God of the theologians. He probes, investigates, and experiments, but gets no nearer to the truth of life and Existence. Death is no longer symbolically expressed by unpleasant-smelling faeces or corpses. Its symbols are now clean, shining machines, but the reality behind this antiseptic façade becomes increasingly visible.
Man in the name of progress, is transforming the world into a stinking and poisonous place. He pollutes the air, the water, the soil, the animals and even himself, all in the name of technology.
He is doing this to a degree that has made it doubtful whether the earth will still be livable within a hundred years from now.
As man becomes technological in his thought and behavior, so he looses his authentic beingness in the presence of technology; as a man progresses he becomes more and more reliant on technology; thereby, moves more and more reliant on technology; and so , moves further away from his real and unique beingness. As a result we find man’s life-space and consciousness cluttered with more stuff. Man’s thinking becomes technological rather than philosophical as Heidegger would define it.
Furthermore, the relation of fallenness as an essential feature of dasein to our beingness is evident enough in the possessed character of our financial and industrial magnates, it is psychologically evident from the very fact that they are at the mercy of a suprapersonal factor – “work”, “power”, “money”, or whatever they like to call it, either by “hook or crook” means, and which, in the telling phrase, “consumes” them.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? – (Mark 8:36). If technological man’s insight and direction remains as it is today, the future will inevitably see the creations of the Being-less man, and the world of science will finally give birth to the perfect machine-man. The creature will walk, talk, and think. He will have a higher degree of physical and mental perfection than humans. His eyesight will be exceptional, his speed formidable, and his durability and strength insurmountable. He will be a marvel, and eventually more of his kind will be conceived to populate tomorrow’s Global village. The post-human creature will be exceptional in practically every way and will outsmart and outperform his inventors. He will not, however, exist.
The import here is that the relation of the essential feature of man (that is, fallenness) to our beingness is obvious in the practical life and existence of man in his world today. These days, we lose sight of what genuinely matters, not least of being itself. Thus, while the world can be regarded as the material on which we can work creatively to realize our ends, it is also that which can lead us astray; and this alienates us from our obligation to fulfill ourselves, thereby, ending up in an inauthentic existence.
However, if we truly come to understand the existential significance of our lives and Beingness, we can rightly say we live and experience life uniquely. If that rapport is dulled or dampened, taken casually and flippantly, and if we merely function passively and carelessly, there can be no authentic declaration of personal uniqueness. The man who chooses to exist in conformity to his own distorted image of himself, or as others perceive him to be, lives inauthentically. So, we have to start living an authentic life characterized by moral consciousness and resoluteness.
THE FALLENNESS OF DASEIN IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD
The Fallenness of Dasein
Fallenness of dasein is what we experience in everydayness. We are absorbed in the world with others to the point of losing subjectivity as a subject who is tempted to fall into the everydayness of idle charter and such. As constructed earlier in this work, the analysis of dasein is with reference to the everyday involvement of human agents with the world, this involvement has, as it were, a downside in that it can be characterized as a ‘falling’.
What we mean by this is that we can be wrapped up in our own projects, or in a habitual and unreflective following of social, cultural conventions.
The contemporary man tries to conform to what others do or say, and by so doing, we become self-forgetful.
Presently, people lose sight of what genuinely matters. Thus, while the world can be regarded as the material on which we can work creatively to realize our ends, it is also that which can lead us astray; and this alienates us from our obligation to fulfill ourselves, thereby, leading us to inauthentic existence.
This attitude and behaviour of fallenness in the world today, offered the means to divert conscience and facilitated absorption into the crowd mentality through its apparent predisposition to accept, without question or debate, the injustice handed down to marginalized groups in its formal and informal, implied and expressed, overt and covert customs and mannerisms, society has eventually worked to the division of human community and oppress many of its members.
The contemporary epoch lacks depth because beings have been so emptied out ontologically that they can manifest themselves only one-dimensionally, as raw material for the technological system. All things sank to the same level, to a surface resembling a blind mirror that no longer mirrors that casts nothing back. Things have been leveled to a flat plane, because Being has with drawn itself from them, from human Dasein. Deprived of its relavation to Being. Dasein can no longer act as the ontological-linguistic mirror through and in which things can manifest themselves and thus be. The empirical symptoms of decline includes cultural decay and social disorientation.
The contemporary world – clearing has become so constricted that Dasein moves about like an animal with no sense of reasoning, totally absorbed by the beings that comfort it.
Today, Being has become flaccid, leading Dasein itself to become important, ontologically and linguistically. In matters of ontological all movements from the origin involves degeneration and decline.
The modern Dasein is now seen as the world conquering labourer; the same civilization processes that had brought the world civilization to its heights is now conspiring to corrupt it, degeneration is the outcome of commercial culture, which removed people from contact both with instinctive forces and with noble ideas. European culture is now a dreadful condition and western man had been reduced to a heard animal. Modern civilization has become rigid, pettified, incapable of reconciling human kind and nature, human being and volk, individual and community of values and identity. Human kind restlessly pursues knowledge and change. The chief science of the western man is merely the concretization of the indomitable western will, which it then projects onto the rest of the world in mechanical, rather than organic terms.
Enslaved to his own creation, modern industry, modern man sacrifices the globe in his insatiable lust for money and power. Man now sacrifice his own blood in exchange for money; we saw what happened to the son of Union bank MD(Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) , who accepted to risk or rather destroy his life and that of others in a plane with the bomb that was given to him for that particular mission on that plane.
In the world today, human kind has become one- a power seeking animal. The practitioner of Niccollo Micheal-velli’s theory “the end justifies the means” –
Dasein wants to acquire power by any means whether hook or crook means even if it entails killing the life of another, it doesn’t matter, what matters most is for me to be there.
The master of all other creations (man) is now a slave to those creations. Dasein no longer think of his destiny, the end of his journey on earth, that is, ‘death’, there is no sense of conscious living in the life of Dasein these days.
As Heidegger says, “Dasein, is a purposeless being-unto-death; its realization is inevitable and will be realized by him in the most authentically personal way without any possibility of avoidance or substitution (Ibid, 277-278).
What Heidegger meant here is that once Dasein is able to realize that he is a being unto death, it makes him aware of his potentiality and possibility, it also reveals to him (Dasein), his individuality, with his life to live and his death to die, by so doing, Dasein no longer sees himself an anonymous member in the crowd of ‘they’ but as an individual who has to face his death alone and undergo it alone.
What is happening in the world today? How does it stand with Being? How are things going for Being (man)? The answer is that things are not going well at all. Indeed, things are virtually disappearing as things, in so far as man has withdrawn from them. A related way of understanding the fore question is this: Is man standing erect, or is he fallen? The answer is that man has practically toppled over, as witnessed both by the one-dimensionality of (beings) and by the ontological spinelessness of Dasein. Without Being in our ontological marrow, we have lost the ability to stand erect ontologically and otherwise; hence, “we are staggering”. Today’s Dasein no longer have time to think about his life, talk more of his death, he behaves as if death is for the others. He now lives freely as if he has his life on the palm of his hands; he doesn’t remember that he will leave this world someday, instead, he prefers to go after euphemerial things and forget himself in the pursuit of those things. The supposed self-awareness of his individuality and possibilities, freedom and personal responsibility is gone; he is no longer in control of his products, rather, his products are now in control of him (man, alcoholism, sexism (sex sells), materialism, scientism (the madness of science and technology) and many more are being identified with man’s life in his present world. Man is so materialistic that he is now a raw material to be (materialized) used.
The society Dasein exists is such that lay much emphasis on the economic gains of nearly everything. We place value where there is no value or where there is less value, and the things of value are relegated to the background. However, we should, and ought to look at the value of life without any strings attached to it. Life is worth what it is; it has an intrinsic value. The benefit of life can not be compared to anything else because it is more incomprehensible and valuable than the cost and benefits the human mind can think of.
The experience of what goes on in our world today has shown us that money and wholeness of the physical body is not happiness. Enjoyment is a thing of the physical well being of man. The products of man like factor products, nuclear energies, and others have done us more harm than good in some cases.
We have become slaves of our products. Money and economic gains have taken over the hearts of man and has equally taken him away from the purposes of life. The heart of a living person can now be bought and sold, for genetic and scientific experimentation or to revitalize a person who is at the point of death who we know, has a little chance of survival. In that bid we kill a person who would have lived and enjoyed his life. People and human parts are sold as many Nigerian home video films portray. There is a lot of kidnapping of human beings now and again because of the so-called economic gains.
Besides, some people deliberately sell and sacrifice their organs for money. Some have lost the sense of life; the money which man made to ease him in business transcations has enslaved him. Fifteen years ago, on 9th November, 1996, on the British Broad Casting Corporation, there was news of a five year old child in whom six different human organs were planted. The irony of the whole thing is that the child died after two months of the surgical operation. The hospital bill of the said operation was quoted as one million British pounds. Having heard the news, many began to ask from where those organs were obtained? Do we have an industry where human parts are been manufactured? Would such huge sum of money not have been sufficient to take care of the lives over one hundred Nigerians? Would the money spent on that child not have been well utilized if it was used to better the lives of many sick people whose sickness were not as critical as hers?
Another amusing thing was that the doctors who performed the operation said it was a successful one because through it they were able to discover so many things. By that statement one can conclude that their aim was to experiment on that child for their fame and economic gain. Why do we use human beings for experiment? Indeed, man has fallen, the taste of man has been bittered. He is no longer “man”, a full fledged responsible being, “no”, he is now “an”, an entity for discoveries, an entity of destruction and obliteration.
Finally, the contemporary man has lost his sense of reasoning, he only rationalize but he is not reasonable due to his fallen state, he follows the crowd and does things because others are doing it, Dasein today is so materialistic and deep rooted in self-alienation and destruction.
This fallenness of man in the world today causes people’s wretchedness, misfortune and trivialitiy; thus cannot serve as a savior to mankind, because, it leads to inauthenticity being the order of the day instead of authentic and genuine way of life.
Causes of the Fallenness
The causes of the fallenness of dasein in the contemporary world are multifarious, complex and interwoven. But we shall necessarily explicate the fundamental ones among them; the Decay in Western Metaphysics and the Advent of Western Technology. In this regard the introduction of sub-sections is imperative.
Decay in Western Metaphysics
Western philosophy, in which there occurs forgetfulness of being, is synonymous with “the tradition of metaphysics”. Metaphysics inquires about the being of beings, but in such a way that the question of being as such is disregarded, and being itself is obligerated.
E. Boniface, Nwigwe in his article “Martin Heidegger’s Philosophical Anthropology and Ontology” avers that one of the most dangerous trends in European civilization is the forgettenness of Being. This shows most evidently in the decay of western metaphysics (256). The reason is that there is no foundation on which reality rests and for the fact that human products exericise untold influence and dominion over the human society, by so doing, human beings begin increasingly to sink into nihilism.
The Heideggerian “history of being” can thus be seen as the history of being’s oblivion.
In the first beginning, the task of the Greeks was to ask the question “what are beings?”, and hence to bring beings as such as a whole to the first recognition and the most simple interpretation. It is commonly acknowledged that Thales and his successors asked generalized questions concerning what is as a whole, and proposed general, rational answers which were no longer based on a theological ground. The pre Socratics – Parmenides and Heraclitus, thought of Being, for the first time in Western philosophy, in its dynamic, elemental, and mysterious nature and power as revealing and concealing itself, as eluding the will and grasp of the intellect of man. They experience beings in their phenomenality: as what is present in presencing.
Western metaphysics since Plato and Aristotle led to a distance from Being by conceiving of the truth in terms of a correspondence theory of truth, that is, the notion that something is true according to and by comparison with a pre-established idea or category. What appears is tested against a criterion, as in the natural scientific method. This period is unable to keep up with the beginning; it is where the history of being’s oblivion originates. Metaphysics since Plato, including natural science as a materialistic monism, we create a conceptual map of reality which gets to be taken for the territory mapped. So we always fall short of Being itself which does not lend itself to be categorized but reveals itself, on its own terms, to the openness of Dasein.
Western metaphysics, has come to limit its Ely to considerations involving being as being, that is, being in the sense of mere earthly things, but not in the sense of the actual foundation of things – Being. There is no longer the “ontological difference”, the distinction between being (dasein) and beings (das seiende).
The fateful event was followed by the gradual slipping away of the distinction between being and beings.
Described variously by different philosophers, being was reduced to a being: to idea in Plato, substantia and actualitas in Medieval philosophy, and will to poer in Nietzsche and contemporary thought, they never really considered the subject matter of metaphysics, namely Being.
F. Krell, David in his book “Martin Heidegger’s Basic Writings” maintains that it is true enough, that a lot in contemporary metaphysics, especially in the different schools of though like positivism encouraged high-handed neglect or under handed reduction of such questions as Being, the positive sprit of the modern age now had to abandon the chimerical, arbitrary, vague and idle questions of ontology or theory of being in favour of real, certain, precise, and useful under takings of sciences such as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology and sociology (6).
This later Western Philosophy has the inclination nurtured by the metaphysical tradition to interpret the Being of Dasein by means of categories suited not to human beings but to other entities in the universe (Ibid, 19).
The early Greeks did not “objectify” beings; they did not try to reduce them to an object for the thinking subject, but they let them be as they were, as self showing rising into unconcealment. They experienced the phenomenality of what is present, its radiant self-showing. For them, being, unlimited in its dis-closure, appears as an abyss, the source of thought and wonders. Being calls the human being out of any habitual ground, and opens before him the mystery of existence.
The departure of western philosophical tradition forms what is present in presencing which results in metaphysics. Today, the discipline is modern technology, through which the contemporary human being establishes himself in the world by working on it in the various modes of making and shaping. Technology forms and controls the human position in today’s world.
Being has been so emptied of meaning, that the fore questions, “How does it stand with Being? Seems pointless to scientists, engineers, and politicians.
The decline of the west stems not only from the lack of resoluteness on the part of Dasein, but also from the impersonal withdrawal of Being from Language, earth, world, and Dasein.
Today’s metaphysics, in the form of technology and the calculative thinking related to it, has become so pervasive that there is no realm of life that is not subject to its dominance, it imposes its technological – scientific – industrial character on human beings, making it the sole criterion of the human sojourn on earth. As it ultimately degenerates into ideologies and world views, metaphysics provides an answer to the question of the beings for contemporary men and women, but skillfully removes from their lives the problem of their own existence.
Moreover, because its sway over contemporary human beings is so powerful, metaphysics cannot be simply cast aside or rejected.
Any direct attempt to do so will only strengthen its hold. Metaphysics can not be rejected, cancelled or denied, but it can be overcome by demonstrating its nihilism. In Heidegger’s use of the term, “nihilism” has a very specific meaning; it refers to the forgetfulness and forgotten in metaphysics is Being; hence, it is nihilistic.
Metaphysics inquires about the being of beings, but it reduces being to a being; it does not think of being as being. In so far as being itself is obliterated in it, metaphysics is nihilism, thus, the history of being’s oblivion.
Based on the foregoing, one can further infer that the outcome of the decay in western metaphysics gave rise to “the advent of western technology”; thus, the metaphysical tradition of western thinking, starting from Plato’s idea of universals and their accessibility through reason, continuing with Aristotle’s notion of logos, history of philosophy predictably took its way through construction of modernity. Hence, modernity, whose development involves not only a technological but also a social revolution, which sets individuals loose from religious and ethnic communities, from parishes and family bonds, and which affirms materialistic values, can be regarded as a radical departure from earlier classical traditions (pre-socratic metaphysics); The nihilism of western metaphysics in form of modern technology is the history of being’s oblivion.
The draft away from the ground of existence for over two thousand years reached its peak in modern times and technological movement.
So, we can say that later western metaphysics is the perpetration of the evil effects of the conceptualistic and logic-dominated metaphysical-technological thinking which led to scientism and technologism. Now, we shall go into analyzing the second fundamental cause of fallenness of dasein in the contemporary world.
Advent of Western Technology
The aim of this work is not to condemn technological progress as such, but only the misuse of it.
Contemporary world is a period of massive technological advance, which can be identified with the bloody international conflicts that marks the day. Elements of western culture have had a very influential effect on other cultures world wide. People of many cultures, both western and non-western, equate modernization (adoption of technological progress) with westernization (adoption of western culture). That is why M.K. Gandhi suggested that the link between technological progress and certain harmful western values provides a reason why much of “modernity” should be rejected as being incompatible with their vision and the values of their societies. What is generally uncontested, is that much of the technology and social patterns which make up what is defined as “modernization” were developed in the western world.
In this work, we are not trying to say that everything about western technology is bad or evil, “no” what we are saying is that the abuse of it is harmful to the world; Today, we can’t imagine ourselves without technological advances such as cars, micro waves, cell phones, computers, and television. However, technology is good in the sense that it is part of the overall search for truth and it has made it easy and possible to achieve hidden knowledge that would perhaps never have been achieved (Ibid, 255).
Technological effort helps to produce new products that are used for the better enhancement of human life, human life draws nearer to Being itself. Technology is a means to an end and a human activity. What is dangerous is not technology. Technology is not demonic; but its essence is mysterious. The essence of technology, as a destining of revealing, is the danger (Ibid, 288, 309).
According to V. Tran, Doan in his book Reason, Rationality and Reasonableness attests that the enlightenment, as its name indicates, carries the mission of rationalizing the whole of human activity, and of structuralizing our society. Unconsciously, scientism is born and with it is the absolute reign of technology, its logical son (15).
According to V.Tran, Doan, in his book “Reason, Rationality and Reasonabeness” attests that Technology also includes devices that make physical processes more efficient. The many chemical processes we use to make products fit this description of technology. Before the fall in (Gen 2:15) Adam was to cultivate and keep the Garden of Eden. After the fall the same command pertains to the application of technology to this fallen world, a world that “groans” in travail (Rom. 8:22). Technology can benefit mankind in exercising proper dominion, and thus remove some of the effects of the fall (such as curing disease, breeding livestock, or growing better crops). Technology is neither good or evil; the world view behind a particular technology determines its value.
However, technology won’t stop here, but develop further. As technology develops, there are not only advantages, but disadvantages from them. Some of the advantages of upgraded technology are that one can save time and money and life will be made easier as a result of not having to do all the hard labour.
In contrast, the disadvantages of upgraded technology are that people will loose their jobs to machines that will do the work for them. In addition, machines and robots are too complex for most people to use. Not only these, a lot of lives are lost and damaged or rather, injured during the application of technological weapons.
Underdeveloped (developing) countries are at a huge technological disadvantage in the global high-tech economy today. They have immeasurably fallen behind developed countries in both acquired technology and domestically developed technology.
Unfortunately western culture and the world as a whole tends to rely on technology more than is appropriate.
If a computer, for example, proves a particular point, people have a greater tendency to believe it than if the answer was a well-reasoned conclusion given by a person. If a machine can do a job, employers are prone to mechanize, even if human labour does a better or more creative job. Often our society unconsciously places machine over man.
Humans become servants to machines rather than the other way round. The mastery of technology, symbolized in the form of machine, determines the essence of reason since ever then.
The advent of technology has brought in one key issue in this computer age, and that is “computer crime”. In a sense, computer fraud is merely a new field with old problems. Computer crimes are often nothing more than fraud, larcery, and embezzlement carried out by more sophisticated means. The crimes usually involve changing address, records, or files. In short, they are old-fashioned crimes using high technology.
Most people have access to information because of increasing numbers of personal computers and increased access to information through the internet.
This access to information will have many interesting sociological ramifications, and it is also creating a set of troubling ethical questions. The proliferation of computers that can tie into other computers provides more opportunities for computerized crime. The news media frequently carry reports about computer “hackers” who have been able to gain access to confidential computer systems and obtain or interfere with the data banks, computer hacking has become a developing area of crime. Criminals might use computer access to forge documents, change records, and draft checks. They can even use computers for blackmail by holding files for ransom and threatening to destroy them if their demands are not met.
Nihilism is incorporated in the at no city of World War I, in the self-destruction with its almighty technology in World War II. The reason for such a disaster is found in the fact that man does not understand technology. Man has reduced technology to a mere means, a “technician”; he has forgotten the essence of technology. Today, man ordinarily understands technology as having risen subsequently to science and as having been sub-ordinated to it (Ibid, 126).
In western culture especially, we tend to believe that technology will save us from our problems and thus we use technology will save us from our problems and thus we use technology as a substitute for God, we are seduced into believing that more and better technology will solve social and moral problems. In Third World Countries, for example, sophisticated energy – intensive and capital – intensive forms of agriculture may be inappropriate for the culture as it presently exists. Industrial advance often brings social disruption and increasing havoc to a society.
Technology moves society instead of vice versa; our society today seems all too motivated by a technological imperative in our culture.
Technology’s fruits can be both sweet and bitter C.S Lewis writes in “The Abolition of Man”, “From this point of view, what we call man’s power over Nature turns out to be power exercised by some men over men with Nature as its instrument …. There is neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well. Each advance lives him weaker as well as stronger. In every victory, besides being the general who triumphs, he is also the prisoner who follows the triumphal car”.
The impact of technology on our life is dramatically evident in the controversy over atomic energy. Nuclear power is used as an example of technology out of control. It is an inherently evil technology in the eyes of many. Recently several western scientists involved in atomic energy development in the 1930’s and 1940’s have questioned whether they should have participated in atomic research after seeing its later destructive military applications. Any technology or scientific research will ultimately have a possible military application or a tendency for abuse, if not in the generation it was invented, perhaps in a later one.
The role of technology in modern society has been a topic of increasing importance during the last two decades. In the 1960’s the American commitment to putting a man on the moon dominated our nation’s imagination. The protests of the counter culture in the contemporary world are viewed by many as rebellion against the mechanization of man and society. More recently the dangers of nuclear technology have become matters of everyday discussion. As America began a new decade, doubts surfaced that questioned whether the price of technological development has been too high. People are beginning to wonder who is really in control-man or his machines.
Criticism of technology and its application is rife. It is pictured as the threatening to take over society (computerized age) or as contributing to the belief that man is only a high complex machine that science has yet to fully understand.
Society appears drifting towards some sort of irresistible technical revolution that will remake man; even more depressing is the belief that modern man is already caught up in Orwellian events he cannot escape.
Technological advancement, since booming in the early 20th century, have created (some) new problems such as culture losing and depravity. The green house effect originating from increased industrial activity has brought about changes in ecology, disease, forest fires, all of which are disasters to human life. Besides, toxic gases from industrial manufacture have directly harmed health of human, animals and other creatures on earth. Other dancell phones, the development of mass media has done more harm than good television holds the potential for such great good but bows down to the popular pressure and has the whole country watching reality shows like they are the fix for everything. How embarrassing for a couple to be yelling at each other on nation TV. Who knows whether the current terrorist movements are not a direct result of TV coverage gone to dust. It covers the bad guys and shows other idiots (sorry to say) how to be bad too.
When we talk of technological advancement, the first thing that comes to our mind is gun powder. It was used almost exclusively for weapons-cannons, and later fire arms, that caused previously unheard of carriage on the battlefield and leading to the carpet bombing of World War II in which millions of people were killed by bombers who were so far away that they could not even set the people, they were killing, about 60 million people dead in World War II alone, almost all from gun powder based weapons, by comparison, less than 200,000 people have died to date from nuclear weapons.
Also, a lot of people do get cancer from the radiation; some have to evacuate their homes because it was no longer habitable.
Imagine if terrorists set a nuclear bomb off in New York City. With one bomb, millions of people would be killed, hundred of thousands would later die due to cancer, thousands of square miles of land would be uninhabitable for centuries, and the whole world’s economy would be in threat. What we are trying to say with the cancer argument is that nuclear bombs cause very harmful medical problems including cancer and mental retardation.
Technology as we constructed earlier has done more harm than good to human life; which one do we discuss and live the other? We need no prophet to prophesize to us the dangers inherent in genetic engineering, that is “cloning”.
Genetic engineering is the hobnob of scientific research (the grand/father of technology) as it has to do with cloning, the scientists have delved into the manipulation of the genetic pool of man. That is why Alyson Zamkoff in his article entitled “Omni Response” emerged with the following statements in Omni Magazine:
Is [in this image] believable? Yes, especially given recent cloning headlines. The technology for cloning is now a reality, if human can create atomic bombs in secret, its certainty stands to reason that they might like-wise create cones for those with enough money and ego, the incentive would be high (123).
If it is real, then, seeing the much harm science has caused the world, it then calls for nothing to belief that today, man has lost control of what he has created and his products have turned against him. This growing fear of our products can become the means and instruments for self-destruction.
Considering the dangers inherent in cloning, Rev, Fr. Eseni Simon, in his article entitled “The Rationality of Bio-technology”, in, opined that ……
Since it is determinate of values it eventually leads to incalculable tragedy for humanity. Man is de-individualized, creativity is dashed, interpersonal relationship is vanquished, the corruption is hobbled by psychic pathology and uncreative since their thinking process is routinized. It leads to stress and tension, passiveness of man, a syndrome of alienation (14).
From the above citation, we understand that it tries to paint a picture of social problems. A clone person is likely to encounter such problems as social unacceptability, medically unfit, emotional doom and so on.
Conclusively, in this reality one never get something from nothing. There is always a trade off. Even if one does not recognize the price for something, be assured that there is a price. With scientific and technological advances we gained much comfort and knowledge. In exchange we give up simplicity, technology is queer thing, it brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other, but all depends on the value the society place on it. In effect, we should avoid any technology that destroys man’s life and value instead of enhancing it. In other words, man should abstain himself from any technological sojourn that ends up making man a “product’ to be produced.
Implications of the fallenness of Dasein
In the very beginning, we are to stress the fact that a nation that once reached the peak of civilization can create a new one, making use of the bright side of the western scientific advancement, placing it in a frame of human and spiritual values and making it conform with the Divine legislation. In this way, the defects of the contemporary civilization will be eradicated. The whole world now has been immersed completely in a dream-like wonder of the western technological advancement that has leveled the space and time for man. It has made life easy for him to the extent that most of his needs are now fulfilled once he presses a small button. What’s more, he may even dispense with buttons in many occasions; upon entering hours, a door opens itself. Such automatic faucets and escalators are few examples of assortment of luxury and comfort the Western civilization has offered man.
Man has also invaded the outer space, explored the moon and brought some of its stones and rocks for laboratory work. This mammoth scientific advancement could never be imagined before. Such achievements are all alluded to the verse of “know not”, and not “know how” any longer; the question becomes “has the advancement that has enabled man to travel to the moon brought him happiness”?
Our bitter reality denotes that the answer is in the negative. Life is rather absurd, incomprehensible and meaningless; this pure materialistic western concept of knowledge granted man just only physical comfort; not the spiritual one. The contemporary man is in some sort of freak mistake of nature coming from nowhere – born in a dark confusing setting in which people are constantly warring and fighting, being cruel and unfeeling to one another, what reigns now is some fleeting momentary pleasures.
Yes, man succeeded in achieving many state-of-the-art technologies but failed to have peace of mind. This has led to a sort of disparity between man’s outer appearance and his inner self. His life, though decorated and colourful, is shallow from within. Undoubtedly, the world today is, in various ways and at different social and cultural levels, not the same as that of yesterday.
Technologically the world of today is different from that of yesterday. Today, the world has shrunk both in terms of communications and travel. The television and the telephone have respectively brought the world into our living rooms and within shouting distance. The aeroplane has extended our feet. In other societies, “test-tube” babies and surrogate motherhood are no longer “events”. Human relations have also experienced some changes
Also undoubtedly, there is in our world today, tremendous agony, immense sorrow, brutality and violence. It has become a common matter to hear cries of distress, fear, sorrow and despair from people of the so-called developed world. With all the means of comfort they have, they lack spiritual calmness.
No wonder then to see psychiatrists in those countries always having abusing schedule, with throng of clients bringing in their complaints of moral corruption, worry, family disintegration, lack of social stability and solidarity. All this culminated in the high rates of crime to the extent that led to spreading fear and horror among people.
Commensurate with the technological changes, outward physical security is rapidly becoming impossible for anyone.
Admist the abundant material riches of today, there is unspeakable starvation. The politico-social-technological changes are polluted by an overpowering strench of injustice and poverty.
As technology has advanced and evolved, so has our perspective on technology. Most people have learned to accept fallenness in form of technological abuse and integrate it into their lives as just another piece of the life puzzle; a large piece at that.
And there in our opinion lies the problem. Fallenness has become a very major piece of our lives. Yes, fallenness in form of technology in fact works for us, but it is also true that we depend on it. We are helpless without outgadgets. From birth we have been customed to rely on technology to get things done and we are as a race good at getting things done; automatically, we skip away from our real selves. This act of fallenness has eaten man’s inner being, take away technology and we would have to relearn many things; the lost art of conversation for instance.
Human poverty is not, however, only that of the external situation with regards to material insufficiency or livelihood in security. Instead, it is also this heavy and suffocating inner unfulfilment and poverty that clings to all people like a bad smell.
Due to man’s falleness in the world today, by whatever label or name with which we identify ourselves, in the realm of fallenness, we are all human beings and suffering is our lot. When all human race fall and alienate themselves from themselves by following the dictate of others; sorrow becomes common to all of us; to the non-educated as well as to the educated; to materially rich and to the materially poor; to the philosopher, the politician as well as to the religious leader; to the idealist and to the materialist, etc. the foregoing is a summary of the world as it is today in relation with the fallenness of man.
Millions of people all over the world keep on crying and groaning at the devastating state and the disrectable things of the world economy, so that some times we sometime feels we were never born into our respective countries. Some will say “I wish I was never born into this part of the world” this saying are commonly associated with people who leave in poor countries.
The future of mankind has been in a dark shadow over since the creation of mankind into this imperfect planet. Some believe with the slipping away of mankind in the pursuit of technological knowledge, mankind will be able to change its present condition and leave a more peaceful life on earth, but the reverse has been the case where humans have lead themselves into injury.
Another implication of the fallenness of man in the world today is evident in the enormous incurable disease that ravels the realm of mankind.
Back in the days of our great grand fathers where they were no much popularity in the pursuit of cures for the deadly diseases we have around us today, we have to think of more positive things than thinking about how to be a victim of one deadly disease, someone could say that we would have had such disease those days, yes it may be true, but the truth remains that those diseases might have been out of existence, if we were not much involve in lawlessness lust as we are doing today.
Let us see an illustration, imagine a man who finds a small hole where Bees reside and he is very curious to see the Queen of the Bees, on his high journey of curiousness, he was injured by the Armies of the Bees, now tell us if he had not been that curious to see the Queen will have been wounded? No is the answer.
So, that is also the same with human effort to eradicate the deadly diseases around us; the diseases were on their own in their own residential quarters, then we humans said “yes, we are moving to Advancement” and we started producing different kinds of war missels and harmaments therefore polluting our environment. And calling the Disease out of their residential quarters to come and harm us.
With the current report in the number of diseases coming out on daily basis, humans are not sure of life in a peaceful environment till the end of this world.
Today, you will hear of Aids, tomorrow you will hear of Flu and Sars, Infact life on a global view has become some worthless than it was 40 years ago. Let’s look into the environmental hazard our fallenness has caused us, we have lost life, properties and even our homes all because of our fallenness, mothers have lost their children, children have lost their parents all because of fallennes.
The fact of the matter is the people on earth and society,they are doing everything wrong in regards to the laws of nature and the universe. As we can see, we are destroying our planet, killing our fellow man, living out of sync with nature and blindly being led by mass media to a mindless life of damaging materialism. Extra terrestrials are a threat, leading us to the fundamental weaponization of space and extending arm of military industrial complex and power over the minds of the people.
As man goes on with living a life of fallenness, robots and machines will take over many jobs and people will loose their jobs by contrast. As people loose their jobs, they will have hard time getting money which would make it hard for them to continue to meet living expenses.
Moreover, as people useless money the economy would be difficult to control.
The fallenness of man in the contemporary world in form of the abuse in the advent of technology, such as robots and over use of machines will make the people lazy, because they want roborts and machines to control the world. Thus, causing a major destruction to the human body, if roborts and machines are to do the work in the world.
If machines do most of the jobs people do today, we may have a future of jobless growth, a time when productivity increases not because of the work people do but because of the work of machines.
If this really happen in the future, who would be more valuable? Human beings (because we create those roborts and computers), or the roborts and computers (because they are the ones who are producing most of the security’s goods and services)?
Disoriented away from the very source of his being, human beings themselves who ought to be the central issue in the order of things begin to palace themselves side-by-side with mere material things. By so doing, this misplacement of values involving self-alination begins to manifest itself in such existential predicaments as loss of hope, in humanity, poverty, fear (both for the known and the unknown), corruption, inauthenticity, socio-moral vices, diseases, and so on. These and many more are the canker warms that eat up the contemporary man in his world inspite of all their effort in modern civilization.
CRITICAL EVALUATION, RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
Up to now, we have delineated the ontological, psychological and practical structure of fallenness of Dasein in the contemporary world as inauthenticity maintains itself the throes of selfhood.
At this juncture in the history of the world, man had lost his desire for ultimate meaning, truth and Being and turned his attention in finding facts that worked. Being blind to the fundational relatives of human existence, man has turned out to be a slave to his own scientific progress. It brought about a culture that is technologically oriented, which saw everything, including man, as a tool that can argument the progress of the sciences as a means of fallenness and bring about better living conditions.
Having thus lost the sense of finality and purposefulness in life, man has become the victim of confusion to which human existence is led by the so-called progress in technology and science and this is the main concern of this work.
The homeliness of human communities was giving way. People became strangers to themselves in their own home land. Having lost the rootedness of their lives, their lives became superficial and artificial. The call of destiny rings no more in their ears; everyone is lost in the oblivion of the cares of his/her everyday existence. The rootedness of man is threatened to the core! Even more, the loss of rootedness is caused not merely by circumstance or fortune, nor does is stem only from the negligence or superficiality of man’s life. The loss of rootedness also springs from the spirit of the age into which all of us were born.
Is the world today ok, that is, all right? Response, of course, definitely not! What precisely is wrong with the world? We all know what is wrong with the world. But what you know may not be what the other person know. Even when there is unanimity with regard to what is wrong with the world there is however divergence with regard to how to correct the situation. Could it be therefore that what is wrong with the world is our different experiences of it? Can truth be different for everyone? However, even these considerations do not make the world not to be alright (ok). They, however enable us to shift our attention from the objective world to the cognitive and interpretative process that reveals the world of our experience. Human existential experience, which is basically our world, is different for each of us. Recognizing this enables us to refocus our attention and thus turn to our authenticity by representing our individuality.
Most importantly, this work hopes to contribute to the tradition of “hope talk”. Let us disagree, reflect, and criticize without demonizing and always never losing sight of hope. Our disagreements are immaterial, but stifling and muzzling hope talk has terminal consequences. We become spiritually dead and our tears dry up; we become ethically barren and indifferent. To the appalling misery; hope talk dies.
Hope talk is therefore our lifeline; it keeps us alive. And for those who (secretely or defiantly) harbor some sense of hope in the hope talk may this work uplift their spirits. For those who do not, this work will help them to become a participant in this audacious and courageous enterprise of hope talk in the hopelessly and helplessly weary existential situation of the human being.
Man should awake to a window of possibility for a fundamental transformation of human conscience. Hence, since we can deny our own mortality and continually turn our minds away from it, even our attitude toward our own death can be inauthentic. What calls us to authenticity is the voice of conscience.
The duty of conscience, according to Heidegger, is to summon man back from his inauthenticity to his personal responsibility of freeing himself and living a life of authenticity (Ibid, 275).
Man’s conscience tells him to be himself and to stop drifting along with others.
Man must follow the dictates of his conscience in order to regain and re-assert himself.
In this regard, conscience is akin to the theological understanding of a moral element in us, telling us about what is good or bad (Ibid, 258).
The call of conscience takes the mode of discourse and an appeal to man, an appeal to man’s “own most potentiality-for-Being itself” which it does by means of impuging guilt upon, by way of summoning it to its own most Being-guilty. Such guilty however, is not a moral or psychological guilt; instead it is an indebted, beholden obligation Dasein has toward its responsibility to become and fulfill itself as Being-in-the-world. Dasein must seize upon such guilt in that it “owes” something to itself and to others. It is the call of care in which its lostness is recovered in its apprehension of its obligation to be other than what it is its everydayness.
This call comes from the uncanniness it experiences in its guilt, which makes Dasein inextricably responsible for its own authentic becoming. Such uncanniness arouses a ubiquitous anxiety, one directed toward its truth as “resoluteness”, which makes man’s authenticity possible”.
Such conscience tells us that we ought to make our situations ours (my situation mine), rather than let it descend or inflict itself on us (or me as the case may be).
It is the voice by which man, speaking in secrecy and silence, calls itself out of the distraction of self-forgetfulness to its own responsibility for being itself. Conscience tells us we ought resolute to face our inner capabilities, instead of forgetting ourselves in this or that.
Obviously, conscience can be an ontic event, as when we feel a nagging guilt, when we don’t volunteer our-time to someone who needs us (Ibid, 542). We have to know that this conscience, we are talking of it as neither a product of social condition, nor is it the voice of God, “no”, for the possibility of everyday experiences of guilt is grounded in the fundamental existence of conscience.
Authentic man must make up for living and choosing genuinely and must first make possible its authentic potentiality-for-Being. Man comes to find himself through the disclosure of conscience as an inner voice.
Conscience opens man to his own freedom by making him realize that neither the society nor man’s current identity (as a student, Engineer, Teacher, etc) necessarily determines what he shall do or become.
Dasein has to take the responsibility for his choices. Thus, for man to rise up from his fallen state, he has to resolute; resoluteness brings man back to its own most potentiality-for-Being its self. The voice of conscience calls man out from the distractions that are rife in the day-to-day life, the self forgetfulness that often leads to irresponsible behaviour.
When Dasein is consciencized, individual will be aware of the problems caused by the fallenness of man, and thus decides and determines to live a conscious moral life. On the part of advent of technology, the government must have appropriate policies to restrict bad impact of technology and science and as well educate people about them.
At this point, it is pertinent for us to know that this work intends to call man, who is fragmented by the scientific technological culture (its misuse causes man’s fallenness), to the wholenss and authenticity of his existence.
It involved a calling back to their roots, men who are caught up in the fragmented way of living that is characteristic of everyday existence, and opening them to the call of destiny.
Again, when Dasein is conscious of his dread, it can reawaken the need for human authenticity. As we said earlier, human being is a being unto death, that is, being whose nature it is to die and he is forever consciously aware of this.
Concurring with the above suggestion, B.E. Nwigwe, avers “Dread of death is not just a passing mood that derives from any specific object. It is rather that mood, which takes hold of a person, when he remembers his own limitations and especially when it becomes clear to the one that the one’s life is ending in death” (258).
The import here is that the consciousness of dread makes life as a whole, therefore life-facing death. But dread alone brings the awareness in the human being, namely, that his proper freedom lies in the fact that he is a being that must face death. This rather than be a disability is a challenge to mobilize all his effort in facing all the seeming absurdities of life.
In Being and Time, Heidegger’s existential analysis of Dasein, the human kind of Being, reveals that man is uncanny, that is, “not at home” as he is lost in the world, as Being-in-the-world.
Dasein by nature is a social being. The world is always a world he shares and inhabits with other people and the presence of these other people always affect his daily life greatly.
While Dasein, tranquilised has the sense that understand everything and thus compare, himself with everything, he actually drifts along towards alienation. The man can be so involved wanting to explore and mastering alien cultures and even go into synthesizing them with his own that he can be foolishly proud of inventing a universal social Dasein.
Yet, this outer journey carries away Dasein to an alienated inauthentic world, thus, leading to a movement of fallenness: the tendency to let himself go, to give freeness to his urges, without controlling himself.
Our discussions so far reveal that the contemporary man is wrapped up in his own projects, in a habitual and unreflective following of social, cultural conventions, so that he becomes self-forgetful. Sources of this decay in human life (man) are the advent of two barbarian trends in European civilization into the world – namely the decay in western metaphysics and the advent of western technology. The nihilism of western metaphysics in form of modern technology lies the fallenness of man in the contemporary world.
Exploitation of human life and other things in nature through the misuse of technology is obvious that it has completely reduced man who was in control of “something” to suddenly becomes in control of “nothing”, and is now being controlled by his own products.
The point envisaged here is that the wanton destruction of lives and property in the contemporary world in the name of “technologism” is un-ethical. Despite all odds, man can still regain his human mastering of the natural world by adhering to the dictates of his conscience and resoluteness which calls him to his authenticity.
In conclusion, this work summons fallen man to turn away from aimless living and invites or give invitation to turn to a purposeful life. Thus, this research work, beyond any doubt, is a call to an authentic human existence and to genuine human living.
At the long last, however, to accord human life its meaning, those who have been campaigning against fallenness of man (that is, the misuse of technology) should double their efforts while those who have been silent about this ignomy should wake up from their slumber and join this campaign against the desecration of the uniqueness of man and sacredness of human life.
As a matter of fact, governments should put in place more stringent rules barning every technology that is harmful to man, such as destructive weapons, cloning of human beings, computer crime, and so on.
Enacting a legally enforceable ban that carries substantial penalties would be the best way to discourage the misuse of technological artifacts in both public and the private use of technology.
Moreover, let us all join voices and say no to this animalistic treatment of humans (the fallenness of man) and the nihilistic vision of the present and future world, which can be linked with, the “madness of technology” in the world today.
“Man should know himself”, he should not allow himself to be absorbed by the “crowd” and by his own product.
Invention of technology is good in as much as it helps to produce products that are used for the better enhancement of human life. But the way technology is being carried out these days is so dangerous that it reduces man to a mere “thing”, “product”, a “nothing” and this must stop before we end up in a nihilistic generation. This calls for an authentic life by giving listening ear to our voice of conscience and resoluteness; ‘be yourself’ and “I will be mine”, we should follow our authentic instinct drive by not being the replicant of others. Man should not be a servant to machines: let us say “no” to “technologized man”.
Above all, I strongly suggest that all the resources invested on harmful technologies, that are detriment to man’s life should be shifted to enhance human lives so as to eliminate hunger, diseases, and most especially in those war torn countries.
The point explicitly buttressed in this research work is to show that the spiritual decline of the earth has progressed so far that peoples are in danger of losing their last spiritual strength, the strength that makes it possible even to see the decline (fallenness) and to appraise it as such. Caught in the pincers between Western World and other parts of the world, both of which are governed by “the same wretched frenzy of unchained technology and boundless organization of the average man”.
Technology will be of good benefit to man if well handled. This is to say that if man could use his god-given knowledge in the right way, the world would be a beautiful place for each and every one of us. Technology is like a double-edged sword. Use it well, it humanizes man, use it wrong, it dehumanizes man. Let’s use it well and be happy for it. Its gain cannot be over emphasized; neither can its dangers be overlooked.
Trailing behind this our position is that man could be saved from technological nihilism only by a world pounding renewal of man’s relationship with the being of other things. If we take precautions, take our jobs as our vocations and not as our lives, we would build a better world that is far much better than this one we live in. For man to exhibit his authenticity, he must tread the insecure path of repeating and retrieving the inception of historical-spiritual Dasein, in order to transform it.
Although, we are never fully and completely authentic; we are only authentic, relatively speaking. The fact remains that human life ought to be reverenced and respected for whom they are, and not what they are or have; it should not be manipulated upon. We have different people, different faces and different destinies, each must face his own “life and live it” and “death to die alone”, hence, let’s say “yes” to authenticity” and “no” to inauthenticity, for it leads to the path of destruction.
Martin Heidegger’s Fundamental Ontology – Fallenness Of Dasein
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