Human vs Being – a thought provoking dichotomy


I’m an analyst by nature, perhaps you would already label me as an amateur philosopher or anthropologist. This means I do not accept information at face value. The idea of one perspective being labeled as truth does not sit well with my soul. This leads my wandering mind to the concept and most interesting compound word in our history “Human Being”. What does it mean? Is it interwoven or separate and trying to become one? who birthed the word and why?

By dictionary definition, humans are from the homo species in its literal sense. However, the Human appears to be static, already there; physical, perhaps a body. The meaning of the word, human, almost appears separate to us. It sounds like or appears to be a suit of perception (a body). To me, it is like (a knowing entity) picking up a virtual reality headset and tunning into a reality that seems true. But then, the virtual reality is not pre-defined but only projects what the observer wants to experience. According to Physicists, my observations would link perfectly well to the theory of quantum entanglement.

So what of Being? The word ‘Being’ has perplexed people as to why it was added to the word, human. Being is an action word -a verb “to be” and appears to exist in time; continuous, ongoing. On the other hand, it is also referred to as the soul and essence of the human, by definition. Does this mean that plants could also be referred to as beings? Since they also contain a core separate to their physicality. Perhaps the concept of Being links to the concept of consciousness. A body aware of its perception of reality? But not existing as one but rather separate and agreeing to become whole? (maktoob!)

I was keen to explore the concept of human being so I started frolicking with the idea in my head, jotting down words and concepts without much forcing. I randomly stumbled across literature videos made by the school of life on YouTube. These videos consisted of ancient and modern day philosophers and their perspectives on life and human experiences. From here, I found German philosopher, Heidegger. Just a noteful reminder, I did not find Heidegger’s work prior to questioning the word Human Being. My quest to discover the meaning of the word moved me into finding his work. You could say my mental inquiry manifested his work or attracted me to his perspective. This aided me to add more depth, meaning and perspective to my area of research. There was no force, simply, a gracious allowing.

In Heidegger’s book, Seiz und Zeit, the question Heidegger asks in the introduction to Being and Time is: what is the being that will give access to the question of the meaning of Being? Heidegger’s answer is that it can only be that being for whom the question of Being is important, the being for whom Being matters. As this answer already indicates, the being for whom Being is a question is not a what, but a who. Heidegger calls this being Dasein (an ordinary German word literally meaning “being-there” i.e. existence), and the method pursued in Being and Time consists in the attempt to delimit the characteristics of Dasein, in order thereby to approach the meaning of Being itself through an interpretation of the temporality of Dasein. Dasein is not “man,” but is nothing other than “man”—it is this distinction that enables Heidegger to claim that Being and Time is something other than philosophical anthropology.
Thus, more generally, the outcome of the progression of Heidegger’s argument is the thought that the being of Dasein is time. The existential and ontological constitution of the totality of Dasein is grounded in temporality. Accordingly, a primordial mode of temporalizing of ecstatic temporality itself must make the ecstatic project of being in general possible. How is this mode of temporalizing of temporality to be interpreted? Is there a way leading from primordial time to the meaning of being? Does time itself reveal itself as the horizon of being?
Although Heidegger was yet to complete his book, I was drawn to the fact both our questions and ideas were very much in sync. His work was published a while ago I do believe there are clearer and more succinct concepts to these questions which I probably would be exploring my whole lifetime. This piece is to stir a thought and invite perspectives into a new way of thinking.

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