Saturday, February 26, 2011

Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time": A Summary

Note: This post is drawn from the notes of a talk I gave to the UMass Dartmouth philosophy club this Wednesday, which you can read more about here.


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Philosophy lost its way a long fucking time ago. They treat 'being' like some trivial thing, instead of the most important fucking question of our time, the one that matters most of all. What does it mean to be? Plato ignored it and went about his merry fucking way, and now philosophy is useless.  We don't even know what it takes for something to exist. What makes a thing a thing? What are the criteria for being? Of course, the only way to get to Being itself is through beings, things that are, which is inconvenient as shit but just the way it is. Fortunately, we are beings who can understand Being, the Dasein.


At this point, you're either a bit confused or you've begun diagramming the uses of the word 'Being'. Good call, but I hope you brought tons of colored pencils and a good sharpener, or you're fucked. The truth is, the single word 'being' just wasn't meant to bear as heavy a load as this project puts on it. So think of 'Being', the essential thing we're trying to get at, like a Party, and think of 'to be', the verb, as 'to rage'. Now, there are lots of people at this party - chairs, trees, pretty much everything that is. Where is this Party? In the world, which we'll call the 'house'. And who do we know who rages the hardest? That's right, fucking Bros, that's who. They're the Dasein at this party, the partiers who rage with awareness and understanding. Turns out, Dasein being is a lot like a Bro raging, and Dasein understanding Being is a lot like Bros understanding the Party. There, isn't that better?




When a Bro rages, he rages in a way that sets him apart form everyone else at the party - he rages with an immediacy such that he knows not only what is going on but also what could be going on. He must always plan one step ahead of himself so as to rage in the best possible way, to make the most of the Party. Sometimes that worries a Bro - even Bros get anxiety from time to time, though we don't like to admit it - and that angst might cause the Bro to slow down. "Woah," he might think, "this Party could end. I see the potential, and that worries me a little - can I truly execute?" When a Bro slows down like that,  he hides his Broness, and slows down the party - when the Dasein lets his anxiety take over, he hides his Being. Eventually, the Bro must overcome his anxiety and rage in a truly authentic way that embraces the possibilities inherent to the Party - this shows the fullness of the Party. When a Bro realizes that the Party demands something, he must step up and do the fucking keg stand that no one else can do, because they're not Bros and they don't know what raging truly takes. A Bro who steps up his game, pours the shots and takes control of the music in an authentically Bro way fucking makes the Party. We've all been places where there are drinks and snacks but everyone is standing around doing nothing - that's not a fucking party. That's a potential party being wasted by all who are there; in the same way, if the Dasein is not authentic, he is wasting his Being.


Understanding the Party requires the Bro to interpret the signs of raging that he sees around him; raging isn't as simple as being in the house standing around; if only. The Bro's immediacy and awareness demand of him attention and interpretation - therefore how the Bro thinks and responds to events in the course of raging is actually an essential element of the Party - the Dasein's mind is an essential part of Being. The Bro finds himself at the Party, thrown into it - no one asked him if he wanted to rage (though he obviously would have said "Fuck yeah, bitches" had they asked him). Still, here he is, so fucking buckle up. 


This is the relationship of the Party to time - the Bro rages at a particular point in time. Again, he must think one step ahead of himself, and he must know what has already happened at the Party to know what he must do to maintain the Party; a Bro, then, to truly Party, must be aware of time - the past, present, and future are all essential elements of raging properly and authentically. That awareness goes so far even into the awareness that eventually the Party will end for the Bro - when he sees another Bro passed out on the couch all Sharpie'd up, or leaving the party sick, he becomes aware of an inevitable end. That's fucking shocking to the Bro, because he wants to rage non-stop. He has, until now, believed the Party never ends, and this awareness is a new source of anxiety for him. He must embrace this, too - eventually, the awareness that the Party ends no matter what he does will drive him to rage all the more authentically, to bring out the Party as best as he possibly fucking can. Time, then, enables the Bro to rage as well as possible, and gives meaning and sense to the Party.

27 comments:

  1. Wow. This analogy you've made here sits right up there with Plato's cave, bro. I especially like it since i'm in the proces of reading Totality and Infinity by Levinas (it gets quite tiring after a while), which criticizes almost everything Heidegger's done in Being and Time. A summary like this really helps me motivated to keep on trying to slay the damn beast. Thanks!

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  2. This is truly the most epic post so far. You can explain Being and Time even better than my prof. Bravo, Bro. Bravo.

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  3. wonderful allusion to the "party" that Heidegger was part of...

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  4. That was amazing. This is your first post I've read where you summarized something I haven't read. It makes me wonder how much better it would've been if I had..

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  5. oh my god i love you so much philosophy bro. you are actually my hero.

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  6. The most impressive entry so far. I am in awe of your broness.

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  7. I didn't even think of that, Tarquinius! That's brilliant on multiple levels. Also, those bros were raging...

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  8. Great shit, bro. Really, tops. I DARE you to do Totality and Infinity now.

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  9. Nice, you should do one on Arthur Bropenhauer, Jean Brodrillard, or even a woman- perhaps Simone de Brovoir.

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  10. bru, I don't know how much herb you smoke in one day but it's obviously a lot because your posts are as dank as 'cheese'. x

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  11. You say Fuck too much....

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  12. ^fuck that.. fuck on Bro.. more! more! more! I bet you've heard that lots before.

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  13. I agree with Cory. Will you do the Ethics of Ambiguity?

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  14. Bro. You are such a Fucking Bro. Great way to teach-I only want material in school like this + simpsons and southpark. Kids wopuld be a lot less dum.

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  15. Epic post, Bro. Literally was an eye-opening read. I'm reading through Being and Time right now, and have to write a short analysis of one quote, and I liked a quote about Dasein's past going not before Dasein but rather always after Dasein. It was riiiiight about there that I turned to here for assistance. Thank you, Philosophy Bro. Thank you.

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  16. I'm about to write a test on Heidegger and this honestly really helped me to remember the entire Being and Time based off of your analogy because the I can just relate everything to the points of your story and being at a party. Awesome job.

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  17. Dude, i've gotta rethink how i party. thanks bro. and yeah, do ethics of ambiguity. that shit is dope.

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  18. There aren't enough words to describe how epic this post is... dude, you are le-jit!!

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  19. You are an inspiration to all, bro.

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  20. This analogy is horrible. It's like you're trying to make sure no one understands what he's actually talking about.

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  21. The previous post is horrible. It's like you're trying to make sure no one understands what your unspecified objection is actually about.

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  22. This is fucking ridiculous. You bitches are commenting on a website when you could be raging. Talk about missing the fucking point.

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  23. The post before this one is ghastly. It's like you're trying to make sure no one understands why specifity is important.

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  24. The previous post is... OK, I guess. I just like jokes with recursions. Btw. nice intepretation :-)

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  25. Bro, where were you when I was studying this? Great work.

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  26. Bro, this is a masterpiece.

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