What makes a individual alive? Should existence be defined merely by a person’s biological and physical ability to travel and take a breath? Is existence proven by the mere physical presence of a populating individual?
Philosophers down the ages have advanced many theories of how human being is defined. Some have progress theories based on the constitution of “being” after the fulfilment of a life’s intent. Others opined that a person’s fright or experience of apprehension and nothingness defines being. Some nevertheless believe that it is a combination of these yin/yang forces that define human being.
II. Discussions on Existence. Being and Nothingness
Peoples are defined as human existences in Biology. It is what separates worlds as a coinage from animate beings. But shouldn’t the word “human” be plenty? What is the significance of the verb “be? ” Several theories have been advanced to specify the touchable things one sees in life but as philosopher Martin Heidegger noticed. they have forgotten to inquire what to “be” truly is ( Philipse. 1998. p18 ) . The inquiry of what defines human being has intrigued philosophers over the ages. Theories have gone beyond the basic making of life as the simple and obvious ability to travel and breathe.
Existentialism nevertheless. puts frontward the more abstract constructs of specifying one’s being as influenced by ennui. freedom. committedness and disaffection ( Warnock. 1970. p. 4 ) . It separates the human being into “being” and “nothing. ” What makes a human a “being” ?
Harmonizing to Heidegger. a de-constructional position of being is necessary to include the kernel of human’s “being” as opposed to the classical idea of the obvious and hence undiscovered being ( Philipse. 1998. p. 3 ) .
One of Heidegger’s chief influences. Edmund Huserll ( Grimsley. 1960. p. 37 ) said that doctrine should be described in the context of human experience and ends. Peoples do and populate in conformity with one “plan” or end. Heidegger modified this with his theory of “care. ” ( Cochrane. 1956. p112 ) which. merely declared agencies that a person’s precedences or what he or she considers of import defines their being. For him. it is the motive and the single needs that define a person’s being and therefore determine them into what they are.
In his work “Being and Time. ” Heidegger created the representation “Dasein” of the person that seeks to reply the inquiry as to why he exists. He states the Dasein is “thrown” into a universe of possibilities and duties. and to account for his being. the Dasein must take duty for all these possibilities ( Cochrane. 1956 p. 136 ) .
Another philosopher who advances the impression of a world governed by consciousness. Rene Descartes in his “Meditations on First Philosophy” states that in human being. the lone thing that can non be doubted is consciousness. World can hold many semblances. but a human being’s consciousness is changeless which hence makes it the lone truth ( Snooks. 1998. p 26 ) .
The celebrated German philosopher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ( Stace. 1955. p. 44 ) summed it up in the statement “the rational alone is real” which presented the thought that everything can and will merely be expressed in rational classs His assorted plants reflected methods preponderantly rooted in logic Harmonizing to Hegel. the grade of comprehension of constructs is merely limited or expanded by the criterions of cognition a individual possesses and the degree of society he belongs to ( Stace. 1955. p. 46 ) .
The thoughts of existential philosophy contradict this. The definition of a person’s being is non dependent on rational thought but instead their single “beings” in the universe they were born in. World in mention to one’s being is subjective. In Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness. ” he defines the actuality of man’s ideal of completion as the fulfilment of province of “Being” while void is the failure or deficiency of this actuality ( Schilpp. 1997. p. 48 )
Like Hegel. Sartre besides used the constructs of “Being” in footings of “ in itself” . “for others” . and “for and in itself. ” Unlike Hegel nevertheless who defined these as organisational idea procedures and logic in the person. Sartre stated these footings with definitions done to place and measure up the subjective and nonsubjective aspects of human being.
Regarded as the “Father of Existentialism. ” and one of Hegel’s greatest critics. Soren Kierkegaard ( Malantschuk. 2003. p. 11 ) was a Danish philosopher who proposed that it is an individual’s feelings such as apprehension and anxiousness that lead to doing picks that define a person’s life. Kierkegaard believed that the difference between an individual’s self-perception of being and nothingness roots from the “individuality” of a individual and that includes emotions and passions. A person’s being therefore. is brought about by his frights.
He cites a analogue of religion and godlessness. In his theories that were viewed as “anti-organized faith. ” Kierkegaard provinces that for a individual to be able to “make a spring of religion. ” one must foremost hold uncertainty. Otherwise. one may non be able to distinguish “faith” from mundane emotions. In the same manner. Bing can non be without “Nothing” and vice-versa ( Malantschuk. 2003. p. 90 )
Kierkegaard besides advanced the self-contradictory theory of the Concept of Dread ( Ussher. 1968. p. 52 ) . Harmonizing to Kierkegaard’s construct of Dread. it is merely when 1 has experienced entire wretchedness that one can acknowledge and see life and life.
“Only by being a sacrificial Isaac would he recognize himself for the dear of Abraham: and no miracle ( he knew in the terminal ) would step in. ” ( Ussher. 1968. p. 27 ) .
It is non unusual in today’s times to hear the axiom “You ne’er cognize what you have unless you’ve lost it. ” The wretchedness or anxiousness at the idea of losing something makes one recognize how much value they have genuinely assigned to something. The idea of this is echoed in German journalist Helmut Kuhn’s “Encounter with Nothingness: An Essay on Existentialism” ( 1949 ) : “The inquiry of being is urged upon us chiefly by our involvement. We raise it when we care for the being or the nonentity of something. When darkness closes down. we do acquire excited about the being of light” ( Kuhn. 1949 )
Immanuel Kant presented a manner of enquiry that takes to consideration the physiological and empirical aspects of a person’s province of Being. Kant believed that an introverted attack was necessary for one to understand and do sense of one’s ain being ( Kant. 1965 ) .
Sartre. one of the strongest critics of Kantian theory argues that the impression that human emotions are undistinguished and occasional “situations” that occur of an individual’s behaviour is unacceptable.
“Moreover. emotion must non be considered as a set of empirical facts gained through self-contemplation or as a “corporeal phenomenon” . but instead as “an organized signifier of human existence” ( Schilpp. 1997. p. 13 )
As a person’s being and province of “Being” are subjective. so is the definition of “nothingness. “
The lexicon significance of the word “nothing” is given as “1: non any thing: no thing ; 2: no portion ; 3: one of no involvement. value. or consequence”
In doctrine nevertheless. despite the many theories that sought to specify being. the definition of the word “nothing” seems to be cosmopolitan. It merely means failure to achieve a province of Being through deficiency of fulfilment and failure at the attainment of intents or ends.
The human being and being is a complex and self-contradictory construct. All the constructs are true in a sense. but were ne’er truly complete in depicting or nailing the significance of life. Different schools of thought scope from depicting human being in a mathematical sense so germinating into the more abstract consideration of complex human emotions.
Classical doctrine in its rational and logical footing. says it is “Mind over affair. “
Sartre. Hegel and Heidegger’s doctrines are summed up in “the End justifies the Means. “
Kierkegaard’s neurotic position of the being as a consequence of anxiousness and apprehension is summed up in “You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it. “
Given the many points of position advanced. there remains a changeless. and that is acknowledgment of the human free will. It is the will that makes a pick that rational. experiential or pessimistic. influences the “End” that defines and justifies a person’s being.
A person’s experience of yesteryear and nowadays in add-on to his perceptual experience of what the hereafter could be are subjective. The significance people place on certain things is besides subjective. Chemical reactions are subjective. Life is subjective. One can take to specify being in the mode of different doctrines. However. it is of import to observe that these schools of idea are non regulations that encompass every person’s experience of life.