Saturday, February 16, 2008

Being & Time II, Part 3: Enter The (Temporal) Dragon

Part 2

In the third chapter of Division II, Heidegger will reach the idea that temporality, as the ontological meaning of care, is the unifying element of Da-sein. Everything I’ve just said has a temporal meaning; consider the projecting forward of understanding. “Meaning” is the horizon upon which something is intelligible as the thing that it is. Temporality is the horizon upon which care becomes intelligible. (BT 298) So what I’ll do now is bring out the temporality of what I’ve just spoken about.

With temporality, Heidegger describes the totality of Da-sein: “ahead-of-itself-already-being-in (a world) as together-with (beings encountered within the world.” (BT 300) None of this is about being earlier or later; all three work together to reveal themselves as the “ekstaticon par excellence” an ecstatic unity of temporality. (BT 302) It is not a sequence moving from now to another now, not an aggregate of the ecstasies. While the future is the primary ecstasy, all three move within one another. This “unified phenomena of the future that makes present in the process of having-been” is temporality. It is a unified structure that cannot be divided into a series of moments. It also cannot be seen as a path upon which historical events trod.

Heidegger will present the ecstasies as authentic or inauthentic. The structural elements of being-in-the-world are understanding, attunement and falling prey. Each of these elements temporalizes as a different ecstasy. Understanding is the projection towards a possibility; it discloses potentiality so that Da-sein knows what is going on.

We are always, in fact, projecting into possibilities. Da-sein always understands itself in terms of projects that it projects into. Because Da-sein projects forward, it is always ahead of itself. Ontologically speaking, Da-sein is always not yet. Primordially, Da-sein exists from the future. There is always something outstanding. What is outstanding is death. Death is Da-sein’s ownmost, not to be bypassed possibility, and it is unrelated to anything in the referential totality. It is not a logical possibility in the world. It is what is always outstanding for Da-sein. The anticipation of death is the authentic future, while the understanding that comes towards itself only in terms of the world taken care of is an awaiting that makes present. (BT 310)

Rather than an awaiting that makes present, authentic anticipation discloses a present that is held in authentic temporality called the moment. The moment is not another “now” that appears in a series of nows, but rather it is a part of the ecstatic unity of temporality. The moment temporalizes itself out of an authentic future, which is part of the “ecstatic unity [to which] a corresponding having-been must belong.” (BT 311) In this authentic moment, Da-sein brings itself forth to its ownmost potentiality, and this is called retrieve.

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