This week’s featured archive: Not negation but interrogation

Like the college punter on the river Cam, who pushes the world away in order to travel through it so I must employ the world’s resources even if forsaking it.

Like the college punter on the river Cam, who pushes the world away in order to travel through it so I must employ the world’s resources even if forsaking it.

The manner in which we appropriate the world  determines  the style in which we travel through it.

Peter Giles

Both Sartre and Heidegger in their own way construe human being as ontological nothingness or negation. I cannot agree. Indeed, my life projection, in thrownness, is not ‘determined by this nothingness’, but by interrogation, for the world in thrownness is always already there and just like the college punter on the river Cam, who pushes the world away in order to travel through it so I must employ the world’s resources even if forsaking it. Though Heidegger holds that Dasein ‘is itself essentially null’, this is not phenomenologically apparent. I am never neutrality for even when my life is reduced to an existential veto, still my identity-sense is recursively interrogating the world for the nutrients and the oxygen I need at the most basic level of recursive indebtedness. Even if I set my face against human society I am destined to make my own. It is not nothingness in fact that describes ‘Dasein’s being-free for its existential possibilities’;[1] but an interrogative essence that  frees me, indeed compels me to choose amongst different possibilities of being.

 

[1] Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, 285, in James Mensch, Embodiments: From the Body to the Body Politic, Published online, 2009, 80

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