Dasein

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

Dasein

Postby Bob » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:14 am

Dasein (German pronunciation: [ˈdaːzaɪn]) is a German word that means "being there" or "presence" (German: da "there"; sein "being"), and is often translated into English with the word "existence". It is a fundamental concept in the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger, particularly in his magnum opus Being and Time. Heidegger uses the expression Dasein to refer to the experience of being that is peculiar to human beings. Thus it is a form of being that is aware of and must confront such issues as personhood, mortality and the dilemma or paradox of living in relationship with other humans while being ultimately alone with oneself.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasein


A strange thought to me after awakening this morning and it was concerned with the use of this word. I would, quite naturally, associate dasein with animal life, lacking consciousness, but in fact it is used exactly the other way around. The experience of being that is peculiar to human beings is due to consciousness, and therefore dasein relates to that experience.

What then would we describe as a being without consciousness? The reason I ask is because I had an experience about twenty years ago that worried us for some time. According to my wife, I awoke and washed, had breakfast and drove off to work. The thing that was strange for her was that I was less talkative than usual. At work, I took over from the night shift. Again, I was less talkative than usual but didn’t seem impaired in any way. I then walked down the ward and in a patients room I suddenly became conscious that I didn’t know how I arrived at work. I looked out of the window to check if I had come by car. That was the case.

The question arises, whether I wasn’t conscious through this episode, or did I lose my memory? I can’t remember any part of it. It does, however, illustrate the fact that consciousness is having memories and thoughts of the future, whereas the state I seem to have been in was only concerned with the present and seems to have been either habit or instinct. I would have called this state dasein, if it wasn’t already used for the state of consciousness.

What do you think?
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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Re: Dasein

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:58 am

Bob wrote:A strange thought to me after awakening this morning and it was concerned with the use of this word. I would, quite naturally, associate dasein with animal life, lacking consciousness, but in fact it is used exactly the other way around. The experience of being that is peculiar to human beings is due to consciousness, and therefore dasein relates to that experience.
I am not quite sure what you mean by consciousness here. And I am not quite sure how Dasein is involved, either with animals or with your story.

What do you think?
It could have been a minor fugue state:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugue_state

It could have been Transient Global Amnesia....
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-con ... c-20378531

Though really, these are descriptive, not really giving you an understanding.

I think we are much more complicated than most people notice or want to notice. Could have been physiological anomalies that led you to be not really present in that time. Could have been that you had a traumatic dream, which you did not remember, and this threw you into all sorts of defense mechanisms and a kind of reduction of consciousness, a bit like freezing when a predator is leaning over you and you cannot run or fight: the third reaction 'freezing' but one that was not complete, so you were able to move, but you were not really 'there'. I have experienced that and relate it to childhood trauma getting retriggered.

I was once walking about a little town, encountered an acquaintance and felt really quite unreal. I felt distant in myself. A bit like how alcohol can make things feel distant but I was sober.

somewhere between Derealization....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derealization

and Depersonalization

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depersonalization

I think most people have so many defenses that these states are harder for them to experience. They are not introspective as a rule, and so the boundary between the unconscious and the conscious is much more closed to them. So no storms come sweeping out the unconscious to affect the way they experience things. They are no doubt affected by storms from the unconscious - and are in a bad mood for 'no reason', but the phenomenology of their experiencing is pretty much the same. But if the boundary between the consciousn and unconscious is more open and in fact one is conscious of one's unconscious - from therapy, spirituality, meditation, shamanism, traumatic experiences, curiosity, creative work, whatever - many more states of consciousness are possible, both pleasant and unpleasant.
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Re: Dasein

Postby Bob » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:04 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I am not quite sure what you mean by consciousness here. And I am not quite sure how Dasein is involved, either with animals or with your story.

It’s probably just the speculation of someone who during the day time mostly speaks German. “Being there” (dasein) can mean physically or mentally “there”.
It could have been a minor fugue state:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugue_state

I don’t think so, but thanks for your input.
It could have been Transient Global Amnesia....
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-con ... c-20378531

This sounds right though.
I think we are much more complicated than most people notice or want to notice. Could have been physiological anomalies that led you to be not really present in that time. Could have been that you had a traumatic dream, which you did not remember, and this threw you into all sorts of defense mechanisms and a kind of reduction of consciousness, a bit like freezing when a predator is leaning over you and you cannot run or fight: the third reaction 'freezing' but one that was not complete, so you were able to move, but you were not really 'there'. I have experienced that and relate it to childhood trauma getting retriggered.

Now, twenty or so years later, I can’t recall anything that may have triggered the experience, but it could be that I forgot that as well. I never did recover my memory of the time between waking and coming to my senses.
I was once walking about a little town, encountered an acquaintance and felt really quite unreal. I felt distant in myself. A bit like how alcohol can make things feel distant but I was sober.
somewhere between Derealization....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derealization

I haven’t experienced that before.

Or this ...
I think most people have so many defenses that these states are harder for them to experience. They are not introspective as a rule, and so the boundary between the unconscious and the conscious is much more closed to them. So no storms come sweeping out the unconscious to affect the way they experience things. They are no doubt affected by storms from the unconscious - and are in a bad mood for 'no reason', but the phenomenology of their experiencing is pretty much the same. But if the boundary between the consciousn and unconscious is more open and in fact one is conscious of one's unconscious - from therapy, spirituality, meditation, shamanism, traumatic experiences, curiosity, creative work, whatever - many more states of consciousness are possible, both pleasant and unpleasant.

I very often feel that I am more introspective than others, but it may be that people don’t open up on that in normal conversations. Sometimes I have had the feeling that if people talking to me were more introspective, that they would have less problems. Other times have not been able to fathom out how they came to their assumptions.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
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Re: Dasein

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:17 pm

Bob wrote:It’s probably just the speculation of someone who during the day time mostly speaks German. “Being there” (dasein)
Hm, I never considered it before, but perhaps Kozinski who wrote the book was hinting at Heidigger with Being There.

I very often feel that I am more introspective than others, but it may be that people don’t open up on that in normal conversations. Sometimes I have had the feeling that if people talking to me were more introspective, that they would have less problems. Other times have not been able to fathom out how they came to their assumptions.
Introspection leads pretty fast to cognitive dissonance. It also shows us our mixed feelings about things we don't want to have mixed feelings about. It also let's us in on reasons for our beliefs which are not are official reasons for our beliefs. It is not encouraged from without. And it is scary within.

But then, I can't imagine what life would be like without it. I mean, without prioritizing it.

If I hadn't, I would be living some other guy's life.
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