How can we live authentically? Since the dawn of philosophy, many have paused such a question. Also questions, Like how do we know we exist? Does this object exist? How do things exist? But Heidegger, said before asking about existence we must ask what the meaning of being is?
In being and time, he introduces man as “dasein”, the being that stands out from everyday consciousness and recognizes his own being and asks the question “what does it mean to be”. Before this one fact, one realizes this one fact. One is completely absorbed in the world, dasein is in the world.
Living authentically involves dasein’s understanding of itself as a being that exists and that potentially doesn’t exist or eventually will not exist. We do our everyday things but, with everyday monotony, most don’t heavily realize how their acts respond to themselves and others.
A craftsman has tools and doesn’t see the tools as independent of self but, when the tool breaks the craftsman sees the tool independent of self and this promotes the thought that dasein will in fact be of non-existence or will cease function as does his tools and the craftsman’s self as does his tools are subject to entropy.
Living with the reality of non-existence or that one may die one day is of importance to living authentically. Heidegger brings out the idea of the “own most” which means that by fact, you will experience your own death and you can’t share it with someone, no one but, you has your life and no one but you will have your death.
“We were born into a world of quiet conformity.
Initially everything we do and say, think and believe
Have been done, said, thought and believed before. The activities we regard as worthy of our time and effort, the ultimate values and meanings we pursue
And the particular styles and forms through which we pursue these goals have all been provided by our various human cultures.”
Unless we find ways to wrest control of our own lives from society,
All of our decisions will continue to be made for us by the unnoticed forces of the cultures in which we live.’
They (Other People) even hide the process by which ‘they’ have quietly relieved us of the ‘burden’ of making choices for ourselves.
It remains a complete mystery who has really done the choosing. We are carried along by the ‘nobody’, without making any real choices, becoming ever more deeply ensnared in inauthenticity.”
[Martin Heidegger Being & Time, Macquarrie p. 312-313; Stambaugh p. 248; paraphrase]
The authentic dasein sees one existence as one’s own, to be defined and made by one’s thoughts and self. The unauthentic dasein is moved and defined by the public and allows one’s self to be socially constructed and one is lost.
One must not live alone to be authentic but, to be authentic has more to do with your attitude, it involves confronting one’s values, understanding the social, universal reality one exists in, ceasing one’s existence and making it one’s own.