Friday, January 27, 2012

Heidegger A Very Short Introduction

When reading Michael Inwood’s Heidegger A Very Short Introduction, I read many things that reminded me of our class discussion about ordinary and what we believe ordinary is.  I enjoyed reading about Heidegger’s Being as well as Inwood’s depiction of it.  
This first thing that reminded me of our class discussion was the section about “Inauthenticity and the ‘They’”.  In it, Heidegger quotes “The fact that baldness is a significant, and disagreeable, feature of a person requiring some special response depends on social conventions that I did not initiate, and so too does the range of appropriate responses to it” (pg. 26).  What initially stood out to me where the words social conventions, reminding me of our idea as a class that what is considered ordinary is often what is also considered socially acceptable.  When rereading the paragraph again, I questioned if Heidegger was stating that Dasein followed social norms.  His quote made it seem that Dasein would react to what others thought.  This idea struck me because it went against everything, to my interpretation, that Dasein stood for.  
This question of Dasein and doing what is socially acceptable stayed in my mind as I continued to read.  Later in the same section, Heidegger brings up the example of being bald again stating “...if I have ceded my decisions to the ‘they’, I have, implicitly, decided to do so.  At any rate it is always possible for me to reclaim my choice...” (pg. 28).  This quote answered my question that just because Dasein might have done what was socially conventional does not, by any means, take away from the identity of Being because Dasein always has the choice to change his/her mind or actions.  This got me thinking, again, about today’s society and what is ordinary.  We stated that, often what is viewed as ordinary comes down to what is culturally acceptable.  But within our culture we need to remember, like Dasein, that we also have the choice go against the ordinary.  Not everyone choses to do so, but I think the fact that the choice is available is the important part.   

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