Being as question, and its call

Being as question – Sein als Frage – is the main stance, i.e., the principal theoretical orientation, in fundamental ontology as expounded by Heidegger in Being and time. It is the core of hermeneutic circle, which means that as long as one practises hermeneutics, the question of being remains the underlying driving force.

Heidegger, in order to avoid falling back on the great metaphysical tradition of Cartesianism, which reduces the Greek notion of ousia into latinised substantia, thus positing the illusory construct of the ego, and, as ethnography has taught us, ego is not part of the everyday Lebenswelt of some cultures, unlike the West. Hence to remain focused on the question of being while posing questions in hermeneutic circle calls for an ecstatico-temporal discipline in ontology and not for a higher level of metaphysical positing as Husserl, Heidegger’s mentor, did.

The ecstatico-temporal temporalisation of being calls for a high degree of mindfulness (Besinnung) on the continuous projection and constituting of Dasein in the three ecstases (Ekstasen) of time – past, present and future – in the finitude of its being-toward-death. Essentially speaking, the ecstatico-temporal horizon to which Dasein‘s hermeneutic structure of understanding, upon the formation of meaning depends on, refers to constantly is finite. Dasein, as lived, embodied experience, can never be infinite regression or progression. In other words, Dasein‘s interpretation has to come to an end somewhere; in radical terms, it is death, the mode of which, however, is never certain in the Dasein of anybody.

The uncertainty of death means that whatever control Dasein has over being, say, through the multifarious modes of techne regardless of the level of development of technology in any specific historical time, is quite limited. Mindfulness, as mindfulness of being, means submission on the part of Dasein to being (Sein), but not to the metaphysical reduction of being to beings (Seiende) that has ensnared the modern world. It is not a submission to any temporal authority or the dogmas of faith, but to the voice of being and its call which is radically individuated in the phenomenon of Dasein‘s conscience (Gewissen), which is in fact a form of fundamental knowing (Wissen) (cf. Heidegger 1996).

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