Notes on das Man

Indeed what is really fascinating about Being and Time is not because it is some kind of treatise on existential heroism, but because it tellingly describes the everyday existential-existentiell reality of what it is to be for us to exist as Dasein. Heidegger’s descriptive-interpretive phenomenology situates the everyday Dasein in das Man while pointing out that by and large, Dasein exists in the mode of “they-self” (Man-selbst). Instead of Dasein being anything like the depiction in popular accounts of existentialism as a battleground between authentic selfhood and the anonymised masses, its being-in-the-world in the unglamorous mode of das Man is the norm. Yet moments of authenticity do break through, when Angst comes into play, unannounced: an unsettling opening up of possibilities in face of the radical finitude of death. 

Phenomenology of loss

Is grieving over loss about the absence of a presence in one’s being-in-the-world? Or is the absence of familiar communications and interactions far more painful? Does the experience of pain point to the essential “being-with” of existence? Dasein is Mitdasein. Selfhood is what it is because there is another self to affirm it in Lichtung and to nurture it in authenticity. Mitdasein is the reciprocal mirroring of one Dasein with another in the projecting open of time. When this mirroring suddenly stops through loss, time points to the groundlessness of the assumed ground of being – the abyss in its pure form.

Loss, in its essence, is a goodbye to the world as it unfolds itself as futural abyss to being.