chapter  12
10 Pages

Heidegger, Kojève and Sartre

We know we are going to die; we know everyone dies. Yet, argues M a r t i n Heidegger ( 1 8 8 9 - 1 9 7 6 ) , we tend to know this truth only inauthentically; we acknowledge it, but in a way which forecloses on its full significance for how we live. O u r social existence conspires wi th this evasion; we exist within the confines of 'average everydayness', gradually wasting our life in the self-deceptions of the collective 'they'. Such an existence 'provides [besorgt] a constant tranquillization about death' (Being and Time, p. 2 9 8 ) . 1 T o live authentically we must realize that death is not the eventual end of life but the inner possibility of Being or Dasein. Death 'is a phenomenon of life' in the sense that, just as Dasein is already and constantly the not-yet of death, so 'it is already its end too . . . Death is a way to be, which Dasein takes over as soon as it is. " A s soon as man comes to life, he is at once old enough to d i e " ' (pp. 2 8 9 - 9 0 ) .