Wisdom of Life

Martin Heidegger: On the Wisdom of Love, Man and Being

Heidegger_1955“Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word ‘being’? Not at all. So it is fitting that we should raise anew the question of the meaning of Being. But are we nowadays even perplexed at our inability to understand the expression ‘Being’? Not at all. So first of all we must reawaken an understanding for the meaning of this question.”

“The human being is not the lord of beings, but the shepherd of Being.

Anyone can achieve their fullest potential, who we are might be predetermined, but the path we follow is always of our own choosing. We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. Your destiny can’t be changed but, it can be challenged. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.

If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself.”

“Why is love rich beyond all other possible human experiences and a sweet burden to those seized in its grasp? Because we become what we love and yet remain ourselves. Then we want to thank the beloved, but find nothing that suffices.

We can only thank with our selves. Love transforms gratitude into loyalty to our selves and unconditional faith in the other. That is how love steadily intensifies its innermost secret.

Here, being close is a matter of being at the greatest distance from the other — distance that lets nothing blur — but instead puts the “thou” into the mere presence — transparent but incomprehensible — of a revelation. The other’s presence suddenly breaks into our life — no soul can come to terms with that. A human fate gives itself over to another human fate, and the duty of pure love is to keep this giving as alive as it was on the first day.

And so man, as existing transcendence abounding in and surpassing toward possibilities, is a creature of distance. Only through the primordial distances he establishes toward all being in his transcendence does a true nearness to things flourish in him.”

Excerpts from:

  • Martin Heidegger, The Essence of Reasons
  • Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Letters: 1925–1975

***

~Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher and a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition of philosophy. He is best known for contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism.

Excellence Reporter 2019

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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