Journal of my Journey towards Understanding: Heidegger: Is there a Being-Toward-Birth in Heideggerian ontology?

It seems to me that birth shares a lot of the features of death.

It’s my own-most past action.

Though if Dasein exists before being thrown out of the womb then it could be said that whilst in the womb biological birth was Dasein’s own-most-potentiality-of-being-in-the-world.

Wait there; I’m being stupid.

Let me define the term “Birth” as the beginning of Dasein’s existence just as “Death” is defined as the end of Dasein’s existence.

So is there a being-toward something in my past?

I think I’m using being-toward something inappropriately here. Could being-toward something include the imagining/remembering of a past event? If so then Dasein could never be in the mode of being-toward its own birth because I don’t know about you but I don’t remember being born.

Actually that’s stupid; I’m making the mistake of taking the moments of Dasein’s existence as objectively present things and saying “we can’t be toward-birth because we can’t remember it happening” but neither can we remember or imagine what death is like. Both present a kind of void.

But still I think that the question “Can there be a being-toward birth?” Is just as important a question as “Can there be a being-toward-death?”

If there is to be a potentiality-for-being-whole surely a being-toward-birth is as necessary as a being-toward-death.

Also it doesn’t share the feature of being-toward-possibility because it has already happened.

Birth shares a lot of the features of death except indefiniteness. This is because looking back nothing is indefinite; it always happened at a particular time, particular place and was a particular action or event.

“Yesterday at 2pm I juggled for 10 minutes in my hallway.”

But future events and actions are always indefinite. Firstly you cannot be sure – no matter how determined you are – that it will happen.

Also when Dasein is authentic it is faced with a plethora of possibilities that constitute its situation and in the mode of resoluteness it’s reticent so the activity it will choose to do from the mode of resoluteness is indefinite.

Birth shares with death in that it would be my own-most. Even though I cannot look forward to my birth as I can my death; birth is still my own-most because only I was born and no-one else.

I am certain that my birth occurred; I am, I exist.

It’s non-relational because I don’t remember my birth and so can’t communicate authentically about it with others. (I may be misunderstanding the term “non-relational” there because I think non-relational may have been used to designate the fact that nobody can take my place and die for me; which would still mean that birth and death shared this feature because nobody can be born for me).

An interesting question that just popped into my head “At what point, as what phenomena, would the existence of a new Dasein be disclosive to another Dasein?”

The kicks felt by the mother and people placing their hands on the mother’s gravid belly?

One of the key features that birth shares with death is that of individuation and freedom – or would freedom be in Heideggerian terms resoluteness?

If I look back to my birth I don’t remember signing anything that obliged me to act in such and such a manner. Even if I did I would have to have signed something previous to that to make the first signing binding and something previous to that and so on.

I think here I’m getting at thrownness; once you realize that you are thrown into your situation and all that entails you realize how you are not obliged to do anything but can if you choose engage in any of the possibilities that are disclosed to your understanding in the situation.

Maybe the most distinguishing feature of birth is that at birth you are at your most vulnerable to falling-prey to the They.

Maybe biological birth is a movement from one state of a comfortable lack of freedom (the womb) to another less comfortable state that lacks total freedom but contains more freedom than the womb; that is the movement into the inauthentic they-self of everydayness.


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