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HEIDEGGER from Being and Time


The "They" Self (Das Man): Inauthentic man

          [It] is not this one, not that one, not oneself, not some people, and not the sum of them all [but] the neuter, the [impersonal] "they" [Average Man]. (164)

          We take pleasure and enjoy ourselves as THEY take pleasure; we read, see, and judge about literature and art as THEY see and judge; likewise we shrink back from the "great mass" as THEY shrink back; we find "shocking" what THEY find shocking.

          In one's concern with...the Others, there is constant care as to the way one differs from them, whether that difference is merely one that is to be evened out, whether [one = Dasein] has lagged behind the Others and wants to catch up in relationship to them, or whether one's Dasein [self] already has some priority over them and sets out to keep them suppressed. (164)

          [B]ecause the "they" presents every judgment and decision as its own [i.e., because we justify our decisions by appealing to what THEY do, what ONE does], it deprives the particular Dasein of its answerability.... It remains indefinite who has really done the choosing... Dasein makes no [independent] choices, gets carried along by the nobody, and thus ensnares itself in inauthenticity. This process can be reversed only if Dasein specifically brings itself back to itself from its lostness in the "they". (312)


The Authentic Self

          The Self of everyday Dasein is the THEY-SELF, which we distinguish from the AUTHENTIC SELF--that is, from the Self which has been taken hold of in its own way. (167)


Authenticity through "Anticipating" One's Death.

          Anticipation [of death] reveals to Dasein its lostness in the they-self, and brings it face to face with the possibility of being itself, primarily unsupported by concernful solicitude [from others]...(311). Anticipation discloses to existence that its uttermost possibility lies in giving itself up [dying, ceasing to be], and thus it shatters all one's tenaciousness to whatever existence [in the They] one has reached (308).

           [D]eath is the possibility of no-longer-being-able-to-be-there. (294) Dying is something that every Dasein itself must take upon itself at the time. By its very essence, [my] death is in every case mine...(284) Thus death reveals itself as that possibility which is one's ownmost...and which is not to be outstripped. (294)

          The non-relational character of death...individualizes Dasein down to itself (308). When it stands before itself [AS this possibility], all its relations to any other Dasein have been undone (294). Dasein has been individualized down to itself in its uncanniness; it is for itself something that simply cannot be mistaken for anything else [i.e., for Das Man] (322)

          [That is, ] the entity which anticipates its nonrelational possibility is...forced by that very anticipation into the possibility of taking over its ownmost Being, and doing so of its own accord (308). [F]or the first time one can authentically understand and CHOOSE AMONG the factical possibilities lying [before] that possibility which is not to be outstripped (308)..., making the decisions from one's own Self (313).