Last Updated 25 Mar 2020

Soul Searching’s Pyschological and Moral Aspects

Category Morals
Essay type Research
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This analysis makes no pretences of keeping with the psychological and moral convictions that Heidegger ignored. His structural analysis is simply not complete enough to represent Dasein"s phenomenological orientation in the world without considering some aspects which are inherent to each Dasein such as a psychological history and a moral destination. Although speculation as to the reasons behind his choice to ignore such overwhelming attributes is forever possible, leaving out psychology and morality leaves Dasein with no soul. Dasein then is nothing more than a component of the world through other Dasein.

One can only Be when one"s Being is disclosed by Others until the they is escaped in Death. Heidegger doesn"t enjoy the negative connotation of the word escape in the context of relationships with Others, but this seems to be more important as a question of true existence, true realization of the authentic Self. I argue that the soul, the spirit, the essence of Dasein must be explained as well as the phenomena of existence in order to clarify the question "What does it mean to be (Dasein)? " Through the soul, Dasein may bridge the gaps of loneliness that occur in the solitude of single existence amongst Others.

Psychology and morality provide excellent headquarters from which to launch this campaign in search of the soul of Dasein... How can one"s soul exhibit both concernful solicitude and care while experiencing existential loneliness in the face of Death? When looking at the temporality of Dasein"s existence, psychology corresponds to Heidegger"s concept of already-being as does morality to being-ahead-of-itself, in relation to the prospect of having a soul. Psychology and morality play such large roles in the creation of both the they-self and the authentic self that some definitions are in order.

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Psychology explains the relationships between phenomena and both voluntary and involuntary behavior patterns. Behavior is the reaction of the subconscious with the conscious before decisions are made and actions taken. The sum of the behavioral limitations of these reactions, symbolically speaking, equals the finite potential of possibilities after already-being-in-the-world. Thus behavior displays an abundant importance when considering Dasein"s interpretation of events on an authentic as well as an inauthentic level.

It seems that Heidegger shies away from psychology because behavior can vary so much from one person to another and creates problems for his strictly structural analysis of being. Morality is also of great concern in a personal view of Heidegger"s Being and Time due to the touchy nature of his use of such terms as conscience and guilt to describe qualities that are present in all Dasein. Even though he attempts to use these words (guilt and conscience) without bringing extra baggage along with them, one cannot resist considering the implications that vernacular semantics suggest about the nature of Dasein.

Heidegger explains: "... he concept of moral guilt has been so little clarified ontologically... interpretations of this phenomenon could become prevalent and have remained so" (Blackwell, p. 328). If this is the case, moral guilt should hold a place in the discussion because it is so prevalent. He also uses his own fresher definition of guilt to explain his idea that guilt is merely the lack of something that should and could be. If guilt is the main impetus for authentic Being, then wouldn"t morality be immediately involved in the discussion as a source of guilt, or as the next step above the middle management provided by conscience?

For how else could one describe what should be other than in terms of a personal view of integrity towards living towards Others-otherwise stated as morality? Dasein defines what should be by looking forward to the possibility of being self-governed by an individual sense of what is correct behavior in the world into which one has been thrown. For Heidegger, the conscience alerts Dasein not only to failing to realize an authentic Being for one"s Self, but also provides a constant source of guilt that becomes manifested in anticipation towards Death.

He says of Being-towards-Death: ... nticipation 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, but of being itself, rather, in an impassioned freedom towards death-a freedom which has been released from the Illusions of the "they", and which is factical, certain of itself, and anxious (Blackwell, p. 311). This passage summarizes Heidegger"s position of leaving the Others behind to pursue one"s own Death in whatever manner might suit one"s individual conceptualization of the inexplicable phenomenon of Death.

He calls this anticipatory resoluteness-a projection of possibilities for Dasein onto itself. His reference to concernful solicitude implies that some part of the they-self assumes responsibility for the well-being of Others with respect to their own personal care towards the world. Heidegger explains this as part of the idle talk respective to inauthenticity, but the sympathy one feels obliged to show another exceeds simple social convention and finds a home in the desire to assume some part of the loneliness shared by all Dasein.

In this way, we establish the connection of authentic existence with morality. Guilt in the face of inauthentic being is a key factor in Heidegger"s connection of anticipatory resoluteness towards Death. But, each Dasein has some sort of moral disposition which is a sort of goal for how one might define one"s-Self. Since this moral consideration is present, it is inescapable when examining the way Dasein arrives at its resolute decision of which possibilities will be executed. Thus morality corresponds to Heidegger"s Being-ahead-of-itself.

Not only does Dasein care about the guilt it experiences in the face of inauthentic Being, but it wishes to alleviate the same suffering in those it perceives to be troubled. Looking ahead, Dasein knows there will be sorrowful phenomena coming towards it and so feels the sting of the misfortunes of an Other as well. This sentimental sharing can be directed towards joy in that joy is a benefit to all Dasein when accepted, just as sorrow is a detriment to all Dasein when the burden is shouldered amongst their many lonely souls.

Psychology and morality depend mostly upon the ontical interpretation of events involving other Dasein-the Others. In the anonymous placement of Dasein amongst Others, Dasein falls into the inauthentic mode of being described by Heidegger as the they-self. The they-self is crucial to an understanding of how Dasein can transcend the ignorant (but not necessarily diminished) existing of average everyday life to find a seemingly more perplexing state called authentic existence.

Dasein"s they-self is primarily concerned with the events and requirements demanded of it through living in what is conceived as the present time with other people. This they-self is prevalent to all modes of Being which Dasein might exhibit in that one can never escape a certain degree of anonymity in one"s relations with others. The they-self revels in its proximity to the Others with which it may identify itself; however, the they-self also strives to keep a reasonable distance from the Others to avoid becoming lost as an individual entity.

The phenomenon of distancing one"s they-self from Others may happen consciously or unconsciously to Dasein. In the distancing and proximalizing of Dasein to Others and the collective they, Dasein psychologically constructs a social script that reads all of the lines that are "proper. " The social script is simply a dialogue between Others and/or Dasein that corresponds to the different situations (this could also refer to the authentic Situation which Heidegger describes on pages 346-347) in which Dasein finds itself.

These social scripts are provided by the relationships to Others and are derived from idle talk and personal meditation on the questions which conscience brings to Dasein"s attention. Although critical observation is not necessary for proper psychological synthesis of social scripts, the implications of devouring past events and reinterpreting them for future reference is the fulcrum of the interrelatedness of psychology, morality, and temporality as these factors can be named as the shining stars from which the soul of Dasein will descend.

It is important to remember that no standard of morality may be set but rather all Dasein has an individual interpretation of it. One may follow traditional Judeo-Christian morality concerning the theological disdain held for physical pleasure and the propagation of guilt through admonitions of original sin. One may decide that the texts" readings are presented for personal interpretation. One may not have any real moral convictions whatever except for an amoral avoidance of pain and pursuit for pleasure.

In short, each Dasein must synthesize its own moral, amoral, or immoral disposition through the practice of making decisions based upon an individual character code of morality which is created from observation or experience of social interaction from the beginning of life. So, how does Heidegger leave the soul out of his analysis? Where is the connection? Morality, being a facet of existence concerned with the "I live my life in this way because it is right for me" is analogous to Heidegger"s "for-the-sake-of-which" that he uses to describe the structure of the world.

He says, "The "for-the-sake-of" always pertains to the being of Dasein, for which, in its being, that very being is an issue" (Blackwell, p. 116-117). Hubert Dreyfus" Being-in-the-World (commentary on Being and Time) says: Heidegger uses the term 'for-the-sake-of-which" to call attention to the way human activity makes long-term sense, thus avoiding any intimation of a final goal. A for-the-sake-of-which, like being a father or being a professor, is not to be thought of as a goal I have in mind and can achieve. Indeed, it is not a goal at all, but rather a self-interpretation that informs and orders all my activities (Dreyfus, p. 5).

Why does Dasein feel a need to order its activities? What has the influence over Dasein to create this striving towards a higher existence? Although biologically dubious and philosophically unproven, the soul is the only possible answer. The spirit which moves Dasein, the essence that drives Dasein to seek something better, something higher is an inexplicable yet necessary part of the ontological structure of Dasein. Heidegger explains this phenomenon as Being-towards-Death. Authentic Being-towards-Death signifies Dasein realizing the temporality of its existence and looking-ahead with anticipatory resoluteness.

Anticipatory resoluteness is the act of projecting one"s ownmost potentiality for Being against the anxiety of nothingness which Death inspires. Explicitly, this is a realization of moving towards Death as a phenomenon central to existence itself. Authentic Dasein anticipates Death with a resoluteness derived from guilt. Anticipation correlates to authenticity in that it "brings Dasein face to face with a possibility [Being] which is constantly certain but which at any moment remains indefinite as to when that possibility will become an impossibility [Death]" (Blackwell, p. 56).

Inauthentic Being-towards-Death is denoted by Dasein exhibiting its typical average everyday falleness where the they-self sees Death as an impending event that will happen "someday in the future" without allowing the knowledge of this event to affect any of the "possibilities of Being" with which Dasein might be presented. If there is an effect on the possibilities of Being in respect to Death, it is very limited and not fully comprehending of the actual nature of Death.

In the inauthentic Being-Towards-Death the they-self never "dies" in the "existential" conception of Dasein because it is constantly too involved in the world around it to be concerned about its coming possibility-of-not-being-with-Others. Thus, one of the main reasons understanding Death is central to the authentic Being-one"s-Self boils down to understanding exactly how one"s-Self is related to Others. Experiencing Death from a second person point-of-view is psychologically riveting-traumatic, alienating, increasing existential awareness &c.

The looking ahead of Dasein to Death produces an anxiety towards nothingness-nullity-a lack of care that is inherent in not-Being-with-Others. Heidegger says, "Care itself, in its very essence, is permeated with nullity through and through" (Blackwell, p. 331). Lacking care yields guilt in the form of not being able to grasp the meaning of not-Being-with-Others. To make up for this guilt, Dasein moralizes its existence with respect to how life should be lived versus all other possibilities of how it could be lived.

Morality must then describe the relation of Being-one"s-Self through Others in relation to former psychological phenomena such as attending a funeral. Care, however, cannot be pure nullity as this undermines the entire structure of care in a nihilistic fashion. Heidegger is proposing that care is nothingness, thus eliminating its necessity and making it merely an arbitrary condition of Dasein. In contrast to this perspective, morality is not only looking ahead, but also compensation for the thrown loneliness of existence. Since no one can share in the phenomenon of Death, no one ever has a partner, friend, lover, or mate forever.

This inspires a moral sympathy that caters to social utility and also individual welfare. Others" Being-towards-Death can be contemplated by Dasein but never experienced. This links all Dasein by way of providing a moralized and honest care towards each other and is explained by the inexplicable concept of a unitary Soul composed of the psychologically crafted and morally directed souls of all Dasein who are locked in their thrown loneliness. This of course raises still more questions that must be answered before Dasein is fully elucidated.

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