Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A little dose of Heidegger

Recently I've been reading a book by my theology professor in college. He is a big fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and has written a book about his place among the martyrs of the modern age. It's very fascinating, and as I read it I can almost hear Dr. Slane lecturing once again. All good fun.
Today I was reading his treatise on Heidegger's thoughts "Dasein" (which loosely translates to "Being"). One of the main elements of this treatment was that all of life is heading toward death. The only way to really understand Being is to see it in it's entirety, and that can only be done after being ceases to exist.
At the risk of prolonging this into an in depth philosophy lesson, or merely repeating the text I've been studying, I just want to point out what really caught my attention. There was a line that read: Impending death is what makes life worth living. That's not a direct quote, but it gets the essence of the idea out there. The thing that makes each day on earth precious is the fact that time is short. We must take advantage of the days that are here before us.
On my walk into work, this thought was solidified through the words of a song. I've been listening a lot to a band called "Sleeping At Last." There is a line in their song "Volcanoes" that says "Death is the only thing that makes us alive." It was almost exactly what I'd been reading. So crazy.
I really felt a link between what I had been talking about the last time I wrote, and these messages I was receiving today. It's not about my typical fascination with death. Slane even pointed out that it this focus on death has nothing to do with morbidity, or an unhealthy attraction to death. It is merely being aware that death is impending for all of us. Our life is like the grass that is here one day and withers the next. Even the words we store so carefully on paper and now computers can easily be lost by fire, flood, or virus.
So what is it that makes this life so special? Is it worth caring about every moment?
I would say that it is. We may be temporarily breathing dust on the earth, but that thought should drive us to really live the days we have here. None of us can know when our being will cease to be seen above ground. Neither can we know exactly what the fulfillment of being will look like when we move on to the next state of existence. All we can do is live the days that God has numbered for us on this earth.
Okay, enough of my attempts at philosophy for the moment...


Rebekah said...

wow...I should really push myself to continue reading this book. So far I haven't read past the foreword (I really enjoyed Slane's "shout-out" to his Faith & Culture classes however). It's not that it's not interesting; I just find myself too exhausted at night and on the weekends to read a "deeper" book. On the other hand, I just finished The Jane Austen Book Club. It was "alright" but nothing worth writing (or, I guess, blogging) about.

Transient Drifter said...

The book is worth it. Definitely heavy, but I read it in the morning for my devotions time, so it works out nicely. It's helping my vocabulary as well :)

Crystal said...

I love the phrase "fulfillment of being." I feel like that's exactly what heaven will be: not so many golden streets and winged angels as people think, but instead the fullest possible state of being, in which we are given bodies completely redeemed and whole, with minds entirely useful and effective. Every obstacle to living the abundant life gone, freedom flowing through every vein.