Monday, April 20, 2009
Not Three Short Paragraphs
I begin to understand authenticity when I think of myself as a possibility. Heidegger says we have a potential for being ourselves at all times. We are at all times, within the reach of "there-being". I can grasp the idea that our potentiality for authentic there-being is attested by the voice of conscience. I also can grasp that conscience is a primordial phenomenon, which cannot be what it is by being made a "proven fact". I understand the call of conscience to be a summoning away from the everyday inauthenticity of the "they". The only aspect of this that I question is how the doubtfulness of the phenomenon of the voice of our conscience is the very thing that proves its primordiality. Other than that, I follow the connection between authenticity and the conscience: that the call of conscience is the form (discourse) that discloses potentiality-for-being-oneself, calling us to face our ownmost guiltyness. Yet I cannot become clear on what authenticity itself is. I have the feeling though, that the very fact that I cannot grasp an exact definition of authenticity is a clue to what it is, and what my relationship to it is. Like many themes in Being and Time, Heidegger doesn't seem to give a clear description of authenticity...maybe he did and I missed it, which would be really embarrassing. But assuming I didn't, what does my inability to define authenticy reveal about authenticy itself, and my relationship to it?