Martin Heidegger
May 1977

Heidegger tells us, “The structure of that to which Dasein assigns
itself is what makes up the world. The worldhood of the world is thus
the comporting of Dasein to its possibilities which I myself am.” He
then goes on to explain that we discover things in the world
ready-to-hand for their use-value, and they, in turn, are incorporated
into Dasein’s possibilities as an assignment of a something
in-order-to. Being present-at-hand, the other way we discover things
in the world, is tied up with being-ready-to-hand because it comes
into view only in the relation of a “with which” that obstructs the
“something-in-order-to” of the ready-to-hand, in other words, an
obstacle interferes with the use value of a thing. Heidegger describes
this present-to-hand awareness as a disturbance that reveals itself
through conspicuousness (broken equipment), absence (as something
necessary before it can become an in-order-to), and obstinacy of
obstacles (as something that gets in the way of an in-order-to
preventing it from becoming an in-order-to). When being-ready-to-hand
is not sufficient, when Dasein’s goals become blocked, the pure
presence-at-hand steps in to exhibit itself. Thus, Dasein’s
circumspective concern lights up the worldly character of entities
present-at-hand and ready-to-hand, but, in addition to being with
these entities, Dasein is also being there with others, discourse
(communication and understanding), and state of mind.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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6 Responses to Being-In-The-World

  1. starbear says:

    Thank you again for your “likes” on my blog. Your posts sometimes seems long and difficult to read for my brain cells… and yet, I read them and find in them my own thoughts sorted out in new words. It seems that many have been saying the same things about being for a very long time – I am reminded of Jung and Maslow as I read these. My thinking seems “simple-minded” reading these words, linear, and yet, as mythology lead to science much becomes clearer. Your hope for improvement may once again be manifest from our understanding and embracing all of our parts, and loving, accepting and valuing all, each other, each tree, each star, each weed, each seed, each critter. Those obstacles? May be our thoughts, the patterns of thinking, that what is mine is mine and what’s yours should also be mine…. without realizing that what is mine is also yours and what is your is also mine as we are not seperate, not an either/or proposition. Sending good thoughts your way, since they were yours to begin with! Megwiitch. Star Bear.

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Thanks for the good thoughts! Below you will find a description of how I came to see “my own thoughts sorted out in new words.”

      There was (and is) a double movement that arises from one’s interaction with her/his environment; in one direction there develops the objectification of one’s self-nature and in the other direction there arises the objectification of the social and cultural contents of society. For Cassirer, art, myth, magic and ritual are co-creative products arising from this objectifying movement, which, in turn, arises from the work that people do in society.

      In his three volume work, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Cassirer concentrates his focus on the nature and origins of symbolic form as it first arises in language and myth and then, over time, develops into the theoretical orientations of scientific thought. The utility of symbolic forms is not just about a “thing to be apprehended”; rather, it is about movement towards constancy, endurance and certainty, — an objective that applies to both culture and mind.

      Both culture and mind began with story telling, and even today the stories that pass muster in peer reviewed academic journals continue to move this objectification process forward (sometimes forward even if not peer reviewed). But still, the objectification process, then and now, can be traced back to the capacity to imagine and communicate something significant. Cassirer adds:

      …”the barriers which man sets himself in his basic feeling of the sacred are the starting point from which begins his setting of boundaries in space and from which, by a progressive process of organization and articulation the process spreads over the whole of the physical cosmos.” (The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, vol. 2, 1955, p.104)

      For Cassirer, interrogation and reply, in its most elemental form, moves us into the expression of myth, ritual, art, language, and the abstract logical necessities encountered in mathematics and science.

  2. starbear says:

    Thank you for your reply.
    Reading that… are you famliar w/ the work of Rhoda Kellogg and her studies of children’s drawings, from all cultures, all climes, from all over the world? She discovered empirically the universality of pre-verbal drawing processes- symbols – propably the origin of writing….

    I am a visual thinker and communicator – as I become older, even more so – I had a difficult time w/ math – except geometry, which I could “see”. I could not see the logic in numbers… and now it seems my right brain has become extremely dominant.
    Cassirer echoes my thoughts, if I read the above intelligently – speaking in more formal language. Myths arose out of human desire to explain the universe, to make sense of it, to name the unnamable, to see and make visible relationships between pieces of the whole. Curiosity about how things work and relate then stimulates scientific activity. This is something I confront each time I write about my nature images – I know many of the names of wildflowers, tree species, yet I choose not to use them. The scientific names become cumbersome handles when writing stories…LOL.
    Interesting discussion – reaffirms my personal belief about education today – scientific curiosity and discovery are reinforced and enhanced in settings which also offer balanced language, music and arts programs.
    However, I must admit, as an older and classically trained artist, I am biased.
    Thank you for writing and encouraging thinking…

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’m not familiar with Kellogg’s work, but it doesn’t surprise me. Yes, human desire is always connected with attempts to explain everything. I think “seeking explanations,” however, is a secondary motivation; the primary motivation being the human spirit’s pursuit of self-liberation. “Meaning becomes the moving force of self-transcendence, which reaches beyond the limited horizon and longs for the whole.” (Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe). Here’s something I wrote a while back that explains this better and since you are a visual thinker and communicator, perhaps you might want to check out my picture of the “self” at

  3. starbear says:

    Reading, thinking, taking it in…. Thak you for references. 🙂

  4. eof737 says:

    Both of you made me chuckle when in response to the ” you write log posts.. ” comment, both of you then embark on long replies. 😉
    Perhaps I’m having a dasien moment… lol! 🙂

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