Death and Persona

Heidegger calls each human being a “being unto death”–that is, a being turned toward and moving in death’s direction.

What is the consequence of this?

One is that each of us adopts a persona. The time-limiting nature of your existence means that you have to choose the somebody you’re going to be. You might have quite a few personas and roles that you’ll adopt over the course of your lifetime, but you can’t have them all–you can’t be everybody, you don’t have the time–and so you have to make decisions. And these decisions are really being made in every moment, for you can always change course as to the kind of person you are (at least theoretically).

So who are you? How Protean (shape-shifting) are you? And why are you choosing to be who you are, and not adopting some other persona, on your way to “dusty death”?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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