Thrown

David Cowles

Jul 7, 2021

According to Existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, each of us has been “thrown” into an alien and potentially hostile world. It is as if an ocean suddenly disgorged us onto a strange beach populated by strange creatures. But of course, it’s much worse than that because initially we don’t know what a beach, or even a creature, is and we have no previous life experience to draw on.

According to Existentialist philosopher, Martin Heidegger, each of us has been “thrown” into an alien and potentially hostile world. It is as if an ocean suddenly disgorged us onto a strange beach populated by strange creatures. But of course, it’s much worse than that because initially we don’t know what a beach, or even a creature, is and we have no previous life experience to draw on.


We have only this: a sense that we ‘are’, an instinctive desire to continue to ‘be’, and our basic bodily needs (food, water, etc.). Like a boy raised by wolves who does everything he can to ‘become’ a wolf, so we do everything we can to fit in with the alien creatures around us. We try our best to blend in and we do that by mimicking everything we see. Long after we’ve secured a place in this new society, we continue to mimic those around us. This behavior got us so far; why change now?


The problem, according to Heidegger and his disciple, Jacques Derrida, is that no more 3% of our thoughts and utterances are really our own; the other 97% is mere mimicry.

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