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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Being or Being-for

Somehow, it is important to ask ourselves again if we can be happy living for our self alone or if it is true that to work for one’s achievements, success, popularity and security already gives a total happiness. But why are there still so many people who seem to have everything already and yet they remain unhappy. Happiness, therefore, is something that is not only confined to the self or to being. It transcends the self towards the other.

Philosopher Levinas teaches about asking the right question in philosophy. He asserts that there is no transcendence yet in focusing at the question “Who I am?” He says, that the question that needs to be asked by one who wants to become truly human is “What have I done so far for the other?” This question no longer carries a self-seeking responsibility but more a social responsibility.

Levinas would also point to a condition of true happiness which is a self-dying for the other, an uncoiling from one’s preoccupations in order to give space always for the other. I want to return to what I have asked earlier and say that to work for selfish motives alone is not yet life. Young adults still have a lot to outgrow. Their idea about life often times is not yet what it takes to become human.


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