I Heart Huckabees: Concept of Dasein

Topics: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard Pages: 4 (1268 words) Published: September 29, 2010
This is one of my attempts to highlight a few of the connections between the thought provoking scenes of this movie and the Existential movement in 19th and 20th century Philosophy. I do list and describe a few scenes and quotes, so i'll throw on a SPOILER alert just in case.

One of the most prominent concepts in I (Heart) Huckabees is that of Martin Heidegger’s Dasein. Dasein, literally meaning "Being-there", is Heidegger’s method in which he applies another prominant Existential philospher, Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology to human beings themselves. What it does is instead of defining a "thing" and putting it into a preconceived category, one waits for the "thing" to reveal itself in its own time. The remarkable thing about Heidegger is that he never calls human beings "man", but instead we are Dasein - in other words, we are simply in a field of being where we are free to define who we are for ourselves. Our being Dasein is our "thrownness" into life(a prominant theme to the Existential movement), and we are "thrown" into life with other Dasein(you and I). This then leads to mitdasein ("with-there-being"), meaning we are still "being-there"(Dasien), but now we are there with other Dasein.

I (Heart) Huckabees demonstrates Heidegger’s Dasein and mitdasein multiple times, usually emphasized by Dustin Hoffman’s character, Bernard. In the first few scenes of the movie, Bernard speaks of infinity and "the blanket." He holds up a blanket and asks us to imagine that it is the entire universe. Each part of the blanket is a different person, place, or thing; whether it is a hammer, or Paris, or you, the reader of this review. The point he makes is that everything in the universe is interconnected and we can’t tell where one person begins and another ends. Bernard also tells us, "The universe is an infinite sphere, the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere." This is a wonderful example of Heidegger’s Dasein; our being has no outside to speak of, it...
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