Roland Dürre
Friday April 10th, 2015

What is Existence? What is a Human Being, What Am I?

And what about when I am dead?

🙂 ”To be – or not to be!“

That is not only a basic philosophical question, but also a wonderful song byPigor, in which he really goes on in Heidegger fashion.

Pigor is one of my favourite cabaret performers. In an inimitable way, he makes topics of everyday life and even of philosophy into very special songs. Those songs may be sweet-and-sour or bitter, but they are always humorous.

The question asked by the philosophers about the human existence is one thing. But I am not a philosopher. Yet I actually think about the question: “What is a human being?” and in particular “What am I?”, or, even more to the point: “What remains after my death?”. So what will happen when, in the sense of our civil law, the “natural person” of Roland Dürre will cease to exist?

And over the decades, I found an answer (for myself). Currently, it would read like this:

If you simplify it, I consist of four modules. You could actually make a beautiful axis of coordinates out of them. The four quadrants are my body, my soul, my property and the things I experienced and accomplished.

In this axis of coordinates, my body and my property are material, clearly defined items. After my death, they will initially be what is left of me. My soul, on the other hand, is the sum of all the things I experienced, lived through, learned, as well as my “accomplishments” in life and perhaps even after my death. Those are the immaterial things I cannot easily define.

And, of course, more questions arise. So let us start and analyse the four modules!

My body.

Let me start with my mortal shell – my body. Actually, I am pretty sure that, by now, I do not care what happens with my body after I am dead. Basically, it does not matter if it (me?) is cremated, inhumed, frozen or used for scientific purposes. I would probably advise my heirs to bury me anonymously, because then they will not have unnecessary stress (grave maintenance, etc.) with me.

When I was young, I would have said I wish my ashes to be sprinkled somewhere where I used to be happy (like on a soccer field, in a forest or in some other nice area I rode through on my bike). Today, this is no longer so important for me.

My property.

During all my life, I was rather lucky. Among other things, I managed to accumulate some riches. If you define property according to common regulations, I own shares (of InterFace AG), some realty and a little money. To be more precise: a small virtual fortune at a “bank”. That is a true delight for me. But then, there are two sides to everything in life. Consequently, there is now some kind of morals or super-ego that thinks I should draw up a will. But I hate planning and forcing others to do what I want. After all, it is hard enough to think for myself, so why should I think for others, as well?

Consequently, my only recommendation for my heirs is that they should, first and foremost, enjoy the addition to their own property due to my demise and then they should agree upon how to further distribute my small fortune peacefully. And I am quite confident, because that is exactly what I trust my wife and children will be able to do quite well.

So the question of my property is also solved. Now it starts getting more complicated. Let us start with my soul.

My soul.

This is where my – rather natural – incompetence starts: I do not even know if I have a soul! In fact, I cannot even say if such a thing as a soul exists. What is worse: even if I knew that I have a soul, I would not know how to define it! On the other hand, I cannot deny that in some superior context – which, according to my concept, I will never understand – something like a soul might exist. Fortunately, my friend Klaus-Jürgen Grün taught me that fear is something that only happens between the ears. Consequently, I am not afraid that my soul might someday end up rotting in hell.

For me, the topic “soul” is simply unfathomable. So I will put it aside. But then, what about the fourth quadrant? The one with my experiences and adventures, my knowledge and in particular my achievements or the effect I have had on others?

What I accomplished and experienced.

I am sure this is, again, something immaterial. During my long life, I met many persons. Some of them were nearer to me, others more remote. With some of them, I shared only a short segment of my life, with others, I went a long distance. Sometimes the time was intense, sometimes less so. There are quite a few people with whom I feel closely connected.

On the whole, all I can hope for is that I was more constructive than destructive and that there will therefore be a positive balance. That would be nice and I would find it quite sufficient.

Yet, there is also something quasi-material about all of this. That is what I wrote. And when I wrote, the same was true as in other dimensions of my life: I was rather the “expansive” type. For instance, I wrote down many of my emotions here in the IF Blog.

Which brings me to the last exciting question of this article:

What is to happen with the IF Blog?

Naturally, when I am dead, I cannot do anything for the blog. But I could give my heirs a recommendation. Should they terminate the IF Blog? Or should they continue with it?

🙂

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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