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The philosophy of Heidegger is definitely not easy to understand. However, I have been slogging through his terminology lately and it seems that he is describing very accurately a mental world in which Perceiver thought is non-functional and everything is defined in terms of Server strategy. In other words, he says that previous philosophy was incorrect because it approached existence exocentrically in terms of maps, things, objects and subjects. He then builds a new system of philosophy using only egocentric thought, which is based in personal action.

For instance, suppose that I ask directions to the post office. Exocentric thought pulls out a map, points out your location on the map, and then shows you where the post office is. It then says, “Go north for two blocks, turn west, go 400 meters and you will find the post office on the south side of the street.

Egocentric thought, in contrast, has no map. Instead, it responds, “ Go straight ahead until you come to the second intersection. Turn left and keep walking straight for about five minutes. You will find it on the left side.

For Heidegger, there is no map, there is no north, there is no 400 meters. Instead, there is only walking, turning, and encountering.

Why would Heidegger act as if Perceiver thought does not exist? Because Perceiver strategy works with truth and absolutes. Perceiver thought acquires its initial set of absolutes through blind faith and revealed truth. However, starting with Hegel, Western philosophers began to question the Perceiver truths that had been revealed to them through Christianity. This questioning of absolute truth was especially prevalent in nineteenth century Germany.  What happens when Perceiver absolutes crumble? Eventually you reach a state of angst, in which you are so uncertain of truth that you literally feel a sense of overall dread, a sort of generalized panic attack, not triggered by the presence of something fearful, but rather by the absence of Perceiver knowing.

That defines the starting point for Heidegger. He accepts that Perceiver absolutes do not exist and that exocentric thought is impossible. But, the external world is spatial, and humans live in physical bodies that occupy space, and Perceiver strategy is the part of the mind that deals with space. How can you define spatial existence in non-spatial terms? By using Server thought to bring order to the interaction between the mind and external reality. Server strategy is the part of the mind that does, it acts, it is egocentric.

One can approach Heidegger in a negative or a positive way. As a Perceiver person who is conscious in Perceiver thought, my initial reaction to Heidegger was quite negative. That is because he literally devoted his life to constructing a worldview which defines me out of existence. Mentally speaking, that is genocide against the Perceiver, and as far as Perceiver strategy is concerned, there could be no greater mental crime.

However, if you ignore what he is saying about Perceiver strategy and focus upon his description of Server thought, then you find that his observations are quite astute. One of the main premises of the theory of mental symmetry is the concept of mental symmetry, that the world can be approached either exocentrically or egocentrically, using either Perceiver strategy or Server strategy, and that both are valid methods of mental operation. Of course, it is far better to use both of these mental strategies instead of trashing one and using only the other as Heidegger does. However, that does not detract from the validity of Heidegger’s description of egocentric  existence.

In a sense, you could describe Heidegger as a philosopher of Zen, because both are concerned with the use of Server action in the absence of Perceiver truth. Likewise, both are attempting to relate me in Mercy thought with universal understanding in Teacher strategy.

Let us look now at some of the details. I apologize if I get some of the details wrong or some of my terminology messed up, but I believe that the overall approach is sound.


 Dasein is Heidegger’s definition of self-image. Normally, Perceiver thought looks at all the experiences that come into Mercy thought from the external world and sorts them into categories, such as cat, chair, and person. Because of the persistence of my physical body, certain experiences remain constant no matter where I go. For instance, whenever I look in the mirror, I see the same physical body. Perceiver strategy concludes that these experiences belong together and calls them ‘me’.

For  Heidegger, there is no subject or object; even space itself does not exist. Instead of using Perceiver thought to define ‘me’ as a finite being that occupies a limited space (I am here and not there), he uses Server strategy to define ‘me’ as a functioning unit that operates for a limited time: I am born, I live, and then I die.

Most Server persons live in the present, doing actions with their physical bodies. For Heidegger, it is this average everydayness of simply getting on with my life which provides the key to philosophy.

I suggest that personal identity can exist in either childish or adult form. Childish identity is defined by my idols, both physical and personal. These emotional experiences define truth by using Mercy feelings to mesmerize Perceiver thought, and the resulting Perceiver ‘facts’ define ‘me’. With adult identity, Perceiver strategy wakes up from its childish sleep and gains the confidence to know which experiences belong to ‘me’ and which do not. For childish identity, all that matters is acquiring a good self-image by acquiring ‘good facts’ about ‘me’. For adult identity, the primary concern is an accurate self-image, which then motivates the mind to take the steps that are required to improve self-image.

Heidegger also defines two types of personal identity—but from the viewpoint of Server strategy. For the typical ‘childish’ mind, dasein functions in the mode of inauthenticity. The inauthentic individual acts automatically; he does something without thinking because it is done by everyone else. In other words, his Server actions lack Server confidence, and Server strategy functions in a sort of mesmerized state. Heidegger refers to this sort of existence as das Man, or ‘the they’. For such an individual, ‘they’ determine how I should act, and my behavior is governed by ‘them’.

In contrast, the authentic individual chooses what to do. He stands up against the pressures of his society and does his own thing. In other words, he uses Server confidence, because Server strategy commits to a path and decides what to do. Heidegger emphasizes that this is not a rebellion from others, but rather walking on one’s own. Thus, I choose to do something because I choose to do it and not because others or doing it, or as a reaction against the fact that others are doing it. According to this viewpoint, the Jazz musician is authentic, because he comes up with his own music and does not just read notes off a page.

Notice how the same thing happens in the right hemisphere with Perceiver confidence and Mercy feelings. Similarly, when Perceiver strategy wakes up from its slumber and gains confidence, it realizes that truth is independent of people and their opinions.

Heidegger is careful to define the difference between inauthentic and authentic in Server terms. Normally, when your personal identity is one state and you feel that it should be in another state, then this leads to feelings of guilt. That is how Perceiver thought views conscience.

Therefore, Heidegger says that inauthentic and authentic are both essential elements in a Server sequence. When a person slips back into mindless action and interaction with his environment, he realizes his fallenness and this provides the motivation for him to return to authenticity.

Zuhanden and Vorhanden

In English, ready-to-hand and present-at-hand.  Normally, space is determined in Perceiver terms: I am here, the chair is there; we are both in the room. Heidegger redefines this all using the Server language of tools, action and equipment. A chair is ‘something that I sit in’, a room is a ‘tool for organizing equipment’ and so on. Everything is defined, not by its shape or its location, but by its function and by how available it is for use.

Thus, the chair is ready-to-hand if it is available for me to sit in. Server strategy can use it and do something with it. Heidegger emphasizes that no reflection is involved in ready-to-hand. I do not look at the chair, think about myself, and work out the spatial relationship of the two—for that would involve Perceiver thought, which Heidegger says does not exist. Instead, I simply perform the Server action of moving to the chair and sitting down in it. Thus, for Heidegger, movement is Zen-like, I don’t think, I simply do; I don’t use Perceiver thought, I use Server strategy.

Perceiver thought is responsible for creating self-image, which allows me to step back and observe myself. Heidegger says that the normal person is immersed in his world and does not think about what he is doing. Instead, he simply acts and treats tools as an extension of his physical body. If a tool is broken or unavailable, then it becomes ‘unready-to-hand’ and a person become aware of the tool. Maybe the chair is broken, or a pile of books are on the chair that need to be removed, or a table is standing between me and the chair.

Heidegger defines spatial distance using categories, like a set of nested file folders on a computer. Thus, the toothbrush is in the category of the drawer, which is in the category of the bathroom, which is in the category of the house, and so on.

This definition of ‘distance’ makes perfect sense when dealing with computers and the Internet. A computer does not work with spatial location but rather with functions and folders. When I try to access a webpage, the physical location of the computer that I am trying to access is irrelevant. It may be across the hall or on a totally different continent. Instead, all that matters to me is the number of links that I have to click in order to reach that page.

It is possible to approach the world from the viewpoint of functions and categories. This is what happens when one uses Server mode to define personal identity. The typical Server person does not think spatially, and he is normally fully involved in what he is doing.

Heidegger defines abstract thought as present-at-hand because one is stepping back and observing what one is doing instead of just doing it. This blog entry illustrates nicely the concept of present-at-hand. Heidegger's description is insightful, but instead of acknowledging that the mind contains the two mental circuits of abstract and concrete, Heidegger defines abstract thought as Server-mode-at-a-distance.

My premise is that aliens and angels live in a mirror-image realm. I develop this concept further in my look at aliens. When Heidegger describes Server-based thought, I suggest that he is actually working out the topology of what it would mean to have a mirror-image existence. In other words, what we as humans regard as strange philosophy would actually describe normal existence for an angel or alien.


Angst is the German word for dread. Fear has a definite object; angst is a general sense of dread that is much stronger than fear but has no specific focus.

According to Heidegger, the unauthentic person is driven largely by fear. He fears about where he will live or what he will eat, he fears losing his job, he fears what ‘they’ will say or what ‘they’ will think and so his behavior is motivated by ‘them’.

In the language of mental symmetry, such an individual is driven by approval conscience. The Mercy status of ‘them’ programs the Perceiver ‘facts’ of conscience which motivates personal behavior.

For Heidegger, the price of authenticity is angst. Because he lacks a Perceiver grid of logical facts and objective truth with which to replace the childish mental map of approval, he can only choose to act on his own by leaping off the map of approval into the total unknown, which is felt as angst.

A similar situation arises when the new Perceiver map is sufficiently different than the old one. Suppose that I have always lived in the city and have to spend a weekend alone in the wilderness. Or, suppose that I live in a small village and move to the big city. Or, in my case, suppose that I live in a world that assumes the mental split between Thinking and Feeling and I attempt to live within an integrated mental map. In each case, I am jumping from the known into the unknown, which will generate feelings of angst. However, it should also be possible for me to build a new Perceiver map which will eventually allow me to feel comfortable with my new surroundings.

For Heidegger, no new Perceiver map is possible, because he insists that Perceiver thought does not exist. Therefore, his only option is to try to cope with his angst by constructing an alternative Server ‘map’ of existence based upon doing instead of being.

And, what does Heidegger take as his ultimate Server absolute? The Server sequence of human birth, life, and death. However, I am stating this in objective terms, which Heidegger says is inauthentic. Instead, Heidegger says that I must commit myself to the Server plan that I came into this world, I am currently living, and I will eventually die.

Heidegger then carries out a very interesting mental trick. As a human, I live in a spatial world of objects and experiences. In the childish mind, my mental map of facts and experiences is messed up by the emotions of approval--that is why my behavior is guided by 'them', but it does guide me as I muddle my way through life--that is why my personal environment feels heimlich or comfortable. Heidegger says that a person should attack this behavior of inauthenticity and remove this feeling of comfortableness by embracing the Server sequence of finite existence leading to a being-toward-death.

Thus, in a twisted way, Heidegger is using the Teacher emotions of a universal theory to free himself from the Mercy feelings of childish identity. On the one hand, Heidegger treats Server actions as a universal theory, because he explains EVERYTHING in terms of Server sequence and action. Thus, as far as Teacher thought is concerned, personally embracing the Server sequence of finite human existence feels good--because it is a fundamental part of a universal theory. On the other hand, embracing the finite duration of human existence destroys childish identity with its Mercy experiences and Perceiver facts, leading to feelings of angst. One can tell that childish identity is no longer functioning because the everyday world now feels distant and uncanny.

However, if one uses Perceiver facts to build a general understanding in Teacher thought, then this will lead to the concept of Platonic Forms, giving the mind the concept that invisible 'objects' exist which are more permanent and more ordered than objects from the external world. Since Heidegger rejects Perceiver thought, he also rejects Forms, and because he has no Forms, he has no mental concept of permanent personal existence, and thus has no intellectual problem with mentally embracing a finite existence, and because he has no Perceiver self-image, the idea the life is over when one dies does not bother him.

--And, because Heidegger has no Perceiver-based conscience, the Holocaust did not bother him either, because he never really acknowledged it or apologized for it, even though he was an active member of the Nazi Party. For, in Heidegger's terms, the Nazis were authentic. They chose to pursue a course of actions that was decisive and which broke free of societal standards of human decency.

But, it is also possible to use a general Teacher based upon Platonic Forms to rebuild childish identity. The mental mechanism is similar to that described by Heidegger, for one embraces the temporary nature of childish behavior just as Heidegger does, and one also experiences the angst of Heidegger. However, what replaces unauthentic childish identity is not a heartless uncanny personal existence that shrugs when millions die and suggests lamely that they could have had a 'more authentic death'. Instead, what emerges is a personal identity which is based upon the eternal value of the human individual along with a deep desire to protect, preserve and enhance human life and dignity.

Edited for accuracy, July 8, 2011