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In the world,people hold different conceptions of the self. It is not becausethere are differences in selves, but it is because people possessless or more interest at varying places and time with various aspectsof selfhood. When it comes to the aspect of self, not only are theexplanations for fundamental sameness credible, but also coexistenceof radical difference is relevant too (Hood 10). For instance, somepeople believe in the relationality of self. Whereas, others believethat the concept of self is understood primarily like a free egowhose actuality is well defined and different from that of others.

  1. The Meaning of being a Human Being

The conceptionof the self as a relation argues that the meaning of self isdependent on people’s connection to others. According to this view,the self is socially irreducible. In most cases, identities areexplained through relational aspects such as a child, parent, family,as well as a group member. Different conceptions of the self arepredominantly influenced by various aspects of self, communicated ata particular time and space (Hood 16).

Differentcultures put lesser and greater emphasis on the aspect of self.Scholars around the world assume that conceptions of the self aregenerally ethical because they provide descriptions of the objectivereality of the meaning of self (Leahy 15). However, philosophers giveboth prescriptive and descriptive explanations about the meaning ofself. Confucius argued that people had the choice to a life withoutrelationality (Hood, 298). Therefore, living in isolation as toughindividuals is possible, only that it is not ethical.

In the quest to understand self, man is not motivated by the impulseto group him or herself with the animal kingdom (Hood 230). Hisunderstanding of self is like a puzzle, and therefore, man isdisengaged and disassociated from animals and sheer being. Accordingto McMullin (114), understanding the concept of self includes thequest for authenticity of the essence, which involves a search forvariability not found in unremitting connaturality, commonness, andanonymity. Any description that depicts man as part of the animalkingdom with distinctive attributes has a tendency of concealing thechallenge which many people work towards understanding.

In their nature, human beings are peculiar beings who try hard tounderstand their uniqueness. Hood observed that human beings do notstrive for an understanding of how they look like animals, but theystrive to understand their humanity (64). Their origin is not asimportant as seeking the truth about their destiny. Therefore, humanbeings should be referred regarding their standards and perspectives(Hood 72). Susan Blackmore argued that individuals undergo some sortof self, but what each experience is a robust deception produced bythe brains for the benefit of the person.

The self can also be viewed as an illusion. The aspect of the selfgives the impression of being real and convincing. However, what weexperience is far much different from what is, in reality (Hood 13).When standing before a mirror, we often consider our bodies asvessels, in which we occupy. This notion describes the ego theorythat posits that human beings are individuals contained in bodies(Hood 10). In contrast, the bundle theory argues that the self ismade up of bundles of thoughts, perceptions, as well as sensationsstacked up on top of each other (Hood 11). The results from sciencefound out little evidence for the existence of spirits. Brain sciencesupports the bundle theory by stating that if our actions andthoughts make up our self, then the brain is responsible forcoordination of these activities.

  1. Essential Characteristics to Being Human

The origin and birth of a human being are not enough aspects tocharacterize and understand him or her as a human being. Also, theconnection and functionality of his or her organs are not enoughconcepts of defining a human being. Leahy suggested that it isimportant to understand a human being as a being that has thecapability of mastering the universe, having a religion, losing hope,loving, speaking, taking an attitude, tending to the absolute,feeling anxious, and dedicating oneself to an ideal (28).

The structure of the intentional human consciousness is described byfour precepts that push the human beings toward incomparability by anever-widening genuine humanness or authenticity. These preceptsinclude paying attention to one’s experiences, being intelligent inthe quest for interpretation of that knowledge, being reasonable whenmaking judgments, and finally being responsible when making decisionsand in future actions (Leahy 17).

  1. Explanation of what it means to be authentic and inauthentic

Heidegger idea about inauthenticity is that individuals are alwaysengrossed in the present demands (McMullin 114). Human beingscalculate their means-ends based on what is portrayed by the media assuccessful, valuable, and safe. For this reason, man loses himself.The world defines what people should follow. In inauthenticity, lifereflects itself as a sequence of isolated occurrences, one after theother, shaped by external values.

The idea of authenticity states that human beings have thecapability of living a life that is far from the transcends orexternal values. This kind of living provides humans with a worldrelatedness, which offers a different kind of involvement in theirliving (McMullin 211). Authenticity ensures that all focus isdirected to self and make it known that not everything that comes ourway is necessary and useful for us. Being authentic means putting allour life goals first and focusing only on them when making orchoosing any decision. Heidegger states that this choosing (authenticchoosing) is what makes a life. People`s characters emerge fromauthentic choosing, and they gain a consistent personal identitycharacterized by a clear and definite direction towards life. Thistype of life allows individuals to view their behaviors, not as ameans to ends, but as a way of life that is in accordance with theirdeeper projects (McMullin 211).


Hood, Bruce. TheSelf Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity. OxfordUniversity Press, 2012.

Leahy, Louis.Human Being. Kanisius Publisher, n.d.

McMullin, Irene.Time and the Shared World: Heidegger on Social Relations.Northwestern University Press, 2013.