Intimacy, Being, and Dasein

Martin Heidegger for Hohe Luft Magazine (Germany)
Martin Heidegger for Hohe Luft Magazine (Germany)

To be intimate is to know, and is directly related to love — which is an internalized, unionized identity. Through intimacy, Being is disclosed. Likewise, the essence of intimacy is disclosure; and thinking in terms of Heidegger, truth contains disclosure within itself as well as freedom and also untruth. Restated: intimacy is disclosure, which is truth, and is also love.

The Being of human beings, that is to say, the Being of Dasein, is revealed in intimacy, and to speak of this is to engage in metaphysics, namely ontology. To know intimacy in this way (through disclosure of Being, which to speak of is to do ontology) is to know it existentially. Being becomes opened up and the truth of Being becomes disclosed. To accept this truth of Being is to love, is to lay the groundwork for love to be internalized and establish that essential unionized identity. Intimacy says, “You have disclosed yourself to me as you are. I know you from this truth and I accept it — I love you as you are for whom you are.”

To be intimate is to be vulnerable to the other person, being exposed whether in terms of body or essence (Being). One becomes opened up in exposure and disclosure of an essential nature. Everything is made bare. For the insecure, this is terrifying. It’s a risk of being rejected. This is perhaps a fundamental issue of Dasein. We as Dasein have a primordial need for intimate connection, with the fear of our intimacy being rejected. As petrifying as it seems, there is something to be said about risk. Contemplating Tamera Alexander, “But he’d learned long ago that a life lived without risks pretty much wasn’t worth living. Life rewarded courage, even when that first step was taken neck-deep in fear.”

Concurrently, one could think of the act of sex as being an intimate one, however, this act alone is trivial, superficial, is a quasi-intimacy. In this manner nothing is being disclosed, save for mere flesh. For intimacy to connect, it requires that we become vulnerable in being exposed, which discloses the truth of the Being of Dasein. What is exposed is one’s bare, essential nature: one’s past, one’s desires, one’s aims, one’s fears, one’s joys, one’s sorrows, one’s comportment, essentially what constitutes one as who they are.

In a Marcelian sense, to reject the disclosure of the Being of Dasein through intimacy is to be unavailable to the other person. One closes off one’s self to the other person. One conceals one’s self, not allowing one’s Being to become opened up and disclosed to the other person. Conversely, to accept intimacy and to allow it to connect, to allow the Being of Dasein to become opened up, exposed, unconcealed, and disclosed is to be available to the other person. This is all essentially contained in intimacy.

To make an additional restatement of intimacy thus far in our analysis: intimacy in its essence is disclosure, which is truth, and also love — accepting one for whom they are — being available, but equally contains within itself the possibility of rejection — unavailability. Just as for Heidegger how the truth also contains untruth within itself, intimacy also contains within itself the possibility of rejection — being unavailable.

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