Chapter 2: The Living Being
Chapter 2The Living Being
Man is the measure of all things, of what is, that it is, of what is not, that it is not.
– Protagoras, On Truth
The expression of “being” is deeply rooted in various attributes of life – living, presence, existence, genesis, birth, growth, nature, etc. – in many languages, cultures, and religions. In English, for example, we regularly refer to people as “human beings” and deities as “supreme beings”; and animate creatures are commonly called “living beings” (or just “beings”). Philosophically, we sometimes use the capitalized term Being to portray a sense of ultimate reality, as opposed to an individual thing. A fabled confrontation between humankind and the deity, which has become incorporated into the Western religious mythos, is found in the biblical Exodus story, as God appoints Moses the deliverer of the “chosen people.” When Moses asks God by what name shall He be called, we come to one of the most famous verses in the Hebrew Torah: “Ehyeh asher ehyeh” – translated as “I am that I am” or “I am and shall be present,” often interpreted as the “Being One” or the “Everlasting One” (Buber, 1946). The early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible in the Septuagint renders “Ehyeh asher ehyeh” into Greek as “Ego eimi ho on” – signifying “I am He who is,” or “I am the Being.” As evidenced by mythologies around the world, such commonalities in the sense of “being” abound in the collective human psyche (Bonnefoy...
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