In the openness of “own” being (on the example of Leo Tolstoy’s novel ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’)

Nadezh­da A. Kasav­ina
Insti­tute of Phi­los­o­phy, Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ence

In the open­ness of “own” being (on the exam­ple of Leo Tolstoy’s nov­el ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’)

Abstract. The arti­cle con­sid­ers the work of Leo N. Tol­stoy The Death of Ivan Ilyich in the con­text of the con­cept of bound­ary sit­u­a­tions by K. Jaspers; the phe­nom­e­na of “inter­ces­sion in death”; one’s own and non-own Being-toward-death by M. Hei­deg­ger; the stages of per­son­al accep­tance of death which were iden­ti­fied by E. Kubler-Ross on the basis of psy­chother­a­peu­tic work with incur­able patients. The sit­u­a­tion of Ivan Ilyich shows the posi­tion of a per­son in the face of exis­ten­tial anx­i­ety and threats of lone­li­ness, a sense of mean­ing­less­ness, despair, actu­al­ized by the bound­ary sit­u­a­tion of death. The dynam­ics of the state of the novel’s pro­tag­o­nist is inter­pret­ed as the for­ma­tion of “one’s own Being-towards-death”, which has the char­ac­ter of being in rela­tion to “one’s own abil­i­ty of being” (M. Hei­deg­ger). Pres­ence is com­plete­ly sur­ren­dered to itself, essen­tial­ly open to itself. Lone­li­ness acts as a way to open exis­tence. In the open­ness of pres­ence for the indi­vid­ual the world opens itself, the oth­er and oth­ers in their unique way of being. Ivan Ilyich expe­ri­ences this before his death as an epiphan­ic phe­nom­e­non, which unfolds the des­tiny of the per­son­al­i­ty, lead­ing it beyond the lim­its of only his or her life and suf­fer­ing. The inter­ac­tion of the pro­tag­o­nist with oth­ers is con­sid­ered from the per­spec­tive of the prob­lems iden­ti­fied by E. Kue­bler-Ross in the rela­tion­ship of doc­tors, rel­a­tives and patients in the ter­mi­nal stage of their ill­ness and the tran­si­tion to the accep­tion of their own finite­ness, which acquires the char­ac­ter of his­toric­i­ty.

Key­words: exis­tence, being to death, his­toric­i­ty of death, non-own being to death, own being to death, inter­ces­sion into death, stages of accep­tance of death, bound­ary sit­u­a­tion, pres­ence, open­ness of being, nov­el by Leo Tol­stoy The Death of Ivan Ilyich

DOI: 10.32326/2618–9267–2021–4–2–83–106


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