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
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