Being There: Heidegger on Why Our Presence Matters

Lawrence Berger, New York Times, Apr 17, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

On reading the headline I immediately thought of Terry Anderson. He writes of the importance of 'presence' in learning "that views the creation of an effective online educational community as involving three critical components: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence." As this article in the NY Times notes, the idea of presence is linked to the idea of our consciousness of external objects. Heidegger would ask, "given that I experience a stone in a more profound manner, what does that have to do with the being of the stone itself?" And Lawrence Berger offers the explanation, "Not only are we in direct contact with the people and things of this world, but also that our presence matters for how they are made manifest — how they come into presence — in the full potential that is associated with the sort of beings that they are." Now I don't believe this exactly - I don't think there's some sort of mystical projection of ourselves into the external world. But presence and consciousness are closely linked.

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