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Being (i.e. be+-ing, by synecdoche), is an English word used for conceptualizing subjective aspects fundamental to the self —related to and somewhat interchangeable with terms like "existence" and "living". In its objective usage —as in "a being," or "[a] human being" —it refers to a discrete life form that has properties of mind (i.e. experience and character, cf. sentience) such that transcend that of mere organisms (i.e. that have only "life functions").

In abstract usage, "the being" or "one's being" is the mind's concept of the self as a whole entity —including both mind and body —wherein the being is in the mind, and the "body" is all sensory aspects within the being. Heidegger coined the Germanic term "dasein" for this property of being in his influential work Sein und Zeit ("this entity which each of us is himself…we shall denote by the term "dasein.""[1]), in which he argued that being or "dasein" links one's sense of one's body to one's perception of world. Heidegger, amongst others, referred to an innate language as the foundation of being, which gives signal to (and from, cf. cognition) all aspects of being.

In philosophy, being is the object of study of metaphysics, and more specifically ontology. In these contexts, the term "being," is typically understood as one's "state of being," and hence its common meaning is in the context of human (personal) experience, with aspects that involve expressions and manifestations coming from a being's innate being, or personal character.

In its most indeterminate sense, being could be understood as anything that can be said to be, which is opposed to nonexistence. For example one could ask: “why is there something instead of nothing?” Where “something” implies being.[2] For a metaphysician the main problem is not the scientific question of how the universe works, but why the universe (or anything such as a rock) is.


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