Systematic Political Science


Dasein and the Necessity of Hope as Seen in Societies In Via: A Mini Case Study of Binary Decision Making During the Secession of U.S. States in 1861 

Dallas F. Bell, Jr. 

1. Dasein and the Hope Necessity

Dasein (German for da, there; sein, being/existence) is a term used by Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).  In his book Being and Time, the idea that the potentialities of 'being' extend beyond the narrow view of the realms of empirical science.  When the boundary of the empirical or the scientific is reached a leap of faith, or transcendence, must be confronted. 

Transcendence is a human mechanism which also is used to cognitively overcome the immediate impact of perceived hardships, such as a period of poor health or a period of unsuccessful creative pursuits, e.g. Thomas Edison's numerous failed attempts to invent the light bulb.  Therefore, time should not just be studied as a temporal dimension but as a nontemporal dimension, as Heidegger understood.  Josef Pieper (1904-1997) saw how the presupposition of transcendence came from the temporal being pervaded by the nontemporal.  He viewed future and time from the perspective of 'not yet' being. 

The not yet expresses a projection from the temporal.  Dasein is then open to the future where all possibilities rest.  This constitutes the necessary act of hope.  People hope for tangible things, for example a good grade on an upcoming test.  People also hope for intangible things, for example the enduring love of a spouse.  Some common external objects of hope are eternal life (Titus 1:2), salvation (Rom. 5:1-5), Christ (I Cor. 15:19), and God (Ps. 39:7).  We can see that hope involves love and justice etc. which involve Natural Laws of Freewill, NLF, and implies the character of the Creator of the first cause of all effects. 

If time was an infinite set, then we would not just experience 'now' but all succession of moments simultaneously.  However, eternity does exist in the infinite being of the Creator.(Is. 57:15)  Succession of moments show the linear aspect of time.  We can only occupy now which is finite, unlike numbers which are all dependent on the existence of an infinite set to which each number belongs (i.e. a moment that occurred in the year 2008 is not dependent on there ever being a year 3008, whereas the number 2008 is part of a set that is dependent on there being a number 3008, 4008...). 

Failure to recognize the Creator God of love and justice's sovereignty over time (the movement of objects) leads to disappointment when the object of hope is not realized after a period of transcendence.  The real pain experienced from the disappointment of a balanced hope causes God, as it were, to weep.(John 11:1-45; Luke 19:41; Heb. 5-7)  Contentment comes when hope (our desire) is balanced with an eternal perspective, submitted to the sovereign will or nous (Greek for mind or intellect) of God.(Phil. 4:11) 

Hope brings patience (Rom. 8:25), purity from compliance with NLF (I John 3:3), courage (Rom. 5:4-5), salvation (Rom. 8:25), assurance (Heb. 6:18-19), stability (Col. 1:23), and joy (Rom. 12:12). 

Joy is not dependent on perceived favorable circumstances as is happiness.  This is why the pursuit of happiness, favorable circumstances, is a keystone of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  The freedom of that noble pursuit has come at quite a price as expressed in the following event at the Alamo in 1836.  On 24 February, 1836, Santa Anna laid siege on the Alamo in Texas.  William Travis, the U.S. commander of the Alamo, wrote the following letter.

To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World: Fellow Citizens and Compatriots; I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna.  I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man.  The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken.  I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls.  I shall never surrender or retreat.  Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch.  The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.  If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.  Victory or death.

William Barret Travis

Lt. Col. Comdt.

P.S. The Lord is on our side.  When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushel of corn.  We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of beeves.  Travis 

Travis' letter was sent by the courier Albert Martin.  The letter did not aid the garrison at Alamo, but did motivate support for the cause of Texas independence.  Travis was killed at the Alamo on 6 March, 1836. 

2. Society In Via

Individual and societal hope is founded on an ontology of not yet being and implies an order and balance for allocating it.  Logikoi (Greek for logical /rational) beings ascribe responsibility according to realistic abilities and roles for a praktike (Greek for practical) life.  They are people, family, church, business, government and God. 

It is biblically recorded that God said that we are all prisoners of hope (Zech. 9:12) and blessed is the man whose hope is the Lord.(Jerem. 17:7)  Kind David said he hoped in the word.(Ps. 119:114)  Believers are commanded to be ready to give an answer to every man asking for the hope within them.(I Peter 3:15)  That hope does not make ashamed.(Rom. 5:5)  It is an anchor of the soul.(Heb. 6:19)  But the enemy of our souls are liars.(Rom. 1:25)  This explains why those enemies attack God, His scriptures and His spirit of salvation. 

Often proper hope is attempted to be diverted from the appropriate source, God, toward an inappropriate source such as government.  Leaders, especially politicians, seek to illegitimately gain divine power by declaring themselves to be the object of divine hope.  The society in via will transmogrify and eventually experience more and more false promises until it collapses due to noncompliance with NLF.  Thomas Sowell's article, Don't Get Weak, in the National Review on 1 May, 2007, listed many U.S. violations of NLF.  Sowell suggested that a military coup may soon become necessary to reconstruct order. 

Religious leaders also promote unbalanced hope which range from delusional wishes to heresies such as apokatastasis where all people would ultimately be forgiven by God.  That concept is a heresy because that forgiveness would be unjust, it does not account for the freewill of people to accept forgiveness, and it defeats the purpose of Jesus' death and resurrection for the atoning victory over sin. 

Thus, all institutions of family, church, business and government within societies are in via.  When two visions for the future occur, a schism will widen gaps in societal cooperation until the problem must be dealt with.  For example, in 1861 states in the U.S. seceded due to perceived loss of states rights agreed to in the U.S. Constitution. 

3. The Law of the Excluded Middle and Binary Decision Making

The schism that occurs within societies in via uses the law of classical mathematics and logic that states for every truth statement a conclusion is either true or false exclusively.  Tertium non datur (Latin for there is no third), called the law of the excluded middle, describes the reality that either x or not x must be an answer.  Each side in a schism has taken a different answer making the mutually exclusive behaviors unable to efficiently coexist. 

Sometimes leaders create false dilemmas to orchestrate support for themselves.  They may say that x is true but the leader of x is a liar so x is not true.  That argument is not valid because the categories of x and the leader of x are not necessarily linked.  It is recorded that God told Adam a truth that he should not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or he would die.(Gen. 2:17)  Satan told Eve a truth that God said not to eat of the tree and added that if she did she would know good and evil.  Satan then told Eve a lie that if she ate of the tree she would not die.(Gen. 3:1-5)  After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve's eyes were opened and they realized that they were naked but they also began the physical process of dying.(Gen. 3:7) 

Binary decision making is based on the law of the excluded middle where only two choices are possible.  When one choice is made two more choices are then possible and a decision tree is formed for analysis.  A well known example of a decision tree is the secession of the U.S. states in 1861.  An excerpted account can be found in the mini case study (simplified format) in the next section of this paper. 

4. A Mini Case Study

"The Secession of U.S. States in 1861" (An Excerpted Version in Simplified Format) 

The Binary Decision Making List 

--The northerner, Abraham Lincoln, and known enemy of state's rights wins the Republican nomination for presidency on 16 May, 1860.  Northern Democrats support Stephen Douglas and split from the Southern Democrats support of John Breckinridge.  Former Whigs from the border states form a Constitutional Union Party and nominate John Bell.  Lincoln wins the presidential election.

--On 24 December, 1860, South Carolina (S.C.) delegates think that the U.S. Constitution had been and will continue to be violated by the federal government.  The delegates adopt a Confederate States of America Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.

--Six more states secede; Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.  Those seven states formed the Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) on 4 February, 1861.  Jefferson Davis is selected as the provisional C.S.A. president with a government modeled after the U.S. Constitution which allowed more autonomy for states.

--Lincoln's predecessor, James Buchanan, refused to surrender the federal ports in the south to the C.S.A.  C.S.A. troops from S.C. repel a federal supply ship trying to reach Fort Sumter, S.C.

--On 4 March, Lincoln is inaugurated and says he does not plan to end state's rights to decide the issue of slavery.  But he does say that he will oppose state's rights to secede and hoped to resolve the crisis without warfare.

--On 12 April, S.C. took Fort Sumter after rejecting Lincoln's announcement of his intent to only supply the Fort.  Some states reject Lincoln's demand to fill the ranks of the federal military and join the C.S.A.; Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

--Western Virginians did not want to join the C.S.A. and formed the state of West Virginia in June.  Despite sympathy for C.S.A. causes and due to federal military pressure adjoining states did not secede; Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri.  Those five states made up the border states.  Lincoln declared martial law in Maryland and held government leaders without trial.  The pro states' rights government of Missouri was attacked by federal troops.

--The federal General Winfield Scott attacked the C.S.A. in July at the First Battle of Bull Run at Manassas Junction, Virginia.  Scott was defeated and retreated to Washington.  The federal navy established an effective blockade of the C.S.A.  The C.S.A. responded by making smaller and faster ships.

--For a brief period in September, Kentucky's government was held by C.S.A. supporters.  Jefferson Davis arrested and held federal supporters in East Tennessee without trial.

--On 7 November, the federal General Thomas Sherman occupied Port Royal and islands off the coast of S.C.


The C.S.A., including Native American groups, believed that the federal government had broken the unifying agreement of the U.S. Constitution.  They chose to secede.  The federal government chose not to accept the secession and chose to escalate aggression using the military option.  The C.S.A. chose to defend themselves using the military option.  The C.S.A. military option failed in 1865 resulting in an end to U.S. slavery and the building of a superpower that would righteously influence the entire world for an ordained period. 


The schism within the U.S. beginning in 1861 could not have been avoided, short of a resynchronization of values from a reformation to NLF.  The binary decision making by the C.S.A. and then the federal government was to be expected.  It is historically clear that without a reformation in the U.S. another division will occur.  Much the same geographic regions are polarized today as evidenced by diametrically opposed voting blocks.  Today the reasons are for defense against the federal government's violating of NLF.  Some analysts do not see this as a near term crisis.  (This is a sentiment held by Edward Lucas of The Economist expressed in an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in March, 2008.)  Other analysts are not sure whether the crisis will be catastrophic or a slow decay.  (This is a sentiment held by the political scientist, Michael Parenti, expressed in an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in March, 2008.) 

Given the average U.S. citizen's access to communication technology and the knowledge of improvised weapons creation and tactics, an effective strategy to diminish the federal government's infrastructure and force multipliers could likely be rapidly adopted.  It is not as likely, as in 1861, that the present federal government would embrace an aggressive military option as is being witnessed by the Chinese government now in Tibet.  A more likely scenario would model the former Soviet Union decision making only a little over a decade ago when the whole world saw by television in real time the Soviet tanks brought to Red Square to squash the uprising. 

U.S. supporters of NLF would have a challenge in finding like minded allies of foreign nation-states for building a coalition due to the general global rejection of NLF.  U.S. states with more outgo of revenues to the federal government than incoming assets would be in the best position of maintaining day to day operations.  An internal U.S. struggle would likely be taken advantage of by nefarious foreign interests.  But as the U.S. Declaration of Independence indicates, it is the duty of the righteous to do what is right despite the consequences.  Because when an oppressive government murders all of its opposition that supports NLF there will only be violators of NLF left.  That evil remnant will be incapable of forming complex societal structures and will eventually collapse on their own anyway. 

5. Conclusion

Individual and societies in via have a necessity of hope from dasein.  Without it the human being would be fixed and not in via.  We, temporal beings, are suspended between the past and the future.  This leads to binary decision making that can be analyzed and predicted.  Those decisions can be seen in the mini case study of the secession of U.S. states in 1861.  Future inevitable decisions and behavior can then be predicted and planned for accordingly. 

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