To be or not to be is the fundamental philosophical question. It is not only a question of suicide as so many assume it is out of the mouth of Hamlet. There is, of course, much more in the heaven and earth of Hamlet’s soliloquy than can be dreamed in anyone’s philosophy. To be is the infinitive; I am is the first person singular present tense, active voice, indicative mood. Are you any closer to understanding what it means to be, or not to be, the opposite of the former? If I am at any moment, what I am I have become, but in having become I am no longer becoming. To become is not to be, thus to be must be not to become any longer?
To be is to mediate being, to choose an actual existence for one must choose to be engaged in living in order to live to say I am this or I am that. I was this or that is yet another way to be, but not herein to be pursued. To be engaged in living is to examine life for the unexamined life is not worth living. I do agree with Socrates much to chagrin of many I meet today in my America who are oh so topical, oh so contemporary. It is by thinking that I am, or so Descartes via Hamlet reaches Socrates and then round trip to us, our contemporaneity.
To be or not to be removes oneself from becoming, from the flux of perpetual becoming which has always been non-being. Non-being is as close to a primordial nothingness as anything related to annihilation. In order to be, one must choose being in direct opposite tension with becoming. One does resist the will of one’s plural nature. One must not resist his nature by artificially imposing a self to the psychic displacement of every other self that seeks its due on the stage of the many selves Self.
There is harmony that comes out of this seeming chaos of selves. This harmonic Self is not achieved by imposing one self among many to be the one and only. This harmony is achieved by conducting a symphonic coalescence of all of the selves in a Self of many selves macrocosmic to all existence.
To be or to become posits extremes of ones existence; being is present to the displacement of becoming; while one is becoming whatever it is one is becoming, being is not yet.