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Recommended Citation Magrini, James, ""Anxiety" in Heidegger's Being and Time: The aH rbinger of Authenticity" (2006). Philosophy Scholarship. Paper 15. http://dc.cod.edu/philosophypub/15
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"Anxiety" in Heidegger's Being and Time: The Harbinger of Authenticity
J.M. Magrini DePaul University
ABSTRACT: Analyzing the fundamental ontology of Dasein in Martin Heidegger's Being and Time, this essay details the essential relationship between the mood of "anxiety" (Angst) and Dasein ' s authentic comportment to existence. Although a highly disturbing experience, anxiety holds the potential for enlightenment, as it opens Dasein to the fundamental characteristics of its temporal authenticity. Dasein assents to its Selfhood and enacts its freedom in a "resolute," authentic manner only when it grasps the difficult and burdensome aspects of life revealed by way of Angst's attunement. Thus, I argue that anxiety is the single most important mode of human attunement that Heidegger describes.
This essay examines the relationship understanding in which the existent between the mood of anxiety (Angst) and Dasein does not understand itself primar Dasein's authentic comportment to ily by that apprehended possibility of existence. It will be shown that anxiety is itself which is most peculiarly its own" a potentially enlightening experience, (Basic Problems of Phenomenology, which brings Dasein before the most 279). In the inauthentic mode, Dasein's fundamental characteristics of authenticity, understanding and discourse are expressed including Dasein's awareness of its own within the idle talk and curiosity of the most potentiality-for-Being, which it "they-self," disclosing existence in a projects while bearing the full weight of superficial and ambiguous manner. its primordial guilt, thereby owning up to Tranquilized by what seems a complete the "nothingness" at the root of its Being, understanding of things, Dasein never and further, facing the uttermost, insur sets out to acquire an authentic under mountable "certainty" of its possible standing of existence and is unconcerned non-existence, or death. As a far-reach with the clear-sighted projection of its ing primordial possibility of disclosure, ownmost possibilities. Lost in the "they anxiety makes manifest in Dasein its self," Dasein does not enact its own "Being towards its ownmost potentiality Being and either avoids, or remains for-Being - that is, its Being}ree for the oblivious to, the uniqueness and freedom of choosing itself and taking "peculiarity" of its Being and its genuine hold of itself' (Being and Time , possibilities. 232/188). To choose and take hold of This lack of authentic self-understanding oneself, as Heidegger conceives, is to is a problem for Heidegger, who is con assent to one's own most potentiality-for cerned with bringing Dasein . back to Being and exist in an authentic manner. itself to face its own Being with honesty This includes Being-in-the-world in such and integrity. Asking how Dasein's own a way that one is beholden to the past most potentiality-for-Being is to be and accountable for the future. grasped and enacted, Heidegger offers a For the most part, Dasein exists in solution that spans nearly the entirety of an inauthentic manner (everydayness), Division II of Being and Time. When which amounts to choosing not to choose Dasein exists authentically, he con itse(f, and is characterized by the perpet cludes, "Dasein is itself in and from its ual movement of falling. This mode of own most peculiar possibility, a possibil existence for Heidegger denotes "an ity that has been seized on and chosen by
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the Dasein itself' (BP, 287). Authentic Dasei n ' s Being, it must first locate the existence constitutes Dasein's most most far-reaching, primordial mode of extreme possibility of existing, which attunement that effectively reveals primarily determines its Being. As Dasei n' s entire structural make-up. In opposed to moving along passively with quest of this primordial mode of disclo the ebb and flow of things, Dasein, for sure, Heidegger searches for the "right the first time, is emphatically choosing to mood," that is, the mood that most effec choose itself and its own way in the tively brings to light the oppressive, world. It is for this reason that Heidegger disturbing character of existence, and for considers authentic existence an extreme this reason examines anxiety (Angst) , possibility for Dasein. 1 However, before a pri mordial state of Dasein' s attune Dasein comports itself authentically, it ment. Anxiety reveals existence as a must be brought back from falling and phenomenon that eludes all attempts to the "they-self' to instead face itself and explain and control it, thus opening up the ultimate conditions of existence. This the fundamental elements of Dasein' s is accomplished by way of the revelatory existence, revealing its "world as world," mood (Stimmung) of anxiety, which for bringing forth its most important and Heidegger represents the harbinger of authentic possibilities in light of finitude. authenticity. According to Heidegger, the funda Moods are fundamental states of mental mood of anxiety is the most attunement that color Dasein's disposition rudimentary form of disclosure that and awareness, out of which it uncovers, attunes Dasein to its existence, more or discloses, things that matter. Prior to primordial and .revelatory than any comporting itself to any situation, Dasein other average everyday mood. Anxiety is already immersed within a mood of exposes Dasein to the fundamental some kind, as attunement is always at nature of its Being-in-the-world by work influencing its worldly orientation. . bringing it before the great void of exis Heidegger describes attunement as a pri tence, and is therefore crucial to Dasein's mordial way of Being that precedes "all authentic existential understanding of cognition and volition, and [is] beyond such phenomena as "death," "nothing their range of disclosure" (BT, ] 75/136). ness," and "thrownness." This awareness However, not all moods are equally then attunes Dasein as it enacts its revealing. For example, everyday moods authentic possibilities in the existentiell. such as love, happiness, boredom, irri In essence, anxiety is about "nothing tability, and fear do not provide funda ness," or the "nullity" that resides at the mental existential insight into Dasein' s center of Dasein's Being. Heidegger Being as a whole,
78 DIALOGUE April, 2006 anxiety is a generalized, highly disturb meaning, force, and significance. Things ing dread arising from Dasein, which that were once familiar and compre induces a crisis of meaning. Anxiety hendible show themselves in problematic provokes a shattering breakdown in the ways. Dasein is momentarily "left everyday, familiar ways in which Dasein hanging" as a homeless, thrown being. conducts its life and most dramatically Alienated, in the mode of the "not-at illustrates the principle of breakdown home" (Unheimlichkeit), Dasein is forced and revelation within Heidegger's before the "nothingness" of existence.4 philosophy. For example, in Division I, This primordial, " uncanny" existential Section ill, Chapter 16 (Being and mode of the "not-at-home" represents for Time), Heidegger analyzes the break Heidegger the most fundamental way of down of "ready-to-hand" equipment and existence, acting to individualize Dasein the subsequent revelation of "world" for its own Being, revealing the unique, through the phenomenon of the "un individual possibilities, which it alone ready-to-hand." When a tool functions has the potential to enact as Being-in properly, its authentic "readiness-to the-world. hand" remains inconspicuous. On the However, the individualization (exis contrary, when a tool ceases to function tential solipsism) that occurs in anxiety properly, or becomes unusable, it quickly is the exact opposite of solipsism as tra draws the attention of the user to the ditionally conceived, i.e., as a retreat into system of relations of which it is a part the secluded interiority of the conscious as it is directed toward a specific task. At ness, and is instead Dasein's bold the instant of breakdown, Dasein catches reclaiming of its world and Being. sight of everything connected to the Anxiety works on Dasein so as to bring it work; the totality of the "workshop," so out of the world of the "they-self' to face to speak, is lit up. The nature of "equip its own "world as world, and thus bring mentality" and the referential totality of it face to face with itself as Being-in-the the "ready-to-hand" are simultaneously world" (ST, 233/188). Anxiety frees made explicit, disclosing the overall Dasein to take hold of its existence by purpose of the project (towards-this) and throwing it back upon that which it is the manner in which the project must most anxious about - its own potentiality proceed in order to reach fruition (il1- for-Being-in-the-world provoking .order-to). Anxiety induces a similar phe Dasein to reflect upon that which matters nomenon, albeit on a larger scale, for in most in its existence. Heidegger claims the moment of Angst's attunement, the that anxiety arises out of Being-in-the entirety of Dasein's existence is disrupted, world as a whole, and when Dasein is its life no longer "works," or functions anxious, its Being as "care" is disclosed. with meaning. A breakdown occurs, and "Thus the entire phenomenon of anxiety the phenomenon of the world announces shows Dasein as factically existing its presence, disclosing the complex Being-in-the-world. The fundamental system of reference relations within ontological characteristics of this entity which Dasein is immersed. are existentiality, facti city , and Being When the world announces its pres fallen" (ST, 2351191). ence in anxiety, Dasein' s everyday exis The ontological understanding of care tence (inauthentic) falls into a state of provides important insight into Dasein's confusion; meanings and interrelations existence, as the three modes (ecstases) are lost, and a slipping away of beings of temporality are implicit within its occurs. At the moment anxiety swells, definition as "ahead-of-itself-as-already Dasein no longer feels at home within in-the-world" and "Being-alongside" in the comfort and safety of its inauthentic the world.5 Heidegger views primordial Being-in-the-world, as the thoughts and temporality, the ontological meaning of interpretations of the "they-self' lose the care-structure, as a finite phenomenon.
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"Care itself, in its very essence," argues and individuated, with its worldly rela Heidegger, "is permeated with nullity tions severed, is brought before the utter (nothingness) through and through" (BT, possibility of its no-Ionger-being-able-to 331/285). Hence, due to the nature of its be, its ownmost authentic potentiality being, Dasein endures a finite existence for-Being is revealed as Being-towards and inevitably faces insurmountable death. It not only attunes itself to the obstacles, which restrict and shape its inevitability of mortality, but also pro possibilities and the enactment thereof. It jects the "uncanniness" of anxiety into is anxiety that discloses the limitations of its futural existence. This, for Heidegger, Dasein's existence by revealing the three represents the existential understanding ways in which "nothingness" manifests of death as a "Being-certain of death," itself existentially within the care-struc or mortality, and when Dasein takes on ture: (1) Death (2) thrown ness and factic this possibi Iity as its own possibility, it ity, and (3) the impossibi Iity of enacting is anticipating and "running ahead" all possibilities. These delimiting factors (vorlaufen) towards or up to its death, represent the primordial "nothingness" with the dual recognition of its with which Dasein, enduring a finite inevitability and indeterminate nature, as existence, must come to terms in order to death, the uttermost possibility of non exist authentically. being, can occur at any moment. "The Nothing with which anxiety Dasein is free for the possibility of brings us face to face," writes Heidegger, death when it accepts its mortality, and "unveils the nullity by which Dasein, in this is what Heidegger calls the "freedom its very basis, is defined; and this basis towards death." At the moment Dasein is itself is as thrownness into death" (BT, free for death, open for what is possible 356/308). Anxiety is about death. at any moment, all of its possibilities are Inauthentic Dasein interprets death as if subordinated to the uttermost possibility it were only a biological truism, signifying of death and thus become provisional. nothing more than the physical cessation In its "running ahead" to death in antici of the organism. Falling within the pation, Dasein is liberated from its everyday mode of existence, Dasein absorption in the "they" of everyday misses the existential significance of existence and understands its existence death and treats it as a present-at-hand in terms of its factical possibilities, thing or occurrence. For example, viewing which are constrained and shaped by death as an event that happens to others, mortality. As Heidegger indicates, antici or as a quasi-established, abstracted pation is something other than merely truth, which occurs at some point in Being-certain of death's inevitability; Dasein's distant future, characterizes a more importantly, it is the freedom for "fleeing in the face 0f death," which is possibilities within which Dasein holds ultimately a fleeing from anxiety, and maintains itself. Being-certain for described by Heidegger as a "fleeing of death is only disclosed when Dasein Dasein in the face of itself - of itself as enacts the "not-yet" that is always a part an authentic potentiality-for-Being of its "Being-ahead-of-itself." In antici its-Self' (BT, 2291184). Living in an pation, Dasein recognizes death as a con inauthentic way, in the midst of the stant and legitimate threat arising from "they-self," Dasein allows denial and anxiety's latent presence, which holds deception to shield it from the pressing Dasein open to "the utter and constant impact and monumental import of its threat to itself arising from [its] ownmost mortality. Conversely, authentic Dasein individualized Being" (BT, 310/266). interprets the oppressive void of -anxiety Thus, anticipation is also about anxiety, and the ultimate nothingness of death as as "running ahead" to death is Dasein's the single most integral aspect of authentic authentic comportment to death and comportment. When Dasein, uncanny includes maintaining, or holding, oneself
80 DIALOGUE April,2006 within the threat of death 's indefinite The reticent voice of conscience certainty. speaks from the depths of anxiety's rum In Division II, Chapter I (Seing and bling silence. The summons of "Being Time) , Heidegger ends the discussion of guilty" is potentially audible because of death by explicating the ontological Dasein's ontological predisposition for possibility of the existential projection hearing: of anticipation. The question remains. whether or not any phenomenon in Only in keeping silent does the Dasein's existence actually realizes this conscience call; that is to say, the "ontological-existential" possibility of a call comes from the soundlessness Being-towards-death in the concrete, of uncannniness, and the Dasein existentiell, i.e., "Dasein' s ability to which it summons is called back into come to owe anything in facti cally the stillness of itself, and called back existing" (ST, 332/286). Heidegger demon as something that is to become still. strates that such a phenomenon exists Only in reticence, therefore, is and refers to it as the "conscience." this silent discourse understood When Dasein owns up to the primordial appropriately in wanting to have a guilt of existence (nothingness), which conscience. It takes the words away conscience formalizes and "silently" from the common-sense idle talk of communicates, it therefore fulfills the the "they" (ST, 343/296). ontological conclusions about death and is free for the pursuit of its own finite The uncanny call of Dasein (con possibilities within concrete existenfiell science) in its thrown "nothingness" is situations. unfamiliar to the ordinary, everyday Heidegger does not express con Dasein and thus resonates as a distant, science in traditional psychological, ethi "alien" voice. The silent discourse of cal, or religious terms. Rather, he views conscience rings in an unfamiliar and conscience as a form of understanding, anomalous manner within the loud expressed as a silent voice which urges confusion of inauthentic existence. For Dasein to end its flight into the inauthen this reason, the voice penetrates the crash tic world, i.e., face the "nothingness" of and rattle of idle chatter and reaches the its Being as thrown-prqjection, own up "they-self," attempting to induce to its primordial guilt, and assume the Dasein's authentic "Self' to pay heed to responsibility of enacting its authentic its message and return "into the reticence potentiality-for-Being. In vocalizing what (~f [its] existent potentiality-for-Being" anxiety intimates, conscience reminds (BT, 322/277). However, to merely Dasein that it does not control its own have the voice of conscience reach the Being, as the C;lr-e-structure is ultimately inauthentic Dasein is not sufficient to grounded in primordial "nothingness." call it back from the "they" into its Since anxiety discloses this fact it is existent potentiality-for-Being. For the therefore integral to the phenomenon of possibility exists that Dasein, absorbed conscience. "In uncanniness," reminds within its fallen everyday existence, may Heidegger, "Dasein stands together with ignore the call, fail to understand it, or itself primordially. Uncanniness brings remain oblivious to its urgent communi this entity face to face with its undis cations. Hence, just as there exists an guised nullity, which belongs to the inauthentic reaction to death, there exists possibility of its own most potentiality an inauthentic response to conscience. for-Being" (BT, 333/287). Like facing Heidegger states that as Dasein runs death, the acceptance of guilt's burden from its primordial guilty nature, it is requires Dasein to confront the disturb again fleeing the oppression of anxiety, ing truths of existence brought to light in and in this instance it is "fleeing in the anxiety. face of the conscience."
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Heidegger argues that guilt, in the "is only in the choice of one possibility - everyday sense, emerges when Dasein that is, in tolerating one's not having endeavors to cover over, or flee from, the chosen the others and one's not being agitation it experiences by way of Angst. able to choose them" (BT, 331/285). Attempting to quell its unsettledness, It has been the aim of this work to Dasein passively adopts the ethical analyze anxiety as the harbinger of mores of the "they-self" as rigid criteria authenticity, but as a neutral mode of for its behavior. When the voice of the attunement, Angst is the forerunner to "they-self' is erroneously protracted and both Dasein' s authentic and inauthentic universalized, it forms that which modes of comportment. Thus, to merely Heidegger refers to as the "world stand courageously before anxiety does conscience." To envisage the conscience not amount to "choosing" an authentic as an objective, formalized phenomenon, existence based on what anxiety reveals, with content supplied by the venerable for Angst "merely brings one into the obligation to religious beliefs, principles mood for a possible resolution" (BT, of reason, or societal mores, is to 394/344). If anxiety is to be considered respond in an inauthentic manner to the and acknowledged as the harbinger of call of the existential conscience. authenticity, an active move in which Although the voice of the conscience is Dasein chooses to choose itse(f is the call of care (Dasein's own call), inau required (recall the contrast between thentic Dasein judges the caller "after the Dasein's authentic choosing to choose manner of the world," i.e., the collective itse(f and the inauthentic choosing not to voice of the "they-self," and interprets choose itse(f). Dasein must therefore conscience as a power that it can "come incorporate the insight gained in anxiety across Objectively" (BT, 323/278). and actively take on the responsibility of Heidegger contends that the traditional its death and the guilt-ridden "nothing conception of conscience and guilt, as ness" of its existence. Heidegger locates expressed within psychology and the means by which to open Dasein to religion, for example, originate from the the enactment of its authentic potentiality misunderstanding of the existential for-Being within the phenomenon of conSClence. "resoluteness" (Entschlossenheit), which Unlike the everyday idea of guilt, is to say, positively incorporating existential guilt is a form of obligation anxiety's seemingly negative influence: characterized by an emptiness, a lack of content, which Heidegger expresses in lA]nxiety can mount authentically the following terms: "Being-the-basis for only in a Dasein which is resolute. a being that is defined by a 'not' - that is He who is resolute knows no fear; to say, as Being-the-c2sis of a nullity" but he understands the possibility of (BT, 329/283). Dasein is guilty because anxiety as the possibility of the very its possibilities for the future, past, and mood which neither inhibits nor present are all influenced and constrained bewilders him. Anxiety liberates by the primordial "nothingness" that him .from possibilities which "count resides in the care-structure. To enact its for nothing", and lets him become authentic existence, Dasein must own up free for those which are authentic to its guilt. It must acknowledge and (BT,394/344). accept that the possibilities that it seeks to project itself upon are limited by To initiate authentic Being-in-the "nothingness," which manifests itself in world, a transformation of inauthentic thrown-Being, death, and the fact that in existence is required. Dasein must submit choosing one possibility it is therefore to the . disturbing revelations of anxiety precluding a host of other equally viable by way of "wanting-to-have-a-conscience," options. "Freedom," writes Heidegger, i.e., choosing to own up to its being-the-
82 DIALOGUE April, 2006 basis of a nullity as thrown-projection. influence of the "they-self," pushes for This blameworthy attitude, or authentic ward authentically into its possibilities hearing of the call of conscience, is with the existential understanding of Dasein's ownmost Self taking action "in what is factically possible at each and itself on its own accord in its Being every moment. 7 guilty, and represents phenomenally that The authentic Situation of Dasein is authentic potentiality-for-Being which not an axiomatic guide to authentic Dasein itself attests" (RT, 342/295). The behavior, presenting a theoretical schema authentic understanding of conscience, for human existence. Instead, it is an which signifies a readiness for anxiety, is authentic way of inhabiting the present what Heidegger terms "resoluteness," moment, which modifies and clarifies which is the authentic "disclosedness" Dasein's relationships, i.e., its concerned of Dasein. This distinctive mode of dealings with entities and its solicitous "disclosedness" holds within itself Being-with-Others. The Situation is the Dasein's authentic Being-towards-death authentic clearing of Being, an opening "as the possible existential modality for for the enactment of Dasein's authenti its own authenticity," which it enacts in cally owned possibilities. Seizing upon the existentiell (RT, 353/305). Heidegger the existential understanding of thrown links resoluteness, as disclosedness, or ness and death, Dasein makes its choices "uncovering," to the authentic truth in light of its uncertain future and (aletheia) of existence, "the most primor thrown-past. It is within the Situation dial, and indeed the most authentic that Dasein' s freedom is born of the disclosedness," in which Dasein is its relationship between its choices and the potentiality-for-Being (RT, 264/221). constraints that shape its possibilities. To In the moment of resolute openness, erroneously conceive resoluteness as a which is nothing other than wanting to deliberate choice, which estab1ishes the have a conscience, throwing itself down permanent transformation of Dasein, is upon its Being-guilty in readiness for to truncate freedom and eradicate the anxiety, Dasein opens itself to what possibility of ethics, and thus deny to Heidegger terms the "Situation," or the existence "nothing less than the very authentic way of "Being-there" (RT, possibility of taking action in a particular 347/300). As previously stated, Dasein's Situation" (RT, 345/298). authentic existence represents an When "resolute" Dasein comports emphatic "choosing to choose" itself. itself, anxiety has extinguished intrinsic However, to understand Heidegger's meaning from its life, and the reasons for conception of Dasein in the moment of acting and making choices hinge upon resoluteness, the traditional notion of the "disclosive projection and determina volition as the "deliberate choice of a tion of what is factically possible at the subject" must be reconsidered. (, This is time" (RT, 345/298). Authenticity does because resolute Dasein is not willfully not provide life with a new content, for choosing between the competing authentic existence is in fact devoid of alternatives of inauthentic and authentic content, nor does it alienate Dasein from existence. Rather, Dasein is opening the world. Rather, authenticity "brings itself up to Being; its "choice," so to the Self right into its current concernful speak., is already made when it allows being alongside what is ready-to-hand, itself to be called by conscience to own and pushes it into solicitous Being-with up to guilt and accept the "nothingness" others" (RT, 344/298). Authenticity is of existence. Therefore, Dasein is not so a shift in the framework of Dasein' s much "choosing" authenticity and the existence, transforming the "context" in Situation as it is choosing its actions which it enacts its approaching possibilities. within specific situations. In resolute Authentic Being-in-the-world is a spon ness, Dasein, released from the oppressive taneous way of living in which Dasein is
83 DIALOGUE April,2006 open and receptive to the approach of of the Situation. This "ecstatic" temporal Being. The radical, authentic transforma process represents the letting be of tion to authenticity occurs when Dasein Being, which has been defined as the owns up to the disclosed "nothingness," authentic truth of existence. Thus, when or nullity, of its Being, which first Dasein exists authentically, it experi manifests itself through the primordial ences the world in its basic "unconceal attunement of Angst. ment" - allowing that which shows itse(f Conceived as a temporal phenome from itse(f to be seen - now not disclos non, the Situation is Dasein's "moment ing beings, but the phenomenon of world of vision" (Augenblick), or "instant," of as such, i.e., the overarching matrix of authenticity. "In the instant as an ecstasis," meaning and purpose structuring writes Heidegger, "the existent Dasein is Dasein's Being-in-the-world. carried away, as resolved, into the facti The concluding remarks focus on cally determined possibilities, circum Dasein's authentic response to anxiety as stances, contingencies of the situation of an insightful and philosophical way to action" (BP, 287). This is the moment of encounter Angst. The ultimate situations enpresenting (the authentic "present" of of human existence, which manifest ecstatic temporality) when Dasein, acces themselves by way of anxiety, represent sible and free, projects itself into its the very conditions that hold the possibilities within the factical and potential to make human life genuinely distinct circumstances of its own unique meaningful. Death, nothingness, and life. Such an authentic "resolute" open thrown ness, disclosed through anxiety, ness to worldly encounters is only are precisely what Dasein must accept in possible because Dasein is a temporal order to exist authentically as its future being that temporalizes, and thus is at (free-for-death), past and inheritance once its future, past, and present as (its having-been), and present, the thrown-projecting Being-in-the-world. The "there," or enpresenting, of existence. It present, which is held within authentic is of benefit, at this point, to inquire into temporality, is the sustaining form of the mind-set of the authentic, resolute Dasein's authentic choices, the "resolute Dasein as perceived by Heidegger. Is it rapture with which Dasein is carried likely that while preparing his extensive away to whatever possibilities and cir analysis of authenticity, Heidegger was cumstances are encountered in the drawing inspiration from his own exis Situation as possible objects of concern" tence as a philosopher? Such an assumption (BP, 287). is reasonable, if we envisage the philoso The authentic temporalizing of Dasein pher as one who is attuned and open to occurs as it projects its finite possibili life's most difficult situations. ties, initiating a forward movement Of assistance in understanding the towards itself as resolute Being-towards philosopher's mind-set is to recall the death in its ownmost potentiality-for two perspectives from which this essay Being. This movement secures a "repeti has considered anxiety'S influence. If, on tion" of the authentic nullity, or the one hand, Angst is interpreted in an "nothingness," characterizing Dasein' s inauthentic manner, as a constant threat authentic response to the call of con to one's healthful existence, Dasein flees science. Thrown before the revelations of in fear from anxiety's disturbing effects anxiety, this future-oriented act of to the safety and familiarity of the retrieval is the authentic appropriation of interpretations of the status quo. If, on Dasein's "having-been." In coming to the other hand, Angst is perceived as the itself (future) from out of its own bridge to a unique form of understanding, thrown-Being (past), Dasein discloses which connects Dasein to the finite realities the meaning of authentic Being within of its Being-in-the-world, then as opposed the "instant," or enpresenting (present), to prefiguring horror and passivity, anxiety
84 DIALOGUE April,2006 announces itself as the harbinger of incoherent aspirations work to tear down Dasein's authentic enactment of free our genuine earthly relations. Philosophy dom for its possibilities. As anxiety is is ultimately concerned with enacting disclosing the insignificance of the world, ways of life that embrace finitude, for authentic Dasein is reinterpreting the "existence is truly philosophical only meaninglessness and impossibility of when its knowledge is appropriately existence as revelatory. This radical attuned to that which cannot be known, conversion of the inauthentic view to a destiny that exceeds oneself."R "signifies that one is letting the possibility Philosophy must take up and challenge of an authentic potentiality-for-Being be the ultimate uncertainties that comprise lit up," i.e., one is behaving philosophi Being-in-the-world. Heidegger accurately cally, awakened by the sense of wonder concludes that outside of the single fatality (BT,393/343). of death, that uttermost certainty, which The philosopher therefore embraces, is non-relational and insurmountable, Dasein through resolute openness, the limited is a wealth of potential. Considering the and ephemeral nature of the world that depth and breadth of his treatment of anxiety discloses. To abandon the notion authenticity, Heidegger may well be asking of a finite worldly existence in search of the reader of Being and Time to consider meaningful consolation elsewhere (e.g., seriously the life of the philosopher as inauthentic worldly projection or other representing an "anxious" obligation to worldly projection by way of religion) is death, which frees herlhim for the joyous to degrade our vast potential, as such and challenging activity of living. * * I thank Professor William McNeiII, author of The Glance of the Eye: Heidegger, Aristotle, and the Ends of Theory. His comments and suggestions helped to improve this essay.
1 Heidegger, Martin, The Concept oj Time. Trans., W. McNeill, bilingual edition (Blackwell: Oxford), L992, p. IOE. Heidegger's exact quotation concerning Dasein's authenticity runs thus: "The authenticity oj Dasein is what constitutes its most extreme possibility of Being. Da<;ein is primarily determined by this most extreme possibility of Dasein."
2 , "What is Metaphysics?" Basic Writings. Trans. , David Farrell Krell. (Harper & Row: San Francisco), 1993, p. 100. "Because fear possesses [the] trait of being 'fear in the face of and 'fear for,' he who fears and is afraid is captive to the mood in which he finds himself. Striving to rescue himself from this particular thing, he becomes unsure of everything else and completely 'loses his head'."
3 , "What is Metaphysics?" Basic Writings. Trans., David Farrell Krell. (Harper & Row: San Francisco), 1993, p. ]03. The monumental importance that Heidegger attaches to the Nothing within his philosophy is expressed directly within the following statement: "Without the original revela tion of the Nothing, no self-hood and no freedom."
4 "Unheirnlichkeit" translates as "uncanny" but means more literally "un-homelike," or "not at-home" (fin. H. 188).
5 , The Concept oj Time. Trans., W. McNeill , bilingual edition (Blackwell: Oxford), 1992, p. 20B. To understand Dasein and further, Being in general, Heidegger argues that we must first understand time, for Dasein is temporality. "Dasein is time, time is temporal. Dasein is not time, but temporality."
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6 , "On the Origin of the Work of Art," Poetry, Language, Thought. Trans., A. Hofstadter (Harper & Row: New York), 1971, p. 67. Reflecting on the phenomenon of authentic "resoluteness" within "The Origin of the Work of Art," Heidegger writes the following: "The resoluteness intended in Being and Time, is not the deliberate choice of a subject, but the opening up of human being, out of its capacity in that which is, to the openness of being."
7 Heidegger describes the immediacy of Dasein 's action-taking when resolute for its own Potentiality-for-Being in the following terms: "Resoluteness does not take cognizance of a Situation and put that Situation before itself; it has put itself into the Situation already. As resolute, Dasein is already taking action." (BT, 347/300).
8 McNeill, William, "Care for the Self," Philosophy Today (Spring Issue), p. 62.
Heidegger, Martin, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology. Trans., A. Hofstadter (Indiana University Press: Bloomington), 1982.
__, Being and Time. Trans., 1. Macquarrie and E. Robinson (Harper & Row: New York), 1962.
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