to share even Jess in the opinion that the negation of beings as a whole that are manifest to us in attunement places us before the nothing. Such a thing could happen only in a correspondingly originary attunement that in the most proper sense of unveiling makes manifest the nothing.

Does such an attunement, in which man is brought before the nothing itself, occur in human existence?

It can and does occur, although rarely enough and only for a moment, in the fundamental mood of anxiety. By such anxiety we do not mean the quite common anxiousness, ultimately reducible to fearfulness, which all too readily comes· over us. Anxiety is fundamentally different from fear. We become afraid always in the face of this or that [9] particular being that threatens us in this or that particular respect. Fear in the face of something is also in each case a fear concerning something in particular. Because fear possesses this trait of being "fear in the face of" and "fear concerning," 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."

Anxiety does not let such confusion arise. Much to the contrary, a peculiar calm pervades it. Anxiety is indeed anxiety in the face of . . . . but not in the face of this or that thing. Anxiety in the face of . . . is always anxiety concerning . . . . but not concerning this or that. The indeterminateness of that in the face of which and concerning which we become anxious is no mere lack of determination but rather the essential impossibility of determining it. In the following familiar phrase4 this indeterminateness comes to the fore.

In anxiety, we say, "one feels uncanny." What is "it" that makes "one" feel uncanny? We cannot say what it is before which one feels uncanny. As a whole it is so for one. All things and we ourselves sink into indifference.a This, however, not in the sense of mere disappearance. Rather, in their very receding, things turn toward us. The receding of beings as a whole, closing in on us in anxiety, oppresses us. We can get no hold on things. In the slipping away of beings only this "no hold on things" comes over us and remains.

Anxiety makes manifest the nothing.

We "hover" in anxiety. More precisely, anxiety leaves us hanging, because it induces the slipping away of beings as a whole. This implies that we ourselves - we humans who are in beingb - in the midst of beings slip

a Fifth edition, 1949: Beings no longer speak to us.

b Fifth edition, 1949: But not the human being as the being human "of" Da-sein.


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks