anxiety the nothing is encountered at one with beings as a whole. What does this "at one with" mean?a

In anxiety beings as a whole become superfluous. In what sense does this happen? Beings are not annihilated by anxiety, so that nothing is left. How [11] could they be, when anxiety finds itself precisely in utter impotence with regard to beings as a whole? Rather, the nothing makes itself known with beings and in beings expressly as a slipping away of the whole.

No kind of annihilation of the whole of beings in themselves takes place in anxiety; just as little do we produce a negation of beings as a whole in order to attain the nothing for the first time. Apart from the consideration that the explicit enactment of a negating assertion remains foreign to anxiety as such, we also come always too late with such a negation that should produce the nothing. The nothing rises to meet us already before that. We said it is encountered "at one with" beings that are slipping away as a whole.

In anxiety there occurs a shrinking back before . . . that is surely not any sort of flight but rather a kind of entranced calm. This "back before" takes its departure from the nothing. The nothing itself does not attract; it is essentially repelling. But this repulsion is itself as such a parting gesture toward beings that are submerging as a whole. This wholly repelling gestureb toward beings that are slipping away as a whole, which is the action of the nothing that closes in on Dasein in anxiety, is the essence of the nothing: nihilation. It is neither an annihilation of beings nor does it spring from a negation. Nihilation will not submit to calculation in terms of annihilation and negation. The nothing itself nihilates.c

Nihilation is not some fortuitous incident. Rather, as the repelling gesture toward beings as a whole in their slipping away, it manifests these beings in their full but heretofore concealed strangeness as what is radically other - with respect to the nothing.

In the clear night of the nothing of anxiety the original openness of beings as such arises: that they are beings — and not nothing. But this "and not nothing" we add in our talk is not some kind of appended [12] clarification. Rather, it makes possible in advanced the manifestness of beings in general. The essence of the originally nihilating nothing lies in this, that it brings Da-sein for the first time beforee beings as such.

a Fifth edition, 1949: The distinction.

b Fifth edition, 1949: Repelling: beings by themselves; gesturing toward: the being of beings.

c Fifth edition, 1949: Prevails essentially, endures as nihilation, grants the nothing.

d Fifth edition, 1949: I.e., being.

e Fifth edition, 1949: Specifically before the being of beings, before the distinction.


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks