our self-understanding, not as individuals but as human beings. Our essence or our being is “so close to us that we have no distance from it that would allow us to catch sight of it” (FCM284). We achieve this distance in angst—but not through self-spectatorship, self-dissolution, or the collapse of our practical identities. Instead, the self-withdrawal paired with this revelation is a self-suspension.

In angst, my ordinary, everyday life falls out of view for me; it ceases to matter in the sense that it ceases to be salient. Thus “it is not as though ‘you’ or ‘I’ feel uncanny; rather, it is this way for some ‘one.’”27 As in depersonalization, there is no concrete ‘I’ implicated in the experience, since my ordinary self or life has slipped out of view. The ‘subject’ of angst is not me, in my particular life, but some ‘one.’ The myself from which I slip away is my particular existence in its concrete, worldly concerns. When this withdraws, “pure Dasein is all that is still there” (WM8889).

That the totality of involvements has become insignificant or collapsed away from the context of significance contributes to this self-withdrawal, since it suspends my engagement with entities and so my worldly projects and concerns. My possibilities for going about in the world are deactivated, as a whole. With this global suspension of ordinary life, I no longer confront the particular possibilities that have been given to me. As with world-revelation, the global character of angst shifts its revelation from the ontic to the ontological. I confront my possibilities as a whole— where, again, this does not mean in their sum totality but in their very possibility. It is revealed that I am the kind of entity that has possibilities at all—that I am in a human way, that I am as a case of Dasein. Just as angst revealed what it is to be a world (involvement, significance, and so on), angst reveals what it is to be a self and that I am such a self.

Heidegger puts this by saying that angst is an experience of individualization or individuation (SZ187, 188). What kind of individualization can this be if the particulars of my life have slipped away? Usually when we talk about individualization or individuality we are talking about those features of my life and my personality that distinguish me from others and so make me an ‘individual.’ If this were the kind of individualization at issue in angst, then angst would be a personal epiphany experienced by someone lost in society, in which she is called to ‘be authentic’ or to ‘be herself.’ Angst shakes us out of complacency and conformity to society and reveals us to ourselves as free and self-determining. But it is

27 Martin Heidegger, “What Is Metaphysics?,” trans. David Farrell Krell, Pathmarks, ed. William McNeill (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 89. Hereafter WM. Page references in the text will be given in the form (WMxx).