More Original Explication of Dasein [401-402]

When dread has run its course we say, 'It was really nothing.' This kind of talk strikes the very heart of the matter. It was nothing; the of-which of dread is nothing, that is to say, nothing that takes place in the world, nothing definite, nothing worldly. But since it can nevertheless be oppressively present in an obtrusiveness, it is much more than something threatening for fear, for it is the world in its very worldhood. The indefiniteness of the of-which, this nothing as nothing worldly, is phenomenally quite definite. It is the world in its worldhood, which of course does not give itself like a world-thing. As that which threatens, this nothing is very close, so that what thus threatens (the world hood of the world or the world as such) in a way wraps itself around someone and takes his breath away, without being something of which one could say: this thing here.

For this peculiar and wholly original phenomenon there now are, as for all such phenomena, characteristic delusions, delusions of dread which, for example, can be induced purely physiologically. But this physiological possibility itself exists only because this entity, which is corporeally determined, can by virtue of its being be in dread at all, and not because some physiological occurrence could produce something like dread. It is for this reason that we speak of inducing a dread which is always possible and to some extent latent.

Because that of which dread is in dread is this nothing in the sense of "nothing definite and worldly," the nothing amplifies its proximity, that is, the possibility of the can-be [Seinkönnen] and of "being able to do nothing against it." This absolute helplessness in the face of the threatening, because it is indeed indefinite, because it is nothing, offers no ways and means of overcoming it. Every orientation draws a blank. This worldly indefiniteness of that of which dread is in dread is in its constitution now accompanied by the indefiniteness of that about which dread is in dread.

It is not this or that concern which is threatened, but being-in-the-world as such. Inherent in being-in-the-world, however, (and now we need to bring in what we have already discussed for the understanding of the entire analysis of dread) is the world in its worldhood. The of-which of dread, which is nothing worldly, is the in-which which is constitutive of Dasein, of in-being itself. That of which dread is in dread is the in-which of being-in-the-world, and that about which one is in dread is this very same being-in-the-world, specifically in its primary discoveredness of 'not at home.' In dread, therefore, the of-which of dread and the about-which of being in dread are not only indefinite in a worldly sense, but they coincide. More precisely stated, in dread they are not yet even separated; Dasein is the of-which and the about which. In dread being-in-the-world as such discloses itself, and that

Martin Heidegger (GA 20) History of the Concept of Time