hard to see why Heidegger should be interested in this kind of revelation in SZ, much less at this point in the text. (I discussed this earlier when I defended the methodological role of angst.) I suggest instead that the kind of individualization that Heidegger has in mind is better termed ‘individuation.’

In angst, I am individuated as a case of Dasein and so as a sense-maker. Cases of Dasein are distinguished from other entities by the fact that they understand being or make sense of the world. Cases of Dasein have a world or are being-in-the-world. In our ordinary everydayness, we tend not to understand ourselves in these terms. We tend to grasp ourselves implicitly as the same kinds of things as animals, tools, or natural objects. This is a misunderstanding of what it is to be human—of the ultimate telos of human life as sense-making. Heidegger calls this misunderstanding a ‘dispersion’ (e.g., SZ129, 390). In misunderstanding ourselves, we disperse ourselves amidst other ways of being. Angst disrupts this misunderstanding by revealing to us that we are cases of Dasein. By coming to grasp ourselves as the kind of entity that we are, we grasp ourselves as ontologically distinct from other kinds of entities. With this self-understanding, we become individuated as the kind of entity that we are.

Further, angst reveals that this being is mine to be it. Sense-making is a telos to which I am bound and so to which I am committed. (This is what makes the revelation of angst similar to Lear’s ironic experience.) Being a case of Dasein is a task that I am responsible for executing. But it is also a burden with which I am simply saddled: I cannot not take on being a case of Dasein. I must be a sense-maker; things must hang together meaningfully. We see the same responsibility revealed in the revelation of the world (as we should, since Dasein is being-in-the-world and world-revelation and self-revelation should thus be two sides of the same coin). Dasein is a sense-maker, and the world is that in terms of which it makes sense of things. Thus Dasein is responsible for involvement and significance—for arranging things in relationships of in-orders-to and for-the-sakes-of-which. (This does not mean that each case of Dasein can do so at will; the point is that meaningful relationships depend on sense-making.) So when significance and involvement show up in angst, they show up as my burdens, my responsibility. This is the sounding of the imperative to be a sense-maker, to let things hang together—to explicitly adopt myself, as Dasein, as my telos. Obviously, this is the ontological-existential version of the call to ‘become what you are,’ where ‘what you are’ is not some unique inner self but a human being. Such a call individuates me because responsibility is inherently individuating: the task falls to

Heidegger on Being Uncanny by Katherine Withy