“None of us is the ground of her own existence. Instead we are thrown into the world and this thrownness is something that cannot be undone. We are thrown into the position of having to take responsibility for ourselves, to ground our respective being-in-the-world, yet we are not responsible for being in this position.
“This sort of not-being [Nichtigkeit] in no way signifies not-being-on-hand, not obtaining, but instead means a not that constitutes this being of Dasein, its thrownness” (Sein und Zeit 284).
Moods disclose to Dasein “that it is,” and “this ‘that it is’ [is] the thrownness of this entity into its Da [its disclosedness] such that, as being-in-the-world, it is the Da.” Dasein exists as this disclosedness (the clearing) by always finding itself, explicitly or not, in its thrown condition. Dasein’s moods and its respective disposedness typically disclose this thrownness, not by looking it square in the eye, but by turning towards or away from it (SZ 135f, 265, 270, 284, 340). In other words, “for the most part the mood closes of f the thrownness,” as Dasein takes fl ight into the alleged freedom of a self who identifies with the crowd (das Man-selbst).
Dasein’s understanding is also thrown, accounting for the fact that it has always already run astray and misconstrued itself and must find itself again in its possibilities (SZ 144). Moreover, as long as Dasein exists, its facticity remains “in the throw” and “tossed around and into the inauthenticity” of the They (SZ 179, 284). Inauthentic possibilities—mere wishfulness, obsessions, and compulsions (Hang und Drang)—are also grounded in thrownness (SZ 195f). “In thrownness, Dasein is swept up, that is to say, as thrown into the world it loses itself in the ‘world,’ in the factical dependence upon what needs to be taken care of” (SZ 348, 406).
Nonetheless, thrownness itself is neither inauthentic nor authentic. It is simply “the type of being of an entity that respec-tively is its possibilities, in and out of which it understands itself (it projects itself upon them)” (SZ 181, 270). Dasein’s thrownness reveals that it is “mine and that it is this in a specific world and alongside a specific circle of specific innerworldly entities” (SZ 221). It determines the fact that Dasein already was and constantly is “thrown into existence. As existing, it has to be how it is and can be” (SZ 275, 277).
Dasein’s thrownness is tied to “the facticity of being handed over” to itself to be. So, too, “as thrown, Dasein can project itself only upon specific factical possibilities” (SZ 299, 328). Its facticity is “phenomenally” visible in its thrownness, where “facticity” (Faktizität) signifies not a finished matter of fact (Tatsache) but rather the way that, as long as Dasein is, it remains caught up in the throw and the specific world into which it is thrown (SZ 179, 276, 297). “Thrown” and “factical” are alike paired with “existing” to convey how Dasein is always in the process of projecting some factical possibilities, i.e. some of the possibilities into which it is thrown (SZ 181, 199, 223, 284f, 298, 364, 386, 394, 410, 435).
So, too, Dasein’s thrownness typically fuses with its fallennness (SZ 175–80, 286, 406, 411–15, 424). Thus, thrownness both enables and restricts Dasein’s existence and freedom (SZ 366).
While moods disclose Dasein’s thrownness for the most part by attempting to evade it, angst is the exception. In angst lies “the most elementary disclosedness of the thrown Dasein,” namely, “its being-in-the-world confronted by the world’s nothingness,” a world in which it finds itself alone with itself and not at home (SZ 276f, 339, 342f f ). At the same time Dasein is thrown into its ownmost possibility, its death (SZ 144, 251, 255f, 276, 308, 329, 340–44, 348). Dasein’s thrownness is accordingly a condition for authenticity no less than for inauthenticity. Conscience calls Dasein back to this thrownness, and, in the process, calls Dasein from its immersion in the crowd and ahead to the possibility that is most its own (SZ 287, 291, 382). In resolutely anticipating its death, Dasein takes over its thrownness, and to do so is to “be authentically what it already was” (SZ 325). Taking over its thrownness also entails taking over a legacy, the basis for disclosing factical possibilities of authentically existing (SZ 383f f ).
Putting even greater stress on the thrownness of Dasein, Heidegger later insists that Dasein’s projection is the projection of the truth of historical being and that, as such, Dasein is itself thrown, “doing nothing other than . . . becoming itself, namely, the preserver of the thrown projection” (65: 304, 230f). Only by projecting itself free from any forgetfulness of its thrownness, from all pretension to master its history, and from all reduction of beings to what can be represented and produced, can the human being become herself and return to beings. But the projecting that makes up this return is itself thrown, never succeeding by human doing alone (65: 453f f ). The enigma of Dasein’s thrownness is that, while entailing that humans are not masters of beings, it entails that they are far more, namely, “shepherds of being” (9: 342).
cf. Simon Critchley on Geworfenheit: “So, the human being is not just a being defined by being thrown into the world. It is also one who can throw off that thrown condition in a movement where it seizes hold of its possibilities, where it acts in a concrete situation. This movement is what Heidegger calls projection (Entwurf) and it is the very experience of what Heidegger will call, later in Being and Time, freedom. Freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept. It is the experience of the human being demonstrating its potential through acting in the world. To act in such a way is to be authentic.“