Worlding. Beings wonder about world(s) worlding in and around us, but do world(s) wonder about us? Waking. What is the “world qua world” (insofar as it exists)? Wondering. Is there a shared common world or rather, a boundless set of worlds within worlds for every human need? Waiting.

Worlding offers measurable standards of being (both authentic and inauthentic) and is a constructivist process of the thinging world. In his work, Heidegger repeatedly emphasizes and closely associates worlding with terms such as: being, caring, clearing, gathering, nearing, lighting, opening, presencing, reckoning, thinging; authenticity, intentionality, mortality, potentiality, reality, spatiality, temporality; disposedness, everydayness, fallenness, thrownness; ready to hand (zuhanden) and present-at-hand (vorhanden); and many in-order-to’s and the for-the-sake-of-which’s.

Worlding was first popularized by Heidegger in Being and Time (1927). He turned the noun (world) into the active verb (worlding), a gerundive and generative process of world making, world becoming and (as he puts it) world “bringing-near.” For Heidegger, worlding is always meaning giving and already ongoing (i.e. never not worlding). Worlding is how we experience a world as familiar and is a determination of Dasein’s being (wherein the world belongs to Dasein’s existential constitution).

Heidegger’s (1971) “worlding of the world” is always already revealed within the mirror-play of “the fourfold as One” (das Geviert) wherein the four mirrors of earth, heaven, divinity and mortality are everywhere reflecting the presence of each other, happening together, enfolded as a unified fourfold-whole: “By a primal oneness, the four — earth and sky, divinities and mortals — belong together in one” (Buiding Dwelling Thinking, p.149). As such, worlding is a dynamic referential responsiveness to the immensely dense “fourfold as One” network of associations, in which someone or something has a multitude of possibilities, locations or places to continue to be what it always already is (i.e., its worldliness).

Eighty years after Being and Time, worlding has evolved from its Heideggerian origin in “Dasein’s being” towards a new horizon of “ontological Design” (Fry, 1999); from the tangible “thinging of things” (Heidegger, 1971) to the intangible “televisualizing” (Fry, 1999) and “synthetic reality gaming” (Castronova, 2007). Wordling has been appropriated many times over, signifying: economic ontology (Thrift, 2008); imperialist processes and the colonial inscription of textuality (Spivak, 1985, 1990); everyday feminist international politics (Pettman, 1996); violences of heteropatriarchy and heteronormativity (Fadem, 2005); proprioception, kinesthesia and touch (Manning, 2007); geopolitical classifications of first, second, third and fourth worlds (OWNO, 2010); first, second and third waves of societal transformation (Toffler, 1980; Doerr, 2010); globalization (de Beer, 2004); global warring (Fry, 1999); prayer (Detweiler, 1995); secularization (Miller, 2009); enfleshment of God in the world (Hemming, 1998); right reciprocity between nature, humans and more-than-humans (Kohak, 1984; Abram, 1996); the socio-biological complexity of human extinction (Costa, 2010); situated practices of cultural studies (Wilson & Connery, 2007); enculturation of true craftsmanship (Risatti, 2007); the aesthetic realization of visual-musical works in new media culture (Rickert & Salvo, 2006); connecting beings together through online social networks (Tech Crunch Network, 2010); design-driven transformation of everyday life by everyday people (Berger, 2008); doing good design for sustainability and social justice (Berman, 2009); growth, development and change by design thinking (Brown, 2009); and designerly ways of “worlding” in how we learn (Rusnak, 2010).

Wordling is a difficult negotiation without a tidy definition. Its multifarious and assembling character does not just continue or not end; it is deliberately unmade, a bringing-to-truth that is a disclosing into its own of the “nearest of all nearing that nears” (i.e., there will always be more worlding to take account of). There is not an essentialist, fundamentally superior or universal understanding of worlding that is wholly attainable (i.e., there will always be diverse perspectives and ever more primordial possibilities to consider). Worlding is always already a complex and dynamic assemblage of ever-renewing realities, sensations and perceptions through which we must constantly work our way through to hold open “the Open of the world” (Heidegger, 1971, p.45).

And in the stillness that stills, as I sit quietly reflecting its depth, may you, in mindful participation, feel welcome to join me in the unfolding of the “thinging of things” that is the worlding of worlds. There’s always the choice of digging deeper or going away.



Heidegger, M. (1977). The Question Concerning Technology and other essays. (W. Lovitt, trans.). New York: Harper and Row.

Heidegger, M. (1971). The Origin of the Work of Art. In Poetry, Language, Thought (A. Hofstadter, trans.). New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Heidegger, M. (1927). Being and Time. (J. Macquarie & E. Robinson, trans.). New York, NY: Harper & Row.