Because I was adopted as a baby, I am sometimes asked (e.g. by prospective adopting parents) about how I viewed my family situation when I was growing up. I always reply that I believed my situation was no different from anyone else's: we are all, I reflected, thrown into the world from we-know-not-where; my own circumstance is thus just like anyone's, except perhaps, as it were, writ large. I of course had not read Heidegger when I was twelve, but I am quite sure that while I didn't say "writ large," I did indeed use the words "thrown into" (at least to myself), and probably from about that age if not earlier. This was my conclusion, despite the fact that I was also raised in a faith (to which I certainly consciously subscribed) which held that we did indeed know "where we came from," since Mormonism has a well-articulated doctrine of pre-existence of souls. Ever since my break from that religion, it's been interesting to me that I was able to hold these two positions--the existential sense of geworfenheit and the LDS doctrine of pre-mortality--simultaneously without so much as blinking. This stance seems to me to be the flip-side of the indifference with which Wittgenstein regarded the question of an afterlife:
The temporal immortality of the human soul, that is to say, its eternal survival after death, is not only in no way guaranteed; but this assumption in the first place will not do for us what we always tried to make it do. Is a riddle solved by the fact that I survive for ever? Is this eternal life not as enigmatic as our present one? The solution of the riddle of life in space and time lies outside space and time.I find myself thinking on this because today is my birthday, as well as the U.S. observation of Memorial Day. (When I was born, this date was always Memorial Day; I was born on the day when we commemorate the fallen).
(It is not problems of natural science that have to be solved.)
(Tractatus 6.4312, tr. Ogden)
This coexistence of two ostensibly contradictory thoughts might be put down to the lack of self-reflection of a child, or the pernicious influence of religion in compartmentalizing one's thoughts, or any number of other explanations; but I think it was just the budding realization that an ontological mystery obtains no matter what one's cosmology. It was also, I think, an incipient ease with inconsistency at a certain discursive level. While I went through a period of intense discomfort with apparent logical incompatibility, I've come to experience such inconsistency as more like the growing edge of articulation than as inevitably some symptom of a deep-seated problem (though the growth at the edge always includes reiterations of checking for such such problems). Probably some intense semi-mystical experiences, even earlier than age 12, also had something to do with it. It is salutary (especially for one with a precocious vocabulary and argumentative style) to realize that no matter how you try to express certain things, words will fail. Philosophy is the path to this realization of failure, paved with words of the most exacting precision you can muster.