by James Park
Outline for Chapter 6:
Existential Anxiety: Angst
Fear and Anxiety
I. SIMPLE FEAR
A. Worries about Practical Matters.Five Dimensions of Fear
B. Personal Fears.
C. Identity Problems.
D. Relationship Worries.
1. Description: Psychological Responses to Danger.II. EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY
2. Cause: Caused by Specific Threat.
3. Duration: Temporary, While the Danger is Present.
4. Scope: Limited to the Values the Peril Can Reach.
5. Cure: Fight or Flight.
Schematic Chart: Simple Fear and Existential Anxiety
Five Dimensions of Existential Anxiety
1. Description: Irrational, Free-Floating Terror.How Fear and Anxiety Interact in Ordinary Experience
2. Cause: No Intelligible Basis or Source.
3. Duration: Permanent, Does Not Pass Away.
4. Scope: Pervades Our Whole Being.
5. Cure: Nothing We Do Will Overcome Angst.
III. ANXIETY AS A PHENOMENON OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT
A. Anxiety and Freedom.IV. MOMENTS OF DISCLOSURE OF EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY
B. Anxiety as a Dizziness of the Human Spirit.
C. Guilt and Anxiety.
A. Exaggerated Fears.V. ATTEMPTING TO HANDLE EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY
B. Phantom Fears.
C. Plain, Ordinary, Everyday Anxiety.
D. When Normal Securities Disappear.
E. Fear of the Future.
F. Fear of the 'Nothing'.
G. Ontological Anxiety.
A. Looking for a Cause—Transforming Anxiety into Fear.VI. FOCUSING ANXIETY FOR AUTHENTIC EXISTENCE
B. Explaining Anxiety Psychologically.
C. Turning Away from Spirit—Distracting Ourselves.
D. Weaving Security Blankets and Constructing Anxiety Dams.
E. Claiming that Existential Anxiety is an Illusion.
F. Creating and Enjoying Order and Beauty.
G. Succumbing to Existential Anxiety.
VII. FREEDOM FROM EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY
A. How We BecomeExistentially Free.
B. Remaining in Existential Freedom.
SUMMARY1. Premature 'Responding'.
2. How Existential Freedom
Differs from Authentic Existence.
3. Developing Responsive Projects-of-Being.
4. Sliding Back into Our Old Orientation.
5. Existential Freedom is Independent of all Formulations.
First we will distinguish
anxiety from simple fear in 5 ways.
Then—capitalizing on insights provided by
Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, & Ludwig Binswanger—
we will proceed to unpack and examine many dimensions of this experience:
our ordinary ways of trying to manage anxiety;
the option of channeling it creatively as the impetus for Authenticity;
and finally the possibility of living without angst.
Learning to know anxiety is an adventure
which every man has to affront if he would not go to perdition
either by not having known anxiety or by sinking under it.
He therefore who has leaned rightly to be in anxiety
has learned the most important thing.
—Søren Kierkegaard in 1844Anxiety is being 'afraid' when there is nothing to fear.
is a response to a
threatening in a specific way.
But anxiety is a 'feeling of threat'
in the absence of any real danger,
or a 'fearful feeling' that is
out of proportion to any threat.
is a psychological
to threatening objects or circumstances.
It arises from a situation that is already interpreted
(altho this interpretation may later change)
and it always has an understandable cause.
Anxiety is the non-psychological twin
of fear; it feels like ordinary fear,
but it does not arise from a situation
and it has no intelligible cause.
arises from living
in the world:
Because we live in a world of real dangers,
we are sometimes understandably afraid.
Anxiety arises from within ourselves:
From the depths of our being we feel
a sense of threat that has no cause.
Much more about existential anxiety or angst
—62 pages in all—
will be found in Our Existential Predicament.
This chapter is also available as an separately bound book
—fifth edition, 2006: Existential Anxiety: Angst .
Go to the publisher's website for details: www.existentialbooks.com.
two excerpts are
available on the Internet.
These are found by clicking the blue items
in the Table of Contents for this chapter, above.
of the same subject appears here:
Existential Anxiety: Angst .
If you would like to
explore the dynamics of existential anxiety more deeply,
here is a collection of links to much more such thinking:
The portal for Existential Anxiety:Angst .
Go to the complete
Our Existential Predicament:
Loneliness, Depression, Anxiety, & Death.
Go to the EXISTENTIALISM page.
Go to the opening page
for this website:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum .