Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Angst of An Existentialist

I See My Future and Nothing Holds me Back CC
As we live in this world we are fully aware that if we want to achieve something then we will have to work for it. Even such a foolish plan as to get rich by winning a lottery requires one to go out of his house and buy a ticket. Thus a person has to constantly try to get what he or she wants in life. Similarly every person is faced with certain responsibilities in life. Even if you are a free soul wandering aimlessly without a family, you will have to take care of yourself. You will have to earn your daily bread, secure your future, and follow the law of the land. Thus you will necessarily have to make decisions and your decisions will determine your future. This acknowledgement of free will, necessity to exercise one’s free will, and the unknown, unpredictable consequences of one’s actions produce anxiety. This dread related to one’s existence is also called as angst.

Here angst is not to be confused with fear. Fear springs from a definite source. Once the source of fear is removed we do not feel fear anymore. For instance a student who is fearful of failing an exam can remove his source of fear by studying hard, taking home tuitions, or help of his teachers.

In case of angst the condition of dread and anxiety has no specific source. It’s just there because one knows that one has to necessarily make efforts and reap the rewards or punishment of his or her actions. Thus angst is a natural outcome of faith and belief in free will.

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