Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud. It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.
In German, the technical terminology of psychology and philosophy distinguishes between Angst and Furcht in that Furcht is a negative anticipation regarding a concrete threat, while Angst is a non-directional and unmotivated emotion. In common language, however, Angst is the normal word for “fear”, while Furcht is an elevated synonym.
In other languages having the meaning of the Latin word pavor for “fear”, the derived words differ in meaning, e.g. as in the French anxiété and peur. The word Angst has existed since the 8th century, from the Proto-Indo-European root*anghu-, “restraint” from which Old High German angust developed. It is pre-cognate with the Latin angustia, “tensity, tightness” and angor, “choking, clogging”; compare to the Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ankho) “strangle”.
I am one who counts myself a part of Generation X. As such, perhaps I have had a generational predisposition toward “Angst”. In so many of the cultural endeavours & thoughts of my generation – not to mention the Philosophies I studied at University – this idea of “Angst” has predominated. From the Grunge music I listened to, to the philosophical ideas of the Existentialists – this idea coursed through my final years of formal education.
So am I filled with Angst?
“We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.”
– Jean Paul Sartre
About a week or so ago I posted some Sartre quotes & promised to share my thoughts on this famous Existentialist’s words. The above quote has always sparked deep ideas in my mind. Let me expand on some of my thoughts…
We are born, creatures in this existence, with endless Possibility laid out before us. Anything & everything is Possible. All it takes is for us to decide – to Choose what we want. Yet the problem is we rarely know what we want. Sure, we are told a lot of things as we grow up & experience the world around us. Our parents, our teachers, our friends & society in general tell us all about the good life & what we should expect & want out of it. Yet do any of these things Truly equate with what we want as Individuals?
“Et bien, tuer toutes les Philosophes!”
(Well then, kill all the Philosophers!)
There was once a golden age of thought when men & women would ask those deeper & more meaningful questions. Those most important questions that seem vital to our very existence. Various discussions would follow & Individuals would share their ideas & their experiences – hoping to find Truth.
That is what it is all about in the end.
“Is our technology changing what it means to be human that much?
This is a question without a definitive answer … so far. Futurists claim we are already cyborgs (we have glasses and pacemakers and use Google instead of memorizing things) and are going to keep changing, while leading sociologists of technology like Sherry Turkle point out that this often has more in common with malnutrition than evolution: just as eating junk food will keep us alive but not make us healthy, social networking and modern media are a cheap substitute that doesn’t really fulfill our needs as human beings.
New Existentialist Eugene Taylor has suggested that trying to deliberately “advance” the human species has been tried many times before, and always failed. “
This is from a very interesting article on the subject. Well worth the read.
What are your thoughts on how technology is changing human society & the actions/thoughts of Individuals? Do you think Empathy is something we can teach, or are (as the author suggests) times of solitude also important to help humanize ourselves? Let me know your thoughts in the comment space below.
Children have the ability to amaze & to inspire us beyond the bounds of what we think is possible. Take for example my eight year old son. We were on our way home from our weekly Beaver meeting & he started asking me about God. Now, we have talked about God before, a subject that he is keenly interested in. My wife & I have him enrolled in a Catholic school, even though neither of us are Catholic. The reason why he is enrolled in a Catholic school is because it was the only school in town at the time that offered French Immersion education.
Anyway, about this Theological discussion. I can’t quite remember how it all started, but I do know that he brought up the subject…
Behind every Door is a possibility.
Behind every Fear is a crutch.
Behind every Spirit is a desire.
Five more to face.
Five more to bear.
Five more to suffer.
Yet we must acknowledge that there is Suffering & move on…
Four times ten plus three times two & an extra two…
Illusions upon a stone wall…
I see this.
Yet I Choose to accept their Validity.
I give them Authority over me.
Yet I still have my Will to Power…
Fresh air & grasslands await me.
I will return Home.
I will be where I am meant to be at the moment I am meant to be.
I just need to take that next step…
The Journey never ends. Every new corner simply opens up more possibilities.
“I am the lord of hearts, slaying the heart. I live in right and truth, I exist in it. I am Horus pure of heart within the pure of body. I live in (or “by”) my word, existeth my heart.”
from The Papyrus Of Ani (The Egyptian Book Of The Dead)
Anyone who knows me, knows that my biggest addiction is Music. Even those who only “know of me” are aware of this fact. Music has always been part of my life & I cannot conceive of it not being part of my life. So it should come as no surprise to anyone here that I am today musing upon the glorious frequencies & their connection to metaphysics.
If I may, I’m going to start with a quote from one of my favourite song writers (coincidentally, I am listening to his “Eulogic Album” at the moment – Temple Of The Dog)
words and music – My only tools
lets fall in love with music
the driving force of our living
the only international language
divine glory, the expression
the knees bow the tongue
the lord of lords, the king of kings
words and music – My only tools
from Man Of Golden Words
Mother Love Bone
Music has been an integeral part of our Spiritual & Religious experience from time immemorable. Hymns, chants, &c… are present in just about every Spiritual Path & Religion known to humankind. But why is this? What is it about Music that helps us connect to the greater Spiritual presence? Continue reading
Wonderment is possibly the single most joyous expression of humanity’s attempt at understanding the unknown.
Now that I’ve gotten a little depth out of my mind, let me meditate on this subject for a while. Hopefully I will not stray too far from the topic (as you are probably aware, my mind likes to wa(o)nder).
I Believe many of us remember our childhoods fondly (at least those of us who have what might be considered a “normal” childhood). I know that I do. The Innocence and Wonderment of Childhood is often something many adults wish to recapture. Also the simplicity of a Child’s life, i.e. the minimal responsibility & lack of major stresses which often are characteristics of our earliest years on this plane of existence. Many religions and spiritual paths hold childhood as something sacred & children (in particular) as sacred & important to our spiritual well-being. My own spiritual path follows this line of Belief. The Druids hold Children in awe. They view Children as having a greater ability to connect to the Spiritual (even having the ability to perceive through their senses the Spirit World – much easier then Adults). They are also Individuals we should take time & learn from. To view the world through a Child’s eyes is to essentially reconnect with the sense of Wonderment which helps Individuals connect more strongly with the Spiritual.