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?
Do you take me as a scarecrow?
Do I not yearn to fly?
Crucified and stuffed with straw, condemned to live a lie
from Dirge For A Mutinous Philosopher
The image of a lonely Scarecrow protecting a farmer’s field is an archetype most of us can envision instantly. There they stand, lonely & protective – yet ultimately powerless. As Captain Vulpine says in his amazing song: “condemned to live a lie”
“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.
Have you ever noticed, when you have a day off during the week (like on a Friday), that the entire week drags on as if that day off will never arrive? One would imagine that a four day work week would be experientially faster then the regular five day work week. But this rarely seems the case.
Is it Einstein’s fault for pointing out how Time is relative? Or are we programed to experience a kind of suffering until we are able to enjoy the extra liberty we desire?
I will make it through this week. Four days only (& the first day is half done). Then I will be camping this weekend. The wait will be worth the adventure. I must be a little more Buddhist. I must acknowledge that I may suffer this week & move on. Raise myself above such simple distractions & enjoy the moment – no matter what may be happening.
I hope you can do the same.
Though the snow has only recently melted, I desire to see green hills & trees. Spring is starting to arrive & with it comes the new hope for the year. While at New Years we often make resolutions, to me – it seems easier to have a sense of hope & energy to achieve your goals in the springtime. With new life budding all around us, undertaking new endeavours feels good. So dust off your list of goals & zero in on one of them. Something you want to achieve before the Summer Solstice. Something that will move you along your existential path. Something that will be fulfilling.
I have already chosen mine. I want to complete the final stages of production for my recently recorded album. That is my goal this spring.
What is your goal? What would you like to achieve before the start of summer? Leave me a comment below & inspire the rest of the world.
Until next time, Blessed Be.
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.
At the best of times, a deluge of inconsequential thoughts forced upon it by mundane responsibilities & distracting sensory input clouds the mind. This over-powering absorption of input takes away from the Individual’s ability to focus – especially the ability to focus on what is Truly important in one’s life.
The challenge of focusing is made that much more difficult when one’s body is in the throws of sickness. Whether one is sick from a cold, flu, chronic pain or some other ailment – it is that much harder to concentrate & keep one’s goals in the forefront of one’s mind. As such, when the Individual is sick – especially if she suffers an ongoing condition such as cancer or chronic pain – the Individual must work even harder to stay on her Life’s Path.
Now up here we celebrate Thanksgiving a month before our American Cousins – mostly because by the time November comes, so has the snow. As such, Thanksgiving for us Canuks is on Monday & it is a great time to get together with friends, family & acquaintances in order to celebrate the gratitude we all feel for what we have achieved.
What am I grateful for? My family – including my lovely wife & growing son. My health (tho, I am fighting an autumn cold at the moment). All the things I have learned thus far in this lifetime. My friends (who inspire me & keep me on the right path to my goals). And last – but not least – the opportunities I have been given to better myself & progress along my Individual Existential Path.
Thank you everyone for helping me along my way. I hope in some small way, I too have helped you along your own Individual Existential Path.
What are you grateful for? What would you like to give thanks for? Let me know using the comment section below. Or simply tell me about something you’ve learned in the past year that has allowed you to progress.
Until next time,