Angst

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.[1][2][3] 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.[4]

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.[5] It is pre-cognate with the Latin angustia, “tensity, tightness” and angor, “choking, clogging”; compare to the Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ankho) “strangle”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angst

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?

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Knowing What You Want…

“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?

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Is Philosophy Dead?

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.

Truth.

That is what it is all about in the end.

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Sartre Quotes

“We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards.”

“We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.”

And of course, his most famous:

“Hell is other people.”

Got me thinking today… stay tuned for my thoughts on such fancies…

Reflections On The Limits Of Human Knowledge…

Dead_crow_4 - JPEGDown the hill from my home, I came across a dead crow lying in the road.  I was driving on my way out of town and there it lay – peacefully & undisturbed in its post-mortal slumber.  The image is burned into my mind.

I have always felt a special affinity for ravens & crows.  The myths & archetypes of my ethnic & cultural backgrounds have always placed these birds in a special category amongst animals.  They are intelligent & this prompted my ancestors to associate them with knowledge & wisdom.  Indeed, they are symbols of the very quality I seek.

To see one dead, lying upon the concrete roadway of a modern human town, the symbolism & the archetypes spin through my thoughts.  One could see this as a representation of our modern life – how humanity has set aside the pursuit for wisdom (the crow) for the pursuit of material & economic progress (the roadway).  We find the bird dead upon the concrete, a victim of the very technology our human knowledge has created.

On the other hand, we could dig a little deeper & think about the limits of human Knowledge.  At times, the dead bird reminds me of how little we do Know & understand about the world, our place in it & the reason for existence itself.  Its passing from this world makes me think of how much there is beyond the mere physical that our collective & our individual Knowledge has yet to discover.

Maybe our modern pursuit of progress can be turned into something worthwhile for all of humanity.  Maybe we could pour our collective creativity, wonder & urge to explain things into figuring out what is truly important.  Maybe we can concentrate more on what makes us happy & what makes our lives feel fulfilled & concentrate a little less on material wants & all those things society tells us we need.

I know this is very idealistic.  Yet, when we think about how little we know about ourselves, about the world & about this universe we inhabit – it seems abundantly apparent (to me at least) that our priorities as Individuals need to be re-examined so that we do not become like the crow: a missed opportunity for knowledge found dead on a road.

Let me know what you think.  What sorts of thoughts fill you from this musing of mine?  What archetypes & symbols do you identify with & what do they make you think & feel?  Let me know in the comment section below & thank you for reading my musings.

Passion and Truth

An insightful analysis of Truth versus the obsession with being “right”. An excellent blog post by a fellow blogger & Truth-seeker.

jonathanhockey

For many years I have believed myself to have a special access to certain truths about the world. Whether this belief is right or wrong, certainly I was wrong to think that knowing this truth is itself enough to give it authority. Authority comes not from what you know, but in how you use it in application within your own life.

I see a lot of debates between people sure that they have the correct view. Or maybe they are not, maybe, even worse than such a dogmatic certainty, they are merely cynically playing along at a game of arguing for the sake of it, to pass the time. Either way, the assumption seems to be that the truth will ultimately speak for itself and it will speak in our favor. It is a form of truth that is mixed up with the obsession with being “right”. To be in…

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A moment of beauty…

waterfall_7There is something about the beauty & the raw elemental power of a waterfall that captivates the soul.  One of the most powerful – yet simple – experiences of my life was because of a waterfall.

There is a provincial park just fifteen minutes from my house & at this park there is a beautiful beach that is enjoyed all summer long by locals & tourists alike.  The beach is located at the western end of a lake where the water flows into a series of waterfalls that are the source of a river.  The geography is such that one can walk along the granite stones of the shore & out into the water right where the first waterfall starts.  One can then sit down in the water (which is about waist deep) with one’s back to the waterfall.  The rushing water cascades over one’s shoulders filling one’s body with an amazing energy – that raw elemental power of the waterfall.

I try to perform this little ritual at least once a summer (if not more often).  It invigorates me & fills me with a gratitude for everything nature has to offer.  It is beautiful, powerful & meaningful.

What are some of the moments of beauty from your life?  Tell us what natural places are special to you & how they make you feel when you go there.  Leave a comment below & share your own experiences.

In the mean time, if your interested in some music to help you experience some Moments of Beauty, check out a little album I wrote & recorded last year.  You can find it on my Bandcamp site.

Candle’s Moments Of Beauty full length studio album