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?
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,