Monday, March 19, 2012

Søren Kierkegaard on anxiety

From Opinionator
March 17, 2012, 2:30 pm

The Danish Doctor of Dread


The way we negotiate anxiety plays no small part in shaping our lives and character. And yet, historically speaking, the lovers of wisdom, the philosophers, have all but repressed thinking about that amorphous feeling that haunts many of us hour by hour, and day by day. The 19th-century philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard stands as a striking exception to this rule. It was because of this virtuoso of the inner life that other members of the Socrates guild, such as Heidegger and Sartre, could begin to philosophize about angst.

It is in our anxiety that we come to understand feelingly that we are free, that the possibilities are endless.

Though he was a genius of the intellectual high wire, Kierkegaard was a philosopher who wrote from experience. And that experience included considerable acquaintance with the chronic, disquieting feeling that something not so good was about to happen. In one journal entry, he wrote, “All existence makes me anxious, from the smallest fly to the mysteries of the Incarnation; the whole thing is inexplicable, I most of all; to me all existence is infected, I most of all. My distress is enormous, boundless; no one knows it except God in heaven, and he will not console me….”

Is there any doubt that were he alive today he would be supplied with a refillable prescription for Xanax?

Read the rest here.


  1. If he were alive today, they would drug him into oblivion.

    Conventional psychiatry has yet to recognize the gifts that come from human suffering.

    In other words, they would have tried to "fix" him.


  2. I like this and have shared it on. Anxiety is, in my humble opinion, the very heart of psychosis...

  3. Yes, hence my self-portrait in blue (above), LOL.

  4. Anxiety is a state of mind, and it is the mind searching for meaning. What psychiatry calls "psychosis" is both a state of mind -- the mind searching for meaning: anxiety -- and a state out of mind, where the answer can be given.


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.