Ever since Sophomore Philosophy, I find myself quoting philosophers. It’s cool, it’s academic, even if it is a tad sophomoric. But sometimes these fellas really nailed it. Take my favorite Dane, Kierkegaard: “Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.”
Speaking for a few hundred million of us, I’m anxious. About a lot of things. Whether in the right way or not is something else that makes me anxious. In no particular order, these are among my anxieties. You may recognize a few. Frankly I hope so, for I don’t relish wallowing in anxiety all alone:
* I am anxious about the loss of predictability in my world. At one time there were certain absolutes I could count on. God is in charge [now we’re told he never was!]…We’re living in a post-racism America [instead the number of white militia groups has jumped from almost none to almost 1300 since the 2008 election!]…After 65 we can retire [instead almost 20% of the workforce are seniors!] …Detroit was calamity city [now Miami and others are passing it up in calamitous fashion!]…another absolute: My lilacs bloom for Mothers Day [so why are they already starting in March!]
* I am anxious about the won’t-go-away sexism which persists in pretending 53% of the population is still second class status. How so? In a hundred different ways, the latest the silliest. The prestigious European Chess Union has just introduced a dress code that bans female players from plunging necklines [seems the boys just won’t ever let go of that Eve thing!]
* I am anxious about the drums of war whose beat has never stopped since the day Cain bumped off Abel [families and countries have carried on grudges ever since!]
Anxiety breeds fear and fear can become terror. One of the reasons so many of us muffle our terrors in the anesthesia of drink, drugs, spectator sports, and one of history’s sickest displays of distraction since the old Roman Colosseum: TV Reality Shows. The people and the behaviors on these 60-minute spectacles instantiate those nether regions of our psyches which have made psychotherapy as important to today’s anxiety-ridden humanity as castle-moats were a thousand years ago.
My therapist would agree. For instance, right now he’s anxious that I pay my over due invoice.
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