The Concept of Anxiety by Soren Kierkegaard
I agree with Kierkegaard when he says that anxiety is not itself sin, but is the natural reaction of the soul when faced with the vast abyss of freedom.
Kierkegaard addresses one issue that makes us human and that makes our existence real and meaningful, namely anxiety. It is important to distinguish between fear and anxiety in such that fear is focused on an actual threat in the environment and anxiety is precisely not focused and not in our actual surroundings, but in our self. In anxiety "I" is rendered insecure, and our own freedom is the culprit of this insecurity. As Kierkegaard himself stated, "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." It is therefore our freedom that makes us experience dread. We naturally fear becoming "nothing". Anxiety is a result of the freedom to choose between good and evil.
There is also an anxiety that is an appearance of sinfulness. Consider the story of Adam and Eve, who lived in a utopian state (of mind) until the power of man's individual freedom was put to the test, which transcended the direct will of God. When God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the terms "good" and "evil", so says Kierkegaard, would have had no significance for him. His ignorance was indeed bliss. But the awful predicament of freedom, before and apart from sin, yielded anxiety. Man was then cast out of paradise and forced to live a life of hard work, insecurity and the threat of becoming "nothing" (i.e. nonexistence), and human history was born. It was precisely this act of realizing our own freedom that made us the sole bearer of all responsibility that sprouted from this realization. Adam's anxiety preceded Adam's sin. If God had not prohibited Adam from eating the fruit of knowledge, Adam would not have been anxious, because he would not have known that knowledge existed which was forbidden. Knowing God's prohibition meant that Adam knew knowledge existed...
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