Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Angst: A Bipolar Analysis, indirectly Kierkegaardian

Angst is the tearing of hair and the splitting of mind. It is most usually associated with the teenage years. I will speak in a very simplified and amateur manner, for this record is exclusively for my own benefit, and is constructed solely as a basic lens through which I may analyze some of the existential crises of my own existence, and I do not advise its application on any individual other than myself. This is because I am of the fundamental view that it is impossible for one individual to exactly relate to another—at least that is my understanding for now (these things fluctuate). I herein posit the analysis of existential crises as the result of the tension caused by the biplanar existence of the individual, fundamentally represented on the one hand by the body and on the other hand by the soul.


BODY                                                                                                            SOUL


The Body, as it is equipped with eyes for perceiving light, and ears for perceiving sound, and so on and so forth, is best equipped to perceive what may be called the material world, commonly known in science in its four dimensions. From the Body arises our Aristotelian faculties, and our tendencies to analyze reality based on sensory perception. The body has no reason to see this perception as faulty, and so tends to believe it in almost all circumstances. The Body is also home to the mind, which is the controlling entity in the body and which houses Reason, which is the governing principle of the material existence.




The philosophy of which may be termed,




The body, when confronted with a crisis of the material world, responds in a material fashion, and Reason is the mechanism of the deduction of the response. Consider: A man must escape a cubic box. He uses reason to figure out how. He touches one side of the box, and it is prickly. He learns not to touch that side, for fear of physical pain. He touches another side of the box, and it is cold and hard. He reasons that this is metal, which he has learned to associate with things cold and hard, and reasons that he will not escape through that side. He touches a third side, and it is rough and not so hard to the touch. He reasons that it is wood, and kicks through it successfully. He is guided in the pursuit of physical freedom purely by the faculty of Reason.


The Soul, however, resides outside of the four dimensions of science, and is the source of irrationalities and immaterial strivings. Its governance is less perfectly understood, but is explained well by Plato. The Soul is what the poet seeks to speak to, as when Huidobro says, “(Las palabras poéticas) deben elevar al lector del plano habitual y envolverlo en una atmósfera encantada.” The Soul is concerned primarily with the way that things should be, whereas the Body has no motivation to see things in any other way than the way they are. The guiding principle of the Soul is Emotion.




The philosophy of which may be termed,




It is easy to see why the childhood is governed primarily by Emotion, and the adulthood by Reason: in childhood, one is cared for by others, and does not have to worry about survival, and so enjoys the privilege of living primarily in the sphere of emotion, and so is enveloped in dreams. In adulthood, one must fend for oneself, and so is inclined to be forced to confront the needs for sustenance and shelter, both of which lie squarely in the physical world. Most individuals seek wealth because it will offer them a respite from this constant anxiety; however, most do this only subconsciously, and end up forgetting that there is any other end aside from the pursuit of material wealth, which is a grievous sin.

One might now see why the teenage years are a time of momentous angst for many. It is the time in which Romanticism, which is like a garden of marvelous flowers that is without end, is deconstructed as children become teenagers and confront the realities of life, such as sex, which will at first be conceived of as a purely physical act (which is sinful) but in the balance of Body and Soul can become virtuous. Other realities which contribute to the deconstruction of Romanticism and the haphazard imbalance of the teenage mind include the initial confrontations with mortality, and the new willingness of parents to bring their children into cities (the centers of Rationalism) rather than to places like Disneyland (which are highly Romanticized, though they are also a very false version of Romanticism). During this period one of a few reactions may develop:

1)   The youth tends towards absolute Reason. This is manifest through a misguided affinity for material things, and a desire to attain adulthood.

2)   The youth tends towards absolute Romanticism. This is often termed regression, as the youth clings to his childhood, but is in reality no more misguided than the first response.

3)   The youth experiences angst—as the Romanticism of his childhood is destroyed, a vacuum develops in his governing philosophy, and he becomes confused and torn between the two philosophies, unsure of which is applicable in which instances (I am not yet sure whether this whole construct constitutes a zero-sum problem or not). 

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