Monday, October 7, 2013

The existensialist librarian

Anxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye happens to look down the yawning abyss becomes dizzy. But what is the reason for this? It is just as much in his own eye as in the abyss, for suppose he had not looked down. Hence, anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. Freedom succumbs to dizziness. Further than this, psychology cannot and will not go. In that very moment everything is changed, and freedom, when it again rises, sees that it is guilty. Between these two moments lies the leap, which no science has explained and which no science can explain. He who becomes guilty in anxiety becomes as ambiguously guilty as it is possible to become.

The Concept Of Anxiety, Søren Kierkegaard 



On hindsight, I felt that I've been through several existensialist situations so far in my life: the first clear instance which I could remember is when I was talking with someone who claimed he had a terrible depression and mental condition, on the sensation of wanting to throw yourself away when standing on top of a building - not to realize that a philosopher in 1844 had used this analogy to describe the choice and the anxiety of having the freedom to control your life.

The idea certainly interested me, how we are actually very much responsible with how we shape our life - and the fear and anxiety of being given the freedom, which would perhaps be why most would no sooner conform to the values held by the masses.


The first time I've came across the term 'existensialism' is actually a preface in a local comic - as well as 'nihilism' - alongside the mentioning of books such as Fight Club and Catcher In The Rye, but I haven't really thought much of it at the time. I've since actually stumble across several existensialist situation, although I have never realize how these could be tied down to the rather complex sounding term that is existensialism: most of these are several anxious moments I faced when I had reached critical decision making moments, as well as several cases which have involved death or accidents. The first time I've ever heard someone using that word in a conversation is when I had a discussion with one of my cousin on some topics on life.

What I understand from the philosophy of existensialism is how we are all responsible for our decisions in life - and how we must strive to give meaning to what seems a meaningless life (for we are to die eventually). It's quite a central philosophy that I've subscribed to for quite a while without me realizing it - and it is from the revisiting and further understanding that I've decided to embrace that notion and reflect that in this blog, marrying the philosophical term with Patchouli Knowledge, the introverted intellectual librarian. It just felt very fitting, not to mention reflecting the recent changes and resolves which have taken place.


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