2017/04/08 Angst and Fear

In his Being and Nothingness, Sartre talks about the difference between angst and fear. According to him, when we feel fear, we take ourselves as things determined by causality. On the other hand, when we are in angst, we view ourselves as separated from the causality. So, we are free. We can freely decide what we will do, insulated from the world, our past selves, and our future selves. This freedom is felt as angst. We are faced with the question what we do. There are shockingly many possibilities. We are not concerned about what will happen to us as we feel fear, but about what we are going to do.

When I go out, I sometimes have a feeling that I might have left the door unlocked. What am I going to do? There are at least three possibilities for me. First, letting go of this concern and enjoy going out. After all, every time I have this kind of anxiety, it always turns out later when I come home that the door is securely locked. Second, calling the landlady and having her see if the door is locked. Third, heading back and see it for myself. It occurred to me just now that if Sartre is right, we are not anxious about what bothers us in itself, but about what we will do in the face of it. If so, the current psychological understanding of what is called anxiety disorder is incorrect. We may have to have a second thought about it or we needn't. There are at least two possibilities. What will we do?