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Posted by M. Pianalto on Sunday, December 22, 2002 at 11:37:46 :
In Reply to: Re: what is fear? posted by Spratley on Friday, December 20, 2002 at 15:20:16 :
I've recently spent a good deal of time working on Heidegger's Being & Time, specifically on the relation of Anxiety to the Being of Dasein (ie: humans). Heidegger makes a distinction between fear and anxiety, in that fear is afraid of something definite; whereas, anxiety does not know the object of its own anxiety (at least, not in the beginning). What emerges from anxiety, if one confronts it, is the fact of one's own contingency, and that the reason life (or ourselves, etc.) matters to us is precisely because this anxiety tells us it must come to an end. Furthermore, this anxiety, by bringing us face to face with this truth of our Being, makes evident to us that authenticity and inauthenticity (or "good faith" and "bad faith" in Sartre's lingo) are possibilities of existence. So, it is through anxiety and a(n authentic) graps of what anxiety is telling us, that we can become open to possibilities for existing, even though life is contingent and thus seems to have no (set) meaning or grounding.
Re: "I have heard that the oposite of fear is love."
--I'm not sure what to make of this b/c the last person I heard this duality was from the lady gym instructor in the film "Donnie Darko," and I tend to concur with Donnie's response that it's somewhat difficult to parse these matters into nice and neat rubrics. Like Sartre's genuine moral dilemmas (such as the youth who must choose between leaving France to join the resistance or remaining at home to care for his mother), what tends to happen in "real life" scenarios where the problems are not simply hypothetical or generalized is that each problem must be taken up as it arises and analyzed against the background of whatever experiences we've had so far (both personal and historical experience).
If you're interested in some hardcore reading on fear and anxiety, I recommend Division I, Chapter 5 of Heidegger's Being & Time, or "The Sickness Unto Death" by Kierkegaard.
Also, as a first time poster, let me say that I like the site (at first quick glance before spouting off), and I hope my comments are useful.
I feel that my reply is terribly brief, but it's a start.
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