New Ideas in Psychology
|Contents||Introduction to Abreaction||Glossary||Index of Page Titles|
Chapter 4. The Nature of Abreaction
Section Headings [ Weak Self-Image] [ Definition of Psycho-Analysis] [ Subconscious Determinism]
[ What is Anxiety?] [ Switching]
What is Anxiety ?
Anxiety is the sense of uneasiness that is experienced in the individual’s relationships with other people (and in his /her relationship to their own conscience). In any situation where the person’s vanity is undermined, fear arises. The conjunction of this fear with the vanity creates anxiety.
Anxiety = fear + vanity
For a description of anxiety, see the previous article Anxiety.
Anxiety is a compound emotion and consist of two simpler emotions. I call each of the separate emotions a mode. So anxiety is experienced either as anxiety (in the mode of fear) or as anxiety (in the mode of vanity). Since it has two modes, so it can give rise to two different responses.
When a person is oppressed by their conscience, then the fear mode is accentuated. This leads to the unconscious idea "control yourself /do as you are told". [¹]
the person is in
situation which makes them uneasy, then the vanity mode becomes
restricted and they wilt. The person becomes vulnerable to
hostility, rejection or manipulation by others. This
the unconscious idea "I am uneasy in the presence of other
[ This mode of anxiety produces an affinity with paranoia, whose unconscious idea is "I do not trust other people".]
Anxiety increases the intensity of a person’s reaction to any situation. Take a person as they are, without anxiety. They will have developed patterns of reaction to any situation. Generate anxiety in them and, though their patterns will not be likely to change, the intensity of their reactions will change. For an extrovert, the vanity mode of anxiety is emphasised. Therefore the person over-compensates in order to annul the uneasiness: they magnify their responses, even to the point of seeming to be theatrical. For an introvert, the fear mode of anxiety is emphasised and the person contracts and inhibits their responses, and may even appear to be "wooden" (or emotionally non-responsive).
Anxiety keeps a person de-stabilised. Can there be any meaning and purpose to this? Can anxiety ever be useful ; can anxiety ever have a positive value ?
Yes. In my view, the evolution of personal consciousness (that is, personal evolution) is produced primarily through anxiety and secondarily through idealistic aspirations. Anxiety eliminates complacency and facilitates change. Therefore it provides the psychological spur for us to generate our ideals and to achieve something in life. Most ideas of a good life are generated as antidotes to an anxiety-ridden conventional life.
The meaning of anxiety is that it eliminates complacency.
The purpose of anxiety is that it facilitates change.
Incidentally, the idea of personal evolution has no meaning unless the reality of reincarnation is accepted. History shows that society evolves, but science has no concept of the evolution of the individual person. [²]
[¹]. I introduce the term "unconscious idea" in the article Model of Emotion. There is a list of emotions with their unconscious ideas in the article Unconscious Ideas.
[²]. Academia has concepts of various kinds of evolution, such as genetic/morphological evolution (the Darwinian view that humanity is descended from the apes), and social evolution, but it has no concept of the evolution of the individual person. The concept of personal evolution is meaningless if a person is believed to live only one life on Earth.
I have an article on Personal Evolution on my website A Modern Thinker. See Links page for the web address.
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@2002 Ian Heath
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