‘The Usefulness Of Dread’ Is Up At Aeon Magazine Posted bySamir ChopraFebruary 21, 2018Posted inPhilosophy, PsychologyTags:Aeon Magazine, anixiety, dread My essay, ‘The Usefulness of Dread‘ is up at Aeon Magazine today. Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrRedditPinterestWhatsAppPocketLike this:Like Loading...
17 thoughts on “‘The Usefulness Of Dread’ Is Up At Aeon Magazine”
I want to say thank you for your article in Aeon – profound, beautiful and, for myself, timely.
6 years ago I lost the only parent I was close to and the anxiety plunged me into depraved addiction which took everything – and everybody – I had left. I am just finishing 6 months rehab here in the UK and that churning anxiety is back, but much worse than ever before. The therapy has been really great, however reading your article, just now, being here, looking forward and back, with white knuckles – it blew me away; everything came together and the world seems liveable again; there is some hope. Thank you. I did well at my philosophy degree 10 years ago and it has also inspired me to do a masters.
Keep going with what you do, I am sure there are many more your writing will benifit in this way.
Sam, thanks so much for you kind note. I’m sorry to hear of your loss and troubles, but glad to hear my article was of some help. Thanks very much for the encouragement; it means the world to me.
I just read your article on Aeon and wanted to say thank you. In managing my own constant anxiety I often find myself spiraling into a feeling that I will “solve” my issues through finding proper meaning, or that those things which bring me joy are selfish and therefore not worthwhile uses of my time on this earth, even if they bring joy. Your article was exactly what I needed to read today to bring me back to meditative center and shake the cognitive dissonance I have been feeling today surrounding my “true” purpose. From one Brooklynite to another, thank you deeply.
Thank you so much for your comment. It means a great deal to me that my writing provided a solace of sorts to you.
Just needed to say how much I appreciated the clarity and incisiveness of your your article, which has been posted on Aeon. I feel I need to acknowledge your thoughtful discourse on a “credit where credit is due” basis. I simply could not let it lie, without mentioning the effect it had on me, disentangling so many of my own threads of thought. It is as though, you have kindly unravelled a child’s fishing line, your skill at pulling apart the knots, far above the ability of my own clumsy fingers. Thank you for having a nimbleness of mind and a heart to match.
Thanks very much for this kind and thoughtful comment. I’m glad my essay had that ‘effect’ on you.
Rarely do I write in the comments section but today, with feeling rising in me, I wanted to write and say thank you. I read your article on Aeon, followed the link to your website and was particularly moved to read the appreciation from your readers. My parents both died, 10 years apart following the death of my brother at 18 from several years of illness, leaving me. The combined loss has shaped my life undoubtedly. I’ve not been miserable alone these past 22 years, joy comes in small things and I like living. But a sadness can rise in me with effortless ease before subsiding again. I have always been like this, feeling can swell, and never really understood how to answer questions like ‘are you happy?’. The loss brought living with uncertainty right up close, anxieties buffet, but they also help me, remind me that I’m conscious, that I’m here and that I am feeling. Your article goes into very useful depth for me. Thank you again.
Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your story with me. Your words are very kind, and I can only hope that my writing offered some measure of kindness too. These comments mean a great deal to me.
It is…interesting to hear from someone whose existence is diametrically opposite than mine is. Without trying to sound too pretentious, I live a life which is almost entirely anxiety and worry free. Another Aeon writer a few months ago expressed his inconceivability with the whole concept of “Chronic Joy”–but that is how my life is, all day, every day. I walk around in rapt wonder at the world around me, the clouds, the birds (heard my first spring migrant yesterday), the music I have been able to find, things that my students say, pretty much everything.
The main key for me is Total ownership of any and all mental states. If I (for example) give my power away to something which I perceive as external to me (such as drugs tho I have never used), then when that externality is withdrawn then it takes a bit of my power with it. If however I fully hold onto my choices, 100% responsibility, then they can have no such hold over me. I can then fully (and paradoxically yes!) put my full essence into every activity, every sight and sensation, without worry that I will feel down when said thing is no longer present.
Now, I did get a bit frustrated a few days ago, but, again, I fully owned my decision to allow myself to do so, and within 24 hours the feeling faded away to nothing.
Thank you so much for your article Mr. Chopra. As someone who has lived with anxiety my entire life, I decided to finally begin therapy last year at 30 (much like you at 29) and have begun to understand who I am much more profoundly since then. As if the many years of my own contemplation and rumination haven’t been in vain, they’ve been leading to where I am now; the notion of which you encapsulated so eloquently in your piece. Thank you once again.
Dear Marta, thanks for your comment – I’m so glad this essay seemed to resonate with your own experiences with anxiety.
A wonderful article that parallels on my own difficult coming to terms with anxiety. I too see the gifts within that syndrome. I do recommend a dive in James Hillman. I think in his works you will find a subtle shift from a totalizing Self that must always take ownership of a perspective, to a nuanced polytheism where many gods are revealed within our pathologies.
Then anxiety is a visitation, perhaps a haunting or possession, but not an experience that always points towards yet another “difficult truth” about an individual’s deterministic “self nature”.
Your work linking Nietzsche’s amor fati to Buddhism is wonderful stroke. Nietzsche’s work in particular deliteralizes the “truth” of inner experience. That is equivalent to the Diamond Sutra’s teachings, and points to a cross-cultural “hard link” in the phenomenology of the psyche.
Thanks very much for your kind words and for the pointer to Hillman’s work. And yes, indeed, the linkages between Nietzsche and Buddhism are significant and worth exploring further.
Your philosophizing on your personal anxieties encourages me to do the same. I am a healthy 82. Lately since reading Van Lummel’s Consciousness Beyond the Body, my anxiety abut Death
is fading into curiosity.
After reading your article in Aeon I think I spot a life-long anxiety about Sexuality which I can still fruitfully address.
Perhaps I create meaning slightly differently from you. Change occurs constantly, if imperceptibly, in our Universe. Presently I wish to encourage by word and love our shift to a more Socialist relationship, however it may emerge. May I ask how are you creating meaning for yourself?
Thanks very much for your comment. I’m trying to be more introspective and mindful in my daily work, loving to my family, and authentic towards my aspirations.
Just wanted to say, great writing, accessible, personal, and very helpful. Thank you. Jo
Thanks very much for your kind words – and for reading my essay,