One of the most important things that has been lost, or at the very least undervalued, in current thinking about ourselves psychologically is the role anxiety plays in our lives.   I’ve often railed in these pages about how psychology has sacrificed too much in its desperate efforts to appear “scientific.”   Understanding anxiety has particularly suffered from directing large scale research activities and public awareness away from our inner lives.   Many well-educated people have so absorbed the genetic and biological causation models of human functioning that they are all but oblivious to psychological dynamics, the delicate yet enormously forceful, interplay of our conscious and not-so-conscious emotional worlds.

Anxiety is critical in this picture.  Anxiety is two things in one: an emotional state and a driving force.   As an emotion, anxiety is an unsettled state, confused, tinged with an edge of vague fear and discomfort.   As a driving force, it makes many “escapes,” with a hundred different diagnostic labels, seem “attractive” in the sense that they relieve this anxiety.

But perhaps even more important than the “symptoms” of anxiety that appear in the multitude of ways we can screw ourselves up, we, i.e. we garden variety neurotics, let anxiety stand in the way of growing, of getting the most that we can out of our lives.

More to come…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.