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the meaning of anxiety

inanılmaz güzellikte bir yazım dili ve inceliğine sahip, varoluşçu psikoterapi denilince akla ilk gelen yazarlardan olan rollo may'in kaygı ve endişe üzerine yazılmış (şah)eseridir.

ilk entry olarak bu kitabın giriş kısmında, kendi ağzından rollo may'in ifadelerine yer vereceğim ama çağımızın psikolojik vebası olan anksiyete gibi bir kavramı bu kadar iyi anlatabilen bir yazarın bu fevkalade eserini, kitabın yayımlanmasından bu kadar zaman sonra bir sayısal bilimci olarak ben girmeseydim keşke.

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"anxiety has a meaning. though part of this meaning can be destructive, another part also can be constructive. our very survival is the result of steps taken long ago to confront anxiety. originally, primitive man, as both freud and adler have said, experienced anxiety as a warning of the threat to his life from the teeth and claws of wild animals. anxiety played a prominent part in our forefathers's development of his capacity to think and his ability to use symbols and tools to extend his protective reach.

but in our day we still see our major threats as coming from the tooth and claw of physical enemies when they are actually largely psychological and in the broadest sense spiritual - that is they deal with meaningless. we are no longer pray to tigers and mastodons but to damage to our self-esteem, ostracism by our group, or the threat of losing out ine the competitive struggle. the form of anxiety has changed, but the experience remains relatively the same.

anxiety is essential to the human condition. for a personal example, i experience anxiety before every lecture even though i have given hundreds of them. one day, tired of enduring this tension, which seemed so unnecessary, and with the help of a strong resolve, i proceeded to condition myself out of the anxiety. that evening i was perfectly relaxed and free from tension when i mounted the platform. but i made a poor speech. missing were the tension, the sense of challenge, the zest of the race horse at the starting gate - those states of mind and body in which normal anxiety expresses itself.

the confrontation with anxiety can (note the word can and not will) relieve us from boredom, sharpen our sensitivity, and assure the presence of the tension that is necessary to preserve human existence. the presence of anxiety indicates vitality. like forever, it testifies that a struggle is going on within the personality. so long as this struggle continues, a constructive solution is possible. when there is no longer any anxiety, the struggle is over and depression may ensue.

this is why kierkegaard held that anxiety is our "best teacher." he pointed out that whenever a new possibility emerged, anxiety would be there as well. these considerations point to a topic that has barely been touched in contemporary research - namely, the relation between anxiety on the one hand and creativity, originality, and intelligence on the other."
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