The power of anxiety

Heidegger and Kierkegaard on the disruption of our worlds

We tend to think of anxiety as a phenomenon that makes us fearful or stressed, or worried about something. But Heidegger and Kierkegaard understood the phenomenon of anxiety very differently. For them, anxiety isn’t about any one thing in particular, but a disruption of our worlds where all meaning is suddenly lost. This reveals something important about how we make sense of our life, writes Maria Balaska.


We are inhabitants of worlds. Not just geographical worlds, like London, or Europe, but also the worlds of our activities, practices, and interactions, like the world of a kitchen, of a philosophical conversation, of a friendship, of a love affair, of a film, etc. This is the only way in which we encounter and make sense of things, including ourselves and others; not in a vacuum but through our involvements with them, our various activities and practices. We encounter bread, mugs, and coffee in preparing breakfast; newspapers and articles when reading the

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Hayley Goddard 5 July 2022

thanks for this information

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