John Lucy's Reviews > The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin

The Concept of Anxiety by Søren Kierkegaard
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it was amazing

The man, the myth, the legend. I rate just about every Kierkegaard book as a 5 because, even if I disagree with the man, he has such a creative mind: I have never finished reading an SK book without being challenged by an entirely new perspective and style of thought. The Concept of Anxiety is no different. Kierkegaard tackles sin and original sin, better termed hereditary sin, in a way that I'm not sure I've ever encountered before. Numerous times he simply sidesteps the question of why there is sin, and perhaps how there is sin, and purposely never addresses the question of defining sin as this or that action. Some may be dissatisfied with this approach, but if you read the first quarter or so of the book and you'll find that he has the best of reasons for not answering the questions that most of us usually ask.

Instead, the book focuses on the attitudes and state of sin, and attitudes and state before sin, and attitudes and state within sin, and attitudes and state within before sin, and so on. Basically the question is, what wells up inside of an individual to cause sin, and what emotions and states of spirituality does sin cause? Since we must live in this world as individuals, sin is essentially assumed, and all the focus is on the individual who sins and who does not sin. Personally, after reading this book, I am simultaneously disheartened by how far I fall short (which usually happens after reading Kierkegaard) and inspired to the greatness of love and relationship and personhood/personality that God makes available to me (which also usually happens after reading Kierkegaard).

If you have trouble with the word, 'sin,' as more and more people do nowadays, you're in luck. Again, SK assumes sin in this world and in all of us, but sin is not actually the focus. You might think it is based on my review, but take another look at the title of the work and you'll see that sin is only a secondary aspect of anxiety.

Don't go into this book expecting to learn more about anxiety disorders or something like that. SK does take a psychological look at anxiety, but a) he wrote this in the middle of the 19th century, and b) though SK was far ahead of his time in many respects, I doubt psychology as we understand would ever be one of his concerns. Anxiety as SK defines it is a much larger concept than we define it. But in that way SK does dig into all forms of anxiety, anything that can be defined as anxiety, more deeply than most psychologists/psychiatrists today ever do. Trust me on that one: I go to a psychiatrist weekly because of anxiety issues.
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Reading Progress

April 21, 2012 – Started Reading
April 21, 2012 – Shelved
April 22, 2012 –
page 25
April 28, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert I don't need to read this. I live it.

John Lucy You, sir, are hitting your stride with your reviewing style. Fantastic.

Also, the book really has little to do with anxiety, per se.

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