To whom it may…
Concern. Worry. Anxiety.
A bright young writer (the author’s name won’t be mentioned here, but there is a chance that he might join us in the comments) just published a really good piece on anxieties of life and suggested a few ways to manage stress and worry. I really like his work and do read him often. He suggested that — I am generalizing here — “all problems exist in your mind” and the best way to deal with life is to detach as much as possible through calm, meditation and rational analysis. And although I agree that dialing down emotions and not letting worries or anger to consume us — is a great way to try to manage life, I simply do not think that fears and anxieties are harmful, untrue, useless and plainly — bad.
So, I wrote the following response:
“I often read your work because you have developed an elegant and vibrant style of writing. It seems that you respect your readers — the flow is natural, the structure of narrative is fine; there is freshness to the way you invite us to relate to your thoughts.
As far as this concrete piece — I do have many disagreements. I would assert that there is Reality, whether we allow ourselves to accurately and honestly stare at it: there are multitudes of choices in this given moment, and some of them will hand us fulfillment and joy, while others might cause harm, embarrassment and even untimely death… (By the way in no way am I implying that you are reluctant to face up to Reality) … To know which way to travel — when you are just waking up — is not that clear. Of course, we may have an end in mind and try to tactically manage to Joy, Fun and Love. But life is truly unpredictable: our meditations and visualizations (albeit useful and needed) are not a fail-safe guarantee. I think there is an answer there: the answer is this — to be grateful to feel anxiety, fear, concern… They are our natural advisors and friends, our ancestoral consiglieri.
True — neurosis and phobia are not the desired destinations, but they are real whirlpools of the stuck and confused, terrified and desperate ones. This is why you are anxious: your perfect brain is letting you know what may lie ahead, so your agile, sharp, quick mind can try to chart the most optimal course through the day.
I wish you all the very best! And am looking forward to your writing. Thank you.