Matthew Kaul writes about our anxious age in a post on The Good Teacher Substack. He brings up, as many are now, the crisis of anxiety among teenagers, but also more broadly among the general population. Kaul takes a stab at the source of this increase in anxiety by referencing Kierkegaard.
It’s at least in part a crisis of meaning. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard talks about anxiety as the “dizziness of freedom.” We have “freedom” to determine pretty much every aspect of our lives—what job we do, where we live, who our romantic partner is, when we have kids or whether to have them at all, what to eat for dinner each night, etc.
Kaul’s piece uses an examination of the words from Jesus in the book of Matthew, chapter 6 to address some of the concerns about anxiety. Although these words are ancient, he believes they can still speak powerfully into today’s moment. When we have so many choices before us, it can lead us into the symptoms of analysis paralysis, which is more than just having a hard time deciding what show from your Netflix queue to watch. Analysis paralysis can both be caused by and contribute to anxiety.