Volume 13, 2018
Carl-Fredrick Korsnes Sandberg
The Human Destiny of Being
A Critique of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Concept of Anxiety
In this paper it is argued that Sartre’s concept of anxiety is both incomplete and invalid within his own philosophy and then useless as a theory, and it is compared with Kierkegaard’s philosophy of anxiety. Also, according to Sartre, life constantly consists of choices and therefore, to acknowledge our being is to recognize that we have the freedom to choose. These choices can be difficult to make, and can cause frustration. To equalize such frustration, however, with anxiety consequently equalizes anxiety with fear. It is further argued why a distinction between fear and anxiety is necessary at all and why Sartre’s notion of anxiety as simply the difficulty of making choices cannot be regarded as the state of anxiety. Later, connections to the religious, or metaphysical, aspects of this discussion is drawn, as one of Sartre’s points is that we are making choices on our own, separated from all divine power because we have realized the inexistence of any divinity. However, it is argued that first when one recognizes that one’s state of existence includes an aspect of life outside of one’s control – the human destiny of being – one can attain a pure consciousness of being, a base for anxiety.