The Age of Anxiety


Anybody ever read The Age of Anxiety by W.H. Auden? I looked it up on Amazon, but was not tempted. The age of anxiety Auden wrote about is said to be the mid twentieth century. The poem he wrote  in 1947. The war was over, and soon after, the anxiety stopped, didn’t it? At least in America….for some. Hmmm. I guess it never stops.

We are still in the age of anxiety. What do you do to stop it, or are you still searching? As part of a class I am taking on world religions, students have to pick two religions and design a game with rules that characterized the makeup of each one. This week I chose Buddhism.

I designed the game around my desire to skip out of life without going to a nursing home. If indeed I did become a resident, it seemed to me that Buddhists could be helpful in reducing my anxiety.

My own religion is Protestant Christianity. While it serves me well in many ways, I can’t say it will keep me out of the nursing home. Maybe its a case of oh ye of little faith.

The Buddhists are known for meditation. As a nursing home resident, I thought this could come in handy. Otherwise, I will be faced with the age of anxiety. For sure at that point Auden will not be my choice of remedy. Not sure it is now.

My guess is that before or after the nursing home, I will not be attracted to baroque poetry. Leonard Bernstein was inspired to write a ballet from it. Maybe I will try listening to his music instead.

11 thoughts on “The Age of Anxiety

  1. jhvn November 12, 2013 / 10:10 am

    I know from experience that meditation in the Buddhist style has indeed reduced my anxiety. Buddhists claim that three things cause anxiety — greed, hate, and delusion. For myself I have renamed this unholy trinity to fear, desire, and illusion. My meditation practice has greatly helped me to reduce these three – and therefore my anxiety.

    • fictionfitz November 12, 2013 / 10:19 am

      Couldn’t illusion be a good thing?

  2. Jack Saunsea November 12, 2013 / 11:58 am

    Worry and anxiety both reside in a place that isn’t real. So, in meditation, prayer, or contemplation (the term I like to use), when we tune into what is real, we see that there isn’t any problem and therefore, no solution is necessary.

    I wrote a post called “How Can I Stop Worrying?” which perhaps you may be interested in reading.

    I would also like to respond to your question above: “Couldn’t illusion be a good thing?”

    I would offer that the perception of something being good or bad is itself an illusion. Illusion can certainly serve some very useful functions. All symbols of course are illusions, which is to say they are concepts which are supposed to mean something that is real. Money is a symbol for wealth, and provides a means for commerce and transaction. But when we confuse money as being wealth we are not living in reality, which is how I define insanity. It would be as though we are eating a dinner-menu for dinner instead of a steak.

    So, I think illusion is perfectly alright, so long as we see it for what it is.

    • fictionfitz November 12, 2013 / 5:50 pm

      Jack, I enjoyed a quick glance at your blog. Real read more later. I would like to read your post about worrying. Can you give me a link, I didn’t find it. You live in SF? I am in NH. Spent a few years in Marina and Walnut Creek.

      Bob

      • Jack Saunsea November 13, 2013 / 1:14 am

        My apologies, I forgot to include the link: http://jacksaunsea.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/how-can-i-stop-worrying/

        I frequently travel the west coast and have many friends from LA to Seattle and everywhere in between. San Francisco is likely my favorite location on the west coast and I would really like to perhaps settle in the Marin Headlands area towards the beginning of 2014. 2013 has been largely spent back where I grew up in the South due to family-member health issues.

        Any advice or suggestion for relocating to the Marin area? Thank you for your conversation.

      • fictionfitz November 13, 2013 / 5:53 am

        Jack, nice area. Sorry I cannot be of much help. I haven’t visited the area for about twenty years. Used to love Stinson Beach.

  3. New Hampshire Garden Solutions November 12, 2013 / 6:22 pm

    i think people will always be anxious in any age because most are so fearful of change. I haven’t ever heard of the book.

    • fictionfitz November 12, 2013 / 7:40 pm

      I hadn’t either, but read about it. Long poem, baroque they call it. Agree with you, change is difficult, how do you manage change? Takes a while for me, especially change I didn’t see coming.

  4. Carole Webber November 12, 2013 / 8:07 pm

    Anxiety is a factor in life. I think the key to approaching it is meditation and,talking to myself reminding me to put aside what I cannot fix,

    • fictionfitz November 12, 2013 / 8:24 pm

      Sometime you should do a luncheon on meditation

  5. Carole Webber November 12, 2013 / 8:26 pm

    We would all need to be quiet.

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