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alt.angst FAQ -- Monthly Posting
Archive-name: angst-faq Last-Modified: 1997/03/17 *** 1) What is Angst? Any feelings of anxiety, grief, unhappiness,suffering, misery, depression,sadness, and fear. The Oxford English Dictionary has: "Anxiety, anguish, neurotic fear; guilt, remorse." Webster's 9th Collegiate Dictionary defines it as: "A feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity." Above all, True Angst (tm) arises from the notion that life is essentially pointless and absurd, and that our miserable existences count for very little in the grand scheme of things. There are two main categories of Angst: emotional, and intellectual. Emotional Angst encompasses the typical experiences of human suffering. Intellectual Angst is primarily concerned with The Great Sucking Void of Existence. Other related words and definitions: Weltschmerz -- Mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world to an ideal state. Schadenfreude -- Taking joy in another's misfortune. Angstogen -- An angst producing agent. Angstrom -- The unit of angst: more angstroms = more angst. As far as etymology goes, Angst is found in the Danish, Dutch and German languages. Weltschmerz and Schadenfreude are both German. "Angstogen" was probably coined here, although it may have been spun off of "peeveogen," from alt.peeves, or vice versa. "Angstogen" is also used in Dutch and means something like "eyes filled with fear" 2) alt.angst Protocols and Acceptable Behaviors: a) alt.angst does not tolerate cheeriness in any form. This includes use of the notorious smiley (which is conspicuously absent here). If you feel inclined to post any stories with a happy ending, post them to alt.good.news, or some other forum -- perhaps alt.romance.chat. You'll be lucky if other members use such kind words to tell you to do the same. b) Posting to alt.angst: Traps and Tips Some alt.angst posters will, occasionally, flame you for failing to display sufficient amounts of angst in one or more of its commonly accepted forms. These individuals have earned themselves the nickname "angst.cops." You have been warned. Also, questions asking _why_ men or women are mean and nasty and hurt your widdle feelings do not belong here. This includes the now-infamous: "Why do girls always go for jerks" and all its pathetic variations. There are a number of psychology studies that answer precisely this question. Our advice here is to use your newly-found computer skills to dig up any relevant literature. Essentially, if you have to ask _why_ humans are mean and nasty, you probably don't belong here. Form is very important in alt.angst. If you can't be bothered to write clearly, you can't expect your readers to make the effort to understand you. And whatever your style, don't post poetry. This isn't a poetry reading. Teen angst poetry is especially likely to be mocked. Most posters have written reams of it themselves, recognized its self-indulgent immaturity, and moved on. Other than that, you can use the rule of thumb that states: if it feels bad, post it. Chicken Little is an excellent example of someone who should have posted to this group. Here, the sky is always falling. Our world is in constant crisis with spectres of war, famines and starvation, poverty, abuse of the environment, racism and bigotry, corrupt leaders, religious zealotry, fear of death, and soured personal relationships, not to mention the biggies, like "is there a point to existence, anyway?" These questions, and any others you may uncover or dream up, should leave no shortage of grist for your personal angst mill. 3) The Importance of Angst We all embrace angst here. It is what defines our existence. After all, what use would life be if everything was easy and there was nothing to worry about? Angst is a necessary element in the growth and development of any human being. It is what builds character; it provides contrast and depth to the human experience. Angst, at its simplest, is that which makes us human. 4) Distilled Angst (190 proof): The Angst Calendar, compiled by Steven Snedker and hacked into MS-Windows Help format. Amiga reader also available Available via anonymous ftp from ftp.mantis.co.uk directory /pub/alt.angst. Hacked into neat little pop-up window at http://www.angst.org/calendar/. If you don't know what anonymous ftp is, then goto news.announce.newusers and read everything. If it doesn't help, get the post named "How to find sources" from news.answers. The calender is available as either hpack'ed or tar'ed and gzipped file. The README file in the alt.angst directory details how to unpack such files. Mantis, the most intellectual site on the net, also stocks some terrific files in directory alt.atheism, that you really owe it to yourself (and the rest of the net) to check out. They are also periodically posted to news.answers by the great mathew. Thanks mathew. Note: The alt.atheism FAQ on constructing a logical argument should be required reading for _anyone_ who plans on posting to the Internet. Please, _please_ read it, understand it, and internalize it before wasting valuable bandwidth with meaningless drivel. Angsts or Angstful Notions or Angst Suggestions or The Angst Catalogue The alt.angst calendar covers most of the subject of angst. But it's 250 kb. Here's a little handy list you can keep close at hand, whenever you feel the urge to put words on your feelings/situation. After the angst suggestion there will sometimes be a pointer to other angsts it might be rewarding to check also. 1. Life is pointless/meaningless. There is no reason. 2. Death is eternal (making life all the more pointless). 3. Reincarnation (No relief, just more of the same unbearable pain for eternity). 4. Unpleasant feelings are true and pleasant feelings are temporary and empty. 5. Lost opportunities. Lost excitement. I was once young and screwed it up. 6. I'm wasting my time. (8,9,11,12). 7. Things will never get better (in the sense that it's all going downhill). 8. The future is just more of the same (worthless crap). 9. Rejection (MOTAS, work, whatever). 10. Boredom. 11. Loneliness, being insignificant. 12. Nothing brings me joy (hobbies, school, work, "friends," family). 13. There is no escape, no hope. 14. This mess is my (0-100)% own fault (5,9,11,15). 15. Strong hate (self, others, places, phenomena). 16. Insanity (depression, panic attacks, schizophrenia, suicidal tendencies). 17. For all my efforts I was never rewarded (12,9,7,5). 18. Science, art or humans cannot help you (19,13,12,10). 19. Nothing has any absolute value (1,16). 20. Wishes coming true will not help (13,7). 21. Lack of "the basics" (good physical/mental health, money, love). 22. I'm in an unpleasant situation (1-21). 5) Cures for Common Angst: Home Remedies and Elixirs (list by Michael Chase) 1. God(s). 2. Drugs. 3. Significant other. 4. Booze. 5. Insignificant others. 6. Physical fitness. 7. That spiritual purity trip. 8. Some godawful 12 step program full of losers not nearly as intelligent as you. 9. Shrinks, who are either OK but ineffective, or completely screwed up themselves (what is it with them anyway?). 10. Attitude: a. Hostile b. All-knowing c. Able to help others but not yourself d. Humorous e. Cynical f. Spacer 11. Turning the pressure into something 'useful.' 12. Acceptance. 13. Writing stuff nobody will read. 14. Exploring your past until you forget what you remember. 15. Waiting patiently to grow out of it. 16. Waiting patiently to see where it will all lead. 17. Waiting for that dude with the AK-47. 18. Getting pissed off that you can't kill yourself without bumming your friends. 19. Isolation. 20. Reading everything anybody has to say on the subject. 21. Developing a mild but sincere pride in yourself for surviving, which actually helps a little but still depends on the problem for its own existence. 6) Sources for More Information About Angst Angst central http://crystal.palace.net/~angst Ken's angst home page: http://www.cs.indiana.edu/hyplan/krawling/angst.ht ml Sean's Who's Not Who page: http://www.iafrica.com/~alleycat/who1.htm Stevi's list o' links page: http://crystal.palace.net/~angst/angst.html There is much literature available that conveys angst in its true forms. From Thoreau ("The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.") to Sartre, Dostoyevsky, Plath, and Dante; to ancient sages like the Buddha ("Life is suffering."); to Shakespeare and Steinbeck. The Brothers Grimm are an excellent source of childhood angst should one desire to educate one's children. As for visual art, Bosch, Van Gogh, and Munch spring immediately to mind. However, there is so much angstful art out there that we do a disservice to the art world by including only these names. In sum, almost all true works of art serve as little more than monuments to angst, so one can hardly go wrong.
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