Below are 10 Stages in the development and eventual resolution of existential anxiety (A.K.A. "existential angst") as outlined by John Tennison at the inaugural meeting of the Comprehensivist Club (www.comprehensivist.org) on February 22, 2003.
Since everyone is not comfortable with the idea of non-existence of selves,
everyone cannot be expected to have a resolution of existential anxiety as a
result of concluding that selves have been an illusion all along. However,
readers who are skeptical of the idea of self-as-illusion are referred to
Thomas Metzinger’s book, “Being No One.”
Thomas Metzinger is Professor of Philosophy at the Johannes
Gutenberg-Universitat Mainz, Germany. “Being
No One” was published in 2003 by the MIT Press.
and Hanna Damasio, Professors of Neurology, University of Iowa College of
Medicine notes, “Being No One is a superb and indispensable book.
Thomas Metzinger’s intelligence, open-minded honesty, and knowledge
combine to produce the most complete and satisfying discussion of the problem of
self currently available.”
the opening paragraph to his book, Metzinger writes, “This is a book about
consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective.
Its main thesis is that no such things as selves exist in the world:
Nobody ever was or had a self.
All that ever existed were conscious self-models that could not be
recognized as models. The
phenomenal self is not a thing, but a process – and the subjective experience
of being someone emerges if a conscious information-processing system
operates under a transparent self-model. You
are such a system right now, as you read these sentences.
Because you cannot recognize your self-model as a model, it is
transparent: you look right through
it. You don’t see it.
But you see with it. In
other, more metaphorical, words, the central claim of this book is that as you
read these lines you constantly confuse yourself with the content of the
self-model currently activated by your brain.”
Dr. Tennison is also interested in any ideas other than non-existence-of-self that might result in the ultimate resolution of existential anxiety. If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please contact Dr. Tennison at firstname.lastname@example.org.