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alt.angst FAQ -- Monthly Posting


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Archive-name: angst-faq
Last-Modified: 1997/03/17

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
***

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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