I posted a quote from Auden on my FB earlier. I wanted to expand upon it and to separate “anxiety” from the clinical sense.
“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but anxiety.”
–W. H. Auden
Of course the person who is forced into a tight corner becomes afraid, while hope opens up vision and outlook. Anxiety—anxietas—chokes us. Hope—spes—lets us breathe. Anxiety weakens us and makes us small and mean. But the person who is strengthened by hope can raise his head and learn to walk upright. We are afraid of imprisonment and death. But hope longs for life and liberty. So would it not be better to learn how to hope with Ernst Bloch, rather than to learn how to be afraid with Kierkegaard? At first glance everyone would immediately agree that hope is above fear. Hope can lead to anxiety. Anxiety cannot lead to hope. But by seizing on fear and hope as simple alternatives, have we really grasped the deeper significance of these two attitudes? – Moltmann, Experiences of God.