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Subject: alt.angst FAQ -- Monthly Posting
This article was archived around: Sat, 22 May 1999 21:21:11 -0600
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
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
Hacked into neat little pop-up window at
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
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
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
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
9. Rejection (MOTAS, work, whatever).
11. Loneliness, being insignificant.
12. Nothing brings me joy (hobbies, school, work,
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
18. Science, art or humans cannot help you
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,
22. I'm in an unpleasant situation (1-21).
5) Cures for Common Angst: Home Remedies and Elixirs
(list by Michael Chase)
3. Significant other.
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
c. Able to help others but not yourself
11. Turning the pressure into something 'useful.'
13. Writing stuff nobody will read.
14. Exploring your past until you forget what
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.
20. Reading everything anybody has to say on the
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
Ken's angst home page:
Sean's Who's Not Who page:
Stevi's list o' links page:
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
In sum, almost all true works of art serve as little
more than monuments to angst, so one can hardly go wrong.