the importance of anxiety

GS0941473Charlie Kurth at Aeon Magazine:

Immanuel Kant suggested an even graver problem with anxiety: it is incompatible with virtue. For Kant, the virtuous individual is someone who has brought ‘all his capacities and inclinations under his (reason’s) control’; therefore, he writes in The Metaphysics of Morals(1797), the ‘true strength of virtue is a tranquil mind’. But when we’re anxious, our minds are anything but tranquil. We lack the rational control that’s distinctive of virtue: it is emotion, not reason, that determines our behaviour. That’s bad.

This picture of anxiety as a dark and pernicious force certainly has illustrious supporters. Even so, I believe that it is mistaken. It goes against the grain to say this, but anxiety can be a good thing. Indeed, I hope to persuade you that it is central to our ability to successfully navigate moral and social life. I won’t go as far as to say that we needmore of it, but we should cultivate it. Worry is important; we should get it right.

more here.