(Essay) Its Phenomenology and Invisibility

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Worry hides itself. The person who worries doesn’t experience worry as ‘worry’ — the person experiences it as ‘care’, ‘concern’, ‘realistic’, or even ‘love’ — in a sense, no one worries. If when you worried you experienced it ‘as worry’, you would probably stop, for you would recognize that it was all in your head and a matter of ungrounded fear. Rather, when you worry, you experience it ‘as real’, not as something that cannot happen, but something that probably will happen. It strikes you as undeniable, as concrete, as that to which you must respond. In fact, what you worry about is precisely that which you think ignoring is foolish: it strikes you as something you should pay attention to above all else. Additionally, what you worry about is that which you experience as rational to think about, for it is rational to try and avoid undesirable events, and those events must seem dire. For if what was worried about wasn’t dire, you wouldn’t worry about it, and additionally, people seemingly only worry about those they have a relationship with; hence, when you worry, by definition, you think something dire will happen to someone you care about. And surely if you loved that person, you would try to save them from that fate, wouldn’t you? To worry is to face and even create a problem.1

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Why is worry bad? Not only is it fear-based and hence prone to cause relationship-straining anxiety, but it is also (unintentionally) controlling. If I worry about you not being a teacher, then I indirectly try to control you into becoming a teacher through (unintentional and unconscious) emotional pressure. I may claim I have no right to force you to do anything you don’t want to do, but by worrying about you, I make you feel bad about not becoming a teacher, considering I’m necessarily someone who cares about you and you probably care about what I think and want me to be happy. Because of worry, you don’t feel free to become a teacher or not, because you can’t contemplate this decision without your contemplation being influenced by or through the lens of my worry. You feel pressured and as if you can’t make a decision without impacting people you care about, feeling as if you can’t make a decision against them without implying their wisdom and discernment are lacking.

Additionally, worry makes it difficult for me to have a clear sense of my own thinking. For someone to worry about me necessarily implies that the person doesn’t think I’m making a good choice — that I can’t think for myself — and this can make me become anxious about my own thinking, discernment, and the way my thinking presents reality to me. ‘You can’t think for yourself’ has two meanings: first, ‘you can’t think well by yourself’, similar to ‘you can’t drive a car well’; and second, ‘you can’t think uninfluenced’ (which technicality none of us can do), and more precisely, ‘you can’t think outside of bad influences’. When I’m worried about by others, my capacities to think for myself and to make good decisions are inherently not trusted in (though the worrier might not mean to imply such), and this can cause me not only hurt, but also anxiety about my own, inescapable mind. Ultimately, worry causes deep stress, and for the best of reasons, we impose this stress upon the people we care about, all while the fact we are doing so is hidden from us behind a sense of ‘care’, ‘realism’, and/or ‘love’.

Worry is something other people do. We never worry; we care. It’s others who need to get out of their heads and stop over-thinking. We’re always the ones who see situations clearly, who ‘voice concerns’ while others are blinded by their paranoia and ‘speak out of fear’. We’re realistic, practical, and discerning; it’s others who are unrealistic, impractical, and undiscerning. And we genuinely believe this without thinking that we’re undiscerning about our capacity to discern, precisely because of ‘the phenomenology of worry’: precisely because of how worry is experienced and our failure to understand that worry self-hides. In the act of worrying, the worry becomes invisible, and we see (through it) only love and care. Worry tricks us, in a sense, making it possible for us to believe that worry is wrong and unproductive, all while we worry.

(Do note, before moving on, that this paper is a continuation of the thought presented in “Concerning Epistemology” and “Worrisome Sin”, both by O.G. Rose, and that it is encouraged you read those works before continuing this paper, though it isn’t necessary.)

I

Consider the following by the Maverick Philosopher:

‘The evil event will either occur or it will not. If it occurs, and one worries beforehand, then one suffers twice, from the event and from the worry. If the evil event does not occur, and one worries beforehand, one suffers once, but needlessly. If the event does not occur, and one does not worry beforehand, then one suffers not at all. Therefore, worry is irrational. Don’t worry, be happy.’2

Many of us have heard this sort of great and true advice before, and few of us would disagree. We’re aware of Bible verses like Matthew 6:34 — ‘do not worry about tomorrow’ — and have all heard personal stories about how worry has brought people great unhappiness. But rarely do we think we are worrying when we are in fact worrying, and hence rarely do we realize we are committing the irrational fallacy pointed out by the Maverick Philosopher. When we worry, we don’t realize we’re doing it: to us, it’s somehow different, masked. When someone tells us not to worry, it’s never us being spoken to: we are all worry-free in this world where worry ruins so much happiness.

If someone who worried actually thought that he or she worried, that person would probably stop. Most people who worry think they are ‘concerned’ or ‘realistic’, and usually worry out of love and genuine care. And we can easily rationalize worry as acceptable if it is done ‘out of love’, and actually come to worry about someone who doesn’t worry about loved ones, viewing this as a lack of love. To not worry then is to not love, and if this worry drives the person away, we may try to express more love to bring the person back, which will push the person away even more. The further away the person is, the more we may worry about the person precisely because the person is far away, and hence, out of love, we may want to do more to bring the person back to us, but since we have conflated ‘love’ and ‘worry’, the very means by which we try to bring the person back will be the very method by which we push the person further away. ‘Ideas have consequences’, and due to a philosophical mistake about worry, we can come believe ideas that bring ourselves and loved ones great pain.3, 4

Am I saying we shouldn’t care what happens to others? The very fact this objection is so common is evidence of how widespread the conflation of ‘love’ and ‘worry’ has become. To borrow again from The Maverick Philosopher:

‘Rational concern is not worry. I never drive without my seat belt fastened. Never! I never ride my mountain bike without donning helmet and gloves. But I never crash and I never worry about it. And if one day I do crash, I will suffer only once: from the crash.

‘Worry is a worthless emotion, a wastebasket emotion. So self-apply some cognitive therapy and send it packing. You say you can’t help but worry? Then I say you are making no attempt to get your mind under control. It’s your mind, control it! It’s within your power. Suppose what I have just said is false. No matter: it is useful to believe it. The proof is in the pragmatics.’5

As drawn out in “Concerning Epistemology” by O.G. Rose, there is a difference between ‘worrying’ and ‘being wise’. If there is a lion roaming in the nearby woods, to tell people to avoid the woods is a matter of wisdom. On the other hand, if you have no reason to believe a lion is nearby, to be concerned that you could be killed by a lion would be a matter of worry and paranoia. Wisdom is realistic and informed, while worry is unrealistic and uninformed, and there is a place for us to apply wisdom to our relationships. But there’s a problem: when we are worrying, the worry necessarily strikes us as realistic (and so a matter of wisdom), for if it didn’t, we wouldn’t worry about it.

Since worry strikes us as substantive by definition, it’s very difficult to discern through it if the worry is indeed realistic. It presents itself as if that discernment is unnecessary and a waste of time that can be costly to those over whom we are worried. When we worry, we feel as if ‘the case is closed’ — as if there is nothing else to discuss — and this closes us off from receiving new information that could make us realize that what strikes us as real is actually all in our heads, and this mixed with ‘apocalyptic thinking’ (described in “Death is the Event Horizon of Reason” by O.G. Rose) — as in, ‘if we wait on this the person might do something dangerous to themselves or others’ — leads people into extraordinarily painful situations, but it feels so imperative and justified in people’s minds that it would be heartless to do nothing. And considering how we experience worry, refraining from worry is no easy matter, and certainly no one does it perfectly. You have to see through all the ways in which worry strikes you as rational, realistic, undeniable, and dire: you have to see through that which you are afraid to look past. It takes wisdom to be able to discern if what feels like wisdom actually is wisdom; it takes discernment to tell if what strikes you as discernment actually is discerning; it takes the ability to pause when there seems no reason to pause, and to question the validity of what seems self-evidently true. It’s hard to think of greater challenges.

II

Consider the following four premises:

1. We don’t worry about people we don’t care about.

2. Worry is always toward a ‘good end’: we don’t worry about something bad not happening; rather, we worry about something good not manifesting.

3. The intensity of the worry is relative to the ‘direness’: we don’t worry about missing a bus as much as we worry about the death of a loved one.

4. Worry is always about the probable: we don’t worry about what we don’t think is likely, but rather what we think can rationally happen.

These are the characteristics that make worry ‘worry’, and yet also how worry hides itself. We think of worry as something you do over people you don’t trust enough — that worry is directed toward an irrational, improbable, and unrealistic end — because this is what we see worry as when we observe it in other people. But what is rational, probable, realistic, and loving is relative, and what falls into these categories for one person doesn’t necessarily fall into them for another.

When someone else is worrying over what is rational, probable, realistic, and loving relative to him or her, it doesn’t strike us the same way, and so we can perhaps clearly see the irrationality, improbability, unrealism, and fear of that other person. From these observations, we come to learn that worry doesn’t have the characteristics I have listed, but virtually the opposite, and so think that if we were to worry, we would experience worry as we experienced it when we encounter other people worrying. As a result, we learn to identify worry in other people in such a way that keeps us from identifying it in ourselves. Just by how worry ‘self-hides’, it is already hard enough to identify it, and this way of understanding of how worry is experienced only compounds the problem.

Not only do we learn from the experience of others’ worry a false sense of how we would experience worry if we were worrying, ‘self-hiding’ is innately part of the structure of what makes worry ‘worry’, as traced out by the premises above. Again, we don’t worry about strangers; by definition, we worry about people with whom we have a relationship. Hence, where there is worry, there is love, and this makes the conflation of ‘worry’ and ‘love’ so easy to make. Secondly, we don’t worry about our loved ones doing something positive, that they will make it into college, for example. In other words, our worry is always orientated toward (ensuring) a good end. Thirdly, the ‘better’ the end ‘toward’ which our worry is directed, the more intense the worry: when we are worried about our loved ones dying, our worry is very intense, while if we’re worried our loved ones will skip a meal, our worry is less intense. And lastly, worry is relative to what we believe is probable: we are going to be more worried about our loved one dying in a car wreck when on a long road trip than getting hit by an asteroid.

We naturally experience worry as ‘concern’, ‘care’, ‘wisdom’, and/or ‘love’, and hence if someone tells us to stop worrying while we worry, we can take great offense. Suddenly we are misunderstood martyrs, accused of worrying when we only care, having been self-deceived by the experience of worry. We define worry in our minds as something that we’ll never do, and hence, we never worry. Our definition frees us from the possibility of participation, all while we participate in what the Maverick Philosopher points out is fundamentally irrational.

Because when we worry, we experience our worry as ‘loving concern’, we easily come to think we’re loving when we’re worrying, and easily come to think of people who tell us to stop worrying as people who don’t see the situation as clearly as we do. Usually it is the person we are worried over who tells us to ‘stop worrying’, and precisely because the person tells us this, we can ‘worry/love’ more, believing the person is asking us to stop being ‘wise’, which would mean the person doesn’t see what we see, which means the person we are worrying over isn’t wise and discerning (justifying our worry), which is something that if we loved the person (as we must), we would want that person to be, and hence we must, in accordance with our love, try to help the person be wise and discerning. And so we must try to help the loved one see what we see, when because we worry, there is nothing there to see. But if the loved one tells us ‘it’s all in your head’, this will only start the cycle again: the fact that they think ‘it’s all in our heads’ is evidence to us that they are in denial of what is actually in the world. It would perhaps be easier in our minds to just drop the subject as the loved one wants us to do, but to us, that would be hateful, and in denial of what is ‘probable’, ‘dire’, and ‘wise’ to recognize.

Worry is generally more dangerous for loved ones than hate, for you cannot hate loved ones without being aware of your hate, faced with an unavoidable contradiction. Yet in conflating ‘love’ and ‘worry’, as is natural because of how worry is experienced, we create an invisible contradiction. Once created, paradoxically, to escape this contradiction, in our eyes, we must stop loving. If we don’t stop, we’ll continue to worry and push the person away, and the more we push the person away, the more we’ll worry about and love that person, pushing the person even further, formulating a vicious cycle that ever-widens the distance between those with who we only want to be close.

III

It is precisely because worry is worry that we don’t think we’re worrying when we are in fact worrying. Worry perfectly protects and justifies itself in the act — it is its own grounding — and packages itself as true love. In worry always being ‘toward’ a good end and loved ones, and seeing as by definition we must want ‘what is good’ for loved ones, worry self-justifies and self-motivates itself. In a sense, when you start worrying, you can’t stop without being unloving: to make those around you feel loved versus worried over, you have to do that which to you is the cessation of love (and so their chance to feel loved). And you also have to stop doing what you think you’re not doing, having learned from seeing other people worry that ‘worry’ is different from what you are doing/experiencing. The phenomenology and experience of worry conceals it, so tightly in fact that it is very difficult to unveil and see what it actually is clearly. And it is no easy matter to acknowledge that what you thought was loving, wise, realistic, and probable was in fact an expression of worry like the worry you have observed in others. If the dreaded thing doesn’t occur, the worrier has to acknowledge that he or she was wrong, which means the person has to acknowledge that what he or she thought was loving was in fact fearful. Well intended, yes (by definition), but wrong.

When a person begins to worry, it’s somewhat problematic if what the person worries about doesn’t happen: it forces the person to acknowledge that he or she was wrong (which none of us like to do). Hence, one of the other reasons we can push loved ones to do what we think/worry they should do is precisely so that we are not at risk of having what we are worried about turning out to be unsubstantiated worry instead of ‘wise love’. If, for example, we are worried that a person will be miserable if the person becomes a teacher, then we have incentive to make sure the person never becomes a teacher both because we want the person to be happy and because we don’t want to risk being wrong. If the person never becomes a teacher, it can never be said for sure that we were wrong, even if the person is actually miserable not being a teacher (for it cannot be said from this fact that the person wouldn’t have been miserable if he or she became a teacher). We’re safe: the mask of ‘love’ can never be pulled off worry not acted upon.

The fact a person worries is usually hidden from that worrier because of how worry is experienced. It is precisely because worry ‘is’ that we think it is right to continue worrying, because of how we experience worry as ‘care’, ‘probable’, ‘rational’, etc., all perhaps while we tell others not to live their lives worrying. This is hypocritical, of course, but the problem with hypocrisy is that it’s rarely experienced as hypocrisy. Somehow, when we’re hypocrites, it’s different, and somehow, it’s never us who rationalizes hypocrisy, just those we think are hypocrites.

IV

We generally don’t worry about people we don’t care about; hence, when we are worried about, it happens precisely because we are loved. If we weren’t loved, we wouldn’t be worried about, and in this way, worry is a sign of love and care. But unfortunately, it is a bad expression, seeing as it begets fear, and where there is fear, there is bondage. But the suggestion that ‘worry is a bad expression of love and care’ will be offensive to those who conflate ‘worry’ and ‘love’, for this means they express love poorly. To those who are offended, I would remind you that if you were offended by ‘2 + 2 = 4’, it would still be true, and that you shouldn’t let your offense keep you from learning how to live a better and more fulfilling life.

The very fact someone worries about you can make you want to avoid that person, for nothing you do can prove to the person that he or she should stop worrying, and it can be hard to be around people you know are worrying about you: it creates a heavy atmosphere, makes conversation difficult to entertain, and you cannot help but feel the whole time that at any moment, someone might put you on the spot about something you did or didn’t do, making you tense. And if a person is worried, for example, that you are missing out on your potential and that one day you will regret it, there is nothing you can do to convince the person that you are happy with your current decisions. No matter what you do, you can’t stop a worrier from, for example, putting together an intervention to ‘save you from regret or a bad choice’. Why is this? “Concerning Epistemology” by O.G. Rose explores this topic fully, but here, I would just like to point out that the problem with worry is that it operates off of what I will call ‘negative premises’ versus ‘positive premises’; furthermore, worry is protected by the inaccessibility (and ‘hole’) of consciousness itself. There is no way to enter the consciousness of others to know if they are worrying, and so if worriers say they aren’t (as the structure of worry would lead them to believe), there is nothing that can be done to prove them wrong, especially considering that most worry is based off of ‘negative premises’ and/or ‘holes’ (to use a term from “(W)hole Hope” by O.G. Rose).

By ‘negative premise’, I don’t mean ‘pessimistic’, ‘unhopeful’, or the like, as by ‘positive premise’, I don’t mean ‘optimistic’, ‘hopeful’, and so on. Rather, by ‘negative’, I mean something more like ‘not substantive’ (ontological); by ‘positive’, ‘substantive’. A ‘negative premise’ is based on an ‘absence of reality’ — for example, the worry of someone who has never been to or studied India on how India is a dangerous place — while a ‘positive premise’ is based on a ‘presence of reality’ — for example, the wisdom of someone who knows a lion is outside who tells you to stay inside (who you might accuse of ‘being afraid’). Problematically, ‘negative premises’ seem as if they can be easily rationalized into supposed ‘legitimacy’: if I am worried that you are going to regret it one day if you don’t travel to India, the only way to prove me wrong is by traveling to India and expressing the sentiment that ‘I wish I wouldn’t have gone’. But then I can just claim you had a negative attitude, and that’s why you had a bad time: I can redefine the situation so that my ‘concern’ is still and always was substantive.

If I am worried that you’ll have regrets about not traveling and you tell me that you won’t, how could you prove to me that you’re correct? You haven’t gone, and so have no ‘concrete’ evidence that there is nothing to be worried about. Perhaps indeed you’ll regret it if you don’t travel to Italy, China, or countless other places? When reasoning from a ‘negative premise’ (or ‘hole’), there is no end to the possibilities that I could worry over. There is no substance to prove to me that I shouldn’t worry, precisely because there cannot be until what I’m worried about not happening is ‘realized into’ spacetime. Like consciousness, that future is ‘inaccessible’ until you realize it, of which worry is precisely against. Considering this, ‘negative reasoning’ is not only endless, but it also cannot be satisfied; hence, when a person worries, it is possible for that person to worry forever over countless things, without ever feeling as if he or she has worried enough. Worrying perpetuates worry (as ‘concern’, ‘love’, etc.).

As possible thanks to the ‘holes’ of being, to worry is to ‘self-delude’ myself through you: I deceive myself about your situation, and then there is nothing you can do to prove me wrong.5 As discussed in “Self-Delusion, the Toward-ness of Evidence, and the Paradox of Judgment” by O.G. Rose, a paper that can help illuminate the topic of worry:

If I thought you were crazy, how would you prove your sanity? Would you show me your college degree? Lots of crazy people are rather intelligent. Would you take me to lunch and ask about my family? Clearly you would only be doing that to trick me into thinking you were normal (proving that you’re not only insane, but also deceptive). Would you try to prove me wrong by claiming you were trustworthy? But everything you say is a lie, and since you won’t admit your shortcomings, it’s apparent that you’re also arrogant. How would you prove you weren’t prideful? By working as a janitor for a year? But you’d only be doing that to prove how selfless you were, taking pride in your humility. You’d be faking humility, as does any arrogant crazy person who’s unwilling to admit their insanity.’

Similarly, if I thought you were wasting your life, how could you prove me wrong? If I was worried that you would have regrets over the current decisions you are making, what could you say? And so on. If I was worried about you, there would be nothing you do to prove to me that I should stop. But if I’ve conflated ‘love’ and ‘worry’, that is precisely what I cannot and will not do. After all, I love you.

V

How do we see past the masks of worry and tell if our premises are ‘negative’ or ‘positive’? These vital questions are taken up in “Concerning Epistemology” and “Worrisome Sin”, both by O.G. Rose. Here, I would like to note only that wisdom is based on particularities, and so there cannot be a hard and fast rule by which to discern ‘wisdom’ from ‘worry’ in all circumstances. In one situation, it may be wise to stay indoors, while in another, the same action could be done out of worry. Therefore, determining if you are worrying or wise requires awareness of particularities, and this means you are locked out of determining the nature of situations you are not involved in, as people are locked out from your situation. You have to think for yourself, but the nature of worry is such that it makes you think you are thinking for yourself and discerning accurately when you are not. Considering this, you have to be skeptical even of your feeling that you are skeptical of yourself, each and every day, constantly.

To help, consider this list of questions you can ask yourself to help you recognize when you are worrying and to overcome the ways in which worry hides. By slight rewording, these same questions can also help you determine if someone is worrying about you:

1. Are you inconsolable?

2. Do you feel miserable and nervous?

3. Does nothing anyone says or presents you with satisfy (or function as evidence ‘toward’ you)?

4. Are you the only one concerned?

If you are, there could be good reason to believe that the problem is in your head versus in reality. If people only share your ‘concern’ after you speak with them, this too could be a sign it is a worry versus wisdom, for it may only mean people can’t argue against a ‘negative premise’ and don’t recognize this is the case, and hence they are convinced thanks to a logical fallacy.

5. Do you feel like nothing the person does makes you happy?

6. Do others around you feel in ‘bondage’ or ‘tired’ all the time (or only when you are around)?

7. Are loved ones avoiding you?

8. Have you set it up so that the one you are worried about is ‘unable to think for his or her self’ (because the person is ‘impractical’, ‘ignorant’, ‘childish’, ‘brainwashed’, etc.)?

If so, this means the person can’t argue against you, and that hence you have privileged your subjectivity as the only one that is capable of judging the situation accurately, when this kind of privileging tends to be present precisely when you discern inaccurately.

9. Do you lack uncertainty? Is there any information about the situation that you lack?

If not, you are probably misreading the situation to some degree, because the nature of reality is such that there is always information you don’t know and hence uncertainty. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no reality. To avoid worry, it is important to wholly accept and live out the fact that you do not know all the information.

10. Do you always feel like your efforts to express love are misunderstood as unloving?

11. Do you feel like all you do is try to love, but the person you are ‘loving’ seems distant and unappreciative of your love?

And so on: there are many questions that could be asked, and these questions are not a full-proof guide, but they can at least help. The more successful at this you are, the less you will worry, and the more you will exercise wisdom, rather than only think you are exercising wisdom.

VI

Considering the distinction between ‘worry’ and ‘wisdom’, there is no circumstance in which worry is justified. We should never worry — it is useless, irrational, and risks burdening and pushing away loved ones — we should only be wise and loving. But of course, we always experience worry as just that, and this is why it is so difficult to avoid worry. We experience what we shouldn’t do as that which we should do, and only through the maze of self-skepticism is there any hope of escape.

There is no such thing as worry that isn’t out of love or a desire for the good, and yet it is precisely because worry is out of love or a desire for ‘what is best’ that we think it is ‘love’, ‘care’, etc. The very nature of worry makes us think that worry isn’t what it is when we worry, though we usually recognize it when we see it in others. This leads us to believe that we’ll recognize worry in us when it happens, but this is a fallacy: the experience of worry in oneself is much more subtle than the experience of worry in another. As we are taught by school that we will know it when we are wrong, we are taught by experience that we will know it when we worry. And this greatly contributes to why we don’t.

To worry is to act foolishly, but for others to deny what we worry about is, to us, for them to deny probability and rationality: it is to be foolish. Worry is the foolish act that only fools question. Furthermore, if to us to worry is to love, to deny our worry is to deny our love, and if someone we love denies this, nothing is more painful. The love we give isn’t given back: our hands are left empty, forever waiting. And as we are hurt, our worry hurts others: when people feel worried over, they can feel like they aren’t trusted, like they aren’t believed in, and like they cannot make the choices they want to make without hurting people they care about. Both the one who worries and the one who is worried over is burdened as a consequence of worry, but when ‘love’ and ‘worry’ are conflated, the only way to escape this situation is for the people to cease loving one another, which is precisely what loved ones will not do. But when this ‘worrisome love’ is ceased, then true love can break through, renewing.

Worry is more dangerous to friends and families than hate, for it is more subtle and difficult to identify as a problem, precisely because it feels so close to love. The fact a person worries is usually hidden from that worrier because of ‘how’ worry is, and when we are worried about, it is difficult to escape, precisely because we cannot stop it if the worrier doesn’t choose to stop it. We’re stuck, as is the worrier.

There is a way that appears to be right but in the end it leads to death.’6 Worry is like that, as is all good intent that isn’t ultimately good, but if we’re at least aware of its nature and tendency to ‘self-hide’, we can avoid being deceived by what ‘appears to be right’. We can avoid conflating ‘love’ and ‘worry’ to the benefit of ourselves and others. No, we won’t always be able to stop ourselves from worrying, but we always have the power to stop ourselves from speaking and acting on that worry. The feeling of worry is a temptation to worry, but the more we resist it, with time, the less that feeling will besiege us. Blessing those we devote our lives to loving, we will master ourselves.

Notes

1If you are a Christian and believe you are not supposed to worry, the fact worry ‘self-hides’ and never strikes the conscious as worry should put you on your guard.

2The Marverick Philosopher, “What, Me Worry?”. Tuesday, April 05, 2011. As can be found here: http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2011/04/what-me-worry.html

3By ‘philosophy’, don’t think I refer simply to schools of thought like Kant’s or a college major; with the word, I mean ‘a worldview’ or ‘a system of ideas through which a person considers the world’ (which includes theology). You might be of the opinion that philosophy is impractical, and if you think this way, that is your philosophy. Realize that all practice is through a framework of ideas, and in this way, whatever you practice will be an expression of your worldview; hence, ‘the philosophical’ and ‘the practical’ are inseparable. Also realize that if you do not consciously pick your philosophy or worldview (as Ayn Rand warned), it will either be picked for you or you’ll fall into one. Hence, it is important that you choose for yourself the right way to understand ‘worry’ and ‘love’, and recognize that if you don’t think about this for yourself, the ideas of others will fill your mind via ‘second hand smoke’, per se. In other words, you’ll come to think of certain things as absolutely true and not even know why you came to think this way.

4Allusion to Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver.

5In line with the thought of Karl Popper, another reason for this is because ‘negative premises’ cannot be falsified, only confirmed (and the worrier decides what constitutes ‘confirmation’).

6Allusion to Proverbs 16:25.

2020 UNO Prize Finalist. The Write Launch. Iowa Review. Allegory Ridge. Streetlight. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M Review. Poydras. www.ogrose.com

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