On Modern Anxiety

As quoted by Steven Pinker in Enlightenment Now:

>> Here is our modern avatar of anxiety, Woody Allen, playing out the 20th-century generational divide in a conversation with his parents in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986):

MICKEY: Look, you’re getting on in years, right? Aren’t you afraid of dying?

FATHER: Why should I be afraid?

MICKEY: Oh! ’Cause you won’t exist!


MICKEY: That thought doesn’t terrify you?

FATHER: Who thinks about such nonsense? Now I’m alive. When I’m dead, I’ll be dead.

MICKEY: I don’t understand. Aren’t you frightened?

FATHER: Of what? I’ll be unconscious.

MICKEY: Yeah, I know. But never to exist again!

FATHER: How do you know?

MICKEY: Well, it certainly doesn’t look promising.

FATHER: Who knows what’ll be? I’ll either be unconscious or I won’t. If not, I’ll deal with it then. I’m not gonna worry now about what’s gonna be when I’m unconscious.

MOTHER [OFFSCREEN]: Of course there’s a God, you idiot! You don’t believe in God?

MICKEY: But if there’s a God, then wh-why is there so much evil in the world? Just on a simplistic level. Why-why were there Nazis?

MOTHER: Tell him, Max.

FATHER: How the hell do I know why there were Nazis? I don’t know how the can opener works. <<

About Vlad Bunea

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