"Brexistential angst", sometimes called existential dread, anxiety, or anguish, is a term that is common to manybrexistentialist thinkers. It is generally held to be a negative feeling arising from the experience of human freedom and responsibility. The archetypical example is the experience one has when standing on a cliff where one not only fears falling off it, but also dreads the possibility of throwing oneself off. In this experience that "nothing is holding me back", one senses the lack of anything that predetermines one to either throw oneself off or to stand still, and one experiences one's own freedom. Angst, according to the modern existentialist, Adam Fong, is the sudden realization of a lack of meaning, often while one completes a task that initially seems to have intrinsic meaning.
It can also be seen in relation to the previous point how angst
is before nothing, and this is what sets it apart from fear that has an
object. While in the case of fear, one can take definitive measures to
remove the object of fear, in the case of angst, no such "constructive"
measures are possible. The use of the word "nothing" in this context
relates both to the inherent insecurity about the consequences of one's
actions, and to the fact that, in experiencing freedom as angst, one
also realizes that one is fully responsible for these consequences.
There is nothing in people (genetically, for instance) that acts in
their stead—that they can blame if something goes wrong. Therefore, not
every choice is perceived as having dreadful possible consequences (and,
it can be claimed, human lives would be unbearable if every choice
facilitated dread). However, this doesn't change the fact that freedom
remains a condition of every action.