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(1) In psychology, a negative emotion toward a real or imagined danger that threatens an individual’s life, personality, or values, including ideals, goals, and principles.
(2) One of the main tenets of existentialism introduced by S. Kierkegaard, who distinguished between a common, empirical fear (in German, Furcht) brought about by a concrete object or condition and an indefinite and uncontrollable dread (in German, Angst). Dread is a metaphysical fear unknown to animals. Its object is nothing, and it results from man being mortal and knowing it. For M. Heidegger dread functions to disclose the final potential of existence—death. J.-P. Sartre defines metaphysical, existential fear (angoisse) as anxiety before one’s own self, potential, and freedom.
(3) Early psychoanalysis distinguished between a rational fear in the face of external danger and a deep, irrational fear. The latter was interpreted to be a result of unrealized ambitions and a repression of unsatisfied desires. Modern neo-Freudianism interprets fear in terms of anxiety, which is a state of general irrationality associated with the irrational nature of bourgeois society. It is also considered to be the main source of neuroses.
Many theories on the origin of religion regard the emotion of fear to be a reason for the development of religious ideas and beliefs. This trend of thought was developed by Lucretius and Democritus in antiquity and D. Hume, P. Holbach, and L. Feuerbach in modern times.
What does it mean when you dream about your fears?
Fearful dreams are quite common, reflecting either anxiety about concrete problems in the world or anxieties arising from inner tensions. For a deeper understanding, the dreamer should attempt to identify the source of fear in the dream.