The Threat of Nonbeing

The threat of nonbeing to man’s ontic self-affirmation is absolute in the threat of death, relative in the threat of fate. But the relative threat is a threat only because in its background stands the absolute threat. Fate would not produce inescapable anxiety without death behind it. And death stands behind fate and its contingencies not only in the last moment when one is thrown out of existence but in every moment within existence Nonbeing is omnipresent and produces anxiety even where an immediate threat of death is present…

Out of this the question arises: Is there courage to be, a courage to affirm oneself in spite of the threat against man’s ontic self-affirmation?

Paul Tillich – The Courage to Be (45)

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