Rollo May was a existential psychotherapist who emphasized philosophic rather than psychopatological aspects of the human condition. In the following interview he talks about his views and about what the humanity is facing on the level of culture.
Anxiety is seen as a driving force that motivates creativity and the will to act and do something. Rollo May does not see anxiety as a symptom that needs to be removed. He says:
“I think anxiety is associated with creativity. When you are in a situation of anxiety, you can of course run away from it and that is certainly not constructive. Or you can take a few pills to get you over it or take cocain or what ever else you may take … you can meditate …but I think none of those things, including meditation which I happen to belive in, none of those paths will lead you to creative activity. What anxiety means is as though the world is knocking at your door, and you need to create, you need to make something, you need to do something. And I think anxiety thus is for people who have found their own hart and their own souls, and for them it is a stimulus toward creativity, toward courrage: it’s what makes us human beeings….Man is the only creature who can be aware of their own death, and out of that comes normal anxiety. when I let myself feel that than I apply myself to new ideas, I write books, I comunicate with my fellows …. this knowledge of death gives us normal anxiety and the wish to make the most of our lives, and that is what I try to do…
Freedom is also a mother of anxiety. if you don’t have freedom you don’t have anxiety. That is why the slaves in the films have no expression on their faces. they have no freedom, but those of us who do have are allert, alive, we are aware that what we do matter and that we only have about 70, 80 or 90 years in which to do it. So why not do it and get your way out of here rather than running away from it…”