by Garrett Kamps | April 20, 2012
Much like opposable thumbs and belching, there's an evolutionary explanation to anxiety. It's linked to the fight-or-flight response, the one that says either, "Kill that deer! Eat it!" or "Run from that bear -- seriously!" The more fine-tuned your fight-or-flight response, the better your chances of not getting eaten and thus passing on your genes.
For the modern human, however, this presents a conundrum: We have this highly evolved threat-assessment system, and relatively few actual threats to contend with (believe it or not, experts agree we kill each other far less frequently than at any other time in our history). Anxiety and its variants -- OCD, PTSD, etc. -- is believed to arise when this elegant little system goes on the fritz; when, in other words, you feel the need to fight or flee from a threat that does not exist. Many aspects of modern life (looking at you, Facebook) exacerbate this dilemma. Faced with a daily barrage of emotional and physical stimuli -- and most especially with its seemingly unstoppable acceleration -- our handy fight-or-flight response is constantly being provoked, making us edgier, tetchier and just generally more eager to move to the country.
As with other afflictions, some comfort can be found in the fact that we're not alone, and indeed folks have been writing songs about fear and loathing for as long as they've been writing songs. Thus, this Friday Mixtape is all about anxiety -- end times, paranoia, future-phobia, you name it. Please enjoy, and try not to freak out about it.