OpenAI Chat and Existential Angst

So I decided to take a look at this OpenAI chat thing that has been writing essays for school children and older “children” as well. In particular I saw an essay today about how teachers can foil ChatGPT. Out of curiosity I created an account and logged in.

So. What question does one ask while standing before the all powerful Oz? I don’t need help to go home (or a brain, courage or heart) and I don’t need to ask any question that will result with the answer “42.” So, although I am a self professed geek, I also have that philosophy minor and religous studies major from 40 years ago that have served me so well in IT.

What the hell.

“What is Existential Angst?”

Here was the reply

Existential angst, also known as existential dread or anxiety, is a feeling of unease or worry about the meaning and purpose of life. It is a common theme in philosophy and literature and is often associated with the concept of meaninglessness or absurdity.

Existential angst can be triggered by a number of different things, such as a lack of direction or purpose in life, a sense of isolation or disconnection from others, and a feeling that one’s life lacks meaning or significance. It can also be caused by a sense of responsibility or guilt, a fear of death, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the complexity and unpredictability of the world.

Existential angst is often described as a feeling of dread or unease that arises from the realization that one’s life is ultimately meaningless, and that death is inevitable. It is a deeply personal and subjective experience that can be difficult to put into words, but it is a common aspect of the human experience.

ChatGPT Dec 15 Version. Free Research Preview.

OK. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Can you find examples of existential angst in the old or new testaments?

Here I found the answer quite interesting…

Existential angst is a theme that appears in many religious texts, including the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Here are a few examples from the Old Testament:

  1. Job is a book in the Old Testament that explores the theme of suffering and the question of why bad things happen to good people. The book begins with a prologue in which God allows Satan to test Job’s faith, and Job endures a series of trials and setbacks, including the loss of all his possessions, the death of his children, and a painful skin disease. Despite these hardships, Job remains steadfast in his belief in God, and ultimately, God restores his fortunes and blesses him with even greater prosperity.
  2. Psalm 13 is a prayer in which the psalmist (the person writing the psalm) expresses feelings of despair and hopelessness, asking God why he has forgotten him and why his enemies are prospering while he suffers. The psalmist ultimately reaffirms his faith in God, declaring that he will trust in God’s love and mercy.
  3. Ecclesiastes is a book in the Old Testament that explores the theme of the meaning of life and the futility of human endeavors. The author, known as the Teacher, reflects on the fleeting nature of life and the ultimate meaninglessness of earthly pursuits. He concludes that the only thing that truly matters is to fear God and keep his commandments.

Here are a few examples from the New Testament:

  1. In the Gospels, Jesus frequently addresses the theme of suffering and the importance of trusting in God. For example, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus teaches that God is always ready to forgive and welcome us back, no matter how far we may have strayed.
  2. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul writes about the concept of justification by faith, which is the belief that we are made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, rather than through our own efforts or works. This belief can help to alleviate feelings of guilt and anxiety about one’s standing before God.
  3. In the book of Hebrews, the author writes about the importance of faith and perseverance in the face of suffering and hardship. The author encourages believers to remain faithful to God, even when things are difficult, and to trust in God’s promise of a better future.
ChatGPT Dec 15 Version. Free Research Preview.

I guess I might have chosen some more meaty passages. Ecclesiastes is good. I might have chosen Psalm 130 or Psalm 137 as some meaty expression of angst. It is interesting that each of these answers adds a redemptive motif. Not only do these examples try to point to the existential dread but they also try to alleviate it, something I didn’t ask for.

The AI is trying to make me feel better about my dread.

Isn’t that special.






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