The act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety.
This quote suggests that the experience of being born is the first time that an individual experiences anxiety, and that this experience serves as the origin and model for all future instances of anxiety. According to Freud, anxiety is an emotional state characterized by feelings of fear, uncertainty, and impending danger. He believed that anxiety serves a protective function, alerting the individual to potential threats and helping them to avoid or cope with them.
In this quote, Freud is suggesting that the process of being born is inherently anxiety-provoking because it involves leaving the safety and security of the womb and entering into a new and unknown environment. He posits that the experience of being born serves as the first encounter with anxiety, and that it shapes an individual’s subsequent responses to anxiety-provoking situations. This idea is consistent with Freud’s broader theory of psychoanalysis, which emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences in shaping an individual’s personality and behavior.