Symbol for the situation of the human being whose religious faith has been shaken but who nevertheless stands in need of meaning and consolation and who is therefore obliged to wish for the impossible. A foundation for meaning and significance in the form of God seems close enough to grasp but evades his grasp, nonetheless, in all his lived existential limit-situations, leaving him in the lurch. The Tantalus Feeling is at its most intense in the case where the person longing for meaning and consolation not only imagines himself to have been left in the lurch but also believes that he perceives, behind the senseless torture of humanity, a God who takes malicious pleasure in it – after the model of Zeus who, in the mythical narrative, took delight in the torments of the punished Tantalus.
We may describe the “Tantalus Feeling” as an existential experience in, as it were, the antechamber of antinatalism, an experience preparatory to the àAccusation of God. Belief in a “good God” is gradually dismantled and what remains is a wicked àDamnator, whose immorality is communicated, in the end, to the parents.