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Existentialism in My Eyes Essay

To begin with I would like to briefly what the dictionary defines as existentialism. “A philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the wil”l(merriam-webster). It is a a 20thcentury philosophical movement that places the main emphasis on the existence of humans. Existentialism calls attention to freedom of action and freedom of choice.

According to this theory one is always free to act in any way he or she wills and should not consider others actions, thoughts or views in doing so. Since every person in considered to bought into the world alone and thena gain die alone they are not expected to be courteous or considerate to the people around them. Esentially we are all responsible for our own existence. However existentialism is so vague in its definition because it is viewed so differently by so many people.

Not just scholars but those who study the term as well. The “fathers” of existentialism are said to be; Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, although the phenomenological version of it begins in Heidegger,who vehemently denied being an existentialist, Sartre, and continues through Kafka and Camus.

Since most “existentialist” thinkers never used that word to describe their philosophies,Sartre did, but purportedly rejected the term on his deathbed, you will find some differences between them However existentialism and those who live it tend to have certain characteristics according to most scholars: ¦”they are obsessed with how to live one’s life and believe that philosophical and psychological inquiry can help.¦they believe there are certain questions that everyone must deal with (if they are to take human life seriously), and that these are special — existential — questions.

Questions such as death, the meaning of human existence, the place of God in human existence, the meaning of value, interpersonal relationship, the place of self-reflective conscious knowledge of one’s self in existing. Note that the existentialists on this characterization don’t pay much attention to “social” questions such as the politics of life and what “social” responsibility the society or state has. They focus almost exclusively on the individual.

¦By and large Existentialists believe that life is very difficult and that it doesn’t have an “objective” or universally known value, but that the individual must create value by affiriming it and living it, not by talking about it. ¦Existential choices and values are primarily demonstrated in ACT not in words. ¦Given that one is focusing on individual existence and the “existential” struggles (that is, in making decisions that are meaningful in everyday life), they often find that literary characterizations rather than more abstract philosophical thinking, are the best ways to elucidate existential struggles.

¦They tend to take freedom of the will, the human power to do or not do, as absolutely obvious. Now and again there are arguments for free will in Existentialist literature, but even in these arguments, one gets the distinct sense that the arguments are not for themselves, but for “outsiders. ” Inside the movement, free will is axiomatic, it is intuitively obvious, it is the backdrop of all else that goes on. There are certainly exceptions to each of these things, but this is sort of a placing of the existentialist-like positions. “(Corbett,1985).

Existenitialism focuses on several principles , however there are three major ones; Subjectivity, Anguish, and Forlornness. Subjectivity is the first principle of Existentialism. Subjectivity means the name we are given when charges are brought up against us. This idea that we are born with a plan in mind. It is what we will make for ourselves for our future. You never know where your life is going to take you . Angusish is the feeling that Satre made reference to when we realize that we are totally reponsible for not only our own existence but all of mankind.

“When we speak of ‘forlornness’, a term Heidegger seemed to use often , we mean only that God does not exist and that we,ust face the consquence of that reality, that God is not responsible for our existence but we are The feeling of forlornness stems from an individual’s realization that people are alone in the world, unable to rely on anything absolutely or anyone. Though these three are the major principles I I personally value the idea of authenticity that existentialism seems to focus on.

It fits perfectly in modern society It allows the idea that being true to one’s character, personality, and choices is required to be authentic Modern day society has created cookie cutter facades that has us all boxed into roles and classifications. Which is why most modern day philosophers tend to view traditional and academic ideologies as too abstract or remote for current society. I sometimes think it’s not the theories that are remote but the uppitiness of the ivory tower in its presentation that makes them seem too difficult to master.

However to me it’s like the 2+2 theory, that the origins of philosophical thought must stem from human experience. Another answer is that the “authentic” attitude is very simple. It strips away the complications of people telling you how to live and what to do and who you should be. It’s appealing to those surrounded or overwhelmed by the cacophony of voices in today’s society, especially to young people. It is the expression of freedom in a world of constraints. Again, Sartre might have rejected some of this as being not what he meant by authenticity. But really the point is that these attitudes are popular. I think I should go back to the beginning again.

What does authenticity mean? Perhaps, for the authentic person, one’s moral appearance is at all times in all places and in all respects one’s moral reality. The authentic person lives according to her own moral standards, does not pretend to be something she is not, does not create the apppearance of morality but in their heart be privately dissolute. This, to me, is the most appealing definition of authenticity. When it comes to defining truth, Existentialism has couple of points. To begin with, “truth” is defined by a person individual life experiences. Their reality and experiences influences their ultimate view on the world.

It is considered that to view of the world is already the truth and in their “world” it is. This is because in Existentialism truth is something that is based on facts and not on emotions. Though, the truth can be used in a good way or bad way, so to say acting in good or bad faith. Thus, in the concept of truth it is once again pointed out that every individual has a freedom of choice. It is interesting that Existentialism considers an act to be good and something to be true if it is performed in a way that the entire human race would be represented. This seems to be enough to attest an act as a moral one.

Modern existentialism seems to show up often in films. One must not confuse Existentialism and Post Modernism though. Key ideas include 1. Retaining authenticity in a mechanical, apathetic world is dejected. because autencitiy relates to a reality that simply does not exist. 2. The feelings of alienation and loneliness that come about from being unique in a world of many, and the consiciousness of death. 3. Everydayness Referemces 1. Corbett B. , 1985, What is Existentialism? Retrieved december 21,2012 from http://www2. webster. edu/~corbetre/philosophy/existentialism/whatis. html .


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