Existentialism has been a influential philosophy since its inception in the 19th century through the 20th century, especially after World War II. Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish polymath and is regarded by many as “The Father of Existentialism”. Kierkegaard was interested in subjectivity-the way people relate themselves to truths. He proposed that the truth was reliant on more that just objective facts. The importance, Kierkegaard reasoned, was the way a person relates to these objective facts.
Kierkegaard’s views on the importance of the individual is emphasized in this paper. Kierkegaard values the individual above what he calls “the public”. The “public” is antithetical to the individual finding his or her self. The “public” is the prevailing views and opinions of the group. It is mob mentality. It is the antithesis of reasoned and careful consideration. The most disturbing aspect of the “public” is how it sublimely tries to substitute an individual’s thoughts and feelings with those of the “public’s”.
Kierkegaard implicates schools and philosophers in the destruction and subversion of the individual creating what he terms as “pseudo individuals”. Kierkegaard concern is the loss of individual, which he values above all else. The uniqueness of the individual is what gives a community of individuals its strength. Sartre is a giant of 20th century philosophy and is known for his major contributions to existentialism and his active commitment to political causes.
The Existentialism of Sartre believes that the answers to the big questions regarding mankind, in every aspect, requires a new framework of thought and consciousness beyond any and every category present in the collective body of knowledge. Sartre does not reject science or psychology as failed intellectual disciplines, but he did believe that any of these disciplines was simply inadequate to explain our existence and the reasons we are here. Sartre’s Existentialism is relevant to diversity because of the monumental task of creating an entirely new framework and a body of knowledge to fill it that is implied by its main tenets.
While Existentialism sees the need for whole new categories of thought, it does not reject or even discredit the current framework within which our categories of knowledge presently work. In these ideas, there is no rejection of the, as Sartre views them, “inadequate categories of knowledge” such as the sciences and philosophy. Sartre leaves the door open to possibilities and makes no condemnation of the prevailing paradigm (the confidence in science, etc. to be able to answer the big philosophical questions without the need for a new framework of thought).
This encourages new and diverse minds to explore some of these radical ideas without fear of ridicule or rejection. It is an open invitation for an open dialogue about an idea that will require the greatest diversity of minds possible if they are to become reality. because that is the only way to extend and create the framework of thought necessary if we are ever to truly understand the human condition. idea that entire new levels of thought are required for answers to deep philosophical questions.
Kierkegaard emphasizes the importance of the individual discovering and recognizing their identity as a human and considers this quest a moral imperative. Taking this philosophical approach regarding one’s individuality translates into a deeper respect for and understanding of other persons. Diversity is not only tolerated, but it becomes a necessary part of every human interaction. This lays a foundation for our everyday contact and associations with other humans that is inherently positive and loving and complements the teachings of Christianity such as unconditional love.
Courtney from Study Moose
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