Existentialism Essay

1789 words - 7 pages

Existentialism, which spread rapidly over continental Europe after the First World War, is essentially the analysis of the condition of man, of the particular state of being free, and of man's having constantly to use his freedom in order top answer the ever- changing and unexpected challenges of the day. According to the Existentialists, the starting point of every philosophical investigation is concrete human existence. That means that human personality in itself should point the way to the absolute value of reality. A single definition of existentialism is impossible. Definitions, provided by dictionaries are only part of what existentialism is about. …central to each definition is the assertion that existentialism is a theory or statement about the nature of man's existence. (1) The term is so difficult to define because, unlike other terms, existentialism is not universal. In other words, there are no two existentialists, which share exactly the same values or beliefs. Although, here is one major theme: a stress on individual existence, subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice.
There are two kinds of existentialist; first those who are Christian, and on the other hand the atheistic existentialists. Many unfamiliar with the subject people associate existentialism with atheism, but they are wrong. The truth is that the majority of existentialists are not atheists. Sartre, which we place among atheists, stress that central concern of philosophy is human existence. He says that human being is a special kind of consciousness (being-for- itself). Everything else is matter (being-in-itself). He believes that human being has no God-given essence and is absolutely free and absolutely responsible. According to him, anguish is the result of the absolute freedom and responsibility. He also says that human existence is absurd and unjustified. Therefore, the goal of human being is to justify his/her existence.(2)      Sartre believes that there are those in our history who have established a religion to reassure nothing more than what he calls a "fundamental project." That means that when we become anguished by the affairs of life we pursue a fundamental project in attempt to flee this anguish. He says that we try to make ourselves Gods in hopes that others would see us divine, and hold us in higher regard. To pursue a fundamental project according to Sartre is to act in a bad faith. "To act in a bed faith is to manifest our freedom inauthentic ally."(3) Sartre believes that man experiences two primary phases of consciousness in his life, the spontaneous phase in which man does nothing more than pursue a particular task which means that man is in shallow mode of being, and the reflective phase of consciousness In reflective phase, man realizes that he is not alone in this world and this realization is not without consequences. When men acknowledges that there are others that makeup the society in which he...

Find Another Essay On Existentialism

Victorianism and Existentialism Essay

1446 words - 6 pages Modern Era that is today.Existentialism “is virtually impossible to define absolutely as it is now so broad in its approaches” (Hayes). However, its main ideas “came out of a time in society when there was a deep sense of despair following the Great Depression and World War II” (AllAboutPhilosophy). During that time, many of the works and writings about existentialism were done by “Kierkegaard, a religious philosopher, Nietzsche, an anti

What is existentialism? Essay

625 words - 3 pages Existentialism is, essentially, a philosophical idea which rejects the authority in governments and religion (God), rather placing beliefs and ethics in the individual/themselves as existentialists. Put simply; to project the superiority of God or any deity whatsoever, and choosing to believe that they exist by themselves and make their own moral judgments irrespective of any outside spiritual governing influences. It could almost be considered

Existentialism in Night

1060 words - 4 pages Existentialism in Night In his essay “Existentialism”, Jean Paul Sartre discusses the main beliefs of existentialism. Perhaps the most important belief of existentialism is that there is no human nature, and there is no God. This means that each individual man has control of his own destiny. The definition of each individual man is the sum of his life and all he has accomplished in his life. He is also responsible for all the

Existentialism. Mentiones Dostoyevsky

902 words - 4 pages and on through the mid-Twentieth, a movement followed 'existentialism,' a philosophical theory of life, in order to achieve such a level. Even though the idea of existentialism is complex, certain themes are common amongst philosophers and authors: moral individualism, freedom of choice, responsibility, alienation.Fundamental to understanding existentialism is the conception of moral individualism. Existentialism rejects traditional ethical

Rejection of Existentialism

1011 words - 4 pages In his defense of existentialism, Sartre first defines the unifying factor of existentialism, (for both atheist and deist alike), as the belief that existence precedes essence. To help illustrate his point he presents the example of a paper knife, an object that possess a set of qualities that enable it to carry out its purpose. He states that it would not have been created without a particular purpose, therefore its essence precedes its

The Philosophy of Existentialism

1015 words - 4 pages been noticeably present. Not only between common people has this been there, also philosophers had sincerely thought about that humanly keenness to prove that one is different and essential, and tried to philosophically explain it. The term used for that theory is existentialism; as explained by the significant philosophers at that time it’s referred to as “the explicit conceptual manifestation of an existential attitude". Which is basically

Existentialism In Film

4070 words - 16 pages EXISTENTIALISM IN FILM I could not say where or how existentialist themes first emerged in film. Often times, critics will point to the work of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini as early examples. Indeed, these two men are titans in their art, and they will be discussed in this essay. However, it occurs to me that a certain genre of film being made in America during the late forties and early fifties perhaps deserves credit for treating very

New Theistic Natural Existentialism

1519 words - 7 pages surrounding world. There are a plethora of worldviews, many of which do not have a name. The “best” worldview depends upon what a person perceives for themselves to be “the best”. Although some people might find parts or aspects of other worldviews that they like. My own worldview is a combination between new age, traditional theism, naturalism, and theistic existentialism called new theistic natural existentialism. This world view can be

Existentialism In No Exit

645 words - 3 pages In his play, No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre examines basic themes of existentialism through three characters. The first subject, Garcin, embraces existentialist ideas somewhat. The second character, Inez, seems to fully understand ideas deemed existential. Estelle is the third person, and does not seem to understand these ideas well, nor does she accept them when they are first presented to her. One similarity amongst the three is that they all at

Existentialism and its Role Today

1197 words - 5 pages The Good Life is an expression representing how one would like to live out their life. In other words, how that person achieves happiness. The three more relevant theories that correlate to the Good Life are Daoism, Stoicism, and Existentialism. Since each person defines their happiness differently, each person has their own opinion as to whether or not what is read to be correct or not. The goal is to at least shine a light to what everyone

Existentialism in "The Seventh Seal"

4152 words - 17 pages " has long been hailed as an existentialist film by critics and audiences worldwide. In this dissertation I intend to have a closer look into how the themes connected to the existentialist philosophy arise and are represented in "The Seventh Seal".In the first part I will have an overview of existentialism, its emergence and influences as well as give an account on the key existentialist themes.The second part will be an analysis of the film from

Similar Essays

Existentialism Essay

572 words - 2 pages Existentialism is in essence a belief that the world we live in is fundamentally meaningless and absurd. 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 will. Existentialism believes that individuals are entirely free and must take personal responsibility for themselves (although with this responsibility comes angst, a

Existentialism Essay

1599 words - 6 pages it or not. We may not realize that we are searching for meaning. Every action in which we ask the question "Why?" is a complete search for meaning, in one way or another. Asking that question builds up meaning for some reason known only to one's self. The belief in meaning being a quest is known as Existentialism. Existentialists believe that meaning is found through the hardest of circumstances, and one must choose to look toward that meaning as

Existentialism Essay

724 words - 3 pages Existentialism is a philosophy about life that says being is more important than the indispensable everyday occurrences. It acknowledges an individuals freedom to choose and says with this knowing there comes an immense sense of responsibility. Despair, hopelessness and anxiety are characteristic of a person struggling with existential thoughts. Nihilism sums up this condition by stating that all values are baseless, nothing is foreseeable and

Understanding Existentialism Essay

912 words - 4 pages Do we matter? Do we seek personal happiness in life? These are questions from existentialism. The dictionary defines existentialism as an individual’s experience filled with isolation in a hostile universe where a human being attempts to find true self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. Hamlet is an existentialist character who believes that he is forced to avenge his father’s death and the hatred