Existentialism And Its Role Today Essay

992 words - 4 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. There are three theories that correlate to the Good Life: 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 onto what everyone seems drawn towards. Existentialism is an important theory to consider in order to achieve the Good Life. Although existentialism may not appeal to everyone as a reliable theory to achieve the Good Life, it does elaborate as to how existentialism can be used to achieve the Good Life.

Jean-Paul Sartre is a well-known existentialist writer who, in his article “Existentialism is a Humanism,” discusses in detail what existentialism is, “a doctrine that makes human life possible and also affirms that every truth and every action imply an environment and a human subjectivity” (Sartre 18). From this quote we can infer that, everything said and done is subject to proper judgment.

Sartre goes on to describe the views of an existentialist. An existentialist “states that if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being whose existence comes before its essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept of it” (Sartre 22). This quote explains that god is the being(s) who existed before classification, but spiritually empowered the world known today.

Later on in his article, Sartre describes subjectivism and what it means. “Subjectivism means the freedom of the individual subject to choose what he will be, and man’s inability to transcend human subjectivity” (Sartre 23-24). Sartre is trying to explain that each individual has the freedom to decide their future and no one else can critique otherwise.

To end his article, Sartre describes in short what existentialism represents. “Existentialism is optimistic. It is a doctrine of action” (Sartre 53/54). From this, Sartre offers the closest thing he can offer as to the most accurate definition of existentialism.

Following Sartre is the writer Albert Camus, who wrote an article called “Life is Absurd,” where he talks about life and suicide both of which are discussed in the theory of existentialism. “Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy” (Camus 578). From this, Camus is trying to explain that whether life is worth it or not is simply a difficult question to tackle.

He then turns his attention to suicide by stating, “Suicide has never been dealt with except as a social phenomenon… killing yourself amounts to confessing” (Camus 579-580). From this quote, it could be processed that Camus knows that the act of committing suicide gives a dead giveaway that could only mean forfeiting one’s life, confusion in life to an extreme degree, or that really...

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