How did Albert Camus describe the existential predicament?
As Camus was growing up, he saw much suffering and death around him. This led to his principal philosophical question, “Is there any reason not to commit suicide?” which he believe arose in a person when they started seeing the world for how it truly is. To truly see the world, a person has to stop lying to themselves and look at the world without any distorted views they may have had before. Once they do that, they will see the world as it is: absurd.
Because most people do not bring themselves to see the world for its true nature, they waste their lives deceiving themselves; making themselves strangers to their own basic needs. The basic needs are “the need for clarity or understanding and the need for social warmth or contact.” A lack of social warmth is due to humans maintaining an overall solitary existence. Relationships are made because they are expected, not because people want them.
The need for understanding is due to an unclear world that people live in. According to Camus, the world is absurd, and there is no reason for why things happen the way they do. Absurdity implicates unjustness, and a lack of morals or values. People must make choices every day to decide how to act, but there are no guidelines because there are no values.
Why is modern man so alienated, alone, and unhappy according to Heidegger?
There are plenty of reasons; the first is the absence of Sinn (a meaning of being, translates to Sinn von Sein,) (Almäng) which is said to be the “problem of existence.” Human beings are thrown into the world, and experience many things they do not understand. This creates anxiety and distress for a person, leading to unhappiness, none of which a person understands. Because they do not understand what anything means, they spend the majority of their lives trying to figure out the basic appearances of the world.
Heidegger also says humans are “beings-in-the-world,” meaning they can only comprehend what is in their perspective. People are capable of making and maintaining relationships with others, but they do not understand the meaning behind it. This leads to a life led inauthentically. People who are living lives to the fullest (most, Heidegger would argue) do not make the right choices in life because they do not understand the world in front of them. This makes them unhappy, but they make no effort to understand their unhappiness. They end up in this crude form of being Heidegger calls everydayness, where people go about their daily lives understanding nothing. Another theme Heidegger connects to everydayness is chatter, in which talk is reduced down to empty words. All of these concepts interact with each other, turning man from the happy and brilliant people they had the prospects of becoming into the alienated and unhappy people they are now.
What do the concepts of everydayness and chatter have to do with each other, according to Heidegger?