Existentialism, or the Missing Ingredient?

The other day I read about a popular Harvard professor who was still attached to the existentialists of the recent past, such as Sartre and Camus. Without knowing much about them, I too have thought that something like existentialism must be the life philosophy of the enlightened. Unfortunately, when I then went back and looked a little at what the existentialists had to say, I was not so enamored. What I think I like is the word and the bare bones of thought that go along with it.

I have long realized that rational, enlightenment thinking does not meet all the needs of real human beings. They need some basis on which to answer the larger questions, such as “Why”. Why are we here at all. What comes before and after us as individuals and a race of beings? If the world will someday end as a frozen blob or else a fiery sphere, why do we work so hard for good outcomes for ourselves or others in the short run that we are necessarily confined to?

To me, existentialism is the philosophy that meets these questions head on. The answer, basically, is that these are all unanswerable questions. All we can do is understand as much as we can about our own lives and those around us and make all we contact feel better about what they do and can do. We must all be heroes continuing into uncharted darkness. We must all arbitrarily shorten our grasp of time to what we can comprehend and to some degree affect.

I exist, you exist, our communities exist, and the world and everything in it exists. Let us live with this existence as best we can, and enhance existence according to our own lights.

Explore posts in the same categories: morality, philosophy, ways of life

One Comment on “Existentialism, or the Missing Ingredient?”

  1. ismsarebad Says:

    You stated everything in here perfectly. From what I’ve read on your blog so far, I like the stuff you write. Keep it up! 😀

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