My Perspective On Existentialism

THE EXISTENTIALIST PERSPECTIVE As identified by David E. Roberts in Existentialism and Religious Belief * (1959) Oxford University Press; codified and somewhat updated [and personalized for her own use]**  by Jamarian
1.  Existentialism warns against worshiping science.
a)  Science is dehumanizing.  b)  Scientific method alone is not sufficient to explain the nature of existence. c)  There are some things we cannot understand by either of:  1)  pure rationalism & logic 2)  our experience d)  Humans are free, unique, self-transcendent, and diverse. e)  This warning against science is a mission to save life, through corrective resistance,                              
from the following things:  1)  pure rationalism and logic  2)  pure functionalism, including money and business
2.  Do's and Don'ts of existentialism
a)  Don't try to prove that God exists, through logic or science  b)  Do deepen the subjective and serendipitous; and synergy, through such things as 1)  prayer  2)  meditation  3)  worship  4)  thanksgiving  5)  sacrifice  6)  spiritual practice  7)  the arts
3.  Concurrently with Item 1 above, recognize the positive and humanizing aspects of science.
[Humane Therapy and Education come to mind.  So do health and safety practices; farming and food preservation methods; improved humane child rearing practices; democracy vs. tyranny, etc.]
4.  Existentialism explores in depth: guilt, anxiety, despair, and nothingness.  a)  opposes avoidance of these basic and rampant aspects of human experience  b)  opposes pollyannaism and pure activism which deny the feelings/realities in 4a and 4c.  c)  faces squarely the basics of existence: pain, savagery, sickness, demonic elements and  forces, vulnerability, etc.  d)  brings these forces out into the open by 1)  searching thought  2)  open discussion 3)  those of the arts which reflect these issues  e)  We are in the world  f)  Only by facing these facts head-on is there any hope of finding answers.  g)  We imperil ourselves and the entire planet if we do not face the facts of what living in the world is really like.  h)  Existence cannot be explained in neatly prepackaged theories and dogmas.

5.  Reconciliation of Reason and Faith.
a)  Reason / Philosophy combined with Faith are united  in the experiential; and in the transcendental; metaphysical experience of:  art, dreams, poetry, and Nature. b) Thus, reason need not lead to science and pragmatism alone, NOR  faith require blindness/ignore-ance alone.   c)  Both blind faith and  blind science/pragmatism require IGNORING the transcendental/spiritual [experiential]  d)  Both blind faith and  blind science/pragmatism
ignore existence/reality [as in Item 4.]
* Items 1, 2, and 3: pp. 333-4; Items 4 and 5: pp. 334-6
** We must make up our own minds about Existentialism and what it "is."  Roberts says (p. 333) that:  "[....he has shown through explication of the thinkers whose thought he covers in the book] that either outright rejection or wholesale adoption of the existentialist perspective is scarcely possible for those who must make up their minds about it."             
Existentialsm in film, as suggested by Jamarian:  Many of the films by Truffaut; Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring, and The Magician by Ingmar Bergman; Port Djema, Eric Heumann, 1997.  Christian Existentialist film would be possibly The Wizard of  Oz; and Trip to Bountiful, directed by Peter Masterson.
Jamarian Jamarian 70+, F Aug 27, 2012

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