What The Hell Are You Blathering About?

People seem to hate the term Existentialism because they immediately associate it with a number of doctrines, movements, attitudes and people. Which is too bad because, actually, it's a pretty loose term that could easily be interchangeable with the word 'philosophy' itself.
Jean Paul Sartre coined the term from his notion that, "exsistence precedes essence". This was part of a thesis that was concerned with freedom and responsibility in a world without God. Sartre was in search of "authenticity", or the "authentic life" but he was also an atheist. No God also means no such thing as "human nature", because human beings have not been "manufactured" to some divine plan or "essence".
"So we are all condemned to freedom and must choose for ourselves WHO we are."
This freedom can be a frightening concept and could easily lead the naive individual down the path of nihilism. Another term used in the modern sense, I would say, of someone devoid of ambition, motivation, moral judgements, purpose and even rationality. But I would quickly point out that this is missing Sartre's point completely. If anything Sarte's existentialism should be viewed as liberating. For morality, though subjective in many of it's modern guises, has been shown to be "hardwired" in us. Science has proven basic empathy and other "tribe" preservation theories. Through anthropology, sociology, evolutionary psychology and biology.
But even so, there is still an overwhelming anxiety that can come from this notion especially when facing the facticity of one's own death.
And so trying to create an identity and live a meaningful life becomes a terrific struggle. For how can you affirm meaning in a meaningless universe? How should one live? How should one choose? How should be in the face of absurdity?
These are fundamental questions that I would consider existential.
What followed from Sartre, and many others, was the concept of a collective humanism. A politically free society with humanistic ethics and moral judgements. This type of an unspoken standard is still active today amongst the majority of atheists and agnostics.
Living in a culture of mass consumerism, Christian fundamentalism, victim mentality, political radicalism, individualist ethics and a society of people that are slowly isolating themselves from each other, an understanding of existentialist philosophy might do some good.
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2 Responses May 17, 2012

I am too tired and fed up to deny it lol...<br />
Thanks :)

i have several anxieties , maybe this one also :")