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Existentialism

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A powerpoint I used Fall 2013 for a Modern/Early Modern Lit class.

A powerpoint I used Fall 2013 for a Modern/Early Modern Lit class.

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  • 1. • People have complete freedom to determine your own fate and through that, a potential identity comes into being through a series of conscious choices or actions (including passive actions/seems like inaction) that determine the person we are/will be. Therefore, the self is always in process.
  • 2. • With no absolute right or wrong there is no business telling others how to behave or imposing standards from the outside that the individual should develop himself.
  • 3. • The practice of marketing the self and the self’s career as brands with the focus on the “customer purchasing decision.” • So personal branding then is the “process by which we market ourselves to others” (Schawbel 2009).
  • 4. • No grand scheme in which we all play a part. No ultimate meaning, instead, each person has to forge meaning for themselves and therefore no ones decisions have any interrelationship with another’s. • Existence itself is difficult, confusing, frustrating and even at its very end refuses to divulge any meaning other than what the individual has created for him or herself.
  • 5. • Since approaching and grappling with life’s problems would be done in an individualized way.
  • 6. • Skill is repetitive, and no two problems are exactly alike, this repetition would be ineffective.
  • 7. • Since there is no absolute standards of morality where people can turn.
  • 8. • No explanation of why we are alive instead, we are “abandoned” with nothing more than an awareness of our surroundings and a need to cope with surroundings in order to survive. • Focuses on limitless capacity for ethically and intellectually engaging people to enact change in the world. • Positive change is imperative for the true existentialist otherwise existence is a complete void- Be something or else life lacks
  • 9. • Perspectives, aesthetics, and approaches to dealing with the world and its inherent difficulties • Deals with the recurring problem of finding meaning in existence. • The individual must create meaning for him/her self. • Gets a reputation for being pessimistic and meaningless or absurd and is associated with things like angst, boredom, fear and again- pessimism.
  • 10. • Rejection of Authority is prevalent. • The only authority a person has is himself- answerable to the self. • It makes people responsible for their own actions. Only through self-actualization and self-determination can a problem be viewed realistically to get solutions that work • People are also required to put thought into personal ethics • This gives people more personal responsibility but ultimately gives people a sense of positivity and freedom as they see more control over their circumstances.
  • 11. • http://www.youtube.co m/watch?v=YDBtCb6 1Sd4&noredirect=1
  • 12. • Søren Kierkegaard • Martin Heidegger • Friedrich Nietzsche • Phenomenology
  • 13. • 1813-1855, Danish • Considered to be the first Existential Philosopher • Insisted on the distinctiveness of personal experience/subjectivity. He argues, “subjectivity is truth, truth is subjectivity.” Since how one acts is, from the ethical perspective, more important than any matter of fact, truth is to be found in subjectivity rather than objectivity. • Kierkegaard was discussing the Christian who wants to be a Christian living in a world that has abandoned Christianity. • Kierkegaard expressly discusses alienation- that human beings are alienated from God because they are living too much in the world. Individuals need to gain their souls from the world because it actually belongs to God. His concern is about the inner fight for faith.
  • 14. • 1889-1976 • German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being". • Maintained that our way of questioning defines our nature. • As with Kierkegaard and Sartre, Heidegger believed the existence of a physical body preceded the essence of self. At some point in the development process, a being becomes aware that it exists. This pivotal point in time is when essence begins to form; the individual decides to acknowledge and embrace an essence at this moment. • Heidegger is a controversial figure, largely for his affiliation with Nazism prior to 1934, for which he neither apologized nor expressed regret, except in private when he called it "the biggest stupidity of his life- this calls to question Heidegger's thought and his connection to National Socialism.
  • 15. Dasien Sorge was Heidegger's term for concern and caring about the self and its existence. When confronted with the world and other beings, the individual feels anxiety and dread. The world appears complex and unsafe -- which it is. As a result, the human being, Dasien, must care for itself as no one else can or will. • Concern, or Sorge, is the ability to care about the self, in relation to phenomena. This belief that death defines life complements Søren Kierkegaard's thought that God does not exist, but is real. • Existence, or Existenz, represents knowing one is and is changing. • Finally, moods, or Stimmungen, are reactions to other beings,
  • 16. • The five modes of Dasein described by Heidegger are: authenticity, inauthenticity, everydayness, averageness, and publicness. Authentic being represents a choice of self and achievement. All other modes represent a failing to embrace the individuality available to all people.
  • 17. • A theory of knowledge that had a keen interest in the problems of perception. • The study of structures of experience or consciousness (as experienced from the first-person point of view). • The study in phenomena-the appearances of things or things AS they appear in our experience or the way we experience things, therefore the meanings things have in OUR experience. • Studies conscious experience experienced from the first person point of view.
  • 18. • Nilhism- belief that traditional morals, values, ideas, etc. have no worth or value • The denial of existence as any basis for knowledge or truth • There is no meaning or purpose to existence (nil).
  • 19. • So in saying “God is dead” this was what he really meant: • Nietzsche sought to draw the consequences of the death of God, the collapse of any theistic support for morality • In such a situation the individual is forced back upon himself. AKA. Personal responsibility
  • 20. • On the one hand, if he is weakly constituted he may fall victim to despair in the face of nihilism, the recognition that life has no instrinsic meaning. • On the other hand, for a “strong” or creative individual nihilism presents a liberating opportunity to take responsibility for meaning, to exercise creativity by “transvaluing” her values, establishing a new “order of rank.” • (This is essential in a WW1-2 society that desires a totally clean slate. Nihilism gave people a blank page to create something new!)
  • 21. Salvador Dali
  • 22. • • • • • • • Alienation- each individual is fundamentally alone Individual and personal relations Choice Anxiety (life, death, extreme situations) Meaning and absurdity Authenticity Social criticism- unmasking convention and social patterns • Religion and atheism
  • 23. • Characters have specific dilemmas that speak to shared problems of all humans • Individuals get caught up in systems and bureaucracies that were beyond understanding/beyond their control. • Existence becoming a kind of control over personal autonomy • Inherent terror of existence, embraces the absurdity of everything • Life as ultimately absurd and as meaningful or meaningless as one chose to make it. • Spare, minimalist settings
  • 24. • Stories are peopled by beings that seem incomplete and strange. • conflict – are sometimes so obfuscating as to frustrate and distort meaning entirely. Characters do not know where they are or what their purpose is or their purpose lacks discernible meaning. • Settings: A mirror is held up to the insanity of modern existence. Seemingly fantastic and meaningless settings mimic those same settings which people inhabit daily, from the office to the mall to the subway train. Anyone who has stopped in the middle of their daily routine and realized, “This is crazy,” is a co-conspirator with Samuel Beckett. • Audiences often find some existentialists like Beckett extremely frustrating and inaccessible, but one could argue that inaccessibility is precisely the point.
  • 25. • • • • 1905-1980 20th century’s greatest existential thinker French “Existence precedes essence”• What makes you who you are by what you make of yourself. • Only person to ever decline the Nobel Prize in Literature • We are all “condemned to be free” Believed that there is no authority that defines freedom or provides rules or guarantees decisions. Meaning there is total responsibility on the individual for all actions.
  • 26. • Life commitment to activism and advancement of social causes • Sartre took existentialism in a very positive direction. He advocated for the downtrodden, and continually struggled for a more egalitarian society based on the worth of each individual. • “Existentialism is a Humanism” article: http://www.public.asu.edu/~jmlynch/273/documents/sartr e-existentialism-squashed.pdf • Background on Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism: http://philosophynow.org/issues/15/A_students_guide_to _Jean-Paul_Sartres_Existentialism_and_Humanism
  • 27. • In The Nausea, Sartre tells that story of an academic who becomes aware of the intense singularity of his own existence. • Objects and people outside personal experience- even if attempting to provide meaning. • The realization of complete freedom, but also complete isolation. • The title explains perfectly the feelings of the protagonist when confronted with his own essential Being. • This an imperative towards action. Humans had ultimate responsibility for their own actions.
  • 28. • 1913-1960, born in French Algeria • French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, philosopher • Awarded in 1957 • His views contributed to the rise of Absurdism • Opposed Nihilism, believed in individual freedom • The point of philosophy is life: “The preceding merely defines a way of thinking. But the point is to live.”
  • 29. • In philosophy, "the Absurd" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. • He emphasizes the fact that happiness is fleeting and that the human condition is one of mortality; for Camus, this is cause for a greater appreciation for life and happiness. • In particular it is the confrontation between our longing or nostalgia for order, meaning, and clarity on the one hand with the chaos, confusion, and irrationality of the world on the other hand; between the human longing for happiness and the evil in the world. The absurd is not in man alone nor in the world alone, but only in the juxtaposition of the two: “The world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart.”
  • 30. • Suicide is not a logical consequence of the absurd. It attempts to escape the absurd by removing one of its elements: the human longing for order (philosophical) or the unbearable, unintelligible world (physical). One must live with the absurd, not try to escape it. 1. Philosophical Suicide. The existential leap of faith to believe in an ultimate order and intelligibility, but one inaccessible to man, is philosophical suicide. It kills the human longing for an order and clarity it can understand. 2. Physical Suicide. Killing oneself is an attempt to escape the absurd rather than facing it. One cannot accept the world, so one ends their existence in it. This is not a consequence of the absurd, but an escape from it.
  • 31. 1. Revolt. This is a refusal to accept the absurd without trying to escape it and without renouncing either the world or our desire for happiness and order. 2. Freedom. In a world devoid of external significance and meaning, man is free to create his own happiness. The loss of external values is also a liberation from our dependence on them. 3. Passion. Recognizing and living with the absurd entails a passionate consciousness of each moment of experience. What we lose in quality of experience derived from external values we gain in quantity of consciousness and passion derived from our awareness and
  • 32. • The absurd man must find himself happy. The human will to happiness is frustrated by the world as long as we make our happiness dependent on the world by seeking to escape the absurd. Once we revolt and freely create our own happiness, we find the only real happiness appropriate to the human condition. We find a human happiness.
  • 33. • 1947 • The Plague, a novel recounting an outbreak of the bubonic plague in a small port city. Those trapped within the city walls with the disease are forced to summon inner reserves of strength and determination in the face of the ultimate negative force – death. • His narrator emphasizes the ideas that we ultimately have no control, and irrationality of life is inevitable. Additionally, he further illustrates the human reaction towards the "absurd"; The Plague represents how the world deals with the philosophical notion of the Absurd, a theory which Camus himself helped to define.
  • 34. • Exile/Separation • Solidarity/community/resistance • Religion
  • 35. • • • • • • • Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club Stanley Kubrick David Lynch Charles Bukowski Fyodor Dostoyevsky Monty Python- in presenting life as absurd En Puntas

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