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  1. 1. Existentialism PowerPoint Presentation by Ellen
  2. 2. Albert Camus, 1913-1960 <ul><li>French Journalist, novelist & playwright </li></ul><ul><li>Noted for “developing the absurd” in his work. </li></ul><ul><li>When Camus was only one year old, his father was killed in battle. </li></ul><ul><li>He completed his education by generous scholarships. </li></ul><ul><li>Camus contracted tuberculosis at a young age and was not able to teach (his lifelong goal) </li></ul><ul><li>In 1941 when the Nazis invaded France Camus was forced to flee to Algeria </li></ul><ul><li>He returned to Paris a year later to join the French Resistance against the Nazis and worked as an underground journalist. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Camus notion of “The Absurd” <ul><li>The absurd is an idea about how people live their lives. On one hand, people want to live in a world that is happy, just, safe and understandable. But the actual world is filled with pain, suffering, injustice and chaos that is often created by people and that ends in meaningless death. Camus could not believe that people had to accept “the absurd” in life. Instead he wrote about how people could revolt against the absurd by practicing humane values in their everyday lives. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Existentialism: The Power of the Spirit <ul><li>Man forms his essence in the course of the life he chooses to lead. In other words, man can only control his inner existence; the world itself is a random and absurd place. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Existentialism does NOT support any of the following: <ul><li>The good life is one of wealth, pleasure or honor </li></ul><ul><li>Social structure and social approval trump the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Accept what is and that is enough in life </li></ul><ul><li>Science can and will make everything better. </li></ul><ul><li>People are good by nature, ruined by society or external forces. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Existentialism; Olson, p. 14 <ul><li>“ The existentialists…mock the notion of a complete and fully satisfying life. The life of every man, whether he explicitly recognizes it or not, is marked by irreparable losses. Man cannot help aspiring toward the good of this world which the traditional philosopher sought; but it is not within his power to achieve either of these ambitions, or having achieved them to find therein the satisfaction he had anticipated.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Existentialism assumes that: <ul><li>We are best when we struggle against nature. Mankind is best challenging itself to improve, yet knowing that perfection is not possible. Religions present rules, yet the believers know they cannot live by all of those rules. The “sin-free” life is beyond human nature. Is that any less reason to try to be good, generous, caring, and compassionate? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Personal Responsibility <ul><li>Personal responsibility is a basic principle in existentialism. An individual’s decisions belong exclusively to that being, no matter the external circumstances. It is not ethical to avoid consequences. Existentialists accept risks, knowing that some actions can result in personal suffering. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Example of this responsibility: <ul><li>What would a captured member of the French resistance say if caught and interrogated? </li></ul><ul><li>By stating: “I am a member of the resistance. I will not compromise others.” There is no lie, responsibility is accepted and others are not harmed. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Freedom <ul><li>Existentialists actively promote the freedom of individuals. Freedom, the right to exercise free will, is a universal truth in existential philosophy. An existentialist hopes to express ideas and engage in actions likely to promote or protect the freedom of others. </li></ul>