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EXISTENTIALISM

Existence + Essence= Existentialism


Is it more important what you intend to be or think you are
or is it what you do. In other words, you think of yourself
as honest and yet you cheated on the last quiz (and
justified it somehow)? Are you the sum of your actions
or your intent?
Before you thought about who you were, were you you?
I think, therefore, I am.
--Rene Descartes

MEDICALWARNING:
MRS.WISNOTENDORSINGEXISTENTIALISMASBEING
ANYTHINGMORETHANAPHILOSOPHY.YOUARE
RESPONSIBLEFORLEARNINGTHETENETSOF
EXISTENTIALISM;YOUDONOTHAVETOLOVETHEMOR
EVENLIKEITALLTHATMUCH.
EXISTENTIALISMCANBEAWEEBITDEPRESSINGIFVIEWED
INALIFEISMEANINGLESS,GLASSHALFEMPTYLIGHT.
TAKEHEARTandTAKENOTES.

Do we have to take notes?


This Power Point will be online. It does
not, however, make total sense on its own.
Therefore, you probably want to jot down
examples and explanations that go with
the slides. You will be tested throughout
on understanding, NOT regurgitation.

Chalktalk-Existential Questions:

Existential question" is: a question concerning the


essence of what it means to be alive, such as:
What is the meaning of life? = What is the meaning
(essence) of existence?
Who am I (essentially)?
What is my true nature/essence?
What is my true identity?
What is my greater purpose?
How should I live my life?
What is death? What happens when we die?
Is there a god, and, if so, what is her nature?

Acomplexphilosophy
emphasizingthe
absurdityofreality
andthehuman
responsibilitytomake
choicesandaccept
consequences!

ANDREWWYETH
ChristinasWorld(1948)

Itwasduringthe
SecondWorldWar,
whenEuropefound
itselfinacrisis
facedwithdeathand
destruction,thatthe
existential
movementbeganto
flourish,popularized
inFranceinthe
1940s

GEORGIODECHIRICO
LoveSong

BigIdeasofExistentialism

Despiteencompassinga
hugerangeofphilosophical,
religious,andpolitical
ideologies,theunderlying
conceptsofexistentialism
aresimple

MARKROTHKO
Untitled(1968)

Cogitoergosum.

ExistencePrecedesEssence
Existentialismisthetitleofthesetofphilosophical
idealsthatemphasizetheexistenceofthehumanbeing,
thelackofmeaningandpurposeinlife,andthesolitude
ofhumanexistenceExistenceprecedesessence
impliesthatthehumanbeinghasnoessence(noessential
self).

Absurdism
Thebeliefnothingcanexplainor
rationalizehumanexistence.
ThereisnoanswertoWhyamI?
Humansexistinameaningless,irrational
universeandanysearchfororderwill
bringthemintodirectconflictwiththis
universe.

Youwillneverbehappyif
youcontinuetosearchfor
whathappinessconsistsof.
Youwillneverliveifyouare
lookingforthemeaningof
life.

Itwaspreviouslyaquestionoffindingout
whetherornotlifehadtohaveameaningtobe
lived.Itnowbecomesclear,onthecontrary,that
itwillbelivedallthebetterifithasno
meaning.

ChoiceandCommitment
Humanshavefreedomtochoose
Eachindividualmakeschoicesthat
createhisorherownnature
Becausewechoose,wemustacceptrisk
andresponsibilityforwhereverour
commitmentstakeus

Ahumanbeingisabsolutelyfreeandabsolutelyresponsible.Anguishis
theresult.JeanPaulSartre

DreadandAnxiety

MANRAY
LesLarmes(Tears)

DreadandAnxiety
Dreadisafeelingofgeneral
apprehension.Kierkegaardinterpretedit
asGodswayofcallingeachindividualto
makeacommitmenttoapersonallyvalid
wayoflife.
Anxietystemsfromourunderstanding
andrecognitionofthetotalfreedomof
choicethatconfrontsuseverymoment,
andtheindividualsconfrontationwith
nothingness.

NothingnessandDeath

EDVARDMUNCH
NightinSaintCloud(1890)

NothingnessandDeath
Deathhangsoverallofus.Our
awarenessofitcanbringfreedomor
anguish.
Iammyownexistence.Nothingstructures
myworld.
Nothingnessisourinherentlackofself.Wearein
constantpursuitofaself.Nothingnessisthecreative
wellspringfromwhichallhumanpossibilitiescanbe
realized.JeanPaulSartre

Allexistentialistsareconcernedwiththestudyofbeingor
ontology.
TOREVIEW:Anexistentialistbelievesthatapersonslife
isnothingbutthesumofthelifehehasshapedforhimself.
Ateverymomentitisalwayshisownfreewillchoosing
howtoact.Heisresponsibleforhisactions,whichlimit
futureactions.Thus,hemustcreateamoralityinthe
absenceofanyknownpredeterminedabsolutevalues.
Goddoesnotfigureintotheequation,becauseevenifGod
doesexist,Hedoesnotrevealtomenthemeaningoftheir
lives.Honestywithoneselfisthemostimportantvalue.
Everydecisionmustbeweighedinlightofallthe
consequencesofthataction
Lifeisabsurd,butweengageit!

EdwardHopper

NewYorkMovie(1939)

HumanSubjectivity
IwillbewhatIchoosetobe
Itisimpossibletotranscend
humansubjectivity.
Therearenotrueconnections
betweenpeople
Myemotionsareyetanother
choiceImake.Iam
responsibleforthem.
EdwardHopper

NewYorkMovie(1939)

Subjectivity vs. Objectivity

In reason, subjectivity refers to the


property of perceptions, arguments, and
language as being based in a subject's
point of view, and hence influenced in
accordance with a particular bias.

The Stranger presents a world that is


completely subjective. Mersaults decisions
throughout the text embody the tenets of
Existentialism.

Objectivity

Subjectivitys opposite property is


objectivity, which refers to such as
based in a separate, distant, and
unbiased point of view, such that
concepts discussed are treated as
objects.
A scientist and a spiritual man have
one thing in common each seeks to
understand an objective truth in the
world.

Humanexistencecannotbecapturedby
reasonorobjectivityitmustinclude
passion,emotionandthesubjective

Eachofusisresponsiblefor
everythingandtoevery
humanbeing.

SimonedeBeauvoir

GEORGIAOKEEFFE
SkyAboveWhiteCloudsI(1962)

SomeFamous
Existentialists
SrenKierkegaard
(18131855)

FriedrichNietzsche
(18441900)

JeanPaulSartre(1905
1980)

AlbertCamus(1913
1960)

Awomanisnotbornshe
iscreated.
deBeauvoirsmostfamoustextis
TheSecondSex(1949),whichsome
claimisthebasisforcurrent
genderstudies

Ltranger(TheStrangerorThe
Outsider)
WrittenbyAlbertCamusin1942(whodidnotsailthe
oceanblue)

AlbertCamusdisassociatedhimself
fromtheexistentialistsbut
acknowledgedmanslonelycondition
intheuniverse.Hismanofthe
absurd(orabsurdhero)rejects
despairandcommitshimselftothe
anguishandresponsibilityoflivingas
besthecan.
Basically,mancreateshimselfthroughthechoiceshemakes.
Therearenoguidesforthesechoices,buthehastomakethem
anyway,whichrenderslifeabsurd

Camusabsurdworld
Theworldofvaluesisneverpredictablenor
controllable.
Agapexistsbetweenmansintellectual
constructs(meaning)andtheuniverse
(reality).
Hecannotjustifynewvaluesbyappealto
convention.Americanshavealways
valuedfreespeech.

Alienationor
Estrangement
Fromallother
humans
Fromhuman
institutions
Fromthepast
Fromthefuture
Weonlyexistrightnow,
righthere
EDGARDEGAS
Labsinthe(1876)