Friday, 12 March 2010


Sometimes in life, you run out of excuses. It's 5am and I'm wide awake with nothing else to do other than catch up on my HCJ blogging so I shall start with Existentialism.

What is the meaning of life?

Well... if you are an existentialist then the answer will lie in your own hands as they believe that nobody could give your life meaning apart from you. God is dead and you must find meaning in a world without him. It's completely down to the individual to give their own life some sort of meaning and make it stand for something. Existentialists believe that there are people who live their life actively and make stuff happen and those who live it passively... doing nothing and waiting for good things to happen TO them. Personal responsibility and discipline is a must, existentialism is the journey searching for true self.

I recently read 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus in which the main character is an existentialist. The book begins along the lines of, "Mother died today. Or maybe it was yesterday. I don't remember." Which just shows he doesn't care. Everybody dies so why be upset about it? Later in the book he kills a black man for no reason at all. Just something to do. Existentialists do not think about their actions... they just do. Nobody wants to prosecute him and he is told if he just says he wasn't in his right mind after his mothers death and shows remorse then he will get off but he really doesn't care and it is the lack of emotions that he is done for! The language used in this book is very simple. Very short sentences and no complexities which reflects the mood of Meursault. Can't be bothered. Lazy actions contrasting to his active mind.

Among the philosophers who were existentialists included our friend, Fredrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche particularly impacted existentialism as he was considered the father of 'Nihilism' which is the idea that there is no ultimate meaning to human existence. If you believe this then you really have no other choice than to give life meaning yourself. Nietzsche was also anti-religious and therefore did not believe in reincarnation. He was convinced that you only live once and so you must be aggressive in living your short life and not sit back and watch it go by.

Existentialism ideas are still around today - you can see it used in Nike's advertising, "Just Do It".

The main philosopher who wrote of existentialism was Jean-Paul Satre (and here is a random fact about him. In 1964 he was awarded the nobel prize in literature... but refused the prize). He said that conformity is death. He said you should not conform to society and for this reason they admire people who are different and live their life with passion - you should live your life your way without being influenced by any person, group or in particular religion.

I've run out of tea so I shall end here and leave you with this useful link on existential jazz;

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