Nietzsche And Existentialism

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Introduction The Enlightenment Period of human history, while without a definite “beginning” or “end” as far as historians may dictate, was a transitory period of human development that brought forth many different schools of thought in order to make sense of our (and likewise, the universe’s) existence. Born out of opposition to the zeitgeist of Empiricism and Rationalism, both of which seeking to forgo human nature and spiritual quandary to focus on the notion of science and rational reality, Existentialism chose to instead have its core philosophical model address the meaning of choice, the notion of free will, and the uniqueness of individuals. The philosophical school of Existentialism is wrought with many well-known and oft-revered influencers, as far as its impact on the modern understanding of the human condition. Among these influencers include the likes of Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who himself is regarded as the “father of Existentialism”, and the more contemporary French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. However, the individual most associated with the school of Existentialism by the general populace, as well as possibly the most influential of these figures in the field of psychology, is the German philosopher and self-dubbed psychologist Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Known primarily as the creator of Nihilism, Nietzsche contributes much to the discussion of the meaning (or lack thereof) of human existence, and how striving to improve our lot in life affords us the ability to live as authentic individuals. And while some of his philosophical facets had been repurposed and twisted in the mid-20th century by fascist regimes, most notoriously the Nazis during World War II, Nietzsche’s legacy has seeped into much ... ... middle of paper ... ... you can, is the best way of creating your own sense of meaning in a universe that is devoid of it. Nietzsche likewise takes a heavy influence from the philosophy of Skepticism in regards to deriving meaning as well, positing that we must question everything that is said or occurs in order to form our own authentic method of viewing our lives. This is what Nietzsche may describe as “perspectivism”, as he ultimately believes that the universe, while devoid of meaning, is shaped by our perceptions and subjective interpretation of how it machinates. With such a focus on the subjective and irrational, it stands to reason that convictions and “universal truths” are very strong and allow for a sense of comfort in the lives of many, including those who suffer from common nihilism, but are seen by Nietzsche as always dangerous, from both moralistic and societal standpoint.
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