Existentialism : A Corresponding Contradiction Essay

Existentialism : A Corresponding Contradiction Essay

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Existentialism: A Corresponding Contradiction
Throughout time and space, every culture’s ideas of human nature have shaped how they live, what they work toward, and the culture they leave behind as a legacy. To begin with, the idea that humans have a nature is disconcerting. As philosophers attempt to answer the question once and for all, none seem as multifaceted as existentialism. Existentialism deems that there is no human nature that applies to every human being. Humans are what they make themselves out to be, and, therefore, are free (74). Such a position calls other claims into question, such as the no-self view, the enduring self, and identity theory. Existentialism is liberating and unsettling, yet surprisingly harmonious.
Existentialism is glaringly contradictory to the belief that there is no self. With the no self theory, nothing one does presently or in the future matters, because it is all outside of one’s control. “The self, like everything else, is in a state of constant flux… and is nothing more than a fleeting momentary composite of constantly changing elements: our form and matter, our sensations, our perceptions, our psychic dispositions and our conscious thoughts” (103). One’s environment and components outside of one’s command shape the self, so there is no need to “care” or place effort into attempting to change the self. This belief holds that since one’s external and internal forces are ever changing, the self is constantly changing. On the grounds that the self is being shaped and will continue to be shaped by outside forces, there is nothing one can do to truly shape the self. There is no need to shape one’s self, because there is no constant self to shape. This makes existence rather dismal and efforts ...

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... and ideas to relate with (89).
From the courtroom to the American home life, personal ideas about human nature influence people to this day. Amongst all of the answers about human nature, existentialism is unafraid to leave questions unanswered or seemingly contradictory statements puzzling. While humans all set their own standards of ethics and morals, they each remain exclusively accountable for setting their personal standards and for meeting these convictions or missing the mark. It is liberating in that there is freedom of choice, freedom of lifestyle, and freedom of legacy. However, grievous distress is found in comprehending the weight of this authority and liability. Strikingly, the conflict of existentialism lies in the emotions it brings, both inner peace and unrest, not in its logic, which coincides with Eastern thought and current scientific data.

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