Existentialism : A Corresponding Contradiction Essay

Existentialism : A Corresponding Contradiction Essay

Length: 933 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 ...


... middle of paper ...


... 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.




Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Meaning and Existentialism in My Life

- Existentialism is a phiosophy which revolves around the central belief that we create ourselves. External factors are not important. It is the way that we let external factors affect us that determines who we are. As individuals we all have the freedom to choose our own path and that is what life is all about. Along with the freedom of choice comes the responsibilty of one's actions which can make some people anxious but give others meaning to their lives. To overcome this anxiousness and accept responsibilty is to meet the challenges of life and to truly live it....   [tags: Existentialism, ]

Better Essays
675 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Life Value vs. Existentialism in Grendel

- A main theme in John Gardner’s Grendel, is the constant competition of the ideas of meaning in life versus existentialism. Throughout the novel, Grendel makes a steady spiritual decay to the point of denying any value or significance in life itself. He believes the world is nothing more than “a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears”(16). This progression starts at a young age, and through out the twelve years of Grendel’s life, he grows closer to a total commitment to this theory....   [tags: meaning, existentialism, John Gardner]

Better Essays
1307 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Existentialism Is A Defining Point Of Existentialism

- Existentialism is just one of the many philosophies that attempt to determine the meaning of life. This idea that the world is meaningless developed in Europe around the time of World War II. Many writers and authors in the forties and fifties were affected by the horrors of war and this new philosophy, namely, Albert Camus. Existentialism is greatly reflected in Camus’ time period, culture, and works such as The Stranger. To truly understand how existentialism is reflected in Camus’ time and works, it must first be defined....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus]

Better Essays
1197 words (3.4 pages)

Understanding Existentialism Essays

- Do we matter. Do we seek personal happiness in life. These are questions from existentialism. The dictionary defines existentialism as an individual’s experience filled with isolation in a hostile universe where a human being attempts to find true self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. Hamlet is an existentialist character who believes that he is forced to avenge his father’s death and the hatred builds in his heart because of the many betrayals which direct him towards a senseless life and constant thoughts about suicide; this ultimately leads to his demise and he is left with naught....   [tags: Existentialism]

Better Essays
872 words (2.5 pages)

Albert Camus and His Views on Existentialism Essay

- Albert Camus is considered one of the greatest existentialist writers of all time. However, although he was considered an existentialist writer, Camus never labeled himself as an existentialist. “No, I am not an existentialist”  (Albert Camus: Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage (1970)) Camus rejected in an 1945 interview, however in some of his literary works, some find that his writings are one of a true existentialistic thinker. Although many contrast these thoughts and believe that Camus was anything but a thinker of this philosophy, Camus is one of the main authors that people turn to research and read to understand the thinking of existentialism....   [tags: Existentialist Writer]

Better Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

Movie Existentialism Essay

- Existentialism, as defined by Luke Mastin, “...is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.”(2008). There are multiple occasions in which an individual can encounter an existentialist situation without acknowledging it. For example, choosing to go to school one day or not would be considered freedom of choice, which connects with the philosophy of existentialism. In the context of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard’s theory correlates to the movie, Before I Fall directed and adapted by Ry Russo-Young from the novel written by Lauren Oliver, due to the many movie scenes that involve an existentialist moment as exemplified through the main character in relation to K...   [tags: Existentialism, Philosophy, Søren Kierkegaard]

Better Essays
859 words (2.5 pages)

The meaning of the suffering of Meursault from the angle of existentialist crisis

- Existentialism tends to focus on the question of human existence — the feeling that there is no purpose, indeed nothing, at the core of existence. The term itself suggests one major theme: the stress on concrete individual existence and, consequently, on subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice. Sartre did not believe in God, so there was no place for the essence of humanity to be before human existence. For Existentialists like Sartre, the absence of God has a much larger significance than the metaphysics of creation....   [tags: Existentialism]

Better Essays
2072 words (5.9 pages)

Existentialism Essay

- Existentialism 'Existence precedes essence'. These are the few words that many people live by. These words describe a philosophy called Existentialism. The philosophical term, Existentialism, came from Jean Paul Sartre, a French philosopher. Jean Paul Sartre wrote 'No Exit', where he portrayed his philosophy negatively. On the other hand, Albert Camus, who wrote The Stranger, portrayed Existentialism positively through his characters. Each author uses the characteristics of Existentialism positively or negatively to define their own story as well as their characters as true Existentialists or not      Existentialism has been described as a philosophical movement especially of the 20th cent...   [tags: Philosophy Sartre Existentialist Essays]

Free Essays
1272 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Existentialism

- Existentialism Existentialism refers to the philosophical movement or tendency of the nineteenth and twentyth centuries. Because of the diversity of positions associated with existentialism, a precise definition is impossible; however, it suggests one major theme: a stress on individual existence and, consequently, on subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice {3}. Existentialism also refers to a family of philosophies devoted to an interpretation of human existence in the world that stresses its concreteness and its problematic character....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Essay on Existentialism

- God is an entity that exists everywhere in any way, shape, or form, as is the concept of a god that so many people have set in stone their beliefs; and is a false belief that can not possibly be true. Personification takes a role in the disproof of a god, signaling that God is merely a word. Also, the very definition of morals, which is a condemning factor that ‘god’ is based off of, blows the fish out of the water. So then, to a perfect being of all loving and compassionate understanding, option, or choice, refers to the many choices God has made; thus proving that to a being who has created all choices is a contradiction within itself....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Free Essays
2016 words (5.8 pages)