The Common Man’s Meaning
Existentialism is a term that was coined specifically by Jean-Paul Sartre in regards to his own life. Sartre had adopted the Atheistic approach to life and its meaning, and while he was not the first or only one to do so, was the first and only one to come up with a way to describe it. Under Existentialism, man lives without higher power or guidance and must rely solely on himself and what he is aiming to do in order to lead a fulfilling life. This can be anything. Critics of Sartre propose that, because such a vast array of options exists within the meaningfulness of life, this philosophy is obsolete and trivial in nature. This is not true, as it is seen in everyday examples – celebrities, namely – that a thirst for life can be quenched successfully in a broad sense. When speculated upon by an Atheist, the works of Sartre are completely valid as they describe the free man’s approach to piloting his own choice and meaning in life.
Under an Atheistic perspective, one can assume that there exists no higher power, and therefore, no commands from said higher power. This allows freedom for man, especially when it comes to creating meaning from the surrounding objects in life. With man, existence precedes essence in the way that freedom precedes choice. This is existentialism in a nutshell. It is man’s choice whether or not to develop a meaningful life, whether it be by way of political affiliation, community devotion, family devotion, or
otherwise. There are no pre-existing commands present, and therefore desired meaningful activities ca be pursued. Yes, this does mean that anything can be meaningful, and yes, this raises objections to Sartre’s philosophy. Surely not everything can be meaningful, correct?...
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...e to take it. You cannot rely on a system that is not in place.
While oppositions exist in regards to any philosophy, the claim that Sartre’s ideas suggest futility is simply a blind statement used when only one variant of meaning is assumed in life. Man is able to – and often time must – create his own meaning for sanity and survival, and this meaning may be as profound or simple as he so desires. No universal theory on meaning can be placed on the entire population, especially when each individual is free and unique within his own existence. Subjectivism does not oppose Existentialism, but rather enhance its chance at success as it creates a system in which man can subjectively view his own destiny. This is itself is enough to validate Existentialism and remove any criticism – religious or otherwise – in regards to Sartre’s philosophical ideology.
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