The Irrationality of Existence Essay

The Irrationality of Existence Essay

Length: 1693 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

One of the most fascinating traits of humanity is the tendency to reflect and to create art on the basis of that reflection. In the days before writing, cave paintings and the oral tradition of storytelling demonstrated ways that people expressed their feelings – taking the time after winning, even if only briefly, the struggle against the demands of subsistence to leave a product behind, for posterity. Even the earliest recorded examples of literature, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, poignantly express the struggles that humanity faced when dealing with such abstractions like mortality and grief. The most recent bestseller books published last week may have cooler cover art and use figurative language more intricately than that ancient poem. But the anger and grief that Gilgamesh felt after a snake ate the plant of immortality was much greater and powerful. It was the plant he found after a long and bloody journey. Because of one careless moment when he stopped to take a quick dip in a pool, he lost it to the snake. The absurdity of life comes into high relief at this moment, and while the writings of Samuel Beckett, Joseph Heller and Sylvia Plath are just some of the many that express the same theme, none will be displayed more vividly than. Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Michael Seigneur de Montaigne’s Of Experience also mirror the irrationality of existence. These books suggest that what is important in life, and what gives life meaning is much more than what we are able to accumulate and acquire during our time on the planet; it is how we respond to what Hamlet would term the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Shakespeare).
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio was written in the 1350’s...

... middle of paper ... Throughout European history, such movements as the Age of Reason and the Romantic Era represented different schools of thought as the way to find happiness and contentment in life. Boccaccio, Shelley, and Montaigne are just three of the many writers who have taken on this idea as a theme. Ironically, there may be as many answers to the question of finding the significance of life as the number of people trying to answer it.

Works Cited
Boccaccio, Giovanni, and George H. MacWilliam. The Decameron. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 2003. Print.
Montaigne, Michel De. "Of Experience." Essays By Michel De Montaigne: 633-88. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Web. Retrieved 4 December 2011 from
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Joseph Pearce. Frankenstein. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2008. Print.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about Human Existence and Human Suffering

- All throughout our history, we humans have constantly evolved and developed to an extent where we can give an account to the world we live in. From Epicurus to Thomas Aquinas, from Aristotle -who taught one of the greatest kings namely Alexander the Great- to Sartre and Camus were all for the search of why we are on this planet. What drives us to live or perhaps to die, even if it is by one’s own hand. When arguing about the meaning of life, one has to take into account that every doctrine, thesis, antithesis, thought and emotion can only be explained and defined through the human perspective....   [tags: Human Existence]

Powerful Essays
1904 words (5.4 pages)

Functional Irrationality Essay

- Functional Irrationality (1) I. Introduction The view that some forms of irrationality may serve a useful purpose is being increasingly entertained, despite the disquiet it elicits. The reason for the disquiet isn't difficult to discern, for if the view were made good it might threaten the unqualified normative primacy that rationality enjoys in the evaluation of thoughts, beliefs, intentions, decisions and actions. In terms of the predominant "rational explanation" model, reasons both generate and justify actions, and carrying out the dictates of reason is held up as an ideal....   [tags: Psychology Psychological Essays]

Powerful Essays
2961 words (8.5 pages)

Essay on The Fountainhead: The Irrationality of Reason

- Reason is the opportune quintessence of logic. Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead” explores the assets and disadvantages of employing reason as a weapon of persuasion. The protagonist of the novel, Howard Roark, is reason. He symbolizes, epitomizes, and embodies living logic. Assuming individualism, he achieves complex thought processes, simultaneously exploring the theme of the novel—society’s manipulation of individualism. As reason, Roark is faced with constant opposition—every semblance of his person is shunned, negated, and trampled solely for the presumption of his potential threat....   [tags: Literature]

Powerful Essays
862 words (2.5 pages)

How Genuine is the Paradox of Irrationality? Essay examples

- How Genuine is the Paradox of Irrationality. ABSTRACT: In light of interpreting a paradox of irrationality, vaguely expressed by Donald Davidson in the context of explaining weakness of will, I attempt to show that it contains a significant thesis regarding the cognitive as well as motivational basis of our normative practice. First, an irrational act must involve both a rational element and a non-rational element at its core. Second, irrationality entails free and intentional violation of fundamental norms which the agent deems right or necessary....   [tags: Davidson Paradoxes Irrational Essays]

Free Essays
3782 words (10.8 pages)

Reason and Irrationality in King Lear Essay

- Reason and Irrationality in King Lear In King Lear, Shakespeare deals with the issue of reason and irrationality namely by contrasting the Machiavellian tactics of Goneril, Regan, and Edmund with the love Edgar, Gloster, Lear, and Cordelia experience. In doing so, he makes a very profound statement about the nature of human existence—he condemns reason and natural order while promoting the most nonsensical thing in the world: human love. From the text, I ascertain that Shakespeare believes that all anybody needs to survive in the unjust world is love....   [tags: William Shakespeare Love Essays]

Free Essays
1552 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Shakespeare’s Macbeth

-   Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment explore the psychological depths of man. These two works examine tragedy as represented through the existential beliefs of many philosophers. Existentialist theory expresses the idea that man can satisfy his own needs, regardless of social codes, if he has the energy and ambition to act. Both Macbeth and Raskolnikov have the ambition to act, but each struggles internally with their actions, frightened of the consequences. Although these works examine the tragedy and remorse of Macbeth and Raskolnikov, the idea of a driving force within each character remains evident....   [tags: Exploring Irrationality]

Powerful Essays
1397 words (4 pages)

How Is the Conflict between Rationality and Irrationality Developed in "Death in Venice?"

- The purpose of this essay is to examine the conflict between rationality and irrationality in Death in Venice and to assess how this conflict is developed and possibly resolved. This conflict is fought and described throughout the short story with reference to ancient Greek gods, predominately Apollo and Dionysus and through the philosopher and philosophy of Plato. Through contemporary influences such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Mann further reflects on these ancient sources through a modern prism and this he does in this tale of life and death of the protagonist Aschenbach....   [tags: European Literature]

Powerful Essays
1997 words (5.7 pages)

Essay about The Theory Of The Existence Of God

- The limits of an individual’s thoughts are typically signals of what is possible, and an individual’s thoughts do not usually create or influence existence, but rather divulge reality. In Meditation three, Descartes presents a seemingly sound argument over which the existence of God cannot be debated. He presents his argument through a multiple step proof where each step builds on the previous, and leads to the final conclusion of God’s existence. This cosmological argument subsequently provided a framework for many philosophers to build off of providing ancillary accompaniments of the proof, while simultaneously opening the door for many philosophers to provide objection of a variety of ass...   [tags: Ontology, Metaphysics, Omnipotence, Existence]

Powerful Essays
1558 words (4.5 pages)

Notes On Existence Of God Essay

- PID : 720528846 PHIL 101 PAPER 2 Existence of God Descartes often referred to as the “Father of Modern Philosophy” acquired his status by methods of reasoning to attain knowledge through one of his most influential philosophical writings Meditations on First Philosophy. One of the most pronounced and skeptical pieces from the mediations is Meditation III: “Of God: that He exist” where he tries to prove the existence of God, and his existence through God. I will be examining Descartes’ proof through its premises and conclusion as well as explain my reasoning for agreeing with the argument on the existence of God....   [tags: Ontology, Existence, Metaphysics, Truth]

Powerful Essays
805 words (2.3 pages)

Paley's Argument for God's Existence Essay

- Since the beginning of time, society has been plagued by questions stemming past the grasp of human understanding. In attempt to explain such bewilderment, mankind formed a principle belief regarding their presence as the workings of a more capable being, God. As time has progressed, distinguished and scholarly members of society have come forward with ideas regarding some distinct understanding into the complex subject that is god. To this day, students are taught theories that have managed to stand the test of time and interpretation, theories that are highly respected by the top scholars of this century....   [tags: Earthly Inferences, Human Existence]

Powerful Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)