What is Existentialism?
Existentialism is a philosophy of the 19th and 20th century. The philosophy concentrates on the study of human existence. It tries to understand how humans realize their existence in this world. Existentialism believes in the idea that humans initially exist and everyone run through series of self-exploration to change their nature in accordance with their own choices.
Existentialism is all about an individual’s way of finding his true meaning of life. The philosophy explains that each individual has their own way of finding and choosing their own path in life. Moreover, each individual’s search for life’s meaning is achieved through his or her own choice, free will and self-responsibility.
The philosophy deals in how people find the real purpose of their existence. Every person has his own unique understanding on his or her purpose in life. This purpose is found through a person’s own life experiences, personal beliefs and own personal point of view. Each individual’s outlook and choices in life is distinctive to others personal beliefs. People who believe in existentialism have faith in their own personal choice and responsibilities regardless of traditions, ethnic rules or any laws.
The philosophy of Existentialism is a broad concept. Hence, it is identified in various ways and that means there is no single and definite answer when asked about what it really is. However, several things are definite about Existentialism. The philosophy does not believe in the following ideas:
Making a good life is not about wealth, honor, and pleasure
Individuals are controlled by social structures and values
Individuals accept what they get in life and they think that is enough
Individuals believe that things are made better by science
People are transformed by external forces and not by their own choice
Existentialism is based on an individual’s freedom of choice although it is made up of a variety of religious, political and philosophical ideologies. This is why there is no definite or universal conformity in a subjective set of beliefs and ideals. Even politics show discrepancies. However, politics try to find the majority of individual freedom inside a society.
Existentialism made a great impact on the society. The Great Depression and World War II (WWII) dug a deep feeling of despair to the people. As a way to cope up with desperation, philosophers found a new way of thinking. Existentialism was born introducing a different way of reasoning and thinking. Existentialists believe in the freedom of choice ‘“ a freedom to select his or her personal way of lifestyle and moral beliefs.
As mentioned earlier, existentialism came out of various philosophical, political and religious ideologies, and so are its proponents. Great existentialists have their own individual ideologies such as agnostic relativist, amoral atheist or religious moralist. Among these great existentialists are Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus. They are the most popular existentialists and their works and literatures greatly influenced many followers. However, it is Sartre, who brought Existentialism to international popularity in the 20th century. Up until present, there are still many following the philosophy of Existentialism.