Feelosofi – Existentialism is a school of philosophical thought that emerged in the 19th century and reached its peak in the 20th century. This school is based on the idea that human existence is a complex nature and full of uncertainty. Existentialism emphasizes that individuals have the freedom to make choices and take actions that will shape the meaning of their own lives. This school rejects deterministic and essentialist views of humans, which assume that there is a fixed essence or essence within humans. In contrast, existentialism views individuals as “existence before essence,” meaning that humans first exist, then they create meaning and value in their lives.
One of the famous figures of existentialism is Jean-Paul Sartre , who introduced the concept of “absolute freedom” and emphasized that humans must be responsible for all the actions and decisions they take. Existentialism also reflects the sense of confusion and anxiety that often arises in human life, because existentialism recognizes the uncertainty and feelings of helplessness inherent in the human condition.
It is important to remember that existentialism is not just a philosophical theory, but also has an impact in various areas of life, including literature, art, psychology, and religion. Literary works such as Albert Camus ‘s “Rebellion” or Jean-Paul Sartre’s plays, such as “Wait” and “Pearl of Two Black Women,” reflect the themes of existentialism in a profound way. In addition, existentialism has also influenced existential-humanistic psychology, which emphasizes the importance of meaning in life, freedom, and individual growth.
With so many contributions to human understanding of existence and the meaning of life, existentialism remains a relevant school of thought and raises deep questions about the nature of humans and their existence.
What Is The Philosophy Of Existentialism?
The philosophy of existentialism is a school of philosophical thought that emphasizes the importance of individual human existence and its role in creating the meaning of their own lives. This flow emerged in the 19th century and reached its peak in the 20th century. Existentialist thinking is rooted in the belief that humans are born without a fixed purpose or essence, and they must determine the meaning of their own lives through their choices and actions.
One of the central concepts in the philosophy of existentialism is “absolute freedom.” This means that humans have complete freedom to make choices, even when they are faced with difficult or ambivalent situations. However, this freedom also carries the burden of responsibility, as individuals must be responsible for the consequences of their actions and decisions.
Existentialism also reflects feelings of uncertainty and anxiety that often arise in human life. Figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Søren Kierkegaard discussed various aspects of existentialism in their works, including the concepts of absurdity, uncertainty, and solitude. This school has made an important contribution to humanity’s understanding of the conditions of its existence and continues to be a source of inspiration in contemporary literature, art, psychology and philosophical thought. By emphasizing the importance of individual choice and responsibility, existentialism stimulates deep reflection on the meaning of life and human nature.
Basic Understanding Of Existentialism
Existentialism is a philosophical school of thought that emphasizes the basic concept that individual human existence has unique value and meaning. At the basis of this philosophy , there is the belief that humans are born without a fixed purpose or essence, and they must determine the meaning of their own lives through the actions and decisions they take. In other words, existentialism shifts the focus from essence to existence, viewing the individual as “existence before essence.”
It is important to understand that existentialism is not just a philosophical theory, but also a view of life that invites individuals to face the reality of their existence in full. The basic concept of existentialism is absolute freedom, where humans have the freedom to make choices without any particular determinant dictating their actions. However, this freedom also carries the burden of responsibility, as individuals must be responsible for their actions and decisions, and this gives rise to feelings of anxiety and confusion.
Apart from that, existentialism also highlights the concept of absurdity, namely the realization that human life often feels absurd or without clear meaning. This can produce feelings of uncertainty and anxiety in people. Existential thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Søren Kierkegaard , have contributed thoughts in existentialism that delve deeper into feelings of solitude, freedom, and the importance of seeking meaning in the conditions of human existence. Overall, existentialism is a philosophical current that invites individuals to reflect on and take full responsibility for their own lives and choices.
Main Figures Of Existentialism
To better understand existentialism, let’s get to know several prominent figures who contributed to the development of this school.
Søren Kierkegaard is one of the main figures in the development of existentialism, and he is often considered the father of existentialism because of the great contribution he made in developing the central ideas of this school. Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher who lived in the 19th century, had a strong influence on existentialist thought through his profound work and revolutionary thinking.
One of Kierkegaard’s most important contributions to existentialism is the concept of “fear and trembling”. In his famous work of the same title, he explores this concept to describe the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety that arise when humans are faced with difficult moral choices. Kierkegaard emphasized the importance of individuals carrying out moral actions that may not be accepted by society or social norms, with full conviction and sincerity.
Kierkegaard also focused on the concept of “selfhood” ( existence ) and proposed that individuals must live authentic lives and base themselves on personal values, not just follow social norms and demands. He rejects essentialist thinking which considers humans to have a fixed essence or nature, and instead, he views human existence as a process full of uncertainty and feelings of anxiety.
Søren Kierkegaard provided a strong philosophical foundation for existentialism and influenced many subsequent existential thinkers, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus . He highlights the importance of unique individual existence, freedom, responsibility, and the meaning of life in the context of his profound philosophical debates. In this way, Kierkegaard remains respected and recognized as one of the main pillars in the history of existentialism.
Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the main figures in existentialism and is often considered one of the most influential existentialist philosophers of the 20th century. Born in 1905 in France, Sartre has played an important role in developing existentialist thought and popularizing key concepts in this school.
One of Sartre’s most important contributions to existentialism was the concept of “absolute freedom . ” He understands that humans are born with complete freedom to make choices and determine the direction of their lives. However, he also emphasized that with freedom comes responsibility, and individuals must take full responsibility for their actions and decisions. In his famous works, such as “Essays Concerning Human Understanding,” Sartre describes how individuals must seek the meaning of their own lives through the free actions they choose.
Apart from that, Sartre also introduced the concepts of “solitude” and “terrible solitude” ( bad faith ), which describe feelings of isolation and feelings of anxiety that often arise in human existence. He views that humans tend to escape from their responsibilities by disguising or pretending, which creates dishonesty towards themselves. Overall, Sartre’s works have influenced thought in a variety of scientific disciplines, including philosophy , literature, psychology, and sociology, and he remains one of the most important figures of existentialism in the history of philosophical thought.
Albert Camus is a figure of existentialism who is known for his work depicting uncertainty and absurdity in human life. He was born in Algeria in 1913 and became one of the most important writers and philosophers in the development of existentialism in the 20th century.
His most famous work, “ The Rebel ,” explores existential themes such as rebellion, freedom, and the uncertainty of meaning. Camus rejected abstract ideas and totalitarian ideologies and emphasized the importance of individuals living life authentically. He views that humans must fight injustice and tyranny, while realizing that this world may be absurd, without clear meaning.
In another of his works, “ The Stranger , ” Camus depicts a protagonist who appears indifferent to social morality, creating an atmosphere of helplessness and alienation that is often characteristic of existentialism. Albert Camus played an important role in introducing the ideas of existentialism into literature and art, and his work continues to influence philosophical, literary, and cultural thought today. He is one of the main figures in the flow of existentialism which views life as a journey full of uncertainty and absurdity, but still invites individuals to search for meaning and live life with authentic rebellion.
How Does Existentialism Affect Our Lives?
Existentialism has influenced various aspects of our lives, including philosophical thought, literature, art, psychology, and culture. Here are some ways in which existentialism has had an impact on our lives:
- Philosophical Thought : Existentialism has changed our view of existence and the meaning of life. The basic concepts of existentialism, such as freedom, responsibility, and absurdity, have influenced contemporary philosophical thought. Existentialist philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus continue to provide inspiration in discussions about ethics , freedom, and human nature.
- Literature and Art : Existentialism has had a major impact on literature and art. Literary works such as Albert Camus ‘s “Rebellion ,” Camus’s “Stranger,” and Jean-Paul Sartre’s plays depict inner conflict and human uncertainty. Artists and writers often depict existential themes in their works, which helps depict the human experience in greater depth.
- Existential-Humanistic Psychology : Existential-humanistic psychology, as developed by figures such as Rollo May and Viktor Frankl, emphasizes the importance of meaning in life, individual growth, and acceptance of the unique human existence. This approach influences the practice of psychotherapy and helps individuals to live more authentic and meaningful lives.
- Popular Culture : The concepts of existentialism often appear in popular culture. Films, music, and even advertising often depict existential dilemmas, uncertainty, and individual freedom. For example, fictional characters such as “The Matrix” stimulate existential questions about reality and choice.
- Understanding the Meaning of Life : Existentialism invites individuals to reflect on and search for the meaning of their own lives. In a world full of uncertainty, this school provides guidance for individuals to take responsibility for their decisions and live a life in accordance with personal values. Existentialism teaches that everyone has the potential to create meaning in their existence.
Overall, existentialism is not only a philosophical school, but also a view of life that has shaped our understanding of human existence, freedom and individual responsibility. The impact of existentialism can be seen in various areas of life, helping us to deepen the meaning and nature of human existence.
The conclusion of existentialism is that humans are born into a world that has no inherent meaning or fixed essence. Instead, they must create meaning and value in their own lives through choices, actions, and personal responsibility. This school emphasizes that humans have absolute freedom to make choices, but this freedom also carries a heavy burden of responsibility. Existentialism recognizes the reality of absurdity and uncertainty in life, and how humans respond to it can affect the quality of their lives.
In existentialism, loneliness and feelings of uncertainty often appear in the human journey. However, existentialism also offers the opportunity to reflect and take full responsibility for their lives. This emphasizes the importance of seeking authentic meaning in life and deciding for themselves the direction of their lives. This school also teaches that the meaning of life cannot be found outside ourselves, but must be sought within ourselves, in personal experiences and actions.
Does Existentialism Consider Life Without Meaning?
Existentialism actually does not consider life without meaning, but rather emphasizes that the meaning of life does not exist within us inherently. This means that humans have the freedom to create meaning in their lives through their own actions and choices. It triggers questions about the purpose of life and drives us to search for deeper meaning.
How Did Jean-Paul Sartre’s Thinking Influence The Philosophy Of Existentialism?
Jean-Paul Sartre’s thinking, especially the concept of “radical freedom,” greatly influenced the philosophy of existentialism. Sartre describes that humans have absolute freedom to make their own choices without any fixed moral guidelines. This concept reinforces existentialism’s ideas about personal responsibility and individual freedom.
What Is The Role Of Freedom In Existentialism?
Freedom plays a central role in existentialism. This school believes that humans have the freedom to make their own choices in their lives. However, this freedom also comes with great responsibility. Existentialism emphasizes that we are responsible for our actions and choices, and we must seek meaning in this freedom.
Why Does Albert Camus Describe Life As Absurd?
Albert Camus described life as absurd because he believed that life itself may have no intrinsic meaning. However, even though life feels absurd, humans are still responsible for finding meaning and happiness in this absurd life.
How Does Existentialism Influence Our View Of Personal Responsibility?
Existentialism greatly influences our views on personal responsibility. This school emphasizes that each individual is responsible for their actions and choices. Individual freedom gives rise to personal responsibility to create meaning in their own lives. This means we must actively take steps to live authentic and meaningful lives in accordance with the values we believe in.
- Pourquoi je ne crois pas en Dieu ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1949).
- Les Mains Sales ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1948).
- L’Homme est l’Homme ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1946).
- Rêve dans le Rêve ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1937).
- “ Le Deuxième Sexe ” by Simone de Beauvoir (1949).
- Existentialisme est un humanisme ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1946).
- Être et Temps ” by Martin Heidegger (1927).
- The Rebel ” by Albert Camus (1951).
- Being and Nothingness ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1943).
- La Nausée ” by Jean-Paul Sartre (1938).