Existentialism

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The Socratic philosophy of Existentialism has five themes that have guided people for thousands of years. Of the five themes in Existentialism, two good positively impact people today if taken to heart: the belief that existence precedes essence, and time is of the essence.

Existence precedes essence is the belief that what you are (essence) is the direct result of your choices (existence). Some may think that this is a negative guideline because it discounts the divine. This theme is possibly the most positive and life changing of the five. The thought that who and what you are is directly based on choices that you make. It puts life in your control. For example, in the BCS Championship game, after Auburn emerged victorious coach Gene Chizik proclaimed “God was on our side tonight. War Eagle.” In the Existentialist point of view, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Auburn worked all season, recruited a monster of a quarterback, and they simply were a better team than everyone else in the nation. God had nothing to do with the win; the win was a byproduct of all the work put into the season. This is a positive way for human beings to live because it puts your life in your hands. Coach Chizik wanted to win a national championship so he recruited the players he liked, he trained them to play within the Auburn system, and they won. There was no divine intervention, it was the work Chizik and his players put in that won them the title. The theme that existence precedes essence can have a positive effect on all humans that follow it.

The second theme of Existentialism is that time is of the essence. This theme would have a positive effect on people because it would change their outlook on what to do with their lives. The Existentialists refer to time not in the sense of “clock time,” but in qualitative time. This time isn’t based on numbers, but the things that have already been experienced, those things yet to be experienced, and the present. This theme would be beneficial to follow because it would encourage us to experience those things not experienced yet, learn from the things we have experienced, and keep us grounded in the present as opposed to looking forward or back. Also, Existentialists weight each experience with a different value. The past and present carry the most weight because you can learn from your past, and you can influence your future by focusing in on the present. The second theme of the Existentialists would be very beneficial for all humans to embrace.

All in all, Existentialism would be beneficial for humans to embrace. Of the five themes, the first two (existence precedes essence and time is of the essence) would have the most positive effect on all humans. The first theme allows you to take control of your own life, and the second allows you to prioritize your time in different ways.





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