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Existentialism

By , Austin, TX
If I say existentialism, most people don't understand what that means.

The main word in existentialism is the word "exist".

Existentialism states that we exist. Interpret that however you want to.

It also states that truth is a contradiction because there is no such thing as truth. When I say truth, I mean what YOU see as morally "right" or "wrong".

There is no such thing as universal truth because truth is a matter of perspective. For example, I don't see gayness as wrong. But some people do. Therefore our truths are different and our truths are contradictory.

Existentialism also states that life is absurd.

But mainly, Existentialism states that NOTHING MATTERS.

We're all going to die. Humankind will eventually die out. We as individuals don't matter. Humankind doesn't matter.

There was an article written by a man named Albert Camus called "The Myth of Sisyphus." In case you don't know, Sisyphus was a man in Greek mythology that was condemned to rolling a boulder up a hill for all of eternity, only to have it tumble to the bottom of the hill the moment it reached the top.

Sound depressing?

Well, how different are we from Sisyphus? We are constantly rolling our own "boulders" up our own "hills".

The article goes on to say that Sisypus is the happiest when he reaches the top of the hill. When he finds that fleeting feeling of accomplishment.

Sisyphus is doomed to a lifetime of this. And so are we. But Sisyphus is happy. And we can be happy too.

Life is absurd and pointless. If any of us were logical, we would all commit suicide. Why live a life that has no point, right?

It might be depressing to think that nothing you accomplish will matter. It's depressing to think that none of your experiences will matter. It might be depressing to think that nothing matters.

But with this comes freedom. We don't have to worry, because nothing matters. We can be whoever we want to be, and we can find our happiness and truth in whichever way we choose.

Just because you are existential doesn't mean you can't still be Christian or Jewish or Atheist. If you find your happiness in God, then fine. If you find your happiness in music or art, then fine. You just have to be aware that your truth is different than anybody else's.

In Albert Camus's book "The Stranger", the main character (Meursault) has a mother who dies. He isn't sad at all that she's dead, and everybody thinks he's a terrible person because of it.

But he states that crying for his mother would be wrong, because she was happy. She was happy with her life and was willing to face death. Because near the end of her life, she was able to face death and she was set free. She realized that she didn't have to roll the boulder up the hill any longer. She had found happiness.





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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

gaga-fan28 said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm
 Way good article! Explained very well. Keep it up!
 
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 11:40 am
That concept IS depressing.  My truth is different than everybody else's - but although I'm aware that other believe differently, I can't say that they believe the truth.  If I believe in one thing, and others believe in something else, how they both be right?
 
septemberstarz replied...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

well, I didn't say you had to believe in this concept, I just thought it was interesting, I mean, I don't think I believe in it either. But what Existentialism says is that nothing is "right" so therfore everything is. What you believe doesn't matter in the long run. The only person you can truly control is yourself, so if you follow your truth, you'll be happy.

 

Yeah, I know it's depressing. It's just an idea, but you have to know the other side of the argument before you... (more »)

 
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 9:07 am
I get the other side of the argument.  I just don't see how that could possibly be.  There's no right?  It's like the guy who said, "There's no right or wrong."  So the other guy looked down out the window and said, "So you don't care that somebody is stealing your car?"  And the guy had no answer.  (that was paraphrased, I don't know that actual convo)  I do know that I can only control myself.  I can't control anyone else's choices, only my own.  An... (more »)
 
septemberstarz replied...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

okay... let me rephrase this. Right and wrong are defined by perspective. Because what I think is right may be different than what you think is right. In the way I'm using the word "right" I mean morality. My morals are different. Moral=right=truth in this situation.

If somebody stole my car, I would think it's wrong. But maybe the guy stealing it wouldn't. That makes our truths different, and therefore, according to existentialism, the whole concept of truth is contradictory.

 
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Ah huh.  Well then, I still think that existentialism is depressing, because there's enough false truth out there and we don't need anymore of it.  Anyway...it was an interesting article, so there.  :)
 
septemberstarz replied...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm
Okay, thanks! :)
 
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