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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.
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.