Presentation on theme: "MEDICAL WARNING: EXISTENTIALISM DEALS WITH INTENSE THEOLOGICAL (“RELIGIOUS STUDY”) AND ONTOLOGICAL (“STUDY OF BEING”) AS WELL AS EPISTEMOLOGICAL (“STUDY."— Presentation transcript:
MEDICAL WARNING: EXISTENTIALISM DEALS WITH INTENSE THEOLOGICAL (“RELIGIOUS STUDY”) AND ONTOLOGICAL (“STUDY OF BEING”) AS WELL AS EPISTEMOLOGICAL (“STUDY OF KNOWLEDGE”) ISSUES. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR LEARNING THE TENETS OF EXISTENTIALISM; YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOVE THEM OR EVEN LIKE IT ALL THAT MUCH. EXISTENTIALISM CAN BE A WEE BIT DEPRESSING IF VIEWED IN A “LIFE-IS-MEANINGLESS, GLASS-HALF-EMPTY” LIGHT. TAKE HEART!
ANDREW WYETH Christina’s World (1948) A complex philosophy emphasizing the absurdity of reality and the human responsibility to make choices and accept consequences!
GEORGIO DE CHIRICO Love Song It was during the Second World War, when Europe found itself in a crisis faced with death and destruction, that the existential movement began to flourish, popularized in France in the 1940s…
MARK ROTHKO Untitled (1968) Big Ideas of Existentialism Despite encompassing a huge range of philosophical, religious, and political ideologies, the underlying concepts of existentialism are simple…
Existence Precedes Essence Cogito ergo sum. Existentialism is the title of the set of philosophical ideals that emphasize the existence of the human being, the lack of meaning and purpose in life, and the solitude of human existence… “Existence precedes essence” implies that the human being has no essence (no essential self).
Absurdism The belief nothing can explain or rationalize human existence. There is no answer to “Why am I?” Humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and any search for order will bring them into direct conflict with this universe.
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” “It was previously a question of finding out whether or not life had to have a meaning to be lived. It now becomes clear, on the contrary, that it will be lived all the better if it has no meaning.”
Choice and Commitment Humans have freedom to choose Each individual makes choices that create his or her own nature Because we choose, we must accept risk and responsibility for wherever our commitments take us “A human being is absolutely free and absolutely responsible. Anguish is the result.” –Jean-Paul Sartre
Dread is a feeling of general apprehension. Kierkegaard interpreted it as God’s way of calling each individual to make a commitment to a personally valid way of life. Anxiety stems from our understanding and recognition of the total freedom of choice that confronts us every moment, and the individual’s confrontation with nothingness.
EDVARD MUNCH Night in Saint Cloud (1890) Nothingness and Death
Death hangs over all of us. Our awareness of it can bring freedom or anguish. I am my own existence. Nothing structures my world. “Nothingness is our inherent lack of self. We are in constant pursuit of a self. Nothingness is the creative well-spring from which all human possibilities can be realized.” –Jean-Paul Sartre Nothingness and Death
All existentialists are concerned with the study of being or ontology. TO REVIEW: An existentialist believes that a person’s life is nothing but the sum of the life he has shaped for himself. At every moment it is always his own free will choosing how to act. He is responsible for his actions, which limit future actions. Thus, he must create a morality in the absence of any known predetermined absolute values. God does not figure into the equation, because even if God does exist, He does not reveal to men the meaning of their lives. Honesty with oneself is the most important value. Every decision must be weighed in light of all the consequences of that action… Life is absurd, but we engage it!
Human Subjectivity “I will be what I choose to be…” It is impossible to transcend human subjectivity. “There are no true connections between people…” My emotions are yet another choice I make. I am responsible for them.
GEORGIA O’KEEFFE Sky Above White Clouds I (1962) Human existence cannot be captured by reason or objectivity –– it must include passion, emotion and the subjective… Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being. –Simone de Beauvoir
Bad Faith when individuals negate their true nature in an attempt to become a self they are not. when individuals negate their true nature in an attempt to become a self they are not. The classic example is Sartre's waiter who is always just slightly too friendly, too helpful, too willing to play the part of a waiter rather than being the less friendly, helpful and waiter-like self he would be if he were not assuming the identity of "waiter." The classic example is Sartre's waiter who is always just slightly too friendly, too helpful, too willing to play the part of a waiter rather than being the less friendly, helpful and waiter-like self he would be if he were not assuming the identity of "waiter." In assuming the role of "waiter," Sartre's character has negated himself by denying his authentic ego with all its characteristics not becoming of a waiter. In assuming the role of "waiter," Sartre's character has negated himself by denying his authentic ego with all its characteristics not becoming of a waiter.
Bad Faith … In social situations we play a part that is not ourselves. If we passively become that part, we are thereby avoiding the important decisions and choices by which personality should be formed In social situations we play a part that is not ourselves. If we passively become that part, we are thereby avoiding the important decisions and choices by which personality should be formed
One of the most important implications of bad faith is the abolition of traditional ethics and morality. Because being a moral person requires one to deny authentic impulses and change one's actions based on the will of a person other than oneself, being a moral person is one of the most severe forms of bad faith.
Some Famous Existentialists Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Jean-Paul Sartre (1905- 1980) Albert Camus (1913- 1960) “A woman is not born…she is created.” de Beauvoir’s most famous text is The Second Sex (1949), which some claim is the basis for current gender studies…
L’Étranger (The Stranger or The Outsider) Written by Albert Camus in 1942 (who did not sail the ocean blue)
Albert Camus dissociated himself from the existentialists but acknowledged man’s lonely condition in the universe. His “man of the absurd” (or absurd hero) rejects despair and commits himself to the anguish and responsibility of living as best he can. Basically, man creates himself through the choices he makes. There are no guides for these choices, but he has to make them anyway, which renders life absurd…
Camus’ absurd world The world of values is never predictable nor controllable. A gap exists between man’s intellectual constructs (meaning) and the universe (reality). He cannot justify new values by appeal to convention. “Americans have always valued free speech.”
EDGAR DEGAS “L’absinthe” (1876) Alienation or Estrangement From all other humans From human institutions From the past From the future We only exist right now, right here…
EXISTENTIALISM Is it more important what you intend to be or think you are or is it what you do. In other words, you think of yourself as honest and yet you cheated on the last quiz (and justified it somehow)? Are you the sum of your actions or your intent? If you have bad thoughts about hurting kittens, are you a bad person? Before you thought about who you were, were you you? I think, therefore, I am. --Rene Descartes Good intentions pave the road to hell. --Fortune Cookie