2Developed throughout the nineteenth (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche) and twentieth (Jean Paul Sartre) centuriesFamous existential novelists: Dostoevsky, Kafka, Camus
3Main ideasthe individual has the sole responsibility for finding meaning in lifeDespite absurdity, alienation and boredom, one must live life with passion and sincerityKierkegaard: “Any life-view with a condition outside it is despair."
4For example…If a dancer loses their leg in an accident, their despair is overwhelming unless they realize that their existence and reason for being was never dependent on their identity as a dancer. Once this crisis is resolved, they can continue life without despairing.It is possible to “despair without despairing”Their identification as a dancer was not true “reality”
5Albert Camus Developed the concept of “the absurd” much of our life is built on the hope for tomorrow yet tomorrow brings us closer to death and is the ultimate enemy;people live as if they didn't know about the certainty of death; once stripped of its common romanticisms, the world is a foreign, strange and inhuman place;true knowledge is impossible and rationality and science cannot explain the world: their stories ultimately end in meaningless abstractions, in metaphors. "From the moment absurdity is recognized, it becomes a passion, the most harrowing of all."The Myth of Sysiphus, condemned to ceaselessly roll a rock up a hill, only to have it roll down to the bottom.The importance of persisting through the absurd
6Camus did not want to be called an existentialist “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked. We have even thought of publishing a short statement in which the undersigned declare that they have nothing in common with each other and refuse to be held responsible for the debts they might respectively incur. It’s a joke actually. Sartre and I published our books without exception before we had ever met. When we did get to know each other, it was to realise how much we differed. Sartre is an existentialist, and the only book of ideas that I have published, The Myth of Sisyphus, was directed against the so-called existentialist philosophers.” From An interview with Jeanine Delpech, in Les Nouvelles Littéraires, (1945). Cited in Albert Camus: Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage (1970)s rejected the idea that he was an absurdist and an existentialist.
7“This word “Absurd” has had an unhappy history and I confess that now it rather annoys me. When I analyzed the feeling of the Absurd in The Myth of Sisyphus, I was looking was looking for a method and not a doctrine. I was practicing methodical doubt. I was trying to make a “tabula rasa,” on the basis of which it would then be possible to construct something. If we assume that nothing has any meaning, then we must conclude that the world is absurd. But does nothing have any meaning? I have never believed we could remain at this point.” From An interview with Gabriel d’Aubarède, in Les Nouvelles Littéraires, (1951). Cited in Albert Camus: Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage (1970)
9The Stranger Meursault is an anti-hero His only redeeming quality is his honesty, no matter how absurd.Meursault does not believe in G-d, but he cannot lie. This inability to falsify empathy condemns him in the eyes of others.While Meursault is executed for killing an Arab, he is hated for not expressing deep emotion when his mother dies. Meursault has faith in nothing except that which he experiences and senses.He is not a philosopher, a theologist, or a thinker. Meursault exists as he is, not trying to be anything more than himself.
10Movies with existential themes/plots The Quiet EarthEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestThe Truman ShowBeing John MalkovichAmerican BeautyThe MatrixMementoCitizen KaneGroundhog Day
11Existential music lyrics The DoorsPink FloydNine Inch Nails
12Existentialist novels Fight Club, PalahniukJourney to the End of the Night, CelineMan’s Fate, MalrauxSteppenwolf, HesseThe Woman in the Dunes, AbeNausea, Sartre“I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating.”The Trial, KafkaInvisible Man, EllisonNotes from the Underground, DostoevskyThe Stranger, Camus