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Existential & Existentialism
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★ Existential & Existentialism

Existential & Existentialism: see God & Religion & Belief & Faith & Philosophy & Cult & Humanity & Man & Existence & Heaven & Hell & Nihilism & Life After Death & Life & Life's Like That & Meaning of Life

Jean-Paul Sartre - Jack Kerouac - Sol Luckman - Sherman Alexie - Woody Allen - Ernest Becker - Stanley Kubrick - Vladimir Nabokov - Friedrich Nietzsche - Rogert Ebert - Simone de Beauvoir - Soren Kierkegaard - Kelley L Ross - Christopher Hitchens - Bill Watterson - Charles Bukowski - Lawrence M Krauss - Irvine Welsh -       

 

 

63,410.  The existentialist says at once that man is anguish.  (Anguish & Existentialism)  Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

71,779.  Existentialism isn’t so aesthetic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn’t exist.  Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing.  Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

71,780.  Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism.  Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

71,789.  What is meant here by saying that existence precedes essence?  It means first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself.  If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing.  Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be.  Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

71,781.  John Clellon Holmes and I were sitting around trying to think up the meaning of the Lost Generation and the subsequent Existentialism and I said, ‘You know, this is really a beat generation.’  And he leapt up and said, ‘That’s it, that’s right!’  (Existentialism & Beat Generation)  Jack Kerouac, interview Playboy

 

 

71,782.  We meandered through Billy’s ritzy neighborhood in the general direction of Jefferson Street.  In the lamplight the houses looked identical, grand façade after grand façade of pale gray with black windows, as if for all their monumentality they were nothing but wallpaper, black-and-white prints, two-dimensional murals similar in their deceptive insubstantiality to the gossamer buildings of New Age City.  I was struck by the idea that Billy and I, to the extent we existed only in our imaginations, were just as shallow, just as superficial – and equally susceptible to being erased without a trace.  Sol Luckman, The Toy Buddha: Book II of Beginner’s Luke Series pp29-30

 

71,783.  I felt exceedingly small, but also exceedingly large, and the things that had once seemed so important now appeared trifling.  Actually, those things had never even existed.  I’d imagined every last one of them. Nothing ever really existed.  Somehow, just then, navigating that cosmic ocean of sky, this was everything I needed to know.  ibid.  p15

 

 

71,784.  Unlike landed white men, she didn’t need to climb mountains to experience mystic panic.  All she needed was to set her alarm dock for the next morning, wake when it rang, and go to class.  Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians

 

 

71,785.  I took a test in Existentialism.  I left all the answers blank and got 100.  Woody Allen 

 

 

71,786.  Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level.  Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death  

 

 

71,787.  If man merely sat back and thought about his impending termination, and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad, or succumb to a numbing sense of futility.  Why, he might ask himself, should he bother to write a great symphony, or strive to make a living, or even to love another, when he is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space?  Those of us who are forced by their own sensibilities to view their lives in this perspective – who recognize that there is no purpose they can comprehend and that amidst a countless myriad of stars their existence goes unknown and unchronicled – can fall prey all too easily to the ultimate anomie.  The world's religions, for all their parochialism, did supply a kind of consolation for this great ache.  Stanley Kubrick

 

 

71,788.  For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me.  With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increases.  Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply.  I alone do not exist.  Vladimir Nabokov

 

 

71,790.  No one is accountable for existing at all, or for being constituted as he is, or for living in the circumstances and surroundings in which he lives.  The fatality of his nature cannot be disentangled from the fatality of all that which has been and will be.  He is not the result of a special design, a will, a purpose; he is not the subject of an attempt to attain an ‘ideal of man’ or an ‘ideal of happiness’ or an ‘ideal of morality’ – it is absurd to want to hand over his nature to some purpose or other.  We invented the concept ‘purpose’: in reality purpose is lacking ... One is necessary, one is a piece of fate, one belongs to the whole, one is in the whole – there exists nothing which could judge, measure, compare, condemn our being, for that would be to judge, measure, condemn the whole.  Friedrich Nietzsche  

 

 

71,791.  There’s nothing like impending death to rouse you from existential boredom.  Roger Ebert 

 

 

71,792.  From the very beginning, existentialism defined itself as a philosophy of ambiguity.  It was by affirming the irreducible character of ambiguity that Kierkegaard opposed himself to Hegel, and it is by ambiguity that, in our own generation, Sartre, in Being and Nothingness, fundamentally defined man, that being whose being is not to be, that subjectivity which realizes itself only as a presence in the world, that engaged freedom, that surging of the for-oneself which is immediately given for others.  But it is also claimed that existentialism is a philosophy of the absurd and of despair.  It encloses man in a sterile anguish, in an empty subjectivity.  It is incapable of furnishing him with any principle for making choices.  Let him do as he pleases.  In any case, the game is lost.  Does not Sartre declare, in effect, that man is a ‘useless passion’, that he tries in vain to realize the synthesis of the for-oneself and the in-oneself, to make himself God?  It is true.  But it is also true that the most optimistic ethics have all begun by emphasizing the element of failure involved in the condition of man; without failure, no ethics; for a being who, from the very start, would be an exact co-incidence with himself, in a perfect plenitude, the notion of having-to-be would have no meaning.  Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity I: Ambiguity and Freedom 1947

 

 

71,793.  I am well aware that as a human being I am very far from being a paradigm; if anything, I am a sample human being.  With a fair degree of accuracy, I give the temperature of every mood and passion, and when I am generating my own inwardness, I understand these words: homo sum, nil humani a me alienum puto [I am a human being, I hold that nothing human is alien to me].  But humanly no one can model himself on me, and historically I am even less a prototype for any human being.  If anything, I am someone who could be needed in a crisis, as a guinea pig that life uses to feel its way.  A person half as reflective as I would be able to be of significance for many people, but precisely because I am altogether reflective I have none at all.  As soon as I am outside my religious understanding, I feel as an insect with which children are playing must feel, because life seems to have dealt with me so unmercifully; as soon as I am inside my religious understanding, I understand that precisely this has absolute meaning for me.  Hence, that which in one case is a dreadful jest is in another sense the most profound earnestness.  Earnestness is basically not something simple, a simplex, but is a compositum [compound], for true earnestness is the unity of jest and earnestness.  Soren Kierkegaard Stages on Life's Way 1845

 

 

71,794.  A great deal has been written about Existentialism in recent years, but this work of Dr Kingston’s seems to me to occupy a unique and important place, and this for two reasons.  First, in my opinion he seems to raise those questions about the Existentialist movement which most immediately spring to the mind of any intelligent Christian who finds himself confronted with it.  Is the movement a reaction against Christian orthodoxy as such, or is it an attempt to recover certain Christian insights which Christians themselves have largely forgotten?  If it is the former, how are we to explain the Christian existentialists, such as Kierkegaard and Marcel?  If it is the latter, how are we to explain the atheist and antitheist existentialists, such as Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir?  Is it possible, in view of their radical opposition to consider Christian and atheist existentialism of the same genus?  Or is it only by a misleading and equivocal use of words that the same label – existentialism – has been made to apply to both?  And, granted that there can be a Christian existentialism, is it essentially Protestant or is there a genuinely Catholic type which can appeal to authentic, if perhaps partly forgotten, principles of traditional, and even Thomist, theology and philosophy?  Soren Kierkegaard

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