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Existentialism . Kiley Masters Margaux Schindler Period 4 . Definition:.

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Kiley Masters

Margaux Schindler

Period 4

  • A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.
  • A philosophical movement which emphasizes individual existence, freedom, and choice
  • Is a term applied to 19th and 20th century philosophers who generally held that the focus of philosophical thought should be to deal with the conditions of existence of the individual person and their emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thought.
  • Movement had its origin in the 19th century thought of Kierkegaurd (the father of Existentialism) and Nietzche (Atheist)
    • They focused on subjective human experience rather than the objective truths of mathematics and science
  • Be that self which one truly is.- Soren Kierkegaard
the basics
The Basics:
  • Existence precedes essence
  • Man exists ad in that existence man defines himself and the world in his own subjectivity
  • Individual human beings have full responsibility for creating the meanings of their own lives
  • “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die!”
absolute individuality freedom
Absolute Individuality & Freedom
  • We are all ultimately alone
  • We have absolute freedom over our internal nature
  • The source of our value can only be internal
  • We are all our own island
  • We have no predetermined nature of essence that controls what we are, what we do, or what is valuable for us
  • Man defines reality
  • We are radically free to act independently of determination by outside influences
  • We create our own human nature through free choices
absolute individuality freedom1
Absolute Individuality & Freedom
  • We create our values through these choices
  • We are thrown into existence without predetermined nature
  • We construct our nature through our actions
  • After death there is nothing
the absurd
The Absurd
  • Views humans as subjects in an ambiguous universe
  • Meaning is not provided by the natural order, but rather be created, by human actions and interpretations
  • "I call a lie: wanting not to see something one does see, wanting not to see something as one sees it... The most common lie is the lie one tells to oneself; lying to other is relatively the exception."      ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, 1894/1990, The Anti-Christ(R. J. Hollingdale, Trans.), p. 185
  • "Therefore, it is we who are responsible for much of the evil in the world; and we are each morally required to accept rather than project that ponderous responsibility-lest we prefer instead to wallow in a perennial state of powerless, frustrated, furious, victimhood. For what one possesses the power to bring about, one has also the power to limit, Mitigate, counteract, or transmute."     ~ Stephen A. Diamond, 1996, Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic, p. 85
  • Spiritual superiority only sees the individual. But alas, ordinarily we human beings are sensual and, therefore, as soon as it is a gathering, the impression changes- we see something abstract, the crowd, and we become different. But in the eyes of God, the infinite spirit, all the millions that have lived and now live do not make a crowd, He only sees each individual. - Soren Kierkegaard,
  • "[People] cannot endure [their] own littleness unless [they] can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level."      ~ Ernest Becker, 1973, The Denial of Death, p. 196
existentialist writings
Existentialist Writings
  • Ernest Hemingway:
    • The Sun Also Rises
    • “Hills like White Elephants”
    • “A Clean Well-Lighted Place”
    • The Old Man and the Sea
  • J.D. Salinger
    • Cather in the Rye
existentialism in art
Existentialism in Art

Germaine Richier

Alberto Giacometti

explored the power to transcend the horrors of war

created fragile figures lost in wide open spaces, depicting isolation and struggle

existentialism in art1
Existentialism in Art

His work typically offers no context for its figures except for the frame and background paint, so there's a primordial feel.

is known for his theatricality, violence, and claustrophobic environments. He seems the most unforgiving and anguished of the existential artists.

Jean Fautrier

Francis Bacon