September 17, 2020
Today’s topic was not an easy choice, but it was a choice nonetheless. Existentialism is a philosophy dear to my heart as it was an entry point to other philosophical concepts, and continues to be a great source of personal grounding. It’s such a big concept in itself that I didn’t know exactly how or what to write about it. I laughed at myself when I remembered Existentialist Soren Kierkegaard’s idea that “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom” – there are so many possibilities! I did feel anxious in my not-knowing state, thinking of all the directions this could go, when I remembered another existential concept: making choices.
Jean-Paul Sartre is a famous Existential contributor, and some consider him to be one of the original self-help gurus. He is known for saying that humans live in anguish, not because life is awful, but because we are “condemned to be free.” We are born, become self-aware, and have to make choices. He also points out that not making a choice…is a choice.
In the Existentialist perspective, life is absurd and the world cannot give a person meaning, definition, or purpose. Meaning is an internal, highly individual process that comes from the choices we make. We are the way we choose to be. Embedded in making a choice is taking full responsibility for it, no matter what. To accept responsibility that comes with decisions, actions, and beliefs (freedom) allows a person to live authentically. To deny the responsibility is to live in deception. Things happen in life, that’s how it goes. You have the power to choose how you feel, what you think, and what you do.
How does this concept make you feel? Scratch that -- How are you choosing to feel about this concept?