Thursday, 2 August 2007

Am I an Existentialist? YES!

Still getting the hang of this blog. Not sure yet exactly what I want to achieve with it. Mind you, I don't think anyone is reading it (apart from docMike - thanks Mike!) so I am probably agonising unnecessarily!

So many things to say. So many things I don't know yet. Like, I know I'm an atheist and I am pretty sure I qualify as an existentialist but I haven't read any Kierkegaard and precious little Sartre so can I still call myself one?

Clearly, I think the answer is yes and in fact I had that certainty confirmed in a book I'm reading at the moment - What Do Existentialists Believe? by Richard Appignanesi (published by Granta - http://www.granta.com/shop/product?product_id=3000 ) and he stresses the fact that existentialism is not one coherent, uniform movement.

He calls it "the dissident oddity without a figurehead or idea to authorize it but only the common situation of 'existence'." He goes on to say "What matters is not the name but the quest which motivates all existentialists. Existentialists ask us to linger meditatively on the sense of that word being. What does it mean to be?"

Existentialists are not looking for answers to the meaning of life because they know that there isn't one. We are what we do. Existence is all. The trick is in finding some way of coming to terms with that. And that is what existentialists, in my opinion, do.

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