Existentialism 1

This is the first of a series of posts on Existentialism. I don’t know how many there will be because existentialism is one the most difficult concepts, I have every tried to come to grips with. I am still very early on the learning curve. I believe I understand quantum physics better.

At one time, I decided to call myself an existentialist, mainly because I thought it sounded cool. Later, I decided to find out what it really meant. What a complicated, almost unanswerable question! I may never know because from what I have been able to ascertain, there really isn’t a definitive answer, and most people who think they know the answer..don’t. Various forms of existential thought have been around since Plato. It’s not so much about a specific philosophy as a thread of thinking that is present almost everywhere.

It hasn’t always been called by the popular name, that started with Jean-Paul Sartre in the late 1930’s but the thread of existentialism has always existed and will continue forward. Instead of “I think therefore I am” it is “I Am, therefore I think”, “I am free”, “only I decide my life”. It will always be part of us, to not think so is to deny our basic existence. Everything is personal. Everything is about perspective. Our individual reality is just that… individual. It’s OK, but not necessary, to do the same as everyone else, if it is a conscious choice and not herd mentality. I march to my own drummer and nobody else can hear it.
People aren’t born with ideas in their mind. They exist first, then they acquire ideas and thoughts based on what they are exposed to, in this sense everyone starts out as an existentialist, with many being guided away by parents, teachers, peers, and mentors, who have their own personal axe to grind. We must not forget that at the core, we all have a choice at every decision point. We are all free to choose. Sometimes the choice doesn’t appear real or one course of action may be unpalatable, but the choice is still ours to make.

Next time, I will dive a little deeper into the basic premises of Existentialism.

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