Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Is Existentialism Positive?

       Continuing from last night's post on environment versus happiness, one is compelled to explore the most important question in existentialism—is existential inherently positive? Individuals have the power to assign meaning to our experiences. We decide whether to overcome and be happy or suffer under the circumstances. Is this freedom of choice a positive thing?
       It depends n who you ask. Simone de Beauvior thought the choice was empowering because you can do whatever you want. Jean Paul Sartre felt the freedom of choice I overwhelming. The conflict lies within the results of your choice. The outcome of making a choice is not guaranteed to make you happy. But how you react to it is still you choice. Choice is not inherently negative.
     I tend to lean more towards Sartre's point of view. What is the value of rational choice in an irrational world? I do not buy into the idea that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. There are inescapable circumstances in which suffering is inevitable and it can be nearly impossible to find meaning in those circumstances. You do not really have the power to master the entirety of your fate, so you cannot understand the meaning behind your fate, either. In many ways, it seems reasonable to embrace the absurdity rather than search for a reason. Of course, the decision to do so is still a choice. As we established earlier, choice is a positive thing.
      As I wrote last night, it is easier to examine these questions from a position of comfort. Most people do not explore the issue until their lives begin falling apart. Why would one question the meaning of hi own existence when things are going well? It is only a feeling of emptiness that demands to be filled.
       Well, I just made the issue clear as mud. To the existent you an choose your own fate is a good thing. The extent to which you can find meaning in your fate is alto a good thing. Circumstances can sometimes be so overwhelming, the only meaning you can assign is no meaning, and that is depressing. Then again, you did have the freedom to make that choice. I guess that can be considered a small consolation. In philosophy, they say the questions are more important that the answers. You can choose to believe that as well.

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