Essay about Existentialism

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Existentialism


Existentialism is a philosophical movement that stresses individual existence. Human beings are totally free and responsible for their own acts. Another main idea of existentialism is the limitation of reason and the irreducibility of experience to any system. Man is not a detached observer of the world; rather, he "exists" in a special sense - he is "in the world." Stones, trees, and other objects do not share this existence, and man is open to the world and the objects in it. There is no set limit to how many choices man must make, and no particular set of rules or values one must follow. Rather, there is simply a framework in which action and choice are to be viewed, implying that there are right and wrong ways of
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From the Christian standpoint, existentialists are charged with denying the reality and seriousness of human undertakings, since, if they reject God's commandments and the eternal verities, there no longer remains anything but pure caprice, with everyone permitted to do as he pleases and incapable, from his own point of view, of condemning the points of view and acts of others.

In any case, what can be said from the very beginning is that by existentialism we mean a doctrine which makes human life possible and, in addition, declares that every truth and every action implies a human setting and a human subjectivity.

As is generally known, the basic charge against existentialists is that they put the emphasis on the dark side of human life. Consequently, existentialism is regarded as something ugly; that is why existentialists are said to be naturalists; and if they are, it is rather surprising that in this day and age we cause so much more alarm and scandal than does naturalism, properly so called. The kind of person who can take in his stride such a novel as Zola's The Earth is disgusted as soon as he starts reading an existentialist novel; the kind of person who is resigned to the wisdom of the ages-which is pretty sad-finds us even sadder. Yet, what can be more disillusioning than saying "true charity begins…