EXISTENTIALISM 098

CALL ov the VOID:
Existentialism 098
—The HELL Priest, XVL

A man said to the universe
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
—Stephen Crane

ex·is·ten·tial·ism

/ˌeɡzəˈsten(t)SHəˌlizəm/

  1. a philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

 

Throughout human evolution it has been argued when did we as a species become self-aware or cognizant of our place in The Universe?  Is it when long before climbing out of the primordial soup, our eyes became forward facing (as Trilobites) and we became capable of not only spatial orientation but mostly importantly predation?  Perhaps it was when we climbed down from the trees (as Troglodytes) and stopped being omnivores and began our never-ending hunt for substantial nourishment?  Was it one ancient morning while looking at our own reflection did we shrugged and merely think “I am…” before demographics, culture and politics began to help us define ourselves in a larger context (or worldview)?

Long before I knew what an “existential crisis” was, I’d repeatedly heard the phrase abused to redundancy but thought nothing of it.  The French have a word for everything and can even use it in the  wittiest of monologues, but as a born and bred Southerner I found myself at odds with its endless pretentiousness (as all philosophy is a triviality only afforded those with time for  lofty ideals and reminds me of the quote from Robert Louis Stevenson that “books are a bloodless substitute for life”).   After all, Sartre’ was never a household name and until the pervasive underlying themes of Fight Club and The Matrix Series I would have never studied it further.   A long list of writers from Albert Camus, Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Simone de Beauvoir, etc. has been added to the growing list but did find it interesting to note that Franz Kafka has been adopted into the fold, with his tortured rhetoric, inability to deal with a father figure and the haphazardly unfinished quality of his work.

Time and time again, I came back to the fourth person, omniscient narrator of Fight Club as he further trivializes the banality of his existence as a modern-day Sisyphus; prevailing as the antihero in an increasingly unstable, if not Dystopian, phantasmagoric, environs.  Afterall, you are “The One” who will exist in a godless universe with only yourself to blame for all your woes and troubles, without the triviality of a heavenly reward to dictate those actions.

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