Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Interesting Existentialist Concepts

"The past isn't past: it's still shaping the present." - John Green

It's useful for my quoting of him that I get 1-2 new videos each week from which to quote.

Now I would like to share with you two concepts within existentialism: anguish and facticity.

First, facticity, as it relates to the quote. Facticity is the collection of pre-defined things that shape our current essence (as, within existentialism, existence precedes essence). Our past, our environment's past...stuff like that. We decide exactly how much our facticity affects us. In the words of "Snape vs. Snape" by Ministry of Magic, "People can change." Our past is constantly shaping us, but the idea is for us to learn from it.

Existentialist anguish isn't the same as normal anguish, but in order to explain the difference to you I must give some definitions.

Fear: An aversion to a specific thing, situation, concept, etc. do to the harm it may cause to the fearer. Key: specific

Existentialism: A school of philosophy in which nothing has any inherent meaning. A given thing has only the meaning we as an individual or as a race ascribe to it.

Freedom: Due to the lack of objective meaning or moral codes within existentialism, there is no such thing as pre-destination and therefore we are free to do whatever we want (although there are some interesting arguments as to why we shouldn't).

So anguish is the aversion to the freedom given by existentialism.

Example: An existentialist stands on the edge of the cliff. He or she fears the possibility that he/she will fall off, but he or she feels anguish at the knowledge that he/she is capable of choosing to jump.

A longer post of this stuff might be boring and/or intimidating and/or you don't feel like reading it right now, so I'll write about some of the other concepts later. I hope you find this as interesting as I do, but if not, well, whatever. To each their own.

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