History UsefulNotes / Existentialism

12th May '17 4:15:26 AM jormis29
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* ''The Unbearable Lightness Of Being'': The book actually opens with a contemplation on Nietzsche's concept of "eternal return" (which is then refuted).

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* ''The Unbearable Lightness Of Being'': ''Literature/TheUnbearableLightnessOfBeing'': The book actually opens with a contemplation on Nietzsche's concept of "eternal return" (which is then refuted).
10th Apr '17 10:07:02 AM JulianLapostat
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* ''VideoGame/{{BioShock}}'' and its sequel ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' is generally a {{Deconstruction}} of the notion of player choice, stated beliefs, motivations and actions. The first game articulates is by means of Nietzsche via Creator/AynRand:
--> '''Andrew Ryan''': ''In the end what separates a man from a slave? Money? Power? No, a man chooses, and a slave obeys! You think you have memories. A farm. A family. An airplane. A crash. And then this place. Was there really a family? Did that airplane crash, or, was it hijacked? Forced down, forced down by something less than a man, something bred to sleepwalk through life unless activated by a simple phrase, spoken by their kindly master.''


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* ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored2}}'' both a CentralTheme dealing with power, choice and WhatYouAreInTheDark. The game provides the players and their villains with abilities and resources and makes their choice on how they use that power the central dramatic conflict. You are judged by your smallest and your biggest actions, all of which have consequences and for which you alone are responsible.


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* ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' puts the whole First Person Shooter genre and its attendant military simulation base under an existentialist microscope, showing how the hero's actions get absurd in light of MotiveDecay, with Captain Walker (and by extension the player) revealed to be in bad faith:
--> '''Colonel Konrad''': ''The truth, Walker, is that you're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not: a hero.''
10th Apr '17 9:24:05 AM Taskmaster123
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* ThePunisher has made it his purpose in life to kill as many criminals as he can. Everything he does is based on attaining this goal. He knows he can't kill them all, ''but it won't be for lack of trying.''
8th Apr '17 6:31:32 PM revfitz
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* ''[[http://revfitz.com/existential-terror-breakfast/ Existential Terror and Breakfast]]: Revolves around the terrible existential dread one feels when they fail to be actively engaged.

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* ''[[http://revfitz.[[http://revfitz.com/existential-terror-breakfast/ Existential Terror and Breakfast]]: Revolves around the terrible existential dread one feels when they fail to be actively engaged.
8th Apr '17 6:30:09 PM revfitz
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* ''[[http://revfitz.com/existential-terror-breakfast/ Existential Terror and Breakfast]]: Revolves around the terrible existential dread one feels when they fail to be actively engaged.
25th Mar '17 4:18:23 PM JulianLapostat
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* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Few people are the heroes of anything other than their own stories, nobody is truly consistent to who they think they are, and everyone is capable of making changes, both positively and negatively.

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* ''ComicBook/{{Batman}}'' in modernized takes is often presented as an existential hero. This is especially the case of ''ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'' which deals with him after he's lost his youth, his early strength, initial motivations, and even reputation as a hero [[spoiler:and in the end his secret identity]], but finally becomes Batman again simply because he finds it meaningful and valuable in and of itself.
* In Creator/WillEisner dealt with this in many of his comics:
** In ''ComicBook/TheSpirit'' he often wrote stories where the titular heroic character wasn't even the center of his own narrative, and whose actions rarely drive the plot. The supporting-characters, villains, and even one-shot characters (such as Gerhard Schnobble) are more interesting and capable of change and complexity than the hero.
** ''A life force'' the major character, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic a Jewish carpenter]] has just been told that the study hall he built for a local synagogue won't be named after him but a rich benefactor, making him feel like the four years he spent building it are wasted. On the way home he has a heart attack. He sees a cockroach on the sidewalk struggling to survive and figures they are NotSoDifferent, but also starts to wonder why he wants to live in the first place. He figures that either God created man or man created God but in either case the meaning of life is anyone's guess. Eventually he concludes that staying alive is the only thing everyone agrees on and manages to do that. Towards the end of the story [[spoiler: he divorces his overbearing wife and starts a relationship with a NewOldFlame he genuinely loves because he doesn't want to be a cockroach who's only concerned with staying alive]].
* Jon on both ''{{Garfield}}'' and ''Webcomic/GarfieldMinusGarfield'' explains [[http://www.gocomics.com/garfieldminusgarfield/2013/08/21#.Ukmd6z-IqV0 existential angst]].
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Few people are the heroes of anything other than their own stories, nobody is truly consistent to who they think they are, and everyone is capable of making changes, both positively and negatively. Events which seem special and important in one era become meaningless later on, while more important actions are TheGreatestStoryNeverTold.



* In Creator/WillEisner's ''A life force'' the major character, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic a Jewish carpenter]] has just been told that the study hall he built for a local synagogue won't be named after him but a rich benefactor, making him feel like the four years he spent building it are wasted. On the way home he has a heart attack. He sees a cockroach on the sidewalk struggling to survive and figures they are NotSoDifferent, but also starts to wonder why he wants to live in the first place. He figures that either God created man or man created God but in either case the meaning of life is anyone's guess. Eventually he concludes that staying alive is the only thing everyone agrees on and manages to do that. Towards the end of the story [[spoiler: he divorces his overbearing wife and starts a relationship with a NewOldFlame he genuinely loves because he doesn't want to be a cockroach who's only concerned with staying alive]].
* Jon on both ''{{Garfield}}'' and ''Webcomic/GarfieldMinusGarfield'' explains [[http://www.gocomics.com/garfieldminusgarfield/2013/08/21#.Ukmd6z-IqV0 existential angst]].



* Creator/WoodyAllen is probably the American film-maker who did more than any director to introduce "existentialist motifs" in mainstream films. Sometimes its PlayedForLaughs, other times its SeriousBusiness. The most well-known examples are ''Film/CrimesAndMisdemeanors'' and ''Film/MatchPoint''.
--> '''Professor Levy''': "We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions. Moral choices. Some are on a grand scale. Most of these choices are on lesser points. But! We define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are in fact the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to have been included, in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying, and even to find joy from simple things like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more."



%%* ''Film/WingsOfDesire''



* ''Film/{{Silence}}'' by Creator/MartinScorsese, adapting Creator/ShusakuEndo's novel has the main character confronting the seeming absence of God, and the meaning of his faith in the face of failure and [[spoiler:forced apostasy]].
--> '''Fr. Rodrigues''': "Even if God was silent, everything I have done, everything I have said...would have spoken for him."



* Creator/WoodyAllen probably did more than any director to introduce "existentialist motifs" in mainstream films. Sometimes its PlayedForLaughs, other times its SeriousBusiness. The most well-known examples are ''Film/CrimesAndMisdemeanors'' and ''Film/MatchPoint''.

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* Creator/WoodyAllen probably did ''Film/WingsOfDesire'' is about an angel choosing to be human, and it's more than any director to introduce "existentialist motifs" in mainstream films. Sometimes its PlayedForLaughs, other times its SeriousBusiness. The most well-known examples are ''Film/CrimesAndMisdemeanors'' or less a story about the meaning of life and ''Film/MatchPoint''.why HumansAreSpecial even after the horrors of the twentieth century, and the seeming absence of God in people's daily lives.



* Creator/JamesJoyce was a Modernist and his works greatly inspired many of the thinkers and philosophers of the existentialist movement by his characters struggle with identity, culture, language and beliefs, in all his works. The most famous assertion is in ''Literature/APortraitOfTheArtistAsAYoungMan''.
--> '''Stephen Dedalus''': ''"The soul is born, first in those moments I told you of. It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the body. When the soul of a man is born in this country, there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets."''



%%* ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}''
%%** Generally considered to be one of the forerunners.
%%* ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot''

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%%* ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}''
%%** Generally considered
* ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' by Creator/WilliamShakespeare expresses this, most famously in the "to be or not to be one be" monologue. Hamlet is a very conscious and self-reflexive character who longs for deeper motivations, and uncertain about the correct course of his actions.
* Much like Creator/JamesJoyce, his mentor, Creator/SamuelBeckett codified it in many of his plays, which theatre critic Martin Esslin (against Beckett's wishes) identified as the "theatre
of the forerunners.
%%* ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot''
absurd".
** ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot'' has an AmbiguousSituation for a plot, sparse limited action of two characters who are waiting for someone who might ''or'' might not come. The suspense and frustration, and the comedy of the plot, comes from the fact that they cannot know for certain what the correct thing to do is.
** ''Krapp's Last Tape'' likewise deals with a man contemplating his memories and lonely life in total solitude:
--> ''Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back.''



%%* ''Theatre/NoExit''
%%** Famous for the phrase, "[[ItWasHisSled Hell is other people.]]"

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%%* ''Theatre/NoExit''
%%**
* Creator/JeanPaulSartre's play ''Theatre/NoExit'' which deals with three characters in the afterlife, who in life, were horrible to themselves and to other people, and whose ultimate punishment is simply being themselves. Famous for the phrase, "[[ItWasHisSled Hell is other people.]]"
25th Mar '17 3:48:44 PM JulianLapostat
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You see, existentialism is one of those rare serious intellectual strains whose ideas entered the cultural lexicon and became important and relevant to mainstream popular culture. One reason for this is that the original existentialists actually wrote for a non-academic audience, and by means of word-of-mouth, the ForeignCultureFetish for Americans for forties and fifties' UsefulNotes/{{France}}, and the counter-culture of TheSixties and TheSeventies, the ideas spread and inspired much popular philosophy, campus radicals,literary and genre fiction, popular musicians and film-makers. Such works differ in many ways from philosophical existentialism for the understandable reason that as works of entertainment, they are more interested in using it as sources of conflict and dramatic tension, than as serious philosophical inquiry and research. Existentialist ideas inform works of art by [[TrueArtIsAngsty providing greater inner conflict and tension]] as well as [[TropesAreTools a source and method]] for deeper characterization. It led to the introduction of general ambiguity; a questioning of motives, and separating motivation from actions in manners that are supposed to make the audience question their identification with the protagonist. Audiences became reluctant to accept a character doing something right on face value; it became important to know what that particular "right thing" was, how did this character decide if it was "right" or not, or if [[JustFollowingOrders said character did it because someone else told him it was right]]. Stories inspired by existentialism often paved the way for conclusions that were [[SoWhatDoWeNow tentative]], [[TheEndOrIsIt skeptical]], and [[GainaxEnding unresolved]], even when the plots were otherwise simple and straightforward. It also leads to stories with MoralityKitchenSink and GrayAndGreyMorality. Existentialist works can be tragic, pessimistic and end on a DownerEnding but it can also be affirmative, optimistic, have BittersweetEnding and EarnYourHappyEnding.

to:

You see, existentialism is one of those rare serious intellectual strains whose ideas entered the cultural lexicon and became important and relevant to mainstream popular culture. One reason for this is that the original existentialists actually wrote for a non-academic audience, and by means of word-of-mouth, the ForeignCultureFetish for Americans for forties and fifties' UsefulNotes/{{France}}, and the counter-culture of TheSixties and TheSeventies, the ideas spread and inspired much popular philosophy, campus radicals,literary and genre fiction, popular musicians and film-makers. Such works differ in many ways from philosophical existentialism for the understandable reason that as works of entertainment, they are more interested in using it as sources of conflict and dramatic tension, than as serious philosophical inquiry and research. Existentialist ideas inform works of art by [[TrueArtIsAngsty providing greater inner conflict and tension]] as well as [[TropesAreTools a source and method]] for deeper characterization. It led to the introduction of general ambiguity; a questioning of motives, and separating motivation from actions in manners that are supposed to make the audience question their identification with the protagonist. Audiences became reluctant to accept a character doing something right on face value; it became important to know what that particular "right thing" was, how did this character decide if it was "right" or not, or if [[JustFollowingOrders said character did it because someone else told him it was right]]. Stories inspired by existentialism often paved the way for conclusions that were [[SoWhatDoWeNow [[SoWhatDoWeDoNow tentative]], [[TheEndOrIsIt skeptical]], and [[GainaxEnding unresolved]], even when the plots were otherwise simple and straightforward. It also leads to stories with MoralityKitchenSink and GrayAndGreyMorality. Existentialist works can be tragic, pessimistic and end on a DownerEnding but it can also be affirmative, optimistic, have BittersweetEnding and EarnYourHappyEnding.



* In WillEisner's ''A life force'' the major character, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic a Jewish carpenter]] has just been told that the study hall he built for a local synagogue won't be named after him but a rich benefactor, making him feel like the four years he spent building it are wasted. On the way home he has a heart attack. He sees a cockroach on the sidewalk struggling to survive and figures they are NotSoDifferent, but also starts to wonder why he wants to live in the first place. He figures that either God created man or man created God but in either case the meaning of life is anyone's guess. Eventually he concludes that staying alive is the only thing everyone agrees on and manages to do that. Towards the end of the story [[spoiler: he divorces his overbearing wife and starts a relationship with a NewOldFlame he genuinely loves because he doesn't want to be a cockroach who's only concerned with staying alive]].

to:

* In WillEisner's Creator/WillEisner's ''A life force'' the major character, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic a Jewish carpenter]] has just been told that the study hall he built for a local synagogue won't be named after him but a rich benefactor, making him feel like the four years he spent building it are wasted. On the way home he has a heart attack. He sees a cockroach on the sidewalk struggling to survive and figures they are NotSoDifferent, but also starts to wonder why he wants to live in the first place. He figures that either God created man or man created God but in either case the meaning of life is anyone's guess. Eventually he concludes that staying alive is the only thing everyone agrees on and manages to do that. Towards the end of the story [[spoiler: he divorces his overbearing wife and starts a relationship with a NewOldFlame he genuinely loves because he doesn't want to be a cockroach who's only concerned with staying alive]].



* ''La Nausée'' (''Nausea''): The book holds a dark, melancholic take on Exis' as Antoine, the protagonist, uses this philosophy to avoid the darkness he sees and feels as the eponymous title suggests.

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* ''La Nausée'' (''Nausea''): The book holds a dark, melancholic take on Exis' as Antoine, the protagonist, uses this philosophy to avoid the darkness he sees and feels as the eponymous title suggests.suggests, nauseous and tired as he moves through a life of dead-end relationships, boredom and limited satisfaction.



* ''Literature/TheStranger'': This novella is often cited as an example. [[WordOfGod Albert Camus denied this]], but it's worth noting that he became commonly known as the "godfather of existentialism". The book itself could be labeled as Absurdist or Nihilist; either that or it was just a character study of a psychopath.

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* ''Literature/TheStranger'': This novella is often cited as an example. [[WordOfGod Albert Camus denied this]], but it's worth noting that he became commonly known as the "godfather of existentialism". The book itself could be labeled as Absurdist or Nihilist; either that or it was just a character study of a psychopath. Fundamentally, the novel is about a man who is not fully aware of his motivations and whose actions are not fully explicable or comprehensible, and the ending is about how even such a man when he confronts a death without the possibility of salvation, redemption, the promise of an afterlife, is nonetheless capable of asserting courage in the face of death.



25th Mar '17 3:42:10 PM JulianLapostat
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It is important to stress that, befitting a philosophy of individuality and self-created meaning, thinkers both pre-existential, existential, and post-existential differ wildly in their conclusions and their sentiments. You'll find that many of the people held up as examples of existentialism indignantly claimed that they weren't -- probably a side-effect of the fact that nonconformity is one of the school's main tenets ("Once you label me, you negate me" is a famous line of Kierkegaard's). For instance, Soren Kierkegaard was a Protestant Priest and a devout Christian, and some of his works were about [[DeconReconSwitch finding and discovering a new modern approach to religious belief]]. A strain and approach that anticipated and inspired other thinkers interested in reconciling religion with the modern world. Creator/FriedrichNietzsche however was an atheist, as was most of the post-war French thinkers (Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir). Yet even Nietzsche differed from the latter by means of his distinct pessimism, his strong sense of {{Irony}} which allowed him to advocate ideas and views that are inherently contradictory and paradoxical. Active existentialists like Sartre, and his circle of friends, as well as the school of literature and philosophy that he inspired, advocated ideas that were intended to be clear, humanistic, bridge together ideas and views even from sources that were on the opposite spectrum. For Sartre, who was sympathetic to Marxism, existentialism was primarily a means of advocating and advancing social criticism into contemporary society, and criticizing colonialism, racism and advocating social justice. The likes of Creator/AlbertCamus differed with Sartre in his political sympathies and he also rejected the label of existentialism and advocated instead the idea of "the absurd" which was a middle ground between Nietzschean pessimism and Sartrean humanism. Later thinkers would have their own differences and issues with this group but that's about as far as we can go with the philosophical side of existentialism.

You see, existentialism is one of those rare serious intellectual strains whose ideas entered the cultural lexicon and became important and relevant to mainstream popular culture. One reason for this is that the original existentialists actually wrote for a non-academic audience, and by means of word-of-mouth, the ForeignCultureFetish for Americans for forties and fifties' UsefulNotes/{{France}}, and the counter-culture of TheSixties and TheSeventies, the ideas spread and inspired much popular philosophy, campus radicals, students, literary and genre fiction, popular musicians and film-makers. Such works differ in many ways from philosophical existentialism for the understandable reason that as works of entertainment, they are more interested in using it as sources of conflict and dramatic tension, than as serious philosophical inquiry and research. Existentialist ideas inform works of art by providing greater inner conflict and tension as well as a source and method for deeper characterization. It led to the introduction of general ambiguity; a questioning and separation of motivations divorced from actions. Stories inspired by existentialism often paved the way for conclusions that were [[SoWhatDoWeNow tentative]], [[TheEndOrIsIt skeptical]]. and [[GainaxEnding unresolved]].

to:

It is important to stress that, befitting a philosophy of individuality and self-created meaning, thinkers both pre-existential, existential, and post-existential differ wildly in their conclusions and their sentiments. You'll find that many of the people held up as examples of existentialism indignantly claimed that they weren't -- probably a side-effect of the fact that nonconformity is one of the school's main tenets ("Once you label me, you negate me" is a famous line of Kierkegaard's). For instance, Soren Kierkegaard was a Protestant Priest and a devout Christian, and some of his works were about [[DeconReconSwitch finding and discovering a new modern approach to religious belief]]. A strain and approach that anticipated and inspired other thinkers interested in reconciling religion with the modern world. Creator/FriedrichNietzsche however was an atheist, as was most of the post-war French thinkers (Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir). Yet even Nietzsche differed from the latter by means of his distinct pessimism, his strong sense of {{Irony}} which allowed him to advocate ideas and views that are inherently contradictory and paradoxical. Active existentialists like Sartre, and his circle of friends, as well as the school of literature and philosophy that he inspired, advocated ideas that were intended to be clear, humanistic, bridge together ideas and views even from sources that were on the opposite spectrum. For Sartre, who was sympathetic to Marxism, existentialism was primarily a means of advocating and advancing social criticism into contemporary society, and criticizing colonialism, racism and advocating social justice. The likes of Creator/AlbertCamus differed with Sartre in his political sympathies and he also rejected the label of existentialism and advocated instead the idea of "the absurd" which was a middle ground between Nietzschean pessimism and Sartrean humanism. Later thinkers would have their own differences As such existentialism was originally, and issues with this group but that's ''intentionally'' a very diverse school of thought rather than a single authoritative ideology or beliefs. Some historians see it as simply a cultural and intellectual movement rather than a real philosophy. That's about as far as we can go with cover the philosophical side of existentialism.

You see, existentialism is one of those rare serious intellectual strains whose ideas entered the cultural lexicon and became important and relevant to mainstream popular culture. One reason for this is that the original existentialists actually wrote for a non-academic audience, and by means of word-of-mouth, the ForeignCultureFetish for Americans for forties and fifties' UsefulNotes/{{France}}, and the counter-culture of TheSixties and TheSeventies, the ideas spread and inspired much popular philosophy, campus radicals, students, literary radicals,literary and genre fiction, popular musicians and film-makers. Such works differ in many ways from philosophical existentialism for the understandable reason that as works of entertainment, they are more interested in using it as sources of conflict and dramatic tension, than as serious philosophical inquiry and research. Existentialist ideas inform works of art by [[TrueArtIsAngsty providing greater inner conflict and tension tension]] as well as [[TropesAreTools a source and method method]] for deeper characterization. It led to the introduction of general ambiguity; a questioning of motives, and separation of motivations divorced separating motivation from actions. actions in manners that are supposed to make the audience question their identification with the protagonist. Audiences became reluctant to accept a character doing something right on face value; it became important to know what that particular "right thing" was, how did this character decide if it was "right" or not, or if [[JustFollowingOrders said character did it because someone else told him it was right]]. Stories inspired by existentialism often paved the way for conclusions that were [[SoWhatDoWeNow tentative]], [[TheEndOrIsIt skeptical]]. skeptical]], and [[GainaxEnding unresolved]].unresolved]], even when the plots were otherwise simple and straightforward. It also leads to stories with MoralityKitchenSink and GrayAndGreyMorality. Existentialist works can be tragic, pessimistic and end on a DownerEnding but it can also be affirmative, optimistic, have BittersweetEnding and EarnYourHappyEnding.



TheOtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism has an article and analysis on this subject.]] See also {{Absurdism}}, {{Postmodernism}}, {{Romanticism}} and Individualism.

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TheOtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism has an article and analysis on this subject.]] See also {{Absurdism}}, {{Postmodernism}}, {{Romanticism}} {{Romanticism}}, {{Deconstruction}} and Individualism.



* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Few people are the heroes of anything other than their own stories, and Dr. Manhattan, the closest thing to God in this world, has grown aloof from humanity even as the apocalypse looms. Yet he later comes to recognize that the value of life lies in the sheer improbability of existence in the first place.

to:

* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'': Few people are the heroes of anything other than their own stories, nobody is truly consistent to who they think they are, and Dr. Manhattan, the closest thing to God in this world, has grown aloof from humanity even as the apocalypse looms. Yet he later comes to recognize that the value everyone is capable of life lies in the sheer improbability of existence in the first place.making changes, both positively and negatively.


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** Dr. Manhattan, the closest thing to God in this world, has grown aloof from humanity even as the apocalypse looms. Yet he later comes to recognize that the value of life lies in the sheer improbability of existence in the first place.
25th Mar '17 3:18:12 PM JulianLapostat
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-->-- '''Søren Kierkegaard''', father of existentialism

Existentialism is [[PostSomethingIsm the response]] to the soul-crushingly [[TheFatalist fatalistic]], [[WhatIsEvil morally relativistic]], DarknessInducedAudienceApathy-fostering worldview of [[StrawNihilist Nihilism]]. A tragic consequence of the scientific scepticism of [[UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment The Enlightenment]], Nihilism {{deconstruct|ion}}s and rejects all ethics, ideals and meanings in life as meaningless unproven lies (e.g., science can't differentiate which {{morality|Tropes}} exists and which is {{propaganda|Piece}}).

On the other hand, existentialism embraces subjectivity. The existentialist agrees that "meaning" is an empty word, [[HumansAreFlawed our life sucks]] and [[YouCantFightFate there's nothing we can do about it]]. However, they also point out that each individual can have the choice to ''make the most out of each hour of their empty lives''. Those who choose to spend it being bored, following others, {{wangst}}ing endlessly, adhering to [[ItAmusedMe hedonism]], or ForTheEvulz are [[SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers wasting it]].

Existentialism often advocates individuality and involves character tropes such as having a personal ''raison d'être'' (reason for existence), BeYourself, DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife, IAmWhatIAm, living out your GoalInLife, EarnYourHappyEnding, and sometimes moments of YouAreNotAlone. This gives a [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech world-of-cardboard]][=/=]PatrickStewartSpeech [[ShutUpHannibal to the nihilists]] and {{reconstruct|ion}}s the "[[WhatYouAreInTheDark meaning in life]]" concept.

The term "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_angst#Angst Existential]] {{Angst}}" was even coined to describe the sudden feeling of QuicksandBox it gave them, especially if they had just abandoned the FreedomFromChoice provided by both religion and social peer pressure.

Most existentialist thinkers, such as Creator/JeanPaulSartre and Creator/FriedrichNietzsche, are atheists. That being said, some existentialist thinkers have incorporated religion into their thinking and philosophies (for example, Søren Kierkegaard, who is considered to be the father of existentialism, incorporates his Christian religious beliefs into his existentialist thinking).

While existential motifs are OlderThanYouThink, Søren Kierkegaard, Creator/FyodorDostoevsky, Creator/LeoTolstoy and Friedrich Nietzsche foreshadowed in the 19th century some of what would be the defining characteristics of the philosophy, although they didn't know each other and the philosophy was unnamed. Sartre himself went further, citing Jesus's words on the cross in the Gospel of Matthew [[note]] "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" [[/note]]. The term "existentialism" seems to have been coined by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel. It gained popularity in the early 1940s around the time of the Modernist movement (amidst incomprehensible scientific discoveries that inspired LovecraftianFiction, and of course the horrors of WorldWarTwo, which contributed to further [[TrueArtIsAngsty popularity of Angst in the arts]]), when Jean-Paul Sartre [[TropeCodifier codified]] existential philosophy with three words: "Existence precedes essence." It was the reverse of most previous philosophical thought, which held that the essence (soul, purpose, meaning) of a thing came first. Existentialism coevolved with, and takes tropes and inspirations from, the artistic movement of PostModernism, which [[NoFourthWall dissolves the boundary between life and art and reality and fiction]]. Both are connected by the philosophy that life is art, and you can live your life as your own creative art.

Existentialism however had a very serious and political edge as well, which also reflected and affected the arts. Sartre noted that people who didn't take responsibility and live their life as they feel, and continued to kowtow to either family pressure, Church dogmas, or a party line without thinking and challenging it for themselves were living in "bad faith"; and that even people in exceptionally difficult situations have to choose how best to live their lives and be NeutralNoLonger (or TakeAThirdOption). With everyone "condemned to be free" people are left to find WhatYouAreInTheDark; discovering an identity separate from their gender, sexuality, family, religion, political persuasion, or nationality. Needless to say, this notion of radical freedom was very appealing to the TheSixties generation around the world.

You'll find that many of the people held up as examples of existentialism indignantly claimed that they weren't -- probably a side-effect of the fact that nonconformity is one of the school's main tenets ("Once you label me, you negate me" is a famous line of Kierkegaard's).

TheOtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism has an article and analysis on this subject.]]

Existentialist character types include TheAntiNihilist and TheUbermensch (the extreme {{Blue And Orange| Morality}} version). The KnightInSourArmor and the DeterminedDefeatist have some elements of this.

See also {{Absurdism}}, {{Postmodernism}}, {{Romanticism}} and Individualism.

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-->-- '''Søren Kierkegaard''', father of a precursor to existentialism

Existentialism is the name given to a philosophical worldview that came into prominence and consciousness in the late forties and early fifties. It articulated itself as [[PostSomethingIsm the a response]] to the soul-crushingly [[TheFatalist fatalistic]], [[WhatIsEvil morally relativistic]], DarknessInducedAudienceApathy-fostering worldview of [[StrawNihilist Nihilism]]. A tragic consequence of the scientific scepticism of [[UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment The Enlightenment]], Nihilism {{deconstruct|ion}}s and rejects all ethics, ideals and meanings in life as meaningless unproven lies (e.g., science can't differentiate which {{morality|Tropes}} exists and which is {{propaganda|Piece}}).

On
{{propaganda|Piece}}). Alternatives to nihilism, such as religion, art, culture, society, ideology, nationalism, science, modernity, material wealth, fame and social respectability, came to seem as both unfulfilling and inadequate.

An existential worldview asserts
the other hand, existentialism embraces subjectivity.importance of active engagement, personal choice, and commitment. It shifts the focus away from ends to means. What you do and how you do certain actions matter as much as your reasons, motivations and justifications for the same. The existentialist agrees that "meaning" is an empty word, [[HumansAreFlawed our life sucks]] and [[YouCantFightFate there's nothing we can do about it]]. However, they also point out that each individual can have has the choice to ''make the most out of each hour of their empty lives''. Those who choose to spend it being bored, following others, {{wangst}}ing endlessly, adhering to [[ItAmusedMe hedonism]], or ForTheEvulz are ignoring their responsibility to themselves and to society, and are potentially [[SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers wasting it]].

Existentialism often advocates individuality
their real virtues and involves character tropes such as having qualities]]. As Creator/JeanPaulSartre said, "Man is condemned to be free", by which he meant that we have no choice but make a personal ''raison d'être'' (reason for existence), BeYourself, DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife, IAmWhatIAm, living out your GoalInLife, EarnYourHappyEnding, and sometimes moments choice of YouAreNotAlone. This gives a [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech world-of-cardboard]][=/=]PatrickStewartSpeech [[ShutUpHannibal some kind or another, some way or other to the nihilists]] and {{reconstruct|ion}}s the "[[WhatYouAreInTheDark meaning accommodate our selves with our lot in life]]" concept.

life. The term "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_angst#Angst Existential]] {{Angst}}" was even coined to describe the sudden feeling of QuicksandBox it gave them, especially if they had just abandoned the FreedomFromChoice provided by both religion and social peer pressure.

Most existentialist thinkers, such as Creator/JeanPaulSartre and Creator/FriedrichNietzsche, are atheists. That being said, some existentialist thinkers have incorporated religion The term existentialism came into their thinking prominence in TheForties in France where it was used in club debates, [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness and philosophies (for example, Søren Kierkegaard, who is considered to be the father of existentialism, incorporates his Christian religious beliefs into his existentialist thinking).

While existential motifs are OlderThanYouThink, Søren Kierkegaard, Creator/FyodorDostoevsky, Creator/LeoTolstoy
after early resistance]], adopted by Sartre as a label and Friedrich Nietzsche foreshadowed in the 19th century some of what would be the category defining characteristics of the philosophy, although they didn't know each other and the philosophy was unnamed. Sartre himself went further, citing Jesus's words on the cross in the Gospel of Matthew [[note]] "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" [[/note]].his philosophy. The term "existentialism" seems to have been coined by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel. As Sartre, and others, noted in his works, the philosophy [[TropeCodifier codifies]] and identifies a particular strain of thought and idea, rather than invent something new out of whole cloth. As such one can find ideas similar to, or anticipating existentialism, in the works of Kierkegaard and Creator/FriedrichNietzsche, as well as a host of other novelists (Creator/FyodorDostoevsky, Creator/LeoTolstoy for instance) and dramatists and other artists. Sartre himself went further, citing Jesus's words on the cross in the Gospel of Matthew [[note]]"My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?"[[/note]]. It gained popularity in the early 1940s around the time of the Modernist movement (amidst incomprehensible scientific discoveries that inspired LovecraftianFiction, and of course the horrors of WorldWarTwo, which contributed to further [[TrueArtIsAngsty popularity of Angst in the arts]]), when Jean-Paul Sartre [[TropeCodifier codified]] existential philosophy with three words: "Existence precedes essence." It was the reverse of most previous philosophical thought, which held that the essence (soul, purpose, meaning) of a thing came first. Existentialism coevolved with, and takes tropes and inspirations from, the artistic movement of PostModernism, which [[NoFourthWall dissolves the boundary between life and art and reality and fiction]]. Both are connected by the philosophy that life is art, and you can live your life as your own creative art.

Existentialism however had It is important to stress that, befitting a very serious philosophy of individuality and political edge as well, which also reflected self-created meaning, thinkers both pre-existential, existential, and affected the arts. Sartre noted that people who didn't take responsibility and live post-existential differ wildly in their life as they feel, conclusions and continued to kowtow to either family pressure, Church dogmas, or a party line without thinking and challenging it for themselves were living in "bad faith"; and that even people in exceptionally difficult situations have to choose how best to live their lives and be NeutralNoLonger (or TakeAThirdOption). With everyone "condemned to be free" people are left to find WhatYouAreInTheDark; discovering an identity separate from their gender, sexuality, family, religion, political persuasion, or nationality. Needless to say, this notion of radical freedom was very appealing to the TheSixties generation around the world.

sentiments. You'll find that many of the people held up as examples of existentialism indignantly claimed that they weren't -- probably a side-effect of the fact that nonconformity is one of the school's main tenets ("Once you label me, you negate me" is a famous line of Kierkegaard's).

Kierkegaard's). For instance, Soren Kierkegaard was a Protestant Priest and a devout Christian, and some of his works were about [[DeconReconSwitch finding and discovering a new modern approach to religious belief]]. A strain and approach that anticipated and inspired other thinkers interested in reconciling religion with the modern world. Creator/FriedrichNietzsche however was an atheist, as was most of the post-war French thinkers (Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir). Yet even Nietzsche differed from the latter by means of his distinct pessimism, his strong sense of {{Irony}} which allowed him to advocate ideas and views that are inherently contradictory and paradoxical. Active existentialists like Sartre, and his circle of friends, as well as the school of literature and philosophy that he inspired, advocated ideas that were intended to be clear, humanistic, bridge together ideas and views even from sources that were on the opposite spectrum. For Sartre, who was sympathetic to Marxism, existentialism was primarily a means of advocating and advancing social criticism into contemporary society, and criticizing colonialism, racism and advocating social justice. The likes of Creator/AlbertCamus differed with Sartre in his political sympathies and he also rejected the label of existentialism and advocated instead the idea of "the absurd" which was a middle ground between Nietzschean pessimism and Sartrean humanism. Later thinkers would have their own differences and issues with this group but that's about as far as we can go with the philosophical side of existentialism.

You see, existentialism is one of those rare serious intellectual strains whose ideas entered the cultural lexicon and became important and relevant to mainstream popular culture. One reason for this is that the original existentialists actually wrote for a non-academic audience, and by means of word-of-mouth, the ForeignCultureFetish for Americans for forties and fifties' UsefulNotes/{{France}}, and the counter-culture of TheSixties and TheSeventies, the ideas spread and inspired much popular philosophy, campus radicals, students, literary and genre fiction, popular musicians and film-makers. Such works differ in many ways from philosophical existentialism for the understandable reason that as works of entertainment, they are more interested in using it as sources of conflict and dramatic tension, than as serious philosophical inquiry and research. Existentialist ideas inform works of art by providing greater inner conflict and tension as well as a source and method for deeper characterization. It led to the introduction of general ambiguity; a questioning and separation of motivations divorced from actions. Stories inspired by existentialism often paved the way for conclusions that were [[SoWhatDoWeNow tentative]], [[TheEndOrIsIt skeptical]]. and [[GainaxEnding unresolved]].

In the popular culture, existentialism becomes a short-hand for individuality, and involves character tropes such as having a personal ''raison d'être'' (reason for existence), BeYourself, DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife, IAmWhatIAm, living out your GoalInLife, EarnYourHappyEnding, and sometimes moments of YouAreNotAlone. This gives a [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech world-of-cardboard]][=/=]PatrickStewartSpeech [[ShutUpHannibal to the nihilists]] and {{reconstruct|ion}}s the "[[WhatYouAreInTheDark meaning in life]]" concept. Existentialist character types include TheAntiNihilist and TheUbermensch (the extreme {{Blue And Orange| Morality}} version). The KnightInSourArmor and the DeterminedDefeatist have some elements of this, as does the VictoriousLoser.

TheOtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism has an article and analysis on this subject.]]

Existentialist character types include TheAntiNihilist and TheUbermensch (the extreme {{Blue And Orange| Morality}} version). The KnightInSourArmor and the DeterminedDefeatist have some elements of this.

]] See also {{Absurdism}}, {{Postmodernism}}, {{Romanticism}} and Individualism.
25th Mar '17 12:38:13 PM matteste
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* ''VideoGame/NierAutomata'' feature heavy existentialist themes, often questioning the meaning of life and existence through the eyes of androids and robotic characters in a crapsack, nihilistic world.
-->"A future is not given to you. It is something you must take for yourself."
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