Why You Are an Existentialist (But Didn’t Know It)

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— Existentialism 101 – Because of Sartre and all Those Intellectual,
Philosopher Type People Going Around Spouting Things Like
“Existence Precedes Essence,” which is somewhat unintelligable
to the average reader or thinker (however true it might
be). People Have Missed the Salient Fact That
Most of Us in the Modern World
Have the Mindset of an Existentialist:
Here’s Why.

May 9, 2020
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Existentialism 101:
Why You Are an Existentialist
(But Didn’t Know It)

You Are an Existentialist Simply if You Have a Proper
Understanding of the Ironic Absurdity of Modern Life:

The Daily Walk with Love, May 9, 2020, by Paul Evans. Featured photograph of notable French existentialist Albert Camus courtesy of Brain Pickings; with PBS video of Existentialism: Crash Course Philosophy #16, YouTube — 8:53. This is for the caring, sexy woman who sees past my poverty and limitations, takes me into her life and makes me hers: Color My World (Chicago). Email Paul at sailingtokansas@gmail.com.

See Psalms 144 KJV. A lot of people feel that modern life, and perhaps especially today’s science is incompatible with real, true Christianity. Perhaps you wonder where I’m coming from as I write these various articles. Reconciling the facts I’ve been exposed to cause me to question it all, especially since I was raised as an agnostic and had ten years of college, mostly in the hard sciences. Well, I’ve studied “comparitive religion for 40 years now, at times intensively. Where I stand today: I consider myself a spiritual Christian, but I have also studied charismatic beliefs, as well as attending a lot of different denominations’ Christian churches. I also have studied Zen Buddhism and Gnanni yoga (the yoga of wisdom). I love nature, have taken training in environmentalism and even human ecology, and spent some time in the Wind River mountains and also in Yellowstone. You know, Pontius Pilate sent Jesus to his death with the words, “what is truth?” My starting point, in full opposition to Pontius Pilate, the logical “premise” to my thinking in recent years, is “reality is real, and truth exists about everything. I try very, very hard to speak absolutely truthfully here, but I hope you all realize I do not mean anything here as doctrine, or even settled truth. I try to write in a style which is as if i were having a friendly talk with my readers. It is a hard buden to try to be consistent and never mislead my readers, especially sinc recently there are a lot of readers. I do the best I can.

See Albert Camus on the Three Antidotes to the Absurdity of Modern Life, Brain Pickings, a really cool site where you can learn a lot.

“To be is to do” —Socrates.
“To do is to be” —Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Do be do be do” —Frank Sinatra.
Read about the apocryphal history of this

Now, your first mistake is to think this article is about philosophy, except that the discussion falls under is that category of knowledge. I’m trying to talk to you about existentialism from my heart and from a lifetime’s experience, not any kind of intellectual bullsh*t. Incidentally, friends, I’m lonely or I wouldn’t be spending my time writing this article. I’m a “sapiosexual” man, I love a girl mostly with my mind and through my mind. And I’m basically happy, now, finally. Yet it gets lonely here on the blogosphere. Anyone wanting to email and/or chat is encouraged to contact me at paul.miracles57@gmail.com (if you think the Agency might let your email get through): supporters of Donald Trump are especially encouraged. It seems there is a fine line between sheer brilliance and insanity. Did you know that the man who made the most entries in contribution to the Oxford English Dictionary, over 50,000 entries, did it from an English insane asylum? (I wonder who HE pissed off?) Did you ever notice that most of the really famous philosophers of history were basically tragic, lonely old men? Yes, life can be pretty evil, and our small efforts can seem pretty ironically made and absurd.

absurd photograph of a seagull sitting on a 'no seagulls' sign

Many people think that to be qualified to call yourself an existentialist, you need some sort of deep knowledge or understanding of philosophy. I’m here to tell you, it just ain’t so. Really though, that point of view has some kind of merit. Most existentialists I ever knew as such were a bunch of intellectual, philosopher type people who went around spouting stuff like “existence precedes essence,” and then proceeding, ad nauseum to educate you in boring ways about just what that means. That’s why most people who understand philosophy are mostly lonely, and deserve your sympathy, maybe. There WAS one particular book on philosophy I read while I was in college back in the seventies, Will Durant’s “The Story of Philosophy,” (Amazon.com), which is really all you need to read to understand most of the great philosophers in history and their ideas. The rest is just for those poor, idealistic-but-unfortunate souls who actually take college classes in philosophy. (Likely the experience ruins them for much of their lives, LOL.) Yes, if you’re that intellectual and lonely, as my optical mineralogy professor used to say, “that’s unfortunate.” Either you made a poor choice in your course selection or else you attend an Ivy League school, I guess.

photo of Satre with famous quote about existialism

But really, a lot more people are existentialists than ever realized it. It’s NOT about understanding philosophy, and it’s not about being intellectual in any way at all. The main basis of understanding yourself to be an existentialist is simply a proper and deep understanding of the irony and absurdity of life, especially perhaps, modern life. It is the sort of deep feeling exemplified by the sentence: “That a life like mine should happen to ME.” If you feel that way, you basically are an existentialist. SEE, you are really an existentialist and didn’t know it. You poor person. For those who have some kind of fierce barn durst to get educated about philosophical existentialism, we have provided one of the better videos about this from PBS, below.

What’s wrong with the world, an intelligent explanation: Actually, I have found that MOST people have a strong understanding of the irony, absurdity and wrongness of life in the modern world (and so could call themselves existentialists, should they actually wish to). The reason is that they simply don’t open their heart up and talk honestly with people in caring, nice and empathetic ways. Most people are taught or learn that it’s not “safe” to do that, and, basically they’re right, unfortunately. But also this is the the ONLY way you’re going to really actually communicate with decent, intelligent souls, and find a few friends worth having. It’s a messy process, there’s no way to really “get it right.” There ARE more and less intelligent ways of proceeding to honestly speak from your heart with strangers, with acquaintances, with colleagues, and with friends, and it’s a little different in each case, isn’t it? But to be worthy of doing this, generally you have to go through a lot of sh*t and suffer a good deal of your life. Actually empathetic interactions are easier than you might think, but learning this takes a keen mind and some effort. Jesus talks a lot about “loving your neighbor as yourself.” In conversation isn’t this “loving your neighbor” really listening and responding, isn’t that the simple basis of empathy? It just isn’t rocket science, people.

But then, in many ways life is a learning session, a series of lessons God seems to want you to learn. And by the time in your life that you’ve finally learned the most important lesson (that we need to truly love one another), your life is usually mostly over. Now that’s ironic. The sad thing is that many people never learn this, so the world is a sad, absurdly evil place. But I strongly believe, “love is gathering,” and someday soon, He will come.

If you’re into the whole philosophical side of existentialism, you might enjoy The Existential Quiz on Go To Quiz, a site which no doubt gathers information and sells it to marketers, but nonetheless sounds like a lot of fun. That is, so long as you’re not carrying around some absurd idea about privacy on the internet, LMAO!

See The Jesus Model of Ethics, May 5, 2017, by Paul Evans. In terms of “the golden rule,” there are those who think it might not be the very best way to base an ethical system, because people are at different levels of awareness and knowledge, whereas the golden rule assumes everyone is the same. What might be better is what is called “The Platinum Rule,” Do unto others as they need from you, which allows tough love more easily. (Incidentally, to my acquaintance with her, this is the basic interaction which Cortana gives you on advanced builds or Windows 10: The Platinum Rule. I’d still stick with Linux if I were you.) Sometimes people need different responses, including tough love, because they are at different places in their life’s journey. You have to put in the effort to get to know a person and “get into their head” a little, evaluate where a person is coming from and where his/her head is at, and then try to give them what they need, not what you would do for yourself. This is an important realization. THAT is what love requires of each of us.

Existentialism: Crash Course

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