Existentialism For and Against

Today while packing books, I enjoyed the lighthearted banter of my two sons on topics ranging from why Vice TV is the greatest thing ever, to whether the wobble in a knife would make it useless for stabbing. I stood unmoving, inconspicuous, sopping up this genuinely male conversation, hoping they would forget I was there and simply carry on.

I learned new things, such as, “I have no f*cks to give,” an expression which my oldest hears daily from his boss.

I learned from my sixteen-year-old why he is an existentialist and not a nihilist and how existentialism can peacefully coincide with Christianity (he used Kierkegaard as his proof…hmmmm). I heard all the reasons why Sarte was amazing and how many people attended his funeral.

Probably the most fascinating thing of all was to hear these two young men look at the condition of the world and accept the parts of life over which they have no influence and no ability to have a positive impact.

I have to admit, though once an existentialist myself, I was unnerved hearing the same thing from my young son’s mouth. I loved him so much and so well, how could he arrive in the same place I had found from my course of distress? In the meantime, my concern has abated slightly as I think of all the ideas I tried on for size when I was young….

I think I may ask him to cook dinner using these recipes….



4 Replies to “Existentialism For and Against”

  1. It is interesting that the word chosen my educators for those who see the bigger picture in the world and look at issues like social justice as prominent is existentialism. I found a good article that looked at different views on existentialism and, depending on its use, it can be a positive force. It can also create conditions to make people feel distanced from the world and alone so it is quite a loaded term.

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