Saturday, 27 February 2010



To Existentialists, there are no reasons, there is no particular purpose - existence is the only thing there is. But it's not as simple as that.

They say nothing has any point, so when people say "I don't care" or "whatever", it is an existentialist trait.

But (using instead of 'however' just to please Chris - 'bad faith'), in Jean-Paul Sartre's 'Existentialism is Humanism',

It may appear grim for somebody to have these views, but some of their philosophy is definitly valuable.

Albert Camus - 'The Outsider'

This book involves a white man who decides to murder a black man for no reason. This draws upon the Existentialist attitude that there should be no limit to action and self-expressionism - even if it involves killing another human being.

"Might as well, it's as pointless as anything else."

Another interesting aspect of the philosophy comes when the man is told to apologise in court, but he refuses as he simply isn't sorry. It enforces the strong belief in Existentialism that avoids conforming. For example, to conform would be to apologise, just to get a shorter sentence.

Jean-Paul Sartre - 'Nausea'

'Nausea' tells a story of a man who is trapped after getting a woman pregnant. He doesn't know whether to leave her or ask her to get an abortion etc.

As a result, he constantly suffers with nausea as he is reliant upon her decision. This brings about Sartre's famous quote: "hell is other people".

The moral of this story is to act make your own choices before somebody else decides for you. More importantly, once you have decided, you should make a passionate commitment to fulfilling it.

Generally, Existentialists think one of the main purposes of life is to make a passionate commitment to something (e.g. - Me following Saints FC until I die!)

Non-teleological thinkers

Existentialists believe that Western philosophers have made a mistake in looking for being.

Instead, they think that life is one big void of nothingness. There is no reason for anything.

This contradicts teleological thinkers such as Hegel and Marx who say everything has a purpose (e.g. - we live a good life to get back to the Garden of Eden).

Positive elements of Existentialism

Existentialists very much endorse 'personal liberation' and reject the idea that one should conform to what ever stereotype they may be attached with.

They believe you are born with a story (thrownness), and it is up to you to re-tell this story. The past has gone, the future is yet to come, so live for the 'eternal now.'

Always act in good faith, in that you should be honest rather than fake in what you do. Existentialists hated the Nazis as their policies were largely based on lies (bad faith towards Germans).

'So-called existence'

'So-called existence' is the theory that people should go through certain rites of passage in life at specific times (e.g. - going to school at 5, getting married in your 20s).

Existentialists strongly disagree with this idea and say you should hit these milestones at any point you want - or not as the case may be.

Existential Oppression

Existentialists believe that nobody can and/or should be summed up.

For example, they hate any assertion that women shouldn't play sport. This is called 'Existential Oppression'.


Some believe Existentialism is just Marxism minus teleology (i.e - change/revolution, but for no reason).

After the epic failure in Communist Russia, some say that it was an example of neo-Marxism - an attempt to reinvigorate the class struggle between the bourgeoisie (now called determinists) and the proletariat (non-determinists).

This resembles Nietzsche's idea: "determine your own destiny or somebody will determine it for you."


  1. very good work - if you say 'but' when you really believe you should say 'however' then that is indeed bad faith - BUT you wll have to be able to justify why you think however is better.

  2. very good notes - an excellent blog that has really come to life and is getting a fair bit of traffic now. Great work on WINOL when we are never short of a forward lead for a news story - its an apparently unglamourous job but the key to the whole operation in a way and this is well known in the business.

  3. excellent notes - this blog has really come to life. Your contribution to WINOL has been cerntral - its an unglamourous but coierw job planning the forward events - and where we are having success the forward planning is a big part of that. Keep up the excellent work.

  4. Thanks Chris, wish I could have more effect but the feeds are usually light (cos its Winchester!)

    Haha, yeah, the thing is I hate the word 'but' too!

    I'd like it if I went through the SEOs again on my blog if you have a spare page rank keeps going down and I don't know why!