What is Existentialism?

A collage of four precursors of Existentialism...
A collage of four precursors of Existentialism. From top-left clockwise: Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) Public domain due to age of portrait/photography. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Existentialism is the philosophy of existence were it studies the nature of human existence, its value and its meaning.

Because questions about existence have very little interest when people exist as rotting corpses so existentialism is really the philosophy that studies what it is to be alive.

It isn’t defined so much by any unified answer to this question but by the way in which it rejects traditional answers to questions concerning the meaning and value of human life.

Existentialists both theists and atheists reject not only traditional religious systems that attempt to systematically provide pat answers but also the possibility of any ultimate answers.

They insist that even if god and heaven exist the meaning of life and how we should live always be an open questions requiring decisions you must face as an individual.

Because existentialism considers the question of how to live to be important then the philosophy seeks a way with the fact that no answers will be forthcoming.

The French existentialist Albert Camus says that the fundamental question of philosophy is that of suicide  and of whether life is worth living or not?

This question illustrates a widely held theme that traditional religious and ethical systems on how to live our lives would be not valid.

As if life is meaningless and if all the inherited stories aren’t valid—How can you approach the question of how you should live.

How can human beings hungry for meaning in their lives live and flourish without giving in to despair when no meaning is provided to them.

But I think what I will write in the upcoming blog posts would have a different explanations to what the usual existentialism philosophy have as answers.

As I will introduce in my next posts the definition and the point of view of Islamic Existentialism and how the Islam as a religion can be combined in such mainly atheist philosophy.

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