Existentialism, which like may philosophies, has been viewed as obscure, and in many cases almost meaningless to the common man. May philosophies have been all but dismissed as impractical studies, reserved for intellectual elites, and scholars. These studies are reserved for those who do not need to push through, in the seemingly cruel hamster wheel we call life. This could not be further from the truth.
Even as existentialism has been perverted into another convoluted and distorted intellectual idea, the foundations remain. Existentialism is for the common man.Never before has there been such predication in a way of living, that speaks centrally to the core struggles that the majority of us make on a daily basis. Never before has there been insights that were so profound, yet applied to the most basic principles of life itself. We find ourselves again staring into the abyss of angst, searching for meaning, reaching for hope.
The tools we need to achieve purpose, have always been with us. We are sentient beings, on a cataclysmic journey, one moment at a time. We are undefined, un-purposed and completely lost in ourselves. The angst we all feel, or anxiety in modern terminology, comes from the inherent knowledge deep down that we are all completely free, mortal and completely meaningless. We have the freedom to define our essence in every turn. We hold the keys to purpose and meaning, yet we continually look for the keyhole rather than building the lock.
Mankind, has now progressed leaps and bounds in rationality. We have progressed far in technologies that seemingly bring leaps forward in our struggles to defeat our own design, our mortality. science has for all of its advances in medicine, communications, in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. However, we have fallen further away from the humanity, the existence that makes us human. We have lost the balance that is required by all living things in any ecosystem. We are ushering out humanity for a false sense of immortality. In truth, we are no further along in our journey to fight what is unbeatable, than we were many centuries ago. At the core of our existence, we know this. We live in denial of these things every moment of every day that we do nothing to rebel against it.
We are not meat to rebel against the intellectual structure we run to almost mindlessly. This is the true surrender of our freedom. Freedom is never won in battles, you cannot give freedom to another person. Freedom cannot be won, or taken away from anyone. Freedom is an individual’s personal choice. We are all born free, and we are taught from a young age to yield our freedom to the mass templates we are thrust into. Thus, the focus and priority given to fields of study, that are considered practical, and rational; labeling the humanities as impractical and irrelevant to the common people. This could not be further from the truth. The truth cleverly hidden by our own fears of freedom and exploited by the boxed in, rational believers of the times. Existentialism, as we see it, is the only true answer for the common man, to reach his un-pre-destined greatness. To experience empowerment through freedom, to feelalive in actions, to choose their here and now.
Jean Paul Sartre, one of the most influential minds of our known history, stated that for one to be truly free, we must live in good faith, or live Authentically. This can mean many things, the most apparent, honesty. However, this is not truly what is meant. Authenticity Is living to what YOU believe is YOU! All we have to do to live authentic, is to be free, and thus authenticity and freedom, are indelibly linked, almost cosmically as it were. The ability to know you can make your own choices. This applies to ALL situations, every moment in time. If you are living in good faith, freedom abounds. Only we as individuals can be free; it is then by this definition that we can never be free in groups. Freedom can never be given, earned, won, or stolen.
A core principal in existentialism, and one we believe has been lost due to the overbearing systems placed on us by the masses, is brutal honesty. As we have seen throughout time, man himself, is an honest being. This can bring about many discussions and debates all in itself, however, the primary fault of intellectualism is deceit. The rational side of our lives, or the essence, fears mortality above all. Death, we cannot understand what we have never experienced. Man has since the age of the first breath, fought with his own mortality; sacrificing his existence, freedom, and even families in the pursuit of immortality.
As a group, mankind has defined itself through conquest, suffering, exertion of power, and the appearance of infallibility. At the heart of all oppression are the core traits of bad faith, the one thing that can insure the ruin of us all. Fear, secrecy, and most of all deceit. We as a species feel the need to deny the truth about our mortality in many ways. When we as individuals, allow others to determine what truth is, we have surrendered not only our freedom, but our individuality. When we subscribe to living in the mass consummative and monetized systems, we relinquish ourselves. We also relinquish, at least we are taught to believe, any responsibility we have for the actions of the system. This fear of responsibility, accountability, is the motivation for surrendering the one thing we all publically vie for, freedom. The further we fall in to the seemingly warm and safe, authoritarian existence, we find that angst we were so vehemently trying to escape has now enveloped our entire being, existence and essence.
Let us now, take what we have discovered and apply to our modern, contemporary lives. Most of the beings we see today, circling around in endless patterns of preprogrammed existence, never following their authentic instincts, carry with them the anxieties we all seem to be exposed to. Moving in ever infinite circles, just as our predecessors. We wake, breathe, feed, breed, and die, just as those who came before us. We give artificial meaning to things in our lives to attempt at relating some value to it. We chase corporate consumerism and monetization to somehow quantify our existence. Like the man drinking water from the sea, his thirst never quenched, yet growing stronger by the moment, until he relents to the only thing which is certain; Death.
Charlie Chaplain, made the comment in one of his speeches:” man feels too little and thinks too much”. This is applicable today, nearly one hundred years later. This constant proves the unescapable angst mankind carries due to awareness and cognizance. Existentialism, is not a philosophy for the obscure, ivory tower intellectuals that should like to sit around all day discussing concepts and ideas that have little, to no meaning to the masses. Much like theological doctrine, philosophy was created for the aristocrats. Existentialism, is not so arrogant that it attempts to define human beings, and tell them what their purpose is, rather to set free the human spirit and allow mankind to make himself whole through freedom and self-exploration without deception and dystopic pre-conceptions.
The most challenging step in any process, is the first. Here, we must first take action to become or at least, to attempt to live in good faith. As Authenticity, or the act of living in good faith, is purely individual and a unique journey, only the individual can ascertain exactly what the journey will be. The act of “being”, is critical in the existential path. For only can the individual define their essence. This is the only true Authenticity in life.
The journey to determine what one is, must first start with what one can be. As we are thrust into existence, naked and unknowing, into an existence that is somehow pre-conceived? Pre-planned? Is this really the case? NO. The paradox here is profound. We are born as individuals, into a group. The paradox of the very fact is cataclysmic in nature. We are seemingly created as a single, self-contained being, yet we are thrown into essence from the start as part of a collective. This is not on purpose, as nothing is. The absurdity of this would never stand to reason in the rational mind; hence “das Angst”.
We are taught, from the first time we can feel, not with our conscience minds, but with something much more powerful, our existential sprit. The very beginning, when our spark of existence comes to be, we begin to paint the canvas of our own essence. As adults, already having many moments of programming, experiences, and knowledge, we come to a point where we seem to find hollowness in our existence. We look for answers to why we are here. We develop angst. This develops earlier and earlier as we now continue to transmit our angst inter-generationally, up through time. We are now creating magnified copies of ourselves, rather than crafting the future, we simply and knowingly promote our insecurities, embrace our fears, and teach them to our offspring.
As humans, we are laden with all of the fears, lies, ignorance’s, and even the prejudices of those who are our caregivers as young humans. Even if we are without caregivers, our existence will ALWAYS, struggle to survive. Like an empty sponge, will soak up whatever stimuli is offered to it. We WILL in lack of positive or authentic interactions, accept anything. Many times, in history, we have seen people flock to tyrants, when other leadership is exhausted or otherwise unavailable. With an insurmountable push towards despotism, the ultimate goal of corporate consumerism. We KNOWINGLY, sacrifice our freedom in the name of acceptance, and security in the masses. We sacrifice our own individualism as well as that of our charges.
When trying to determine what is authentic to oneself, we almost always get caught up in others. This is NOT an accident. Our rational mind has been taught that self-love, self-care, almost any activity or belief that centers around individualism and self-reliance is deemed as negative. We think to care for ourselves first is rude and somehow counterproductive. We believe that honesty in the face of reality is summarily and more shockingly, readily excused for deceit regarded to be “socially acceptable”. The reason we are so wrapped up in everything else OTHER than the here and now, the reality that is right on top of us, becomes apparent; we are driven away from self, and driven to us. We are programmed from conception that we NEED the group. There is little doubt why we cannot think in self, without being called selfishin a negative connotation.
Becoming self, is the first critical milestone in reaching authenticity. To simply discuss what it means, is to glance at the abyss. Staring down over the side of a high place, is exhilarating, fearful and mostly an act of pure inquisitiveness. The feelings we experience are no different than the ones we feel as we lean over near certain death. This is the feeling of true freedom. The individual controls their own life in this single moment. This in fact is the lure of suicide. The desire to control what Is otherwise out of control.
Only the individual can determine what is to them, living in good faith. The humanistic segment of our nature, given no other external processes have corrupted it, will most always after the desire to survive, will not choose to harm another. This is true of most creatures. Raw humanity will NOT seek to destroy itself in the individual setting. There has never been a war waged by one man without validation from other men. This is the nature of survival.
Ask yourself, do I, all alone in the dark, and without the validation or criticism of anyone else, feel as I am good to myself? Am I whom I want to be as an individual? This is good faith.
As an Individual, we can have limitless power. We can see things others only view as obscure or meaningless. In these things, we will find that we can define our essence by applying our freedom to everyday tasks and ideas. We can control the Angst, defer the demons, and to the perception of many, become powerful. This is the trickery of existence; your power was already within you. Only the individual can release the power of freedom. All mankind is inherently powerful.
At the core of gaining your existential power, is the reality of what the individual can and cannot accomplish. What are we truly capable of? To determine this, we must first realize how things happen. Many believe in the simplistic narrative of cause and effect. However simple and accurate this may seem, there is much more. As the canvas of our existential self develops with exposure to external stimuli, even early into our days, we are sent askew of truth, and authenticity. Even this it seems to indicate the absurdity of everything. For if an omniscient intelligence, truly created us, and has a preconception for us all; would the this far superior entity have foreseen the obvious design flaws of humanity? The anxieties induced from mankind’s lack of anything more than instinctive survival, are the cornerstone of all evil.
Time, is such a critical factor in all things existential. In fact, in our opinion time is actually an artificial concept used to give quantitative meaning to existence. This idea that the distance from birth to death, must be somehow measured, and assigned value, is absurd in itself. The idea that life, is anything more valuable than the individual that indeed holds that life. The individual’s right to their OWN existence. Freedom to choose the one absolute that we are certain, that at some moment we will all return to nothing just as whence we came. Measuring this space in time, only serves the insecurities of lesser beings; beings that flock to the masses to escape their own mortality as long as they can deceive themselves.
As we are applying our existentialist-like theories in contemporary life, we must however function in the rigidity that is time as we know it today. To say that time does not come with many conveniences, that otherwise are impossible, is completely untrue. Time allows us to deflect many things, quantify our essence and thus assigning value. Time allows us to give essential value, to our existence. This is key if we are truly, to harness our power.
Power from Balance
Learning to live in balance with the essential as well as the existential, is another key component to nurturing your inner power. The strength required trudge onward into that next moment in time EXISTS in our freedom. The ability to not only choose the NOW, but to push into the future, writing the present. Each moment in time thrusting us closer to towards our only assured destiny. This is the luxury time affords mankind. Only conscious mankind experiences time, as we are the only intelligent life, naive enough to believe the deception.
The fears and anxieties we experience, as we try to define our essence while neglecting our existence; or transversely, ignoring our rationality to feed only the existential, proves equally detrimental. Authenticity leads to individuality, which leads to balance in the two realms of being. As we find balance in good faith, angst recedes, power from freedom thrives. The existential spirit becomes rejuvenated and alive once more. In this moment, true power manifests.
Power originating from individual authenticity, is the greatest source of energy in the universe. For if man Is to survive his own extinction, he has these tools in his possession from conception. The power to survive and thrive can ONLY be as an individual. Mankind’s angst and fears stemming from the emptiness thrust upon him drives us to seek power in masses. This deception only serves to deny the inner peace, that comes from empowerment of self.
How do we come to recognize our power as we discover? How do we insure that on the journey to strength, we stay focused on the course without haste or distraction? Only through constant existential inventory of ourselves, are we able to always stay focused. The focus of the individual can never be subsequent to any other desire. Only through learning to live as an individual in the here and now, making choices about our actions through humanistic exploration, can we make decisions, we as humans can accept responsibility for; Thus increasing our power. The more we accept responsibility for the individual choices we make, the further we exercise our freedoms and thus gaining in the only true power.
Essential vs Existential Instincts
We feel since existentialism, in itself is not a true philosophy as defined by the scholars, and intellects dating as far back as Plato, then conventional theories are moot. Only by pushing the limits of perceived ideas, can we truly than begin to express our power through freedom. As with any great idea, you must nurture the dark, with the light.
When we come into existence, we are nothing. We are thrown, quite literally, into the realm of being. We are at this point, honest and free. We survive through our instincts. These instincts, which serve nothing more than to preserve being. In this we find proof of the existential spirit. For if man were to simply be as we assume other creatures to be, oblivious to his fate, then would we require the existential realm? Would we then have the angst, and the push toward an enslavement we can neither touch, taste, or in most cases, comprehend? This need to define oneself is rooted in the fact we are without definition.
As we are delivered into existence, we are simple, complex life forms. The need to sustain our physical, hence, essential needs are paramount. In our infancy, we are given the rational thought to survive. To feed, breathe, breed, and die. All of these things are born to us without the asking or realization of need. The human form, will not discriminate as to how these instinctive needs are met, rather focus on the meeting of these needs. This is the practicality of the essential instincts.
As humans, we are however cursed with the knowledge we “are”. We are also bound by the knowledge that we will once again, no matter the efforts and trials, return to nothing. In this awareness the greatest injustice, was put upon all human kind, hope. The hope that we can change our mortality, that we exist to do more than doe. That we have meaning and purpose, that we can somehow become significant. These things are all false of course. From the earliest stages of development, we feed our children, and thus BOTH, of the realms of existence, with all of the detritus of an existence filled with angst and evil. We try to define our own essence through reproduction, which will happen by design regardless of the efforts of mankind to control it. We attempt to define our essence rather than accepting ourselves as individuals, through child rearing. This is where the tragedy of angst, and lack of balance can truly be seen in clarity, as our lack of balance, lack of true power, and fear of accountability is most visible as we project all of our deficits onto a blank canvas.
As sentient, aware, and intelligent beings, humans are granted the existence of man. Mankind, has through the ages shown a predilection to denying the existential realm of being, in efforts to relish in the essential. As awareness matures, and mankind is programmed, we begin to fear our own creativity. Sartre, believed that genius, could only manifest authentically through creativity, hence art. Thus, making the statement that true genius is only manifested trough art. What makes artistic expression so unique and powerful, that only in this way can we experience our true gifts? Why is it then if all mankind possesses this inner power and freedom, we are so many of us enslaved to consumerism and other tools of mass control? We choose Enslavement over responsibility.
Harnessing Existential Power
We have discussed aspects of existentiality. Let us now examine how we as individuals can re-capture the power we possess without discarding for the false perception, of safety in numbers.
First and foremost, we must strive to live in good faith. We must take every opportunity to further the development of self through individual choices, and beliefs. We must choose to be individual. Humans are not pack animals, we do not need the group to survive! Moreover, we need our individualism to live!
Once the conscious decision has been made to seek authenticity over dystopia, we can develop our sense of essence, or purpose. Imagine for a moment, you were completely without the pressures of the world, free to be whatever YOU decide what you were to be? Is this not true power and freedom? The ability to choose for oneself? Rejecting all, except self, is the only way to be powerful enough, to effect the lives of others. One cannot be truly free and powerful if he chooses to reject freedom.
The truth of existentialism; we are all alone. We are all inherently free, and we are all nothing until our existence can learn to define our essence. Man is destined only to have no destiny. We gain true power from self-empowerment, and the exercise of individualism. Only then can we progress enough to allow for healthy relationships with other life.
We must take back the freedom we have surrendered. Whether this be known or hidden, the power is rooted from doing what the individual believes is right and good.
As we observe the world and the human condition, the damage of self-imposed slavery is undeniable. Glaring in the face of every man woman and child today. The children reflect the angst of their caregivers, as they are the receptacles of all we need to dispose of. The weakest of any group, the children take on the role of emotional waste bins. So, inadvertently, we grow little people with all the damage of adults; No wonder the children are suffering as they, then grow up and have only the examples we have shown them to teach their own, and so on. This self-perpetuating, circle of misery and angst is evident in the existential dread most dwell. We need to realize that happiness is only a greeting card idea, used to control desires of the masses.
Happiness in fact is existential freedom. Power to be is with us all, the power to deceive self, is equally abundant. Refuse to let fear dominate your existence and harness the power for you and prodigy.