The dark side of existentialism...

I adore the idea of free choice: I think it explains a lot of things. Am I an existentialist, though? No longer! My existential Psychology professor really only gave me a half-baked impression of existentialism. Little did I realize, the famous line which defines the philosophy, “existence precedes essence” actually ends up blotting out my connection with THE real God, my creator (and no, I ain’t referrin’ to myself). I did not choose to have the power to choose–God did.

The way existentialism messes things up, is really quite easy to understand: ESSENCE must actually precede (my) existence, or at least IMMEDIATELY coincide with it. (Otherwise, how do I exist APART from the absolute truth that I presently exist?) Truly if anything comes before or after anything, my existence comes AFTER the essence of my non-divine, human nature. To say that “I” existed BEFORE my human nature (essence), is to call me… yes that’s right–but I’ll let the reader finish the logical conclusion for themself. (Here’s a hint: it is “pure” relativism, based on whatsoevereth thou mighteth desireth!) A number of parallels springs up here, too: reincarnation, solipsism, and the like. And of course now, secular humanism here we come!

I’d warmly welcome any essential human soul telling me why I’m wrong here. :slight_smile: Perhaps you could even tell me how a human soul, in its essence of being a human soul, could exist as a soul, APART from first being a soul… see, yeah: it doesn’t really make much sense to me, but maybe a more “experienced” person could enlighten me. :wink:

Thanks!
Jason

p.s. the reason I am mentioning this philosophy on this message board, is because at one time I kinda thought maybe I could put existentialism with Catholicism. :rolleyes: Whatever…

The “dark side” of existentialism? Is there a “bright” side of the philosophy? I mean Camus, Sartre, Kirkegaard - this is a not a bunch of folks known for their indefatigable cheeriness…

:wink:

GrzeszDeL good point… lol I didn’t really think about it like that before. :thumbsup:

Hey Love-Bias,
Why do people even exist if stuff is going wrong in their life?
I mean I try and I try…but it seems like everything I do turns out wrong or something…or I lose someone or something.
I do not think I should even exist in this world, but my friends keep telling me that I should, but i just dont even have a clue what God is doing in my life… i read my bible and pray everyday but it seems like God isnt helping me…I dont know what it is…Maybe I should probably just not go on with life, cuz nothing seems to be right anymore…

:confused::banghead:

If anyone coudl hlep me, plz do…

Thanks…
God Bless

Hi "fruitloops_10,"
Thanks for asking for help. You might actualy like to try taking everything you’ve written and creating a new thread. :slight_smile: That way, people could see the title and know ahead of time what to expect of your questions and so forth. Your topic, it seems to me, is indeed quite suitable for a thread alone dealing specificaly with your concerns.

Nonetheless, here I shall try to answer your question(s) regarding existence; and though this reply may seem simple, it’s actualy quite an infinite response: you live to love God, be loved by God, and the same with your fellow Man–love and be loved by them as well. In a way it’s kind of ironic that you asked someone such a question, who has the screen name “love-bias,” and who has the quote that I now have. :wink:

Personaly the only reason I care to live, is love. To quote Sixpence None the Richer, and their song, Love: “…It is patience, it is kindness… It is rain after the dryness… Sister Wisdom, help me see It’s the one thing that I need…”

Please don’t make the secular romanticist’s mistake of thinking that love is merely something like “sparks” between human beings. In a way, that kind of “love” has to with selfishness. (I’m not saying that couples are selfish–but they could be selfish, without divine love)

The kind of love that I’m trying to speak of quite seriously is divine love. It is unfathomable, atheists, so please don’t make me explain it to you.

Here’s a link to a great Catholic Answer’s essay on God’s love for you. Please enjoy: catholic.com/library/gods_love_for_you.asp

And for future reference, again I’ll say you’d probably get many more responses if you started a thread specifically about your topic. (The ones who came to read what this thread was about weren’t expecting to come across your questions, and hence they may not be “qualified” to answer them. But if there are any who are “qualified” to answer you questions–e.g. from personal experience–they won’t even know where to find your question, because it remains hidden in an altogether different thread.)

I hope this helped a little. --Oh, and one more thing: God “messes” with those He loves. Natural disasters, pain and the like: they’re all ways for letting us know that we’re not the only persons in existence, and that we’re not the rulers of the Universe. :smiley:

God bless!
If you seek, you really will find!!!
Jason

Thanks, Love Biased…

That helped me and I will continue to seek God’s will and pray for my will of my life. Also, I hope we can be friends too…

ttyl,
Bye…

God Bless.

Thanks, Love Biased…

That helped me and I will continue to seek God’s will and pray for my will of my life. Also, I hope we can be friends too…

ttyl,
Bye…

God Bless.

You’re welcome… for anyone reading this who may be confused here, please let me explain: “fruitloops_10” is a friend of mine (we know each other in real life). I emailed a few of my friends to request their opinions on my thread subject (“the dark side of existentialism”), and evidently instead of commenting on my actual ideas, she chose to write something else. :confused:

I just thought I’d explain to the reader, why this thread may seem “fishy.” :o

Jason

Yeah, me and Jason are friends in real life, but
I read Jason’s post and i had a question to ask the
board…i should of put it on thread…anywho, i think im going to do that now so ya’ll dont think anything…

sorry Jason for all this confusion or what it may seem to be to you.

k.
God Bless:yup:

Jason
I agree with your idea of existentialism and sorry for writing something else…:frowning: I didnt know it hurt ur feelings…oh well.
guess ill talk to you later…

D

lol, thank you Dayna. God bless you!
Hey I’m just concerned about messin’ up the order of things. That’s all. :wink: Don’t wanna do that.

Anyhow Dayna, I hope you come back in the future, and find some answers you may be seeking. Believe me, answers are here for you.

Also… I look forward to debating with you. :smiley:

:blessyou:
Jason

Hey Jason,
Thanks… Ive been thinking about you…hope your doing well…
I look forward to debating with you too.hopefully ill cya around this board sometime soon

God Bless!

Jason,
Your “essence” and my “reality” are not recognizing one another.

I had an old Nun who had spent 36 years in the middle east as a Hospice Nurse ( she helped thousands to die peacefully) tell me that when a human dies…it takes a little while for that person’s “essence” to leave and to go where it is supposed to go.

She was, I think, telling me the soul was called an “essence” while it is first embodied. But a soul is a soul is a soul! You can leave reality if you want, but what is the point?:yup:

[quote=love-bias]I adore the idea of free choice: I think it explains a lot of things. Am I an existentialist, though? No longer! My existential Psychology professor really only gave me a half-baked impression of existentialism. Little did I realize, the famous line which defines the philosophy, “existence precedes essence” actually ends up blotting out my connection with THE real God, my creator (and no, I ain’t referrin’ to myself). I did not choose to have the power to choose–God did.

[/quote]

I hope you do not mind outsiders intruding into a private converstion, but since you are on the forum and not PMing, I venture to do so in going back to your original comment.

The role of existentialism in the so-called social revolution of the 1960s was immense and little studied or commented upon. I went to a big state university, my husband-to-be went to a Jesuit college. We both found existentiast philosophy permeated every discipline, not only literature and history, but also math and sciences. you accurately describe the roots of the exitstentialist fallacy, good marks for your prof if you emerged from your Phil. course with this ability. I think this influence in Catholic colleges in the 50s and 60s goes a great way to explain what happened in the Catholic Church beginning in those decades, since so much of the dissent has arisen from the so called well-educated class of Catholics.

[quote=Exporter]Jason,
Your “essence” and my “reality” are not recognizing one another.
[/quote]

Who’s reality?
The very fact that you find yourself capable of saying “my reality” implies essence. If the essence of you did not exist, well, then you simply wouldn’t be capable of even having “a” reality. Perceptionless, you wouldn’t even be able to have the capability of “creating” reality: for who would be “creating” reality? It is you who thinks that there even is a reality.

I had an old Nun who had spent 36 years in the middle east as a Hospice Nurse ( she helped thousands to die peacefully) tell me that when a human dies…it takes a little while for that person’s “essence” to leave and to go where it is supposed to go.

I’ll be honest, I know very little about the process of dying; so I’ll just have to take her on that for the most part. But I suggest that as we die, our soul does not slowly fade, as though it is some kind of “juice” within; but rather our body (and its functions) fades–which would perhaps make it seem like our soul is fading. Ever skip eating for a day? You feel really tired and light headed if you do; and you may not even be able to interact with as much vitality as you used to: but I feel quite confident in asserting that your soul (who you are) is there somewhere inside of you, completely. And I figure either you are present (though maybe weak), or you are not present.

She was, I think, telling me the soul was called an “essence” while it is first embodied. But a soul is a soul is a soul!

In body or “out” of body, if a soul exists, yes I believe you’re right: a soul is a soul. What else can it be other than a soul? Maybe the existential line, “existence precedes essence” is an attempt at saying that a soul exists before it “comes into flesh.” But must essence be limited to flesh? Does the soul not have its own essence too? The way I see it, either something exists, or it doesn’t. And try saying that existence can “be” without essence, but how can something exist unless it exists? Unless it exists? What is this it? I’m trying to point attention to the soul–or if you like, your “existence”. I’m trying to avoid being redundant, but I’ll say this: your experiences, and everything you know about “your” reality are based on your existence; and your existence immediately coincides with its essence which causes your soul to exist. Otherwise, without your existence’s essence of its existence, there simply is no existence! Existence cannot precede essence. It is impossible for nothing to beget something. It is only the essence of what is which can beget existence. If existence is true, then essence is simultaneously necessary.

:o I’m really sorry if I seem confusing–I’m starting to confuse myself actually! I’m trying to be clear, but I think I’m failing miserably. “Exporter,” I hope I don’t seem too defensive. It’s just that–even though some may not like it–I’m trying to kill the idea of existentialism. I think it’s done a lot of harm in the world. Some would like to think it’s helpful, and “liberating,” and could even lead one to a good faith. But existentialism tries to replace God with itself. It tries to say, “oh yes, God is good. But only if you think he is!” Existentialism tries to replace fact with opinion. (Which is why I think a lot of college students and professors are so mixed up: they think if they make up a story, it somehow becomes true as absolute) I really hope I don’t sound like some babbling, self-conceited college youngster. I’m just trying to establish truth.

I welcome further comments and replies from anyone.
God bless,
Jason

[quote=puzzleannie]I hope you do not mind outsiders intruding into a private converstion, but since you are on the forum and not PMing, I venture to do so in going back to your original comment.

The role of existentialism in the so-called social revolution of the 1960s was immense and little studied or commented upon. I went to a big state university, my husband-to-be went to a Jesuit college. We both found existentiast philosophy permeated every discipline, not only literature and history, but also math and sciences. you accurately describe the roots of the exitstentialist fallacy, good marks for your prof if you emerged from your Phil. course with this ability. I think this influence in Catholic colleges in the 50s and 60s goes a great way to explain what happened in the Catholic Church beginning in those decades, since so much of the dissent has arisen from the so called well-educated class of Catholics.
[/quote]

“puzzleannie,” thanks very much for your words! Now I know I’m not insane! :slight_smile:

Yeah, I really started to see existentialism’s impact on even “Catholicism” when I picked up a book to read by supposed Catholics, and one guy in the book started saying how the Catholic Church needs to be reformed and stuff, and existentialism is the answer. :frowning: But surely existentialism isn’t the answer for both Christians and non Christians! How could that be, unless, simply, Christianity is not true???

Existentialism is really sly and sneaky too. It’s so darned hard to pin it down, and then before you know it, it puffs up so many possible lies which seem so true.

Most dictionaries don’t even have the correct or complete definition of existentialism! They all seem to say, “related to existence.” :confused: Or at best, “a movement of personal responsibility.” PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO WHOM??? They won’t even clarify: “to only the self and its desires.”

Thanks again "puzzleannie,"
and God bless you and your family!
Jason

[quote=Exporter]Jason,
Your “essence” and my “reality” are not recognizing one another.

I had an old Nun who had spent 36 years in the middle east as a Hospice Nurse ( she helped thousands to die peacefully) tell me that when a human dies…it takes a little while for that person’s “essence” to leave and to go where it is supposed to go.

She was, I think, telling me the soul was called an “essence” while it is first embodied. But a soul is a soul is a soul! You can leave reality if you want, but what is the point?:yup:
[/quote]

“Exporter,” by the way: at least I thought you were disagreeing with me… now I’m not really sure. I just now read over your post again and the nodding head at the end really stuck out to me… I hope I didn’t somehow get confused into thinking you were disagreeing with me when you were agreeing.

This whole existentialism thing is confusing! Whew!

umm… I tried my best in any case. :o

Jason, what is the existentalism? im so confused right now…
anything would be helpful…

God Bless
Dayna

I’ve done some thinking…
and, I think existentialism is really just another word for free choice. In order for free choice to exist, truly existence must precede essence–or else the uncontrollable essence is ultimately what is doing the choosing. Without existence preceding essence, choice would not exist. And truly, CONSCIOUSNESS disproves any possible determinism. So by the very fact that someone could choose to believe a lie over a known truth, existentialism proves itself true.

In other words: the fact that I could choose insanity over sanity (if I wanted to), proves existentialism true–even though existentialism (to me) seems insane.

I guess ultimately it isn’t the human’s ability to choose that is bad; nor is a deep recognition of our ability to choose, bad. The only thing bad is making a bad choice. ***And on that note: of course we must have the means of affecting “essence;” we must precede essence and be capable of shaping “essence” (reality) into what we choose (1). We must be able to justify things to ourself–even if it is by twisting objective reality. (Which is actually just like that little boy in the Matrix said: “it’s not the spoon that bends, it is you that bends.”)

Again I’ll say, it isn’t the ability to do this that is bad. It is the “essence” you create for yourself that is either good or bad: does “your reality” correspond to the true reality, or have you turned inward and twisted yourself, sinning?

I was earlier perplexed by the fact that an “essential person” could exist absolutely, and yet a possibility of them lying to themself and others, by saying “I don’t exist,” could be there. For some existing person to actually think/believe they don’t exist: that’s insane yes, but that “insanity” is just proof that existence (the “mysterious essence” of them, and everything they will/choose) truly does precede essence (everything they believe, “know,” hope for, etc).

Maybe I don’t like the fact that “what is” can deny its own being (insanity); but nonetheless, that very ability does prove that (I’ll say it again) existence does precede essence. (I was wrong earlier…)

And another thing: the reason existentialism stresses the individual’s responsibility only to him/herself, is because it’s true. Consider this: when the individual sins horribly, who pays the cost? If an individual ends up rejecting the Holy Spirit, who is responsible? When the damned sinner is sentenced to Hell, who is it that goes to Hell? Or when the Saint is permitted into Heaven, who is it that goes to Heaven?

So as much as I hate to admit it, I really am responsible solely for my actions… Golly! Those Frenchmen were way ahead of me!!!

(1) By the way, something I should have done before: I found that existentialism is actually in the Catechism of the Catholic Church!!! :hmmm: Who knew??? CCC1731 “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.”

CONTINUED ------->

CONTINUED------->

So, just to make sure I’ve spoken my mind, here’s what I’ve found in a nutshell: the absolute truth which I sanely know, is that I exist. And: we’re indeed “destined to choose,” because the only essence we initially have which determines, is *free choice. Were based on free choice. *Truth be told now, “choice” is way more existence than it is essence–hence existence precedes essence. And: the only real determinism that exists is that we didn’t originally choose to be choosers. :slight_smile:

I know, I have a ridiculous monologuing obsession. Maybe I’m obsessed with the “sound” of my own voice, lol. Anyway, thanks for reading, whoever has.

And again, I welcome any questions/comments.
Thanks!
Jason

[quote=fruitloops_10]Jason, what is the existentalism? im so confused right now…
anything would be helpful…

God Bless
Dayna
[/quote]

"Philosophical movement harking back to Kierkegaard and flowering most notably in the work of Sartre and Heidegger in the mid twentieth century. It maintains, roughly, that the thinking subjects existence precedes its essence, and that our subjective existence, as thinkers, consequently is radically free, cannot be objectively construed, and is consequently incapable of any objective scientific characterization. See also: objective, subjective."
members.aol.com/lshauser2/lexicon.html

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