Existentialism discussion

What's so neo about Existentialism?

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message 1: by Jef (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:27AM) (new)

Jef | 3 comments See above.

message 2: by Jef (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:28AM) (new)

Jef | 3 comments I think Nude Existentialism might be better ahahaha. Nah, the title is clear was interested in the "official definition". Any recs on books that are Neo Existen perhaps along the same lines as Fight Club?

message 3: by S (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:30AM) (new)

S | 2 comments "along the lines" of the philosophy of fight club - The myth of sisyphus (camus)
"thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. by the mere activity of conciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death..."
good stuff this.

message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:30AM) (new)

It feels a bit wrong categorizing anything related to Brad Pitt as existentialism.

message 5: by Jef (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:30AM) (new)

Jef | 3 comments LOL. yeah stick with the book, though I do love the movie.

message 6: by S (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:30AM) (new)

S | 2 comments yes boys, but then I don't suppose we can blame Palahniuk for brad pitt any more than we can blame brad pitt for Palahniuk's shoddy(i don't know..maybe I need to read more of him)writting.
the recomendation still stands - Myth of Sisyphus....think that its indicitive of the underlying principles P. was trying to get at in said book. In anycase it's a good primer for said subject. and a good read in general.

message 7: by Christian (new)

Christian | 1 comments For book recommendations I agree that The Myth of Sisyphus by Camus is a good one. Some of the books that Camus draws upon in that essay like The Possessed by Dostoevsky would also be good background material.

message 8: by Winslow (new)

Winslow Taylor | 2 comments Myth of Sisyphus is of course included. Anything by Dosteovsky is applicable. Crime and Punishment for sure. Not to mention Kafka. C'est un conversation interessant.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I guess you have to define existentialism first which is not too easy as we tend to categorize philosphers and others who did not claim to be existentialists. In my personal opinion, I think Thomas Flynn's five themes are quite reasonable for a start.

1) What you are is a result of your choices
2) The past,present, and future differ among themselves in value and meaning to the individual.
3)Pursuit of identity and meaning in the social and economic conditions of society.
4)We are as responsible as we are free.
5)Authenticity of our personal lives from an ethical perspective. He also includes that of society.

Taken from that perspective, I do not think there is much new (neo) in existentialism. In contrast to some people's opinion, I think the "meaning of life" is being answered in a more humanistic nature rather than the worrying how religion fits into our belief systems.

I think Samuel Butler in his book "The Way of All Flesh" gave me a perspective I have kept. Religious faith or denial of religious faith are extremes of the same subject. They are more like love and hate and it is very easy to cross from one to the other depending on individual circumstances. As Butler stated "It's a fight about names".

Bertrand Russell didn't think it was worth answering the question. ("Why Do We Exist"?)

There is no universal answer to the question. But everyone should be able to come to a personal answer. My own life can be given meaning by "structuring" it around "purposes, values, and desires that I choose to pursue."

Dostoyevsky was still fighting with his religious heritage. I enjoy his books as much for psychology as philosophy. My favourite of the three I have read is definitely Notes From Underground.

Camus did not claim to be a existentialist but we like to categorize people. A general failing of people including myself at times. He was young and searching for his own personal answers. WWII and the problems in Algeria definitely impacted on his personal beliefs.

Didn't enjoy "The Fight Club" but I generally do not like violent movies to make a point although I did enjoy "Crash".

message 10: by Greg (new)

Greg | 2 comments Camus- The Stranger
Dostoyevsky- Notes from the Underground
Nietzsche- Beyond Good and Evil (not a story but an absolute must read)

message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura Book Binge Blog (oaki) | 1 comments Sartre and Beauvoir?

message 12: by Usman (new)

Usman | 1 comments deleted user wrote: "I guess you have to define existentialism first which is not too easy as we tend to categorize philosphers and others who did not claim to be existentialists. In my personal opinion, I think Thomas..."

Agreed except for the bit about bertrand Russell. Read his work "problems of philosophy" it might sway your view perhaps

message 13: by Connor (new)

Connor Meyers | 1 comments Am I interpreting this discussion correctly? You want to hear some existential movies and books?

Fight Club: (Although, this one can be taken out of context and many people use it as an example when making the erroneous assumption that existentialism is an excuse for anarchy. It must be said, when referring to this one, that just because a movie is existential does not mean that every aspect of it is encouraged by existentialism. The chaos and anarchy that ensue are merely consequential to an existential restlessness in the face of immediacy. And, having nothing to do with existentialism, due to a mental disorder.)

American Beauty: (This one has a very simple and straightforward message of existentialism that flows through a majority of the plot. It chronicles a man who is nearly crushed under the weight of an unbearably tedious life and his existential awakening which reminds him that the responsibility for his life is on him. This promotes him to begin actively choosing decisions in the moment as they best fit him, and to stop putting off living for a future date or event that is unpromised.)

The Matrix: (This one is extremely symbolic, but if you critically analyze it, all of existentialism's key points are right there. You have The Matrix, this fabricated world that is constructed as a comfortable explaination for all things. It is a shelter to hide us from the bleakness of the real world. You have Morpheus who symbolizes anxiety [the feeling of uneasiness you get when you begin to question your existence and realize that it is meaningless. The feeling of the completely fabricated 'matrix' that has been pulled over your eyes no longer being an acceptable answer to the question of 'Why am I here?'] And you have the real world; yeah, it looks a little scary, because it IS scary. It's hard admitting that there is no universal guide in the sky to tell you what to do and what not to do. But [and this is the part that I don't think was potrayed well enough in the movie] that nothingness is the beauty of it. With no right, no wrong, and no 'you must do this,' you are completely free to and responsible for creating your own meaning in life through your desires and actions and achievements. And it is scary to some, prompting the Sartre quote, "Man is condemned to be free.")

I believe these to be examples of Neo-Existentialism as these movies were all released within the past fifty years. They are modern.
As far as books go, I would recommend:

-The Fall by Albert Camus (Everyone always suggests The Stranger; I feel that this one commonly gets overshadowed, unjustly so.)
-Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre (Camus's student, so I would urge reading 'The Fall' first, although they are both incredible.)
-Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche (My favorite Nietzsche, and I do not want to go into too much detail with these books as I do not have enough characters left in this or any post to accurately summarize these works.)

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