A Life of Social Construct & The Stranger

The overlying theme of existentialism is prominent and vivid throughout the novel The Stranger, yet it is also prominent in the lives of everyone in society. Although it’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for me, I realized that my life is made up entirely of systems of power and a series of social constructs which define my everyday life and every single relationship that I have ever had.

During the initial lecture on existentialism, I was in denial and I couldn’t accept that everything that truly mattered to me and added “meaning” to my life are all just constructs and illusions that are deeply rooted in my individual self and in everyone around me. I recognize that no matter how rich, successful, famous, or happy you are, EVERYONE goes through immense pain and suffering throughout their entire lives. I would like to think that I can find meaning in those things that make me happy in addition to things that have caused me pain and have caused me to suffer.

Learning about this theory/concept definitely made me see things from a new perspective, but I wouldn’t say that it necessarily diminished the meaning that I find from different aspects of my life or the things that are most important to me. Although love may be a construct of my imagination, as well as friendship, education, etc., I don’t know what or where I would be without them. I feel as though, as humans, we find comfort in these constructs and add structure to our lives.

7 thoughts on “A Life of Social Construct & The Stranger

  1. YUNHAO XU

    Exactly right, life is a net. An intensive net weaved by all kinds of relationships. Only the people who live without all those illusions can exclude themselves from that net. But no matter you are in or out of the net, the pain and suffering never go away. We are the only people can decide where we would like to go. A place with more restriction but more connected and certain or a place exposed to all the suffering and agony. However, you can soar to wherever you’d like.

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  2. Paige M

    This is an interesting point! I definitely agree that while these systems of power seem restrictive, at the same time, we often find comfort in the structure and familiarity the systems/social constructs provide.

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  3. SETH ENGLE

    Very nice! I agree with you on the basis that we use social constructs everyday but it is important to understand the concept that what we think to be meaningful in our everyday lives was constructed by people in the past.

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  4. Karim A.

    I agree with you but even if they are social constructs, are they not real? Do they not give meaning to my life and other people’s lives even if they are fake?

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  5. Olivia K

    The concept of existentialism definitely shook up my perspective of life to. I completely agree, though, some of the things that were said to have no meaning really matter to me and I would not be where I am today without them.

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  6. MILES HIRSHMAN

    I am in agreement along the lines of being shaken up by existentialism. It is hard to realize that everything that has ever been in my life is really something that was made up by people the same as I. But at the same time, I have no problem with some of these manmade constructs that I live in.

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  7. LILY TROGUS

    I also had a similar initial reaction when discussing existentialism in class. It’s hard to think that we the way society is today was totally made up by the people who came before us. But what gives life meaning if not the validation of these systems by the people. We are a product of what came before and there isn’t much we can do about the already places laws and systems.

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