The quote “existence precedes essence” is often referred to as the foundation of existentialism. In just three words it summarizes that our surroundings cannot be changed by the individual, but our existence allows us to create our own values and meaning of life. The basis of existentialism is that human life doesn’t possess any real meaning or value until it is created by an individual.
Existentialist philosophy appeals to many as it is characterized by individualism and freedom, however, the problem that arises from the lack of foundation is that it overemphasizes a separate sense of self. We live in a society where humans interact with other people and objects, therefore there are certain truths we must abide by. This evokes the question of whether one can truly live an existentialist life in today’s society. The answer to this question is that we can partially abide by the principles of existentialism. Through different experiences and adapting to our circumstances we are able to find everlasting personal meaning in life, nevertheless there will always be constraints that prevent us from living a completely existentialist lifestyle.
One thought on “Can One Truly Live an Existentialist Life?”
While I really like the piece about existentialism I completely disagree with the idea that one cannot live a completely existentialist life. Meursault is a perfect example of thing, he decides to kill someone and in turn has to be punished he understands that society deems what he did wrong and understands that he has gone to prison. Even further he understands why what he did is considered wrong and if he really is existentialist it’s not that he doesn’t care but rather that in his values of existentialism death is irrelevant and so life has no meaning. Furthermore once in prison Meursaut comes to terms with being in prison and moves on continuing to live his life through the memories that he has and continues to be happy with himself as he explores new routes to exist within the new circumstances he has to deal with.