December 7, 2008 § 3 Comments
Recently in IDC, the class has been discussing the idea of existentialism.
Before I explain what my take on existentialism is, I will have to prepare your mind for it is a very difficult idea to grasp. Even I do not have a clear understanding of it.
What drives society? Success, and money. Since capitalism is conventional, people will work hard to get money to get what they want. Countries that do not follow this are unconventional or its the other way around. What I am trying to say is that everything we do is based on our wants.
I want to end poverty, so I go to an institution to gain adequate amount of knowledge so that I can get a stable job so I can give money to charity.
Even survival needs have become wants.
I need shelter, I want a big house.
I need food, I want to eat something nice
I need water, I want to take a long hot bath.
What was a privileged became a want. What we want is what we need.
I need an ipod because I can’t live without music.
I need a laptop because I can’t work.
I need a car because I can’t get to where I want to go.
Now we can get into existentialism.
If you put a newborn baby in a confined space where it has nobody to interact with, it will die and become nothing. The baby itself will have no form of thought and therefore would not know whether it existed or not. We know the baby exist for we see it. Therefore we want to free it from its space, feed it and maybe even want to give it a proper name. We want it to exist. However, because the baby does not know of these things, to itself, it does not exist. In summary, human greed can be attributed to humans wanting to exist, despite being nothing. But normally, we would be born into society, to die and become nothing. Yes, we will live on in the thoughts of others, but our thoughts will die with us and become nothing. Hence, we are nothing because we will become nothing. Then what is something? There is no human nature. What we think exists are mere illusions to cover up our blemishes. Everything is an excuse.
Because I am an American, I can act this way.
Because I had a bad childhood experience, I will kill bad people.
Because I am stupid, I can’t help other people.
Because I am rich, I can now donate money to the poor.
Because I am human…
We were influenced to pretend to exist. If the baby in that room had been given a proper name, and a proper family, it would grow and live to be another person you see on the subway, who will have desires, good or bad. But if everything originated from nothing, and will become nothing then that person you see on the subway may not have existed, their desires may not have existed, good and bad may not have existed.
Nothing, like the word unique, is not comparable. You can not have more nothing, or less nothing, nothing is nothing. Referring to the baby example, since the baby did not exist, it alone was nothing. But when you think about it, if everyone else is nothing, then you are just one person in nothing. When you strip off the illusions, we are all nothing. When conventions fall apart, and there is nothing left to influence are thought, we are all nothing.
Like the Rebuild Evangelion title says “You are (not) alone.”