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Being and dread existentialism - Man.

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Introduction

Being and dread (existentialism): Man. Man sees things everywhere. The books on the shelf, the TV, the couch, the cat, the dog, himself and on and on and on. And he asks himself. What are these things? Are they things in themselves, are we all the same, are we separate, what? Then he says to himself, well I am here now, today I'm gone, and the book is on the table now, and tomorrow it's burning in a book raid. What is going on? Today I do something good, tomorrow I do something bad, people die every day; what's in those, are they important, do they mean anything, is anyone really watching and judging our every move? Now I'm living, tomorrow I'm dead, do I just blink out, can I accept that? What is good, and what is bad? Is there really such a thing? Or is the truth that it really doesn't mean anything. Nothing really is nothing, and we are born to lose our loved ones, one by one and finally our own precious lives to see this proved. When man asks himself these things, he realizes that there is no concrete explanation for it all, and that creates a severe sense of instability in the very essence of himself. ...read more.

Middle

Quoted from Yalom's Love's Executioner: "This basic anxiety emerges from a person's endeavors, conscious and unconscious, to cope with the harsh fact of life, the "givens" of existence. Four givens are particularly evident: 1) The inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love 2) The freedom to make our lives as we will 3) Our ultimate aloneness 4) The absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life. OF these facts of life, death is the most obvious, most intuitively apparent. We learn that death will come, and that from it there is no escape. Nonetheless 'everything,' in Spinoza's words, 'endeavors to persist in its own being.' At one's core there is an ever- present conflict between the wish to continue to exist and the awareness of inevitable death. To adapt to the reality of death, we are endlessly ingenious in devising ways to deny or escape it. When we are young, we deny death with the help of parental reassurances and religious myths; later, we personify it by transforming it into an entity, a monster, a sandman, a demon. After all, if death is some pursuing entity, then one may yet find a way to elude it, besides, frightening as death-bearing monster may be, it is less frightening than the truth - that one carries within the spores of one's own death. ...read more.

Conclusion

While the belief in personal specialness provides a sense of safety form within, (who ever said you were safe?????) the other major mechanism of death denial- belief in an ultimate rescuer- permits us to feel forever watched and protected by an outside force (GOD). Though we may falter, grow ill, though we may arrive at the very edge of life, there is, we are convinced, a looming, omnipotent servant who will always bring us back. Now, if death is inevitable, if all of our accomplishments, indeed our entire solar system, shall one day lie in ruins, if the world is contingent (that is, everything could as well have been otherwise), if human beings must construct the world and the human design within that world, then what enduring meaning can there be in like? This question plagues contemporary men and women, and many seek therapy because they feel their lives to be senseless and aimless. (Which it is) We are meaning-seeking creatures. Meaning provides a sense of mastery: feeling helpless and confused in the face of random, unpatterned events, we seek to order them and, in so doing, gain a sense of control over them. Even more important, meaning gives birth to values and hence, t a code of behavior: thus the answer to why questions (why do I live?) supplies an answer to how questions. (How do I live?)." ...read more.

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