Download e-book for kindle: An Introduction to Existentialism by Robert G. Olson

By Robert G. Olson

ISBN-10: 0486200558

ISBN-13: 9780486200552

Vital consultant to 1 of the main influential idea structures of our century. Stressing the paintings of Heidegger and Sartre, it bargains a cautious and goal exam of the existentialist place and values — freedom of selection, person dignity, own love, artistic attempt — and solutions to the everlasting questions of the human .

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And just as of the grandest kingdoms and empires of mankind and the marvellous things achieved therein, very famous in their own times, no vestige or memory remains today, so, in like manner, of the entire world and of the vicissitudes and calamities of all created things there will not remain a single trace, but a naked silence and a most profound stillness will fill the immensity of space. 1 The peculiar liability of twentieth-century man to the anguish of being is in part a legacy of the traditional Christian-Hebraic belief in creation ex nihilo and the Christian eschatological doctrine of the Last Judgment.

There would be a purposive economy wherein . . the needs of all would be supplied. . Without struggle . . the joys of life would be provided for all in unalterable allotments, with the expenditure of little labor and with ample scope for pastime. 43 In truth, however, such a condition of affairs is impossible. It is prevented by the working of incalculable natural forces. . There may be the specific misfortune of a failure of technique. Perhaps the persistence of the campaign against diseases, temporarily to all appearances overwhelming in its success, will rob human beings of their immunity, will deprive them of it so completely that an unanticipated pestilence will sweep away the whole race.

As Kierkegaard put it, he wants a value by which he is prepared to live and for which, if necessary, he is willing to die. ” It is not blindness to danger, but the intense awareness of danger which makes the blood mount. In sum, existentialist values have a common source, a common function, and a common identifying characteristic. Their common source is an acute awareness of the tragedy inherent in the human condition. Their common function is to liberate us from the fears and frustrations of everyday life or the tedium of philosophical daydreaming.

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An Introduction to Existentialism by Robert G. Olson

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