Hoppes – Book Report/Review Example
Existentialism is much misunderstood and reviled throughout history, however, not enough people truly understand the concepts of existentialism, muchless appreciate them. In simple words, existentialism lays does that “existence precedes essence”, that is to say that only after man is brought into this world can he attempt to define himself.
This means that there is no “true nature” of man, but that man is what he makes himself out to be; he is defined through his actions, which, according to existentialists, relate not only to himself, but to the whole of humanity.
This responsibility almost always causes anguish in man, because now he is aware that not only is he the sum of his actions, unable to make excuses for himself, but that whatever he does reflects on the whole of humanity. There is no a priori good based on the existence of God in life; man is condemned to freedom: the freedom to choose what he wants to be by choosing what he wants to do. I really liked the quote of Dostoievsky: “If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible”, because if man did not believe in God, he would come to the realization that he is free to do whatever he wants to do.
This freedom often scares man because now he can no longer blame anything or anyone else for his own actions; he has to take full responsibility of his actions, which is very hard to do. People are more comfortable making excuses for themselves and believing that they are made a certain way than to believe the existentialist philosophy that they choose to become whatever it is that they are. It is very fascinating how nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions, and as existentialism forces them to do so, they come up with vague, half-baked and untrue statements about it.