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Existentialism Websites Essay, Research Paper

Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature; it is our future that lays down the law of our today. Friedrich Nietzsche said this in one of his famous books about existentialism, Human, all too human. Existentialism is the philosophical movement that is chiefly concerned with individual existence. Its basis lies on the belief that human beings are completely free and responsible for themselves and their actions. Existentialists feel that man is not a detached observer of the world; rather, he “exists” in a special sense – he is “in the world.” Man is not required to make a certain amount of choices, and there are no morals and rules that man must follow. Instead, there is simply a framework in which action and choice are to be viewed, implying that there are right and wrong ways of choosing, although the individual is still completely free to do what he or she wants. Three sites, http://www.lakesideschool.org/people/homepages/lightfoot/Existentialism.htm (Existentialism), http://www.connect.net/ron/exist.html (This is the Existentialism Page), http://www.lakesideschool.org/people/homepages/lightfoot/Existentialism.htm (Themes of Existentialism), in particular deal with the themes of existentialism.

The best of the three existentialism websites is This is the Existentialism page . This site finds the themes of moral individualism, subjectivity, choice and commitment, and dread and anxiety in existentialism. The second website, Themes of Existentialism , focuses on the themes of dread and anguish, absurdity, nothingness and death, and alienation and estrangement. The third website, Existentialism , finds the themes of reason being useless to deal with human life, alienation and estrangement, nothingness, and anxiety and despair in existentialism.

The first website is better than the other two, because it does not only focus on the basic philosophy of despair and alienation that is the trademark of existentialism. The other two websites focus on primarily the depressing and dark themes that are only a small part of existentialism. These sites express the idea that god is in fact, dead, and existentialists are alienated from nature because of technology, which puts us out of tune from true nature. We are alienated from other people because society has forced us to deal with corporations and governments whose employees are not people, but things, functions, and ideas. We also feel alienated from ourselves because they are part of that society. Themes of Existentialism and Existentialism focus primarily on those themes throughout their entire sites, while This is the Existentialism Page does not focus on that theme of existentialism for the entire site. The site does touch on it, because it is one of the main ideas behind existentialism, but it also focuses on the moral and rational, or anti-rational ideas that existentialism is also based upon. In other words, the website does not portray existentialism as a philosophy that is desolate, bleak, and going nowhere, instead, it portrays it as an insightful literary philosophy, and the site also gives a history of the books, poems, and other major literature written by the famous existentialist authors.

This is the Existentialism Page also focuses on the choices that humans face. Existentialists feel that human beings main distinction from plants and other animals is the freedom to choose. We feel that human beings do not have a set nature to conform to much like plants and other animals; instead human beings can create their own nature by the choices that they make. This is a topic that the other websites do not even mention, in fact, Existentialism slightly hints that humans have no choice in their destiny, that we are locked in an abyss which we did not choose to enter, and we cannot leave. This is the exact opposite of the existentialist philosophy, which is based upon the human s freedom to choose without anyone or anything influencing their choices.

All three give a definition of what the existentialist movement is, but the first one has the best definition. Also, the site proceeds to give the history of existentialism, and it gives a background on all of the major existentialist authors. The other sites do not even mention any existentialist literature, even though the first existentialists were writers, and the movement still remains a literary one.

The main qualities of a good existentialist site are a large amount of accurate information on the site, and also that it touches on all aspects of the movement, not just on one or two main themes throughout. The first one is the best by far, mainly because of the last criteria. The other two barely, if at all, mentioned the non-apocalyptic themes that existentialism believes in, and they made existentialists come across as a bunch of suicidal weenies. Also, the first site provided a relatively brief background on the history of existentialism, and it also mentioned the major authors and founders of existentialism. The second one would be the next best website, mainly because it got across the message that existentialism is about the humans basic freedom of choice. The third one came in last because it missed a major point of existentialism, the whole freedom of choice. So, if you want good information on existentialism, go to the first site, and skip the other two.


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