A fantastic lecture series, where the professor explains existentialism with passion and vigor.One of the best lecture series I’ve ever listened to.Period.
Basic points of Existentialism
1. Embrace personal responsibility – Sounds so simple when explained, but here’s the idea.You make choices.You are responsible for these choices.It’s a virtue ethics approach, as opposed to rule systems, motivation theories, or consequential ethics.What matters is the action.You chose it, you are responsible for it.
2. Live life passionately – Existentialists held very little faith in the possibility of an afterlife.Therefore if this is your one shot at life, make the most of it.There is the metaphor Kierkegaard makes of riding a wild horse vs. passively falling asleep in a wagon being pulled by a horse.Existentialists believe you should hop on the horse and ride.It is through passionate commitment that we give our lives meaning.Passionate commitment, say yes to life, commit to it with passion.It’s invigorating.
3. No belief in the afterlife – Neitche hated what he called the “otherworldly.”Existentialists thought that actions should be weighed and justified according to this world, and without relying on any others.This has to do with debating people who are religious, and in historical context this line of reasoning makes a lot more sense.
Other fun facts, I don’t think Camus’ The Stranger is enjoyable without understanding Existentialism. Nietzsche also isn’t as terrible of an atheist as his reputation would have you believe. I thought the lecture on Hesse’s Siddhartha wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been.I think the Kierkegaard section is the strongest, excellent lecture series overall.
It is through passionate commitment that we give our lives meaning
People clamor for freedom of speech, to make up for the freedom of thought which they lack.