Existentialism is a philosophical movement that originated in the 19th century and gained widespread popularity in the 20th century. It is concerned with the meaning and purpose of human existence, freedom, and individuality. In this article, we will explore the key concepts of existentialism.

Freedom

One of the fundamental concepts of existentialism is freedom. Existentialists believe that human beings are free to choose their own path in life.

This freedom is not merely external but also internal. According to existentialists, individuals are responsible for their own lives and choices.

Individuality

Another key concept of existentialism is individuality. Existentialists argue that every person is unique and has a distinct personality.

They reject the idea that humans can be reduced to mere objects or categories. Instead, they emphasize the importance of individual experience and subjectivity.

Authenticity

Existentialists value authenticity over conformity or social norms. They argue that individuals should stay true to themselves rather than conforming to society’s expectations. Authenticity involves embracing one’s true self, including both strengths and weaknesses.

Angst

Angst or anxiety is another important concept in existentialism. Existentialists believe that anxiety arises from the awareness of one’s own mortality and the uncertainty of existence. Angst can lead individuals to question their own identity, purpose, and values.

Death

Death is an inevitable part of human existence, and existentialists believe that it plays a significant role in shaping our lives. The awareness of death can motivate individuals to live authentically and pursue their goals without delay.

Meaninglessness

Existentialists argue that life has no inherent meaning or purpose; it is up to individuals to create their own meaning through their actions and choices. They reject the idea that there is a universal meaning that applies to all humans.

Conclusion

Existentialism is a complex philosophical movement that emphasizes individuality, freedom, authenticity, and the importance of confronting the anxieties and uncertainties of human existence. By understanding these key concepts, we can gain a deeper appreciation for existentialist thought and its relevance to our lives.