Existentialism is a philosophical movement that centers on the individual existence and experience of human beings. One of the most controversial topics in existentialism revolves around the concept of suicide. In this article, we will explore what existentialism says about suicide and how it relates to the human condition.
What is Existentialism?
Before we delve into the topic of suicide, let’s first understand what existentialism is. Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom, choice, and responsibility.
It posits that individuals are responsible for creating their own meaning and purpose in life. In essence, it asserts that humans are free to create their own destiny.
What Does Existentialism Say About Suicide?
Existentialism acknowledges that life can be painful and chaotic, and that individuals may experience feelings of despair or hopelessness. Suicide can appear as an escape from this pain. However, existentialists argue that suicide is not a solution to life’s problems.
According to existentialists, suicide is a rejection of life itself. It denies the possibility of creating meaning in one’s life and assumes that there is no hope for change or improvement. In essence, it is seen as an act of cowardice rather than bravery.
One of the key concepts in existential thought is “the absurd.” The absurd refers to the struggle between our desire for meaning and purpose in life and the realization that there may be no inherent meaning or purpose in existence.
Existentialists argue that rather than succumbing to despair or nihilism, individuals should embrace the absurdity of existence and use their freedom to create their own meaning. Suicide denies this opportunity for self-creation.
Another important concept in existential thought is authenticity. Authenticity refers to living one’s life according to one’s own values rather than conforming to societal expectations or external pressures.
Existentialists argue that suicide is an inauthentic act because it is a response to external circumstances rather than a reflection of one’s own values. In essence, it is a surrender to societal pressures rather than an act of individual freedom.
In conclusion, existentialism posits that suicide is not a valid solution to life’s problems. It denies the possibility of creating meaning and purpose in life and represents a rejection of the freedom and responsibility inherent in the human condition.
Instead, existentialists argue that individuals should embrace the absurdity of existence and use their freedom to create their own meaning. By doing so, they can live authentically and confront the challenges of life with courage and resilience.