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Existentialism is perhaps one of the world’s oldest philosophies. It has been dated back to nineteenth-century Danish and Greek philosophers. It is a simple idea, yet it has so many different ideals within it that it is almost impossible to define. There are many parts that make up one whole, basic idea. The many parts have been defined by famous existentialist artists and writers such as, Nietzsche, Chamfort, Sartre, and Kafka. These works have all proven many points about existentialism; however, even the pros cannot decide on one basic idea. That is why there are so many different interpretations of this famous ideal. If there were a single definition it would have something to do with having your own ideas and being free to choose any path.
If you were a believer in existentialistic ideals chances are you would not participate in society and/or your own life very much. Albert Camus believed that to be a true existentialist you had to remove yourself from society as much as possible since a belief in the foundation of government was to conform. Conforming to society norms is considered bad, it doesn’t allow the individual to progress and reach his own decisions Camus realized, however, that restricting himself from all social conformity was impossible. In his award-winning book, The Stranger, Camus depicts a man with very little emotion. Once in a while he shows a bit of heart, but for the most part, he is gives a robotic appearance. This character is based on existentialistic views, he tries to stay out of society as much as he can. He does the same thing from day to day. The character expresses no feeling about anything except that light is a sign of evil or annoyance, while the dark becomes a place of calm and seriousness. In society, the common idea is that light is good and evil grows in the darkest of places, but in Albert Camus’ novel, evil is good and the light is bad. They’re many other parts of existentialism. Camus influenced many of the writings on this subject although he did not stand unchallenged.
Many existentialists believed that man had no reason for life. In other words, there was no God and no reason to live life with rules of any kind because there is nothing in the end anyway. This thought did not gain the existentialist popularity with many religions. Many people got excommunicated from their homelands just for stating their views on the subject.
Strangely, however, most of these writers had poor childhood’s. They suffered the loss of a parent and sometimes sickness. They were not strangers to heartache and hard times may have influenced their choice of philosophies. This is not to say, however, that if they came from a happy home they would not have written what they did. It is to justify the negative attitude of existentialism as a whole. This idea shakes the framework of all society by stating that man has no reason for living and in turn should not care about morals and values. Almost any existentialist would believe in a statement heralding the advancement of the individual. The existentialists believe that every man must decide for himself the way he should act and should not be bound by other rules. These beliefs define the framework of existentialism. Though philosophical in many ways, believers’ curiosity has lead to some of the world’s most renown works of literature.