Inside this issue
Existence Precedes Essence
To elevate one’s living experience
Professional photographic artist, author and speaker working primarily in the Western US.
Man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment that he is thrown into the world he is responsible for everything else he does.~ Jean-Paul Sartre
One might expect that the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard (a devout Christian) and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (famous for asserting that God is dead) will have little in common. In fact, these philosophers shared some important ideas about how one should strive to live. Both believed that the key to meaningful living is for individuals to shape their own lives and to choose their own values, not just submit willingly to external influences.
Indeed, the fact that Kierkegaard and Nietzsche are both considered existentialist thinkers despite being at deep odds about such things as religious belief should not be surprising. Existentialist thinkers have often disagreed on important matters, and some were openly hostile to each other. The one idea uniting all existentialist thinkers is the importance of individualism—not in a glorified or romanticised way, but as the burdensome freedom to make, to live by, and sometimes to suffer the dire consequences of personal choices. In existentialist writing, as philosopher Walter Kaufmann put it, “Individuality is not retouched, idealised, or holy; it is wretched and revolting, and yet, for all its misery, the highest good.”