What is Existentialism?

It is quite funny … even though I feel that I have learned more from this existentialism class than any other,

(and by learn I mean something more than just learn – like learning facts – I intend something along the lines of transformed … this class has been one of the most transformative classes I’ve taken this semester, that’s better)

I still don’t know what existentialism really is; and furthermore, I am not even completely sure how this class (most specifically the readings from Camus and Sartre) really transformed my outlook on life.  I just feel different.  I look, I think at least, at the world with a different pair of eyes.  

My changed outlook on this world lives in my new found interest with making a meaning for myself.  By meaning I don’t mean a point.  By meaning, I don’t mean finding my own little subjective ‘m’; and I don’t mean that I’ve come upon the objective, cosmological big ‘M.’ By meaning, I mean    (don’t you love how I talk like Heidegger and Sartre…)    overcoming what I am.  By meaning, I mean (in the words of Sartre) transcending my facticity: disregarding my flaws at not myself, and overcoming them by stating them as such.  

Now, I sort of see existentialism as a tool that allows me to craft a self.  One that, using Sartian language again (sorry), transcends, overcomes, breaks away from my former self… a former self that is flawed in what ever way.  The cool thing about this existential tool, is that I can (or at least I feel like I have the ability to) overcome ANY flaw that is my own.  If I have a tendency to be lazy and procrastinate on my homework assignments, I can look at myself, and simply seek a better self through transcending my previous self.  

Now back to my initial statement (question that is) ‘What is Existentialism?’ Even though I don’t know the actual definition of the word, the exact conceptions of the philosophy, it is a tool.  It is a self-help philosophy (to steal the million dollar word.) Existentialism has helped me see myself as myself, and urges me to take myself to a higher standard of self.  


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