Category Archives: Existentialism

Rebels, Greeks and Pedants

I am venturing into Albert Camus’ The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt with a mixture of curiosity and caution. I never quite know where Camus is going, and his thoughts are expressed in prose that is both dense … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, History, Philosophy, Politics, Theodore Dalrymple

Silent Friends

There are some passages in Kierkegaard’s essay “Be Satisfied with Being Human” which contain marvelous insights. Speaking of sorrow and commiseration, the Danish writer notes that [E]veryone who sorrows… is perhaps also tempted to impatience and does not want to … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Religion

Humanity, Ideology and Individual Destiny

“There may be community… of material possessions, but there can never be community of love or of esteem.”—Samuel Johnson, Rasselas Continuing my reading of French philosopher Raymond Aron, I came across some passages which confirm the age-old insight that humanity’s … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion

Kierkegaard on Ethics and Existence

William Hubben’s compact volume, Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Kafka, is a rare work of philosophy that is both intelligent and intelligible. It is also unusual for being critical of the nihilism of Nietzsche and Sartre which became so popular among … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy

Viktor Frankl on Suffering and Meaning

Viktor Frankl’s best-selling memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, is a work that I have read many times and which I appreciate better with each perusal. The author was an Austrian Jewish psychiatrist who initially followed the theories of Freud and … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy

Kierkegaard the Critic

Kierkegaard is a stimulating writer rather than a safe one. His ideas are not so much a food as a tonic and, taken in too large a dose, they might become a toxin. That is the verdict of the French … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Religion

Karl Jaspers: A Dissenting Existentialist

The German philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) does not figure prominently in post-modern commentary. There are two reasons for this. Traditionalists will find his nineteenth-century liberalism lacking in incisiveness (and orthodox Christians have long faulted his deistic theology). Meanwhile, those on … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy

Sartre and the “Omission of Children”

I’ve been making my way through E. L. Allen’s 1953 study Existentialism from Within (reprinted by Greenwood Press, 1973). Even if I don’t agree with the author on all points, it is a very coherent work on a difficult subject, … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy

Christian Existentialism?

“I believe that this is the true response to the mystery of evil and suffering. It is not a philosophical response, but an existential one. In abandoning myself to God, I experience in a concrete fashion that it ‘really works,’ … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Religion

Camus on Death and Politics

“It is a peculiarity of our times. We make love by telephone, we no longer work with material but with machines, and kill and are killed by proxy. We gain in neatness but lose in understanding.”—Albert Camus There is an … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, History, Philosophy, Politics