Brain Food #756
To start again
Thoughts of the day
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre became known for championing Existentialism, a school of thought that explores the meaning of life through the absurdity of existence.
Sartre famously said, “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
Similar to Kierkegaard’s suggestion that ‘anxiety is the dizziness of freedom’, Sartre’s philosophy nudges us to take back the reins of our own lives, and to make peace with the ‘anguish of existence’. Similarly, when we live in what Sartre described as ‘Bad Faith’, we believe things have to be the way they are, forgetting that they can be different, and that we can make them so.
Because of the absurdity surrounding its philosophy, that nothing has any pre-existing meaning, and that man assigns meaning to things and situations, through Existentialism we also become ultimately free to craft the meaning of our own lives, even if that means improvising along the way.
If we consider this idea of ‘meaning-creation’ from a broader sense, then much of what causes us worry on a daily basis is also manmade, particularly on a personal level.
With fresh eyes, perhaps every day presents a new opportunity to seek our own redemption; to be free of the weight of our own ‘sins’, especially if those are against ourselves, and to start again.
From The Devil and the Good Lord:
“Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.”
Given the manmade pauses that determine the cycles of our lives, Brain Food will take a short break and will return in two weeks. Some meaningless circumstances may still provide useful opportunities.
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