Building The Existential Man Essay

2328 words - 10 pages

There are many genres in music. Today, people see the charts dominated by pop, rock, and hip-hop, but there are numerous genres that fill bottom cultures of music. For instance, jazz music is not booming like it was in the 1930s. However, the culture still fully exists. It is still being performed and experimented with by musicians. It is even arguable that jazz was a starting root to music today. Literature also holds an abundance of genres. From fantasies to lectures, news to philosophies, literature is also a constant part of human life. Now, if there were a genre of literature that works as an analogy to jazz, it would certainly be existentialism. Existentialism is a philosophical movement that was birthed post-World War II. It is a deep study of the existence of life, and revolves around the idea that we create our own nature. The absolute internal freedom humans own is only beat down by the anxiety humans create from their freedom. That is why life is absurd. With such a deep, complex philosophy, it is important that it is studied, investigated, and explained. The same can be said for jazz music. The complexity may be why existentialism is still being explored today. There are many modern works that set up existential experiments, attempt to define the existential character, and display consequences of the philosophy being ignored. Existential investigation is important because on the surface, it seems like a dark philosophy, but through understanding it becomes powerful.
With the overall outlook on existentialism seeming quite daunting, it is important to find the resolution. One of the themes that make existentialism so daunting is that life is absurd. What is absurdity, and what are people able to do about it? Sartre expresses absurdity as “an unfulfillable desire for complete fulfillment” (Wildman). This definition tells that the absurdity of life is absolutely impossible to conquer. Life is absurd, so deal with it. The bleakness of this idea fostered in a resolution explored by Albert Camus. Camus created a type of character he named “the absurd man,” which is also referred to as “the absurd hero.” These characters hold a special, dense inner-strength. “It is an inner strength not comparable to today's self-help hallway books telling you how to resist biscuits. It is an attitude, an inner change that cannot be possessed, taught or bought, but achieved only through revolt, the revolt of the inner self against the absurd” (Schrahé). Camus's most prominent “absurd man” is Sisyphus, from his parable, The Myth of Sisyphus. The myth is about Sisyphus's damnation to Tartarus. There, he is sentenced to roll a boulder up a hill, only to let it roll back down and start the cycle over. Camus uses this story as a vehicle to illuminate the existence of genuine happiness against a backdrop of the absurdity of life. The tragedy of Sisyphus's endless task is void of two things: hope and faith. If hope and faith are thought as pathways to escape the...

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