Journey through Dread: A Study of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre

Journey through Dread: A Study of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre

Journey through Dread: A Study of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre

Journey through Dread: A Study of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Sartre

Excerpt

Existentialism is a philosophy for thought-adventurers, as our title implies -- a way of thinking for an age of experiment, tension and stress. This book is not concerned with all the varieties of Existentialism, but specifically with the "philosophy of dread" -- with three thinkers who have often been decried, and partly misunderstood, on account of their "pessimism". That pessimism is not of the passive Schopenhauerian kind, but is rather a bracing sense of the menace and challenge of existence. Existentialism is dramatic, often melodramatic -- like the Hegelianism from which it so largely sprang, it may tend towards egocentricity. On the other hand, it has the virtue of avoiding a complacent, anæmic, rationalism. It is not a philosophy "for all time", but it may be appropriate and serviceable for a time of transition -- and even for all time in so far as all times are transitional. It cannot give us a complete system, because it sees every human situation as incomplete. It calls on us to choose, but it cannot propose objects for our choice, because no two situations are the same; the Existentialist must "travel light" and pick up his categories, or drop them, as he goes. Here we seem to get a hint of an older, perhaps more gracious philosophy -- the "Wandering in the Great Void" of the Buddhist and Taoist: the "Existential Will", when it learns to know itself and trust itself, may make men well adjusted, and therefore free.

It is no fault of mine if the title of this book suggests a "thriller". "Philosophy in the manner of a thriller" is one famous definition of Existentialism. Existential philosophy arose alongside the modern novel, and much of . . .

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