My Personal Search for a Meaningful Existence

Topics: Meaning of life, Existentialism, Philosophy of life Pages: 10 (3872 words) Published: October 8, 1999
My Personal Search for a Meaningful Existence

I am the representative embodiment of my nihilistic culture. I am narcissistic, insatiable, petty, apathetic and I am above all an emotional invalid. Yet, up until very recently, I was not consciously aware that I was guilty of having any of these wholly pejorative attributes, because I had unconsciously suppressed my inherent will to attain a meaningful existence, in favor of the comfort and security that complacency and futility provide. There exists in me a void, that is not uncommon to find in the members of my Eurocentric society, which is derived from the conscious or unconscious knowledge that our culture is entirely devoid of meaning. This is, more specifically, the plight of my generation, which has been defined by its disillusionment, apathy and inaction, rather than its accomplishments, beliefs or ideologies. Escapism is the safety mechanism that enables our flight from actuality, and subsequently our ability to exist, because we have been cursed with a wealth of advantages and a lack of restrictions. For example: I am free to choose my own religion, I am not stifled by or subjected to economic disadvantage, I am not bound to subservience by an oppressive or tyrannical government, I am blessed with a myriad of conveniences by my technologically advanced society, and I come from a nurturing and supportive family, so who the hell am I to complain about my circumstances. The only explanation I can give, in retort to my profession that I have been cursed by my inherent advantages, is: since my life is completely devoid of any profound suffering, it is subsequently lacking any meaningful happiness, because man only experiences these feelings in terms of their relative relationship to one another. Thus, I vainly invent my own wholly unfounded reasons to bemoan my existence, in the same way that a hypochondriac invents his psychosomatic illnesses, because the longer we feign to have a justifiable cue for suffering, the more that that suffering actualizes itself. The primary source of my anxieties is derived from the inherent knowledge that I am condemned to be free, in a society of relatively few restrictions, which subsequently requires me to be the master of my own destiny. Thus, I am not only culpable for determining my own fate, but I am also wholly responsible for finding a meaningful purpose in my existence, which instills me with an intense feeling of trepidation, because I'm not sure I'm ready to shoulder such a profound responsibility. I live in a nihilistic society, that is founded on man's narcissistic will to pleasure and power, that is run by the "all-powerful" green, and that is defined by its laziness and lack of tradition. Thus, it seems almost futile to search for a meaningful existence in our Western culture, because it is this very society that has taught me my convoluted and misplaced system of priorities and beliefs, but man can find a meaning for living regardless of his predicament. Therefore, in this paper, I will attempt to redefine what I believe is the essence and meaning of my human existence, by combining the meditations of a variety of different philosophic thinkers with the conclusions I have attained through the contemplation of my own personal experiences.

Nihilism is the characteristic value-disease of our times. The word comes from the Latin root for nothing, and it describes the belief that human values have no evacatory or meaningful power. Although there have been transient episodes of nihilism throughout our species' cultural history, the label is usually applied to the crisis of valuation that now infects our Western culture. Friederich Nietzsche, the famous German "existentialist" philosopher, predicted that the traditional European system of beliefs, which are primarily derived from the teachings of Christianity and Greek Philosophy, would be questioned, and subsequently abandoned during the twentieth and...
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