EXISTENTIALISM

SHORT NOTES

The crux of Existentialism is Human Freedom, the freedom of the living human individual. The movement that was both literary and philosophical saw an individual as the basic entity of society who was in command of the world around him and acted freely and responsibly to find his place in society.

For an existentialist, individual and not organized society or religion was the centre of the whole existence. For him, the authenticity in life meant living individually, an existence that didn’t owe to society or religion.

Existentialism worked on the concept of ‘me Vs them’ or ‘individual Vs the society’ and firmly believed in an individual’s supremacy rejecting the established philosophical notions as too abstract and detached and thus showed disorientation and tension an individual had with existing norms revolving around with themes like life and death, freedom, existence and bondage, anxiety and authenticity, angst and despair and so on.

Basically called a 20th Century philosophy and used by French philosopher and legend Jean-Paul Sartre to describe himself, though he once famously said “Existentialism? I don’t know what that is”, it had its roots in the works of 19th Century philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Søren Kierkegaard.

Existentialism gave rise to a cultural movement in 1940s and 50s Europe in the post World War II period and Martin Buber, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Jean Wahl, Gabriel Marce, José Ortega y Gasset, Miguel de Unamuno, Nikolai Berdyaev and Lev Shestov were the major Existentialists the movement produced.

©SantoshChaubey

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THE SHADOW THAT STOPPED ME TODAY WAS BELYING THIS..

The shadow that came across today
Looked as someone known to me
Though he didn’t stop me en-route
My soul refused to move
Saying it wanted to have some conversation
I said I didn’t have time
Life had become so spontaneous
That when a day became so routine I never knew
I would chart my ways, visit places
Sometimes, I would have introductions
Sometimes, it would be about exploring things
But more or less,
It was all in the known and familiar realms
Realms that would be in conversation
Sometimes mutual, sometimes solitary
And a shadow would always stay with me
That I so spontaneously thought was mine
I was where I thought I needed to be
It was as my days were
I always thought there was a silent commitment
Between my soul and my shadow
And that we all were in harmonious coexistence
But the shadow that stopped me today
Way belying this
My soul today refused to hear me
While talking to that shadow
That looked like a past connection
Raising questions,
That the shadow following me could not answer..

©SantoshChaubey

TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL IT

Times when you feel it
And say, yes!
It was only yesterday
When life went nowhere
Bogged down by a no
So much so that
Fallacies sounded real
And absurdities natural
And then it happened
With you, inside of you
That made you say
No to that no
Soaking your soul
Into its realms
To see the times beyond
To seek a state beyond
Life puts you into this
Time and again
Sometimes
The ‘no’ is all you have
And you feel shattered
Within its confines
Sometimes
It is the ‘yes’
And its finality
That travels with you
To the realms beyond
Times when you feel it
That life is
Because you are
Unlike this yesterday

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE LIGHT AT THAT END

The light at that end
Was so enchanting
That the ride got lyrical
In a vein so existential
I was there, reaching out
Along with me
Feeding on
An aura surreal
Responding to a call
That sounded so mutual
Life is long
And life is short
To ask questions
To ignore propositions
You do what you do
Maybe impulsive
Or reflecting on
Or contemplating
Or even absent-minded
But that is you, isn’t it?
And you are not a question
But an answer to your ifs
A call to your isms
Painting your own canvas
Finding your meanings
As you move along life
And its stopovers
Like the light there
On an evening
When life speaks
And you join the call
Life is too short
To ignore such calls
And life is too long
To be there for long
Feel, live and paint it
Bathe in its illumination
Add to your panorama
Create your sub-stories
And get enamoured
To create your next song
To see the light
At your next stopover
To pick up the threads
Of the journey again
Feel it, live it
And paint your canvas

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LIFE AND DEATH: INEVITABILITIES, SO THINK OF EVERYTHING BUT THEM :)

Thought to share a brief but themed conversation I had with a friend the other day. Whenever we speak, life is the central theme we mostly talk about and we end up coming out to a point where we see some point. 🙂 

Me: Life and death are inevitabilities so think of everything but them while you live.

My friend: Some die in installments too.

Me: That happens in every life – at times – and that is again inevitability – bound to happen when you stop living.

My friend: Haha, no one can win from you… Life and death specialist…

Me: Experiential existentialist…:)

My friend: How are you existentialist… don’t tell me…that’s relative…bored of listening that from…xyz…types…

Me: Existentialism literally means you carve out a way for yourself based on your thought process. The society at large has to be a reflection of you which may or may not gel with you but you go well with that – living (and not complaining).

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION AND JEAN-PAUL SARTRE’S EXISTENTIALISM

‘Is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ best cinema tribute to Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism?’

Well, I had not thought so sweepingly on this line even if I had already watched the movie multiple times, until the last night when I was reading about it.

The Wikipedia page on the movie had this ‘sweeping’ statement:

“The film has been critically acclaimed for depicting Jean-Paul Sartre’s ideas about existentialism more fully than any other contemporary movie.”

When I further dug in to find its originating source, I stumbled upon a web page of ‘Philosophy Now’ magazine with an article by some Alexander Hooke on the movie – but available only to subscribers beyond its initial few lines.

These lines are:

“Hope helps keep us alive and anticipating the next sunrise with joy rather than gloom. It enlivens projects and maintains focus. Hope is sustained by the confidence we have in our knowledge of the situation, although the possibility of being deceived, by others or ourselves, can undermine this confidence. Still, hope promises a time or place where things will be better, even if it seems we’re stuck in perpetual hell. Accounts through the millennia depict hell as a realm full of fascinating and ghastly demons, endless tortures, with Satan ruling with a fiery fist, and where hope is impossible.”

Yes, the movie is all about that – in fact a subtle depiction of – in most real and practical ways possible.

And I believe when it so rightly writes about ‘hope and hopes’ – even if we are well aware of limitations, the write-up will certainly have its own logics to discuss about ‘Existentialism’ in the movie, especially Sartre’s Existentialism.

Now, there are three characters central to the movie:

The one which presents before us a characterization epitomizing hope – believing in his existence and persevering to see it materialise, even if it means decades of focused job on something, to steal the day finally for him.

The next one is a sort of crusader of hope with faded charm, helping his friend in difficult times and giving him the means to sustain his ‘hope’ and at the same time, is resigned to his fate, is not sure of his identity.

The last one is like the first one, but in an audacious way, pinning his ‘hope’ on others’ shoulders – thinking of an existence for him and going all out to usurp it.

How do they play out their ‘existences’ and their ‘hopes’ in the movie? Let’s ‘watch’ the movie again.

Let’s see.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SYMBOLS WERE SELF ASSERTIVE..

he morning was still fresh
The evening was wildly free
The night was in a rush to go
The day was like a thrilling ride

The joy was there to do more
The sense was lost in saying so
The call was pure to go along
With no reasons to stop midway

Life was groovy, like always
But it had added spice that day
To croon the songs afresh
Feeling that impulse in veins

The lyrics was post-modern
Kafkaesque in after-effects
Existing somewhere deep inside
Where ends blurred and melted

But the individual was prevailing
Love with self was wildly tamed
The dark corners were lit purple
The symbols were self assertive

Yesterday and tomorrow mingled
To shape a today that had wings
On a journey beyond this life
To read the texts as they were

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

JUNE 21: INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY AND EXISTENTIALISM

International Yoga Day is on June 21, the day when Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris.

It may be a coincident but a day to celebrate the ancient Indian tradition that has become a global ‘good health element’ with time, is also a day when the world remembers the most influential mind behind ‘Existentialism’.

Yoga in India goes beyond its ‘routine physical exercise’ nature – the practice that took it to the western countries, starting with Swami Vivekananda in 1890s.

Yoga in India, and in some countries where beliefs born in India spread, especially Buddhism, is seen as complete discipline and is primarily associated with spirituality and meditation. It emphasizes on the holistic balance in every walk of life and is aimed at ensuring a sound mind in a healthy body.

Yoga is a discipline with a philosophy that builds individuals who are self-aware and at the same time are in harmony with their surroundings, maintaining spontaneously balanced relations with nature and living beings.

Existentialism, though with different definitions, concurs that man is free and ‘is responsible’ to determine what becomes of him – in the sense that he sees and interprets his life and events in his life – based on circumstances – for the quest to lead a life that is as per his ‘understanding’ – that corresponds to his definitions of morality and different circumstances of life – the definitions that are within the norms for a healthy mind and body – the definitions that take different hues with time.

Yoga can help an individual develop a healthy ‘existentialist’ perspective based on his ‘philosophy of necessity’. Yoga can help find that ‘missing element’ in every life.

And June 21 is around the corner.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LIFE IS ALWAYS SLOGGED WITH ALTER-EGOS

COLORES INFINITUM

Life is always slogged with alter-egos – the personality and its other aspects – and the underlying philosophy that is assorted, assimilated and reflected as we move on with time.

This experiential philosophy is a way to look at things with a leverage to look at in your own way, giving you, in turn, the leverage to scale the scope.

That is a vital way to look at life as it keeps you in company – the way that has been famously philosophical about philosophy – its inherent roots in you and its subsequent emergence and sustenance based on how efficiently you understand, communicate with and befriend your alter-egos.

And the existentialism of this philosophy is – it also allows you to develop your own paradigm (and paradoxes as well) including your own ways and definitions to look at life events, attachments and detachments, pain and peace, and what may be behind our feelings to feel so or what may follow our feelings.

Life is always sum total of events that are never sum total in entirety – shaping, fragmenting, reshaping and inventing on its way – from a day to the next – from an aspect of life to the other.

The life experiences are varied. Life lives them in vivid ways. Within a life, you are your one aspect today – you are your other aspect tomorrow.

A life lived is about an efficient and naturalized circumnavigation of the varied aspects of your life – the alter-egos that take you to the extremes of life events – the experiences that let you philosophize about the lives you internalize to become one with your question to become you.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LIFE WAS STILL IN MAKING WHEN YOU WERE DYING

Life was still in making when you were dying

In the thriving and outgrown forest of thoughts

The rush of feelings was clear as well as confusing

Travelling inside with the silence you sought

To prepare for the journey upcoming

To the lands you didn’t know if at all existed

But with a silent commitment

To embrace what the future might have held

A life to the realms only heard and read so far

The thoughts were perplexed

Why to leave all that has been so known

Why to stay when a new path is opening up

With a relevance that had seemed illogical so far

Life was still reading its text

To see through beyond this life, to the ride ahead

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/