By Amateur Philosopher Penny Ham
Existentialism is a movement hard to define. Mostly because existentialists avoided defining it. But Sartre gave the movement something close to a definition. Existentialism is basically the idea that we all come into the world without any defining essence. We find ourselves existing without any prior purpose and so we have to create our own meaning.
Most people think existentialism is liberating and great. But I think existentialism is a waste of my precious time.
If you read through existentialist literature, you’ll find yourself reading literature by people who complain, “blah blah blah….I have no purpose…blah blah blah…oh how I need to create my own purpose and meaning…blah blah blah…finally I created my purpose and meaning!”
But, honestly, those people only care about their own purpose and meaning because somehow or another they’ve found enough free time to go into the details of thinking about their own purpose and meaning. Look, sometimes I find myself pondering my own meaning and existence and what my purpose is but then I remember what my purpose is….
I’m a biological organism! My purpose is to eat, drink, fuck, and make friends because I’m a social ape. There you go existentialist. The answer is right in front of you but you’re too busy writing your dumb books.
Existentialists are just like religionists. They worry too much about deeper meaning rather than care about the simple meanings and the simple pleasures. They do not and cannot confront the overwhelming fact that human beings have spectacularly boring and simple biological purposes. Look, I write, I read, I do lots of things that don’t involve eating, drinking, sex, and making friends. But all of these things I do revolve around those simple things. Purpose is to be found in all of those things. Not subjective purpose either. Real objective out there in the universe purpose. You know, my genes, my hormones, that stuff.
Did you know that people make friends simply because they need someone to smoke around? Well, nicotine-addiction is pretty biological. It’s all got purpose and design right there. Humans are motivated by pleasure and they avoid pain. Wow, what a concept?!
Why did people make the Internet? To impress their friends (it’s the social instinct of being human) or make some money (feed the need for food, water, etc.). Hell, these desires don’t even have to be egoistic. Altruism is built into our genes as well. It’s part of the social instinct. Just because purpose isn’t divine doesn’t mean we have no purpose. Our purpose is pretty biologically based and objective.
Where does morality come in? Morality best serves our biological purposes and makes sure that our interests are best represented, whether it’s the individual, family interest, community interest, or national interest. Is morality utilitarian, egoist, deontological, virtue-oriented? It’s quite debatable. Morality is just a very complicated way of settling our many different unique ways of satisfying our biological purposes.
Anyway, if you ever feel tempted to read an existentialist book, it’s because you’re bored/lonely or you’re doing it for a class. Both have to do with human social relationships that all boil down to eat, sleep, sex, social bonding, and drinking. People who want to make human purpose more significant than this have never been to a Frat Party.
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