Existential Concept: Freedom and Death
Ken Wais 12/4/11
Next, we come to the deepest realm of the Existential philosophy. We are aware of ourselves and know we are headed to death in a meaningless reality. This I have described above. But, there is a positive side too. In the face of death and our pointless lives we have freedom, we are free to do as we think and feel. Though, it all comes to nothing, we are free to live and express ourselves and possibly learn of this meaningless world. There are limits to our freedom. Existentialism is not Anarchism. The twine that binds Existentialism to Science proper is strong. We should not let our free minds indulge in anti-biologic actions or behavior. We shouldn’t violate evolutionary inherited behavior through our genes. Things like: not killing one of your species, or engaging in sex with one of your same sex, parent-child incest for instance. Why? Well, not because there is meaning in adhering to evolutionary drives, but our conformance to these innate principles gives us the opportunity to know, to keep being free to learn and grow. The Existential Concept does affirm purposelessness, but not that we shouldn’t try to understand why it’s purposeless. And yes there are some whom always choose to die, or rape, or commit acts of murder, or extreme incest, homosexuality and so on. But they have had the ability to choose.
Think of yourself as a conscious entity. From the time you achieve your state of being, you are aware of yourself, but moreover, you have something so special to human beings: choice. You can choose to be this way or that. Even, if you are under duress, threatened, or even facing torture, you as a conscious being can make a choice. You can express your freedom of mind by choosing. Sometimes in my past, I’ve felt as if I wanted to murder certain people, but I didn’t. Because I chose not to do that. In every minute of my life now passing I know that all that I do is my conscious decision. I am aware of my ability to choose. Then in the face of knowing that I will die, I can choose to do all I desire, though it has no meaning. Against the backdrop of a hard cold layer of non-existing, I can make a living beautiful plane of creation, like writing this article now. This is what freedom means in Existentialism. Though, we live meaningless lives, we are free to choose how we live them. It doesn’t mean that all of us live happy lives, or there is no oppression, hate, like racial animus, or wrong-doing, like swindling. It means we, as a human species we have the quality of free will without determination by anything. Yes it is true, that there are people without this ability. And yes they are reduced as human beings. Think of the mental insane, or those suffering mental diseases, they are not fully human. But, this doesn’t detract from the point the most of us are free to be as we choose. It doesn't detract from my point in any respect. Existentialism in its simplest terms says: what is, is all there is! There is no purposive end to it all. Don't go making up any Gods to explain it or seeking false meaning in existence.
But, this doesn’t solve the problem of meaning. We still lead meaningless lives, knowing we will die in time. Existentialism exhorts us to live free, to know our pointless fates and live as if we will die any moment. Which doesn't mean to live recklessly, in fact, quite the opposite. If you are in a dangerous situation and could be killed at a moment's notice, you are careful, suspicious and highly reflective of every action you take. You weigh your actions in this situation and decide on the best path to fulfill your goals. You don't engage in deceptions about what faces you. Imagine living in a deadly war zone marked by sniper fire and bloody combat. You would be constantly striving to live each day out with whatever intention you had in your mind. This is what living your life existentialally means.