Saturday, December 10, 2011

Despair of an Existentialist

Who Knows How I Suffer CC
Despair as it is defined in dictionary is very different from the despair of an existentialist. The ordinary meaning of despair is to feel hopeless in a given situation. A man who has lost his job in his middle age, and suddenly finds himself unemployed, incapable to provide for his family has a specific reason to despair. But for an existentialist who believes that he has given meaning to his life and has become what he is today by his own efforts, which makes him feel proud of himself, is some thing that can be taken away from him at any time for any reason, makes him despair for no specific reason.

Thus from the perspective of an existentialist a businessman is wary of losing business to his rivals, a sports person is wary of falling sick, a writer is wary of critics, an artist is wary of fast changing trend in his field. Whenever we make a mistake which may compromise our identity, we feel low, depressed and sometimes hopeless. This awareness of the fact that we may lose our identity or the thing that gives meaning to our life leads us to a perpetual state of despair. Thus despair of an existentialist is nothing but awareness of the fragility of his existence or “the thing” that gives meaning to his life.


Carol said...

I liked the quote and discussion that you can't learn or understand something unless you have some experience with it first. That's a bit scary. It almost seems like you can only go so far in your learning. Where does one begin?

Yogendra Rawat said...

The quality and quantity (duration) of events that occur in an individual’s life are unique to that person.

First: because of the external factors like the time and space in which a person lives. It includes everything like his nationality, his culture, his religion etc.

Thus the events that occur in your life are going to be typical of your surroundings and circumstances.

Second: How you are going to interpret the numerous events that occur in your life is going to depend on your own psychological personality. Many events will go unnoticed simply because you have no interest in them, whereas other events will have impact on you because you are interested in those events.

Thus the statement that one cannot understand something unless one has some experience with it, means that an event occurred in your life and you invested some time in understanding it. This sum of occurring of an event and your interpretation of that event correctly or incorrectly means that you have experienced it in some way. Thus you are better equipped to experience it time and again. How much you learn from these experiences depended on your psychological personality(intellectual capabilities and cognitive processes).

Thus learning can take you only that far, that your personality allows you to reach. This is the reason why no amount of hard work, learning or experience can make a person genius. We ordinary people lie somewhere between the extreme poles of a complete idiot and a super genius. Thus you are unique and what you can learn or understand is also unique.

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