Module X: Existentialism


Existentialism is, in a sense, an offshoot of nihilism. It accepts the premise that there is no meaning in life (God is dead), but offers nothing more. Life has no meaning, and for that reason, life is absurd. See Jean-Paul Sarte's play No Exit.

The good news is that we are absolutely free; the bad news is that we have no one to help us live out that freedom.

For that reason existentialists argue that life is characterized by despair and anguish.

Christian existentialism (Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling)

A moral life, then, is one in which an individual lives as nobly as possible; an immoral life is one in which an individual misuses his freedom and does not make the choice to live as well as possible. See for example, the novel The Plague by Albert Camus (also a movie with William Hurt).

Existentialists argue that life has no purpose, in a sense 2 plus 2 does not equal four. There are no rewards or punishments in life. 

Existentialism (Albert Camus) v Christian Existentialism (Soren Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling

Many existentialist themes are reflected in popular music. Aside from the substance of this music, two other comments:
1. it is beautiful music, as if it is touching something deep in the human soul
2. many songs use the meataphor of the ocean. Why?


"The Voice," The Moody Blues


"Dust in the Wind," Kansas.

"Behold the Hurricane," The Horrible Crows
"Behold the Hurricane," (live in LA) The Horrible Crows

"Tremble for My Beloved," Collective Soul (David Letterman)
"Tremble for My Beloved," Collective Soul (video)

Lyrics for "Tremble For My Beloved"
The Hour has Begun
Your eyes have now opened
To a world where madness craves
To A World Where Hope's enslaved
Oh I'll tremble for my love always
Your windows opened wide
Your innocence takes flight
To a world where madness craves
To A World Where Hope's enslaved
Oh I'll tremble for my love always

"On the Ocean, Guster

“Port of Morrow” The Shins Lyrics HERE Performance on Letterman HERE  Shins “New Slang” HERE

Deep Sea Diver “You Go Runnin’ HERE and “Ships” HERE You Go Runnin’ (Studio) HERE (AT 3:26)

"Behind Blue Eyes," The Who (original version)


"Mad World, "Tears for Fears
Mad World (Donnie Darko)

"One Headlight" Jacob Dylan and Wallflowers

“Get Over It” The Eagles