The answer to human existential problems becomes very easy if you take responsibility for these. It’s a simple step for anyone, but a vast leap for all,
- Who gives us purpose ? The answer is that we give us purpose.
- Who gives this all meaning ? The answer is that we give this all meaning.
- What is the reason for this ? The answer is that we provide the reason.
You can go on and on in this way and the buck stops with you. If we stop blaming other things and make us responsible for what we do then we will have completed an essential step in our evolution of consciousness. We will have evolved existence.
The equinox of existence was over 60 years ago with the early 20th century existentialists of which a good definition of these ideas was published in 1946 by Jean-Paul Sartre in a short essay called Existentialism is a Humanism (L’existentialisme est un humanisme). Now the problem I have with Sartre, and I’m firmly on the existential side, is that he, and existentialists in general, had gone too far with the idea that the existence overrides essence. Why ? well two main reasons,
- we didn’t just pop into existence but evolved and from this we have evolved some fundamental essence that makes us human and we are not conscious of this.
- our consciousness isn’t as much in charge of us as we think it is when we describe free will to explain our actions
A number of scientific studies show we plan actions and make decisions before we are even consciously aware of this. Using technology ( fMRI ), that was not available in Sartre’s time, that scans the brain activity we can see people make decisions. The subjective becomes objective.
Our consciousness is an evolved extension to our unconscious essence. If Sartre was alive today then given this technology I imagine he would have been excited to adapt his work but he died over 10 years before fMRI was out of the lab.
We have evolved altruism. We have evolved love. We have evolved honesty. We have evolved the ability to make decisions. We have evolved a form of free will in that we can exert control to override the determinism of our subconscious. We have evolved our consciousness. The evolution has not stopped and I do not believe we can predict what will evolve in the future. The game of life is never over.
Humanity has got to the point whereby a large percentage actually realize that we have evolved. There is still an even larger percentage that doesn’t accept this. Their ignorance isn’t their fault but they are doomed by this ignorance of realizing their humanity. We can but hope that they do not doom everyone else in a desire to see their more corpse-strewn eschatologies from their Holy Books on CNN or the BBC.
Taking responsibility for anything varies in skill. Some people find it hard, others easy. You can learn this. It needs to be taught as much as reading, writing and mathematics because it is teaching people to be human because in the end Existentialism is a humanism.