Comment: About Existentialism

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About Existentialism

I prefer the term 'Existential Philosophy', 'Existential Phenomenology' or 'Philosophy of Existence', to the term 'Existentialism'.

Of course the term existentialism is most commonly connected to Jean-Paul Sartre as he coined the term existentialism as famous "-ism". But existential philosophy is not "-ism". Sartre's existentialism is his interpretation of Edmund Husserl's Phenomenological Philosophy and Martin Heidegger's Phenomenological Philosophy.

Sartre is not at all the most interesting of existential thinkers. Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Gabriel Marcel, etc. are more interesting thinkers in the tradition of existential philosophy or existential phenomenology.

In the most basic insight of existential philosophy is that we have to begin to wonder again the mystery of existence, and in order to do so we have to place in abeyance all normal and traditional explanations of what does it mean to BE. In other words, we need to "put out of play" these ready-made explanations (scientific, religious, psychological, moral, spiritual, economic, political, etc.) and start from the beginning. This method of existential philosophy is actually a method of freedom in a sense that it frees, or liberates, us from ready-made explanations of the world. This would mean that we have to start thinking from our own experience, instead of from what we have learned to believe. As one of the greatest existential thinkers Merleau-Ponty said in his book Phenomenology of Perception: philosopher "accepts nothing as established from what men or scientists believe they know."

Definitely existential thinking can be applied to supporters of Ron Paul or to the Liberty Movement.

But the whole question of existence in connection to the Liberty is very multidimensional and it would need a lot of time to open this question.

I can say that, for example, in myself the ideas of liberty and the ideas of existential philosophy go hand in hand. Also existential philosophy is a philosophy of freedom and I would say that it goes even deeper into the question of freedom as it asks the conditions which make it possible that human existence is free.

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--