Personal blog of Alicia Fowler, aka @aliciaef, senior strategist at FutureBrand. Topics covered include brands, branding, technology, and space, and more!

Friday Finds Existentialism

This has by all accounts been a weird week. Sunny, summer days followed by snowy April mornings. Tulsa runnings-around with three nephews followed by NYC misanthropy. Somewhere between these highs and lows of temperatures and emotions, I've felt myself a more fervent existentialist. I know, I know, I'll say it too: what a douche.

But you know what, I don't give a damn. It's time to start some good ol' fashion existential crises. These are just a few of my favorite existential-crisis-inducing pieces from my youth:

First, Heidegger, the father of existentialism, who had some shite politics, but some great philosophical ideas:

“Why are there beings at all, instead of Nothing?” ― Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics

“Anyone can achieve their fullest potential, who we are might be predetermined, but the path we follow is always of our own choosing. We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. Your destiny can't be changed but, it can be challenged. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.” ― Martin Heidegger

Anything by Albert Camus. Or Kafka. Because we might all awake as bugs one day.

“It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.

To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.” — Albert Camus, The Stranger

The ever absurd Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads:

Of course, Sartre: 

"I am responsible for everything ... except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being. Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world ... in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant." — Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does." — Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

"Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance." — Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

I could include Nietzsche but you know, I only ever made it through half of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and he's just too obvious. Not to mention insane.

So instead, let's end with Waiting for Godot. May we all find something in the insane absurdity of life.