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Existentialism

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I must say that I had to search long and hard to find a friend to fit the description of an existentialist. Many of my friends could fit bit and pieces of this description but few people I know fit the bill entirely. I had to go back many years to think of a person who came close to being an existentialist. As a "grown up" I find that more and more of my friends and colleges have what I would consider "real world" responsibilities, things like house payments, childcare, work. They are not necessarily able to seize the day at the drop of a hat. They may have exciting lives full of fun, but those things usually have to be saved for and planned out.

The friend that closest fits the bill of an existentialist is a friend I first met in high school, a friend I felt rather close too at one point in our lives. He was one of those existentialists that would tie into the "Dust in the Wind" song by Kansas. He is one of those guys that does what he wants, when he wants, because he believes that life is too short to worry about things you can't control. So many negative things happened to him in his life that he was essentially forced to become a "seize the day" kind of guy. He could have played the blame game. He could have asked for pity. He could have become bitter and angry. Instead he chose to live life on his own terms, in search of instant gratification.

Growing up, he was the son of an abusing, alcoholic father and a mother staying in the marriage for the sake of her kids (which actually did more harm than good). Rather early on in life, he looked to his friends for support, staying with a friend's family throughout most of middle and high school. He never really had a home. The habit of sleeping on someone else's couch was one that he carried with him for many years. Even though he didn't really have a plan, he never worried. He always knew someone would let him crash. He might spend a week or two on my parents' couch, a week or two around the corner at another friend's, a week or two back home with his mom, and then start the process all over again. Whoever he wanted to hang out with, that is where he stayed.

For a long time, my friend was the picture of impulsivity of the "seize the day" attitude. If he wanted to go off-roading in some farmer's field, he did it, caring little for the consequences. If he wanted to go out into the country and shoot a gun at some sign in the middle of nowhere, he did it, not really considering what the long term effects would be if he got caught. When he wanted to purchase a motorcycle even though he could barely afford it, so what did he do, he bought a motorcycle. And then he charismatically talked several other friends into getting one as well so they could all go on motorcycle trips together. All of these things were just a preview to his existential side.

After a difficult childhood, it is easy to understand that as an adult, my friend had a rocky relationship with his father. When they finally did begin to communicate and mend the broken relationship, sometime after his father stopped drinking, wouldn't you know it, Dad gets cancer. Shortly after they made amends, my friend's father died. Then, within a year, my friend's eldest brother died in a motorcycle accident while driving my friend's bike. This only seemed to add to his existentialistic attitude. From that point on, his motto was "live for today because you

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