By Danielle,

Why Existentialism Seems Useless to Me

9/18/2012 DK 3 Comments

Existentialism, although potentially quite fascinating and intriguing at times, is one of the biggest time-wasters of Philosophy I have come across. Of course, as a newbie to the world of philosophy, I feel rather arrogant and nervous (?) to assert such a statement, but existentialism just doesn't seem to ask important questions that are actually relevant to us.
For example, ethics is one that has a practical use - we can contemplate different ethical theories and ideas, and perhaps come to an understanding of each other's position in ethics, or at least come to an agreement to disagree. Either way, we get to think about different aspects of society and what we agree with. And maybe worrying ourselves to death by trying to come up with an answer to hypothetical moral dilemmas will prepare us for the future if something so dramatic were ever to happen, if just thinking about them isn't enough.

Existentialism on the other hand...!

I've been studying Husserl and Heidegger recently in my philosophy course at university. Two weeks into the course, I realised that this subject, Phenomenology and Existentialism, just wasn't for me. If it wasn't for the fact that I saw no point in changing courses since I would have had a lot of catching up to do in the new course (and the fact that I really really liked saying 'phenomenology and existentialism' and pretend to be deep), I would have dropped the class in a second!

Ultimately, I understand phenomenology and existentialism as the philosophical way of observing existence or what it means to exist. I just don't see why and how it can involve such extensive studies by such intelligent philosophers, when observing the nature of existence is so subjective that no philosopher can hold an authoritative stance.
In saying that, though, I realise that most studies (philosophical or not) basically revolve around the same idea of subjectivity and the 'eye of the beholder', and that I could be (and most likely am) completely wrong about the meaning of phenomenology and existentialism. Perhaps it's because I just don't understand it; I would be lying if I said I understood Heidegger's ontological study of the question of Being and his (annoying and confusing) use of terminology.
This is exactly how I feel.
I nevertheless wrote a 2000-word essay on 'how a study of Dasein helps in answering the question of being', which I shall be posting very soon. I can't express how glad I am that it is over, and how worried I am for my grade as I literally just wrote gibberish. I'm just hoping that my philosophy tutors are believers of the saying 'there is no such thing as a wrong opinion or interpretation' or something along that line.

And may I just add, that I think Heidegger is a prick! (or an undigested lump as Shakespeare would say.) The fact that he was a Nazi shouldn't have mattered when studying his philosophy, but the fact that this whole thing was so boring to me probably had a lot to do with my dislike towards that man.

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  1. I completely agree with you on this. Existentialism is a massive time-waster

  2. postmodernists are dumb assholes, pseudo-intellectual filth, and massively narcissistic arrogant retards, a bunch of holier than thou elitist snob cunts

  3. ^ Amazing. Couldn't have said it better.