And actually, I'm an Existentialist of the worst sort. I'd say that I belong to the camp of Nietzsche-style existentialism. Although he never actually used the word "existential" his concepts pre-dated the word by a good hundred years and contributed to the theory. Yeah, I know, he was into communism but if you read his work his hatred of democracy and capitalism were nothing more than an adventitious side-note. He also really didn't like Christianity but I dig his concepts on questioning everything possible and accepting something as truth only if it was a personally developed belief or choice.[Another thing I dig... his style of writing is pithy, to the point and lacks the usual run around euphemisms.]
Before you start thinking I've gone crazy, allow me to elaborate. Dostoevsky (one of the few Christian Existentialists) defined existentialism as "A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts."
I definitely think that people are basically stuck in an "indifferent" world, all of us experiencing a lot of the same problems but not caring what our fellow humans are up to. I'm not sure about the whole human existence being unexplainable thing but I completely agree that freedom of choice and responsibility should be the focal point of any school of thought.
I've been saying for years that people should take full responsibility for their actions and their misfortunes. People should also take responsibility for the good things that happen to them, because they exercised their free will, made a good choice and are reaping the benefits. Existentialism stresses responsibility which means you have to accept your actions, not blame somebody else. When you can't blame somebody else that means you can't turn yourself into a victim or yours, or anybody else's, action.
The most basic of my political beliefs are founded in the idea that people should take responsibility and action for the things they believe to be right, and then stand by those beliefs. Which is why you'll never see me apologize for something I believe in or have chosen to do. Give me any political issue and I bet my belief is founded in taking charge of yourself and your actions.
Economics? Take care of yourself and ensure your future. Pay your taxes, taking care of your country = taking care of you.
Abortion? You made the choice, so now its your responsibility to take care of a baby.
Gun Control? Screw that. Just be mature enough to know how to handle a weapon and when you screw up... well, its your responsibility to man up.
War in Iraq? Not necessarily a good idea in the first place, but now we've got a responsibility to clean up what we started.
Welfare? Are you kidding? Take care of yourself and your family.
The concept of personal responsibility is why I'm an Existentialist. Screw being a Republican, it all sounds well and good but there's too much bullshit 'this will get me elected' jargon. Democrats are the same way.
My friend who hates Hillary, Mom & Apple Pie said that my comment on uniting the country and taking responsibility for what's been done or will happen sounded like election talk ("What's going to unite the country is understanding that some poor decisions have been made and moving past those decisions and making proactive movements towards the goal we've made for ourselves. You can't scrap the entire country because you don't like what someone else did with it") And dammit, it is. Vote for Emily and Existentialism in.... uh, 2024.
In Other News, I've got a trip to Dallas planned for February 21st - 25th. I've got a few job interviews to do, but when I'm not at those I'd love to catch up with those of you down there. I absolutely cannot wait to go. Also, I dropped the hippy-freak-liberal-pinko-commie Diplomatic Communication class. I should have stuck it out and argued with the professor in order to get the truth about Guantanamo Bay out there... but I made the decision to not have to struggle through my semester because of some jerk-face's ideological bias. Ugh. I also did some fantastic yoga today. Gotta love it.