Existential Despair

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Let each one learn what he can; both of us can learn that a person’s unhappiness never lies in his lack of control over external conditions, since this would only make him completely unhappy." ― Søren Kierkegaard 

As Kierkegaard defines it in Either/Or: "Let each one learn what he can; both of us can learn that a person’s unhappiness never lies in his lack of control over external conditions, since this would only make him completely unhappy."[37] In Works of Love, he said:

When the God-forsaken worldliness of earthly life shuts itself in complacency, the confined air develops poison, the moment gets stuck and stands still, the prospect is lost, a need is felt for a refreshing, enlivening breeze to cleanse the air and dispel the poisonous vapors lest we suffocate in worldliness. ... Lovingly to hope all things is the opposite of despairingly to hope nothing at all. Love hopes all things—yet is never put to shame. To relate oneself expectantly to the possibility of the good is to hope. To relate oneself expectantly to the possibility of evil is to fear. By the decision to choose hope one decides infinitely more than it seems, because it is an eternal decision. pp. 246–50

Just reading about Existential Despair on a Wednesday morning. Can't help but feel the need to address the human condition and my own internal struggles. This comes from the desire to live an authentic life, but there are so many obstacles that get in the way. I need to read and re-read Kierkegaard's quote to fully understand this notion. Maybe humans are just unhappy knowing how meaningless life is. Is life getting more meaningless by the day? I'm not trying to sound pessimistic, I'm really trying to search for answers here. Existential despair is a little heavy for first thing in the morning reading.

I am going through an existential crisis, but it's not as bad as it was earlier this year. Earlier, I was going through a very dark time that led me to reading a lot about the below. I'm not sure at the time if it really helped me to know more about the effects of major sleep deprivation or prolonged isolation. It may have heightened the feeling of loneliness and lack of purpose even more. Now I know that I had to go through that and get to where I am at this point of my life. If I didn't go through those months of despair, I wouldn't have arrived at this moment of despair. Life will always be full of despair, but that's how you learn to appreciate the good things.

An existential crisis may result from, be misdiagnosed as, or be comorbid with:[citation needed]
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Major sleep deprivation
  • Prolonged isolation
  • Dissatisfaction with one's life
  • Major psychological trauma
  • The sense of being alone and isolated in the world;
  • A new-found grasp or appreciation of one's mortality, perhaps following diagnosis of a major health concern such as a terminal illness;
  • Believing that one's life has no purpose or external meaning;
  • Searching for the meaning of life;
  • Shattering of one's sense of reality, or how the world is;
  • An extremely pleasurable or hurtful experience that leaves one seeking meaning;
  • Realizing that the Universe is more complex, mysterious, larger and beyond current human understanding;

There are so many good things in life and my own life. I choose to prioritize the good things and I choose to be a good person. I want to make good choices, in order to avoid "drama". I've realized that I don't believe in Karma wholeheartedly, because life is just too random. Sometimes I fear that I believe in nothing, yet I'm trying so hard to assign meaning to the universe. There are so many signs, but sometimes I'm scared to think there is a meaning behind that sign. I want to believe that the universe is listening to me. I do believe in cause and effect, because the universe needs to be governed by something. We can't rely on luck to help us get to our destination.

Am I ready to go out into the world today? Knowing I am responsible for giving meaning to life, living life passionately, sincerely and authentically and that everything else around me is beyond my control. I just have to accept life as it is and rise above it and live it. All I can do is to continue to live consciously, confidently, compassionately, courageously.

Today will be a good day. 
This is why life is worth living.
Fuck despair.