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09/07/2019

What type of Philosophy is this?

QUESTION
What type of Philosophy is this?
Hi,
I have always been a very anxious person, recently have began reading different types of philosophy to see what is out there. One that truly struck a cord with me was the idea that the anxiety/challenges we face should not be a focus in our lives because in the end we will die and we should enjoy life and live without fear for it will end at one point (in a good way). I originally thought this is existenialism but am no longer sure. Thank you.

ANSWER
hey,

what you’re thinking of is called “absurdism.” it’s very similar to existentialism in lots of ways. it pretty much works off the idea that any attempt we ever try to make of finding an inherent meaning to the world is going to be fruitless, because everything is so inscrutable and we can never be sure of anything. camus, a famous absurdist, takes this further and says that when we become aware of this absurdity, we have three ways of reacting: suicide, a leap of faith, or recognition. a lot of people, when faced with the absurd, are going to be overwhelmed and feel anxious, so suicide becomes their way out. taking a leap of faith means you’re going to believe that something exists outside of the rational world that will ultimately provide some explanation for everything – this is a way of coping. finally, recognition is what camus thinks is the smartest decision you could make: just recognize that everything is absurd and go about living your life – no need to make irrational decisions or be afraid, death is going to happen, just live while you’re alive.

if you’re interested in absurdism and absurdist literature, these are some great books:
1. The Stranger by Albert Camus (this is a great novel that considers some of the absurdist themes. It’s also the most clear introduction.)
2. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus (this is his philosophical essay on absurdism, if you’re interested you should definitely pick this up).
3. The Sickness Unto Death and Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard (these two books are going to be tough reads if you don’t read too much philosophy, but if you ever get a chance, Kierkegaard is a great philosopher – one of the fathers of existentialism).
Definitely read 1. You should read 2. Maybe read 3.

hope this helps! and relax!