04 September 2012

Life Is Not Perfectible

Many people have the silly idea, gleaned from movies, adverts and glossy magazines, that life is perfectible. The idea that other people out there have achieved the perfect life. So, they feel dissatisfied with the life they have or even downright cheated out of the life they think they deserve but don't have, the life that no one has.  They yearn for a life of perfect happiness that is impossible, while failing to take control of the life they do have and make it more rewarding through decisive, realistic action. Existentialists are nihilists because they recognize that life is ultimately absurd and full of terrible, inescapable truths. They are anti-nihilists because they recognize that life does in fact have a meaning: the meaning each person chooses to give his or her own existence. They recognize that each person is free to create themselves and make something worthwhile of themselves by striving against life's difficulties. Life, or rather death, will win in the end, but what matters is the striving, the overcoming, the journey.

—Gary Cox, How to Be an Existentialist, New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2012, p. 15.

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