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Existentialism is a philosophical movement which posits that individual human beings create the meaning and essence of their lives. It emerged as a movement in twentieth-century literature and philosophy, though it had forerunners in earlier centuries. Existentialism postulates that the absence of a transcendent force (i.e: God) means that the individual is entirely free, and, therefore, ultimately responsible. It is up to humans to create an ethos of personal responsibility outside of any branded belief system. That personal articulation of being is the only way to rise above humanity's absurd condition (suffering and death, and the finality of the individual).
As a philosophic movement, existentialism's origins are heavily accredited to the nineteenth-century philosophers Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and existentialism was prevalent in Continental philosophy...
...wrote scholarly and fictional works that popularized existential themes such as "dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, and nothingness".
The Cultural-Paradigm Shift
In recent decades, especially since 1968, the U.S.A. had been made extraordinarily vulnerable to the risks of such kinds of long-term effects, a vulnerability which was caused, chiefly, by the specific effects associated with the rise of the so-called "white collar" Baby-Boomers as a growing influence within the transformations occurring within the culture of an evolving adult society.
For an example of that fact: In many nations, it is often difficult to find a local Catholic priest younger than sixty or more years of age; this is chiefly an expression of the cultural influence of the "white collar" tradition specific to the 68er generation. The present rampage of the "Global Warming" swindle is a prominent clue to the specific form of cultural and moral decadence rampant in the "white collar" roots and fruits of the 68er revolution....
The so-called "white collar" stratum of our "Baby Boomer" generation, as typified by the 1945-1956 interval of the "white collar" class, has lost a commitment to posterity which distinguishes the immortal soul of the true human being from the feral beast. The bonds which should tie successive generations in the expressed immortality of an eternal mission, have been severed by the radically quasi-Nietzschean, Sophist existentialism of such as the European Congress for Cultural Freedom's Horkheimer, Adorno, and Arendt, and the circles around Margaret Mead's Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation's "information theory" cult.
Thus, we have experienced the "white collar" social castes which, by and large, distinguish that Baby-Boomer generation from its "blue collar" contemporaries, a caste whose influence is reflected in the actual long-term effects of the influence of the "white-collar 68ers," over the 1968-2007 interval. These effects have tended to prompt the culprits, the Baby Boomers themselves, to resort to sweeping and destructive, draconian measures of social control, such as today's lunatic, so-called "environmentalist" measures of globalization, and, thus, into methods of political tyranny employed, ironically, tragically, as "corrective" measures of control of individual behavior, as by "environmentalist" measures which generate long-ranging ruinous effects as bad in their own way, as those of the pro-eugenics Hitler regime earlier. Often, even usually, this draconian reaction to long-term consequences of patterns in cumulative local, short-term behavior, is a reaction of a type which has little or nothing to do with the causes of the problem, but is simply the tyrannical enforcement of some antic delusion, as, presently, by many among our Baby-Boomer stratum itself.
Customs which are intrinsically irrational, from a functional standpoint, have been often enforced by the approximation of fascist, or other oligarchical forms of tyrannies called a "consensus"—or "consensus" in Hitler-era German, Gleichschaltung.
Osram, could you explain what exactly you mean when you say existentialism is a science?
I don't know how old you are or when the last time you went to school was, but my high school offered philosophy classes that thoroughly examined existential questions, and also briefly touched on existentialism in literature classes. Not to mention the fact that there are only a handful of colleges and universities in the world that DON'T offer classes on the subject.
Second, I would not say that existentialism is the key to happiness. Maybe for you it is, and I know for a while I was really into it, too. But let's face it, man, pretty much every existential work is terribly depressing. Quoting wikipedia like you, the most popular themes in existentialism are "dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, and nothingness." Not really uppers.
I was in philosophy classes myself, even with a pretty well-known philosopher as a teacher. But still, existentialism is only considered a branch of philosophy and cannot be refered to as "philosophy" classes in school.
You admit it yourself. It was only briefly touched even at your school.