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Describe your existential crises

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posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 04:46 PM
Hi there, I thought this would be a good place to hear other peoples experiences of existential crises. When did they happen, what triggered them and how did you deal with them?

I have had quite a few over the years, I'm 23 now and I began thinking deeply at around age 17-18.

I seem to have EC's at night time, either in bed or while out and about at night time.

There is something about the night and the way the city just haults activity in the darkness that lets the mind wander and take in the surroundings.

I'll think about the possibility of how similar we are to people who lived hundereds of years ago, perhaps even people in the middle ages. They too had cities (towns) and perhaps walked their "streets" at night thinking the same thing.

I will also consider my own mortality very frequently when the sun goes down. I'll think about how I am literally going to not exist one day and the though sends me spiraling in to anxiety and fear as I move at almost light speed toward this inevitable demise of which I have absolutely no control.

Finally, I'll find myself looking up at the stars and thinking about other planets and star systems that exist at this very moment, billions of miles away. I could look at the stars for hours just taking it in. It's like the grandest most powerful sight a human can see, and it's free to see every single night.

I won't get too in to it right now, I'll save it until someone responds mentioning it but, I've also experienced an EC after finding out about the Double Slit Experiment and learning about atomic structure. It made my mind explode and I couldn't stop thinking about the true nature of reality.

So what experiences have you guys had?

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 05:46 PM
I began having thoughts and ideas like this at least since Highschool and brought on often after too much HP Lovecraft, HR Giger and theoretical physics books.

What I realized though was I'm human and being that I have no idea whats really going on. So I adopted a more agnostic approach to things. Ive studied and researched Forteana and anomalous phenomena for roughly ten years now. One thing I have learned above all others is everything we experience and know is subjective. Our reality as we know it is subjective. So in the end there is simply no reason to have an existential crisis.

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 06:03 PM
This is an extremely interesting thread, and can be quite productive. I'm thinking about it.

In the mean time, here is a definition of "existential crisis":

Existential crisis is a concept in existentialism describing a state of panic or feeling of intense psychological discomfort about questions of existence.

Cognitive dissonance results when a person is faced with the paradox of believing that their life is important while at the same time perceiving that human existence itself is without meaning or purpose. It is the resolution of this paradox that dissolves the crisis. A typical resolution is a belief in some sort of supernatural explanation through religion; others hold that one can define for oneself what one's own meaning and purpose is on this planet.

(From Wikipedia. Where else could it come from?)


BTW, "crises" is the plural of "crisis", and is used correctly in this thread, assuming that if you have one existential crisis, you probably have had several.

A crisis (plural: crises) is a turning point or decisive moment in events. Typically, it is the moment from which an illness may go on to death or recovery.More loosely, it is a term meaning 'a testing time' or 'emergency event'.

Perhaps that will help anyone searching for an answer here.

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 10:45 PM
Hmm, thanks Buck but it seems people don't want to reply? Perhaps no one has truly faced such a crisis or doesn't want to talk about it.

Hopefully this thread attracts some people who want to tell us their thoughts etc.. if they have ever gone though such a thing.

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 11:09 PM

Originally posted by mrk2012
I'll think about the possibility of how similar we are to people who lived hundereds of years ago…perhaps…thinking the same thing.

I will also consider my own mortality …. I'll think about how I am literally going to not exist one day and …this inevitable demise of which I have absolutely no control.

Well, of course people have been thinking and worrying about the same things as you have - for ages. Why do you think we have all these multitudes of religions, past and present, that try and explain them? Just people like you and me - possibly just more creative or deluded - that tried to come up with some answers for things that no one could ever answer.

As for particular items of perturbation for me, the one that bothers me the most is the lack of solidity. That is that, if you reduce everything down to it’s smaller and smaller components, soon there are vast areas of empty space. And going even smaller, even the “solid” items begin to lose coherence. Eventually, everything is reduced to just little bits of energy, without form or shape, circulating in vast areas of emptiness. That’s what we are: bits of nothingness floating in emptiness. That thought really makes me dizzy. The fact that everything we perceive as “something” is really made up of “nothing”.

What then ARE we? An illusion? A mere dream?

posted on Jun, 16 2008 @ 11:34 PM
I think about this too, not so much now as I used to. I don't think the cognitive dissonance with this subject has ever left me. I never found that answer, I left it hanging. I do tend to look at life as a stage (and we are actors on it), though I know there are things I have to do in reality to maintain a comfortable life. We have total freedom in what we do, but unless we want our menial life to fall apart, we have to maintain it.

For me I guess it's like lucid dreaming. Usually if I go entirely lucid and say "forget the plot, I'm gonna fly away," then the whole dream soon fades into blackness and I soon wake up. Now if the plot was that I'm going flying, that doesn't happen. Those are good dreams. But I can't just leave any dream and go flying.

On the other hand, if I play along in the dream, knowing I'm dreaming. It's like there is a line you don't cross, and you don't want to, cause you kind of want to know what's going to happen. You are engrossed in the story.

I have felt extreme discomfort while pondering on existence itself. That becomes looking at conciousness on such a high level that you have to wonder, how far can I really go with this? And then the focus comes to other, simpler things. Right now I'm trying to get things going on a much more basic level. But no I never have really solved my existential problem.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 12:12 AM
I've had those, too. Let me use an analogy to explain.

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, kid's stories from the early '80s? You may have read them; I did. Check out the Wikipedia article if you haven't heard of them, or if you have a want a great call-back.

Well, with these things you would make choices while reading the story, and turn to different pages depending on your choice, and read a different continuation of the story from that point on. And so on, with more choices, and lots of different endings.

When reading them, I would always, upon encountering a choice for the first time, stick my finger between the pages, as a sort of temporary bookmark. That way, if I reached an ending or wanted to backtrack, I could. Sometimes I'd get many fingers in there, as the choices led from one to another!

Anyway, here's the analogy: I've always thought of philosophy and reasoning as a sort of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book. No, not the relativist fallacy, as ALightinDarkness might quickly point out, but as a technique for ensuring complete traversal of the subject matter, when definitive proof was lacking -- quite often the case, in philosophy.

So, to use the analogy, I remember, in 9th grade English I think it was, we discussed for the first time in school the concept of solipsism. I found it fascinating, but I couldn't decide if it was true or not. The class quickly moved on to other subjects! I felt that something important had been glossed over, so I 'stuck my finger in the book', marking solipsism as an unresolved issue.

That was many many years ago. I learned a lot, studying more philosophy, logic, aesthetics, etc. I ain't no Leonardo, but I likes me books. College came and went, life went on.

Eventually, I came back around to epistomology, and, to my surprise, I remembered that I still had that finger there, bookmarking that page.

I though I'd had major existential crises before. You know, teenage angst and all, what's my place in the world sort of stuff. I was wrong. I realized then, that no matter if I lived a hundred or even a thousand years, I might never get my finger out of that book. I struggled against that, felt doomed at the uncertainty of it all. Powerless.

Eventually, I learned to deal with it. Resolved the paradox, don't ask me how.

That was my first major experience with existential crisis.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 07:48 AM
Very interesting stories. Passenger mentioned the non-material, non-physical nature of reality as a significant moment of realization.

I've felt this way too, especially after really digging deeper and reading about quarks and bosons etc.. I watched one of the best documentary series of all time on BBC called simply, "Atom". It was a historical and scientific explanation of where our idea of the atom came from, and what our theories are today.

Simply put, the very idea that right now this computer isn't "real" and I am nothing more than a bundle of energy much like every other element in the universe is just bewildering. I can't begin to fathom it.

Even still, I get anxious when I consider that not only do I have not a clue regarding the nature of reality but neither to the top researchers and theoretical physicists! If they can't figure it out, I sure as hell can't.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 09:25 AM
Hm, i'm in a perpetual existential state, not crisis at least that is how i feel about it. It happened a few years ago when i went into this whole thing of the fact that nothing has mass but still not being able to push my finger through a table so to speak.

A lot of other stuff happened and it cumulated into the point where i am now. It feels like a kind of inverted depression at times because of the bad things in life don't stick like they used to while i enjoy the good things, i cannot stay mad at anyone for longer than a few minutes and i laugh at myself at regulair intervals not while thinking about a joke but i realize that i am making a fuss about something totally unimportant. Or when i have a bad day i can enjoy the bad day because emotions are emotions no matter wich way you look at it.

Not sure if it's really that healthy but whenever i get sick of it i just have to change it and i chould not be so hard me being on the steeringwheel and everything

Good thread btw

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 04:31 PM
I had my Existential crisis when I was 8-10 years old, I honestly don't recall exactly what age, that bit of information has been lost with time.

When I was around that age, my uncle and his family took us to this Evangelical convention in California. Anyways, I recalled sitting through an event, where some individual were talking about Revelations and the end of the world.

When you filled those thing inside a 8-10 year old kid's head, ruin the little happy world he created. Anyways for a while I was paranoid of "the END." Every sensational news article or documentary special about falling asteroids, nuclear warfare, and etc scared the bejebus out of me. The fact was, I was scared of dying, I didn't know what was really going to happen, despite my religious background. At one point as a child, I question the existence of myself, an afterlife, and god.

I just was at lost with myself and everything I once belief. I think for a couple of years, I just shut out on those thought, and lived my life as a typical middle school kid. It was around the Y2K scare that this fear resurface again, but I reawaken me from this false life that I made for myself, and I embarked on a journey in search of my identity, my existence, and my reality. Granted, it was slow and didn't really pick up until my second year of highschool, when I really matured up, where I found an answer I was content with about god, reality, and our existence.

Anyways fast forward a couple of years now, I'm going through a different crisis.

[edit on 17-6-2008 by skyblueff0]

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 04:36 PM
The Existential Crisis is something that should be celebrated. It causes deep suffering and pain, however, it it the first step to transcendence.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:10 PM
You began in 17-18? I started doing this when I was 14!

I call them my "brain orgasms". I start comtemplating the 3-Dimensional universe we live in and how it wouldn't matter if the human race was wiped off the face of the Earth.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:14 PM
Hyzera...good point, however I think this 3 dimensional universe is onle a by product of our own minds, so if you or I were wiped off the face of the Earth, the universe itself, as we perceive it would no longer exist

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:22 PM
This thread sure makes for a good read.

Existential crisis might come about when your mind re-configures itself after finding out that things are not the way it thought they were. For example when I was 9 years old it began to dawn on me that my parents and teachers - the very people I was relying on for answers - didnt have a clue

That thought depressed me for a few weeks as my mind fell into con-fusion and rearranged itself on a new level of perspective and attitude. The next epiphany came in at the age of 14, and so forth and so on.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:23 PM

Originally posted by mrk2012
Perhaps no one has truly faced such a crisis or doesn't want to talk about it.

Perhaps because they realise that because it's your crisis, you should be able to deal with it yourself.

A fairly natural opinion coming from someone like myself who had to work most of it out myself, including the psychological aspects of the crisis.

One should not doubt one's own ability...

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 10:38 AM
my first existential crisis was when i was 8...yes, i started this crap at a young age. it was when i first realized the true scope of the universe and how it really makes us insignificant

it took me a while to come terms with how tiny i was, but i decided that, if being tiny doesn't stop the ants and bacteria, it wouldn't stop me
...ok, it's a childish reasoning, but i was a child.

my life may not have objective meaning, but i'll give it meaning

posted on Jan, 3 2009 @ 09:14 PM
I am a woman in my thirties. I have achieved what many people only wish they could. I have four college degrees, including a PhD. I am a professor at a major research university. I hate many aspects of my job- the dishonesty of my co-workers, and working w/ people who are evil, lie, cheat and will stab you in the back at anytime to get ahead or to make others miserable. I like do like working with students and my research. I am married and have two kids. I love my kids but at least half of the time they drive me crazy with their questions and fighting. My husband, on the other hand. Let's just say, the majority of responsibility of the finances falls on me although he does work. I think I avoid him when I can. My life is totally miserable and I wonder how I got here. This is an crisis! Who am I? Where am I going and how do I get out of this mess?

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