Existentialism and the future of humanity

How philosophy might save the planet

Unfairly parodied as sombre and self-indulgent, existentialism can be a powerful force for change. Its diverse thinking can help reimagine our relationship to the earth and safeguard our future, writes Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei

 

That existentialism may inspire hope for our ecological future would not be immediately obvious even to a devoted reader. The philosophy after all focuses on subjective human consciousness rather than global and material concerns, and the experience of the existential subject is often negatively conceived. Sartre diagnoses the ontological split between the world (being) and consciousness (nothingness), while his novel Nausea responds to its realization. Camus’s novel The Stranger describes not only its protagonist Mersault at odds with his own society but the human mind aware of an indifferent universe. His essay The Myth of Sisyphus refigures for the modern imagination that offender of the gods condemned t

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