Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why Existentialism Could Never Exist in Modern-day America:

1. It dismisses the desire for bigger and better as meaningless, therefore rebuking the fundamentals of capitalism. What happens when capitalism is threatened? Trump becomes President. Following such precedent would mean that a suggestion of existentialism would make America respond with an even stronger connection to capitalism.

2. It is too liberating for American standards. The self-proclaimed “land of the free” only values independence if it remains within the confines of society. Existentialism completely obliterates these confines, as it deems love, money, knowledge, justice, and faith as the source of all suffering.

3. Our nation is entangled in societies. America harbors various groups of race, gender, economic status, political affiliation, etc. Each society creates and adapts its own social constructs, which results in an inevitable influence on what an individual perceives as the essence of life.

4. America is deeply rooted in its power hierarchies. Social constructs are a means of furthering the stratification in our society. If we relinquish its influence over us, then we can truly exist as free individuals. However, the mere idea of removing status scares those in power, making them reassert their control in greater severity. Look to any current event as proof.

5. In an increasingly technological country, influence has become as quick as the click of a button. For this reason, it seems impossible for one to act solely in terms of oneself, for the influence of others might be subconscious, yet is still impactful.


  1. I think Existentialism could exist in America or anywhere else, but not survive. The stranger is a perfect example of this. Meursault follows existentialism (it seems) and goes through life, however he doesn't live a full life due to his "mistake" move of shooting a man that humans perceive as a sin, while Meursault doesn't.

  2. I agree that existentialism would conflict with capitalism in America. The idea that nothing that is a social construction matters would totally not fly in America, where people's belief in the capitalist American dream drives their existence. That social construct of capitalism is very much so the essence of American life, so the existentialist idea that existence precedes essence could not prove accurate.

  3. I like how simply you state the facts about American society. It is difficult to even consider existentialism in a plausible way when our society is so incredibly dependent on social constructs. In a way, America is the ultimate social construct. America is inherently "western," and many nations try to emulate the structures we live by. In addition, I think it is unrealistic to say humans will be able to reject systems because something new will always take its place. I like the angle you took on this, Dina!