Grasp Your Existence
Hello there! My name is Jean-Paul Sartre, and I'm a 20th-century French philosopher.
During this journey, I will guide you through the world of existentialism along with my friends and intellectual comrades.
Our goal here is to connect you with your inner sense of existence and help you create your unique art of being alive.
On the first day of our journey, we will examine one of my claims, central in existentialism: existence always precedes essence.
To begin with, let me explain what essence means.
For example, when a manufacturer creates a knife, he has the concrete idea and purpose: to cut. Thus, a knife's essence comes before it exists. The blade has a predetermined meaning.
With human creatures, on the contrary, the process is vice versa.
We are beings that come into existence before any concept defining us. There was no purpose for us until we were born.
Thus, for us existentialists, the existence of the human is the starting point.
In our daily lives, we often use labels of various kinds to describe who we are. When we introduce ourselves or write posts on social media, etc., for example, we can say, I am an American; I am a designer; I am a traveler; I am an introvert, and so on.
Eventually, we get so attached to these labels that we cannot view ourselves without them.
Today, however, I was hoping you could grasp the feeling of your existence without any connection to those labels. Let's do an exercise for that.
For a moment, try to forget about all the details about who you are. Take a deep breath, touch your skin, and look around. Repeat to yourself: I am. Retake a deep breath and try to find that feeling of being. Once you catch it - stay with this idea that you are here for a bit. Smile at the fact of your very own existence.
This sense of existence is what I want you to stay with after the lesson.
You have to remember - before any of the labels, tags, responsibilities come - you are here.
You are in the process of being.
We often forget about it and perceive potential risks and situations as the end of our lives.
These situations could be, for example, losing a lot of money, getting fired by your boss, or your boy/girlfriend breaking up with you.
But remember, whatever happens - you are still here.
As long as there is breath, anything is possible.
In the following lessons of our journey, we will proceed to create your essence. But for now, remember about your existence.