5 Existentialist Ideas that Affect Us All

5 Existentialist Ideas that Affect Us All

"Bad faith" and other windows into humanity
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Probably one genre of literature that you are not familiar with is existentialist literature. This type of literature is not very common in this part of the world because Americans typically tend to stay away from “uncomfortable” topics such as death, the meaning of life and death and the point of human existence.

So, naturally, most existentialist authors, like Albert Camus, Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Beckett, are European, and their works are translated into English for us North Americans. You might be surprised by how many existentialist tendencies you have!

1) Defiance

Unless you are a saint from the heavens or you were intensely trained, no one jumps immediately into action after being told what to do. Instead of getting right to it, there is an initial reaction every person has to either stall or not even to act at all. Instead of acting because someone told us to, we humans prefer to act out of our own agency and self-will.

Defiance is crucial to existentialist literature because it is usually the driving force of main characters, such as Pablo Ibieta in The Wall. These characters, like us, prefer to be our own masters rather than subject to the will of another.

2) Search for meaning

No one goes through life without ever searching for meaning or purpose for their life. People tend to make life choices based on whatever meaning they find, whether it derives from their love for someone, their faith, or their talents and abilities.

In the existentialist, the search for meaning is important, but the end philosophy is always that there is no particular meaning and that life’s events happen in a random, but sometimes coincidental, manner.

3) Search for Truth

Even more important than the search for meaning, the search for truth is a constant existentialist action. We all go through life searching for truth as well—truth about who we are, and what the world is. While, we North Americans tend to want to sugar coat hard facts of life, existentialists search for the scorching, capital ‘T’ truth.

4) Will Power

Will power is important to everyone, yes even passive aggressive people. We naturally want to take charge of our own lives, make our own decisions, and act independently. This is why so many American teens cannot wait for that 18th birthday, when they can finally feel like and be treated as an adult. Existentialists take will power a step further, in the belief that people should always take responsibility for their choices. So, after you act, accept the results, take responsibility instead of looking for someone to blame.

5) "Bad Faith"

Mauvaise-foi” is French for “bad faith, a phrase coined by Jean Paul Sartre, a French philosopher. This idea behind this phrase is that we as humans tend to limit ourselves to only a few options in life, while denying ourselves the numerous choices available to us. We just tend to stick to what people expect of us, who they expect us to be and what they expect us to do. Under the influence of “bad faith” we are constant actors and actresses seeking the approval of our fellow human peers.

Sartre resents this type and motivation of behavior because he believes that it denies us the true freedom of acting as the conscious human beings we are—instead of treating ourselves as objects and placing ourselves in boxes of how to behave.

Sartre’s famous illustration for “bad faith” is of a waiter in a restaurant. Most people consider a good waiter one who is overly polite, moves at a good quick pace and is attentive and remembers to bring everything customers request. To Sartre, this waiter is crap. He is not being himself and he is aware that he has put on this persona in order to please his customers. If you are totally confused, then you’re probably understanding it right.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Photography - Olav Njaastad

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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The 7 Best Food Places Near UCLA You Need to Try ASAP

We have great dining food AND restaurants around us? Wow, we are #blessed.

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Westwood is the home to UCLA and offers plenty of interesting and diverse dining options for students and locals alike. Since the area is firmly Bruin territory, you will find lots of on-the-go, affordable eats along with a mix of more modern and upscale restaurants.

Though I definitely haven't had all the food Westwood occurs, being here two years now (omg already!?), I think I can safely recommend certain places to eat.

1. Shamshiri Grill

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South Westwood Boulevard is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of that area is just Persian restaurants. Shamshiri Grill just makes the best meat and whenever I go there, I always order my meal with their special hot sauce, that is to DIE for. A must try.

2. Gushi

I can not tell you how many times I've been to this place. Located near Fat Sal's, you may be tempted to just miss it but let me tell you that is a mistake. I always get their Gushi Bowl which is just heavenly and the right amount to make me feel satisfied without being too filling. Be generous with the Teriyaki and Sriracha sauces on your meat and you are guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Pinches Tacos

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I know Mexican food is very common wherever you go but Pinches Tacos is aesthetically pleasing and their food? Even more so. It just tastes so good! I definitely recommend the Asada fries and any tacos.

4. Saffron and Rose

Saffron and Rose is a Persian ice cream parlor like 10 minutes away from Shamshiri Grill and the quality and variety of ice cream is truly impressive. I would not have known my weakness for Jasmine ice cream if I hadn't tried this place and as always, the Saffron and Rose (it's namesake) deserves to be the name of the restaurant because of how rich in flavor it is.

5. Maharaja

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I am very particular about my Indian food but the buffets in the afternoons at Maharaja definitely passes my checklist. I actually went there for my birthday so that just tells you how the food doesn't disappoint.

6. Nekter Juice Bar

I found out about this place very recently and I'm so glad I did because their bowls are so good. They also serve smoothies which I haven't had the pleasure to taste yet but I expect the same kind of quality. I am very partial to the Bruin Bowl and the Dragonfruit Bowl.

7. BJs

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They have $3 Pizookies on Tuesday.

I am always there on Tuesday.

Are these two facts connected? Maybe.

What can I say? I just love the restaurants here.

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