The first existentialist
iunie 4, 2011 Un comentariu
The first existentialist was not Sartre, though he coined the term. Nor was it Kierkegaard or Nietzsche, though most of the textbooks say so. Nor was it even Pascal, though he foreshadowed half of Kierkegaard and was the first to write about the fundamental existential experience of cosmic anxiety and meaninglessness. It was not even Saint Augustine, whose Confessions stands out as the profoundest example of depth psychology and existential autobiography ever written. It was not even Socrates, who alone among the philosophers totally existed his philosophy.
Rather, the first existentialist was Solomon, or whoever wrote Ecclesiastes. Here, some twenty-five hundred years before Sartre’s Nausea, Camus’ The Stranger, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, or Kafka’s The Castle, we have the fundamental experience and intuition of each of these modern classics, expressed more candidly, directly, and artlessly than ever before or ever again.