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Don Barzini
Discussion » Statements » Rosie's Corner » What is an EXISTENTIAL THREAT and how does it differ from a threat unadorned by an adjective? Anyone?

What is an EXISTENTIAL THREAT and how does it differ from a threat unadorned by an adjective? Anyone?

Posted - February 13, 2018


  • 4810
    That it is real, not imagined....

    As opposed to the threat that the earth may at any time spiral into the sun.
      February 13, 2018 11:11 AM MST

  • 58209
    Thank you for your reply tom. I looked up "existential" in the dictionary and it said "pertaining to existence" and I couldn't figure it out. Why didn't it say "REAL not imagined."? I also looked up "existentialism" and boy is that a confusing definition.
    It said "it is a philosophical attitude espoused by folks like Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel and Sartre and opposed to rationalism and empiricism". SAY WHAT?

    "Stresses the individual's unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices"

    Now I ask you what kind of nonsense definition is THAT? NOwhere does it say "real not imagined". Geez Louise! :(  Thanks for making sense of it for me and Happy Wednesday to thee. Really. Thank you!  :)
      February 14, 2018 3:21 AM MST

  • 258
    The latter I think a good description of existentialism, under the constraint of brevity, but an "existential issue" may generally be taken more broadly. As I understand it, it is an individual's doubt in who or what they are, or in the significance of any of their choices and actions. So it's primarily metaphysical: a person in existential turmoil might then feel like "they are not themselves anymore," or "don't know who they are."

    I've avoided the term "threat" in this because anything that calls attention to such uncertainties must ultimately be positive.
      February 14, 2018 3:45 AM MST

  • 58209
    Hi there  DaniG. Thank you for jumping in on this. I go to the dictionary for edification and clarification and understanding and sometimes I just get more confused! This is a very good example of one of those sometimes. Now tom made it quite clear in 3 words. That I understand.  All the other stuff is just boilerplate that doesn't do a thing for me.  I have never doubted who I am or what I am. I have always understood my strengths and weaknesses and limitations. I have questioned why we are here, what we're supposed to do while here and what comes after? Who hasn't? But me? I'm solidly in touch with who I be (it rhymes) and have never once doubted that! I have never "not been myself" emotionally or intellectually. Physically sure. When I had cancer that was a trip.  As for not knowing who I am? That I cannot ever imagine happening unless of course mental defect/illness takes over and then I have no control over what happens. I do appreciate your taking the time to give more definition/level/context/nuance to what existentialism is. I guess I'm not an existentialist! Happy Wednesday to thee D! :). This post was edited by RosieG at February 14, 2018 10:33 AM MST
      February 14, 2018 3:59 AM MST

  • 258
    You're very welcome, Rosie. Dictionaries and encyclopedia are peculiar things once one reads about any topic and then feels the need to jump to another. I guess all of our knowledge is such: we grow wiser as we realize how little we know, and vice versa.

    The reason I also mentioned asking what we are is because that's much more metaphysical (while "who we are" can be taken in many different ways, perhaps socially in the first place). And that question, I reckon, is more difficult to answer. A neighbor back in Bosnia once put it very well: in short, he posed that--considering that we have personalities, memories, experiences, virtues and vices, thoughts etc., which in that clause are grammatical 'objects'--what are we? Philosophies and religions across the world revolve around the same subject.

    Maybe you are an existentialist, though, since, in the meaning that mainly Sartre gives it, such a person is rather simply someone who takes all responsibility for their own being in the world. Happy Valentine's Wednesday to thee, RG!
      February 14, 2018 10:43 AM MST

  • 58209
    Thank you for this very helpful and thoughtful followup reply. Me an existentialist? I dunno that sounds awfully fancy dancy and I[m definitely a plain wrap gal. I do know I have always taken responsibility for what I do/say. I always say what I think or I say nothing. I have very definite opinions about things. Sometimes things simply make no sense and I say so. But I do realize that just because they don't make sense to me doesn't mean they don't make sense. Sometimes it goes over my head and I can't grasp it. But I never pretend to understand anything I don't. Let me pose a question to you DG. If all your memories disappeared whom would you be? Aren't they what determine what you are? I asked that question long ago on Answerbag I think and I' m going to ask it again. I fear memory loss more than anything because without my memories who am I? Maybe you'd like to answer it :)
      February 15, 2018 4:55 AM MST