Refection Reflection

Since my li­brary books and Amazon or­der haven’t ar­rived yet I start­ed reread­ing David Cooper’s Existentialism last night. I picked this up at a ta­ble in the fac­ul­ty build­ing at Notre Dame many years ago. This was a very cool ta­ble. Profs would drop what­ev­er books they no longer had a use for there for oth­er profs [and pi­rat­i­cal stu­dents like my­self] to snatch. Unfortunately I didn’t find out about this ta­ble un­til my ju­nior year, there­by miss­ing two years of po­ten­tial­ly awe­some li­brary build­ing.

In any case, apart from a few copies of The New Yorker whose cov­ers I cov­et­ed un­til I threw them out, this vol­ume is the on­ly one I can ac­tu­al­ly be cer­tain came from the holy ta­ble. Coming as it did, post- my ex­is­ten­tial­ist phi­los­o­phy course, this book has served as a re­fresh­er since that day. Last night, the same sec­tion that al­ways catch­es my eye caught my eye last night in the same sec­tion. If you use Amazon’s Search Inside This Book fea­ture and go to page three you can read it for your­self and a bit more. I’ll still ex­cerpt the crit­i­cal point.

…to quote Kierkegaard again, ‘an ex­ist­ing in­di­vid­ual is al­ways in the process of be­com­ing.’ …no com­plete ac­count can be giv­en of a hu­man be­ing with­out ref­er­ence to what he is in the process of be­com­ing. … “As Heidegger puts it, the hu­man be­ing is al­ways ‘ahead of him­self’, al­ways un­ter­wegs (“on the way”). …Unlike the stone, whose essence or na­ture is ‘giv­en’, a person’s ex­is­tence, writes Ortega y Gasset ‘con­sists not in what it is al­ready, but what it is not yet…Existence…is the process of realizing…the as­pi­ra­tion we are.’

This is al­ways a good re­minder for me when I get frus­trat­ed about the dif­fi­cul­ty in re­al­iz­ing my as­pi­ra­tions. As long as I ex­ist, I’ll be in the process of be­com­ing some­thing new. Satisfaction and must arise from the jour­ney while mo­ti­va­tion must arise from the des­ti­na­tion, even if nev­er reached. That’s al­most ex­act­ly the point of Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus.

My ap­pli­ca­tion and un­der­stand­ing of this idea doesn’t bind ful­ly to a pure ex­is­ten­tial­ism [which prob­a­bly doesn’t ex­ist], but it works well enough for me.