The Idea of Nothingness to Existentialism This world implies the existence of every object, animate or inanimate within the paradigm of which lay the importance of human existence, his freedom and his choice. This study of human beings and the problems that arise out of this study in philosophical term is known as Existentialism. The basic principle of existentialism has its roots in the thoughts and ideologies of several philosophers from the time of Socrates and Plato. The study of existentialism is very varied with the main aspect implying in the study of that part of human nature, which is inaccessible to any scientific knowledge or reason or choice.
There are six basic aspects of existentialism: Anxiety, absurdity, death, alienation, nothingness and man as a conscious being. This essay is the explanation of nothingness in existentialism by various philosophers. I believe in the existence of myself. I am my own self yet my existence, there is nothing. We understand the term nothingness as nil, nothing and which has no existence still nothingness has its own importance. In our existence, there is still an essence of nothingness. ‘Nothingness’ for Webster is understanding and realization of non existence, there is nothing in and around us, and everything is empty and devoid of life and is nil.
Nothingness is also considered as darkness and the way we face it. In the darkness only we have a realization of nothingness. Only in darkness as said by Rudolf Allers in his article “On darkness, Silence, and the Nought,” we experience nothing, we cannot see anything or hear anything. (Estafia, 2) To experience the feeling of nothing itself means to absorb oneself in complete darkness. The evidence of the same we can also get through our feeling of sight and hearing. (Estafia, 2)Heideggar on nothingness compels us to state that, “it is not anything, and its not something, yet it isn’t the negation of something either.” (Kemerling, Online) It implies the fact that every part of our existence and our life, there is one or the other concept and essence of nothingness. Heidegger going with Hegel asserts the point that there is a very close connection between living being and nothing though for various differing causes.
It implies that all human beings, animals, plants, insects and all other living organism have separate entities in physical form. They have different physical characteristics yet all are one and their existence lie in their interaction and communion with each other, in other words they are all dependent on each other for their existence and therefore they are one. Though they are indivisible in modes or as atoms but they are not indivisible in substance. As Heideggar said it is also true that “Being itself is essentially finite and reveals itself only in the transcendence of Dasein which is held out into the nothing.” (Krell, 110)Sartre does not agree with Hegel that being and nothing totally move in contradiction to each other in fact he says that Nothingness is itself contradiction, and follows being in logical sequence. For Sartre, being nothingness is a reality that we all human beings have to accept it. (Sartre, Barnes, Hazel & Warnock, 16)Kierkegaard explanation of nothingness is connected with anxiety as he said, “the object of anxiety is nothingness.
” (Grossman, 71) This nothingness is sometimes considered as a fate and sometimes as guilt. All our actions are visible concerned with typically what we are destined and the trepidation of guilt, in reality both are nothing as both are only our feelings. In our lives where we human beings experience charisma and emotional gratification, on the same hand we also have to feel emptiness and void. This emptiness is nothing what Nietzsche explains to us. It is this nothingness that makes us have a good experience of our existence. When we feel emptiness we realize the worth and importance of our existence.
This concept of nothingness is a constant theme for Nietzsche’s categorical view about life. (Graham, Online) Fyodor Dostoevsky once said that, “Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience. But nothing is a greater cause of suffering.” (Kass, 16) In other words, it means to have a feeling of nothing means to attain nothing in life. If human beings fail in life then they are bound to suffer. Humans understand their value and what is good for them only through experience. Failure is the biggest cause of suffering, as they experience nothing in their lives.Ultimately for all human beings, death is inevitable therefore we can state that human beings reach the state of nothingness.
This is what Plato in his Apology states,“Either death is state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another… Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is to gain; for eternity is then only a single night.” (The Apology, 40) (Wolff, 28)Kafka was an atheist and so his view was that, “the world is a cruel whim of God, an evil day’s work” (Hale, 411) and when Brod tried to modify it by being optimistic, Kafka said, “Oh, hope enough, hope without end, but not, alas for us.” (Hale, 411) These remarks were quoted by Benjamin when he said that “his profoundest feeling is of the hopelessness, the utter meaninglessness of the man’s world, and particularly that of present day bourgeois man.
” (Hale, 411). For Kafka he said, God’s forsakenness of the world is of the futility and desolation.It is quite true that everything exists in this world as the cosmic entity and in correlation with each other but within each existence, there lies somewhere an essence of nothingness. Each philosopher has expressed this attitude of nothingness with really stating the fact that there is still nothingness in the vastness of the existence. Various philosophers from Aristotle to the philosophers of today have expressed this viewpoint from one angle or the other.
Works CitedEstafia, Jose Conrado A. “Heidegger on the Nothing (das Nichts)” Internet. Available: http://www.hnu.edu.ph/main/publication/kinaadman/0320061713.
pdf, June 2, 2009.Graham, Jacob. “Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Affirmation of Being.” Internet. Available: http://www.ferrum.edu/philosophy/nietaffirm.
htm, June 2, 2009.Grossman, Reinhardt. “Phenomenology and existentialism: an introduction”. London: Routledge, 1984Hale, Dorothy J. “The novel: an anthology of criticism and theory, 1900-2000”.
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.Kass, Amy A. “Giving Well, Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists.” Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008.Kemerling, Garth. 2001. “Heidegger: Being-There (or Nothing)”.
Available: http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/7b.htm, June 2, 2009.Krell, David Farrell.
“Martin Heidegger Basic Writings.” London: Routledge, 1978.Sartre, Jean-Paul, Barnes, Hazel E & Warnock, Mary. “Being and Nothingness : an essay on phenomenological ontology.” Oxon, OX: Routledge, 2000.
Wolff, Robert. “Ten Great Works of Philosophy.” Signet Classic, 2002