The existentialism , is considered one of the most diverse philosophies and influential that emerged in continental Europe from 1930 to mid-twentieth century, it explained an interpretation regarding human existence in the world emphasizing its specificity and its character troublesome . Existentialism in the broadest sense is a philosophy that emerged in the 20th century that focuses on the analysis of existence and the way humans find themselves in the world. The main idea of ​​the theory is to say that humans exist first and then each individual spends a life changing their essence or nature .

What is existentialism?

It is a current of philosophy that seeks to find knowledge of reality through the experience of existence, highlighting the human being as an individual being that gives meaning to his own life.

  • What is the existencialism
  • History
  • Characteristics of existentialism
  • Types
  • Literary existentialism
  • Existentialism in education
  • Existentialism in psychology
  • Importance
  • Representatives
  • Plays
  • Phrases
  • Examples

What is the existencialism

In simpler terms, existentialism is a philosophy that tries to find the I and the meaning of life through the free will , the choice and personal responsibility of each individual. He believes that people are seeking to discover who and what they are throughout life as they make decisions based on their experiences , beliefs and perspectives . And these personal choices become unique without the need for an objective form of truth. An existentialist believes that a person should be forced to chooseand be responsible without the help of laws , ethnic norms or traditions .


Existentialism arose as a result of philosophical work that developed between the 19th and 20th centuries ; In which there was a clear search for the reason for existence based on individuality , emotions , actions and the responsibility that each individual had.

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is considered the father of existentialism and it was he who determined that every human being must find the meaning of his existence. The term was used in the 1940s with Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus who are currently considered the greatest exponents of existentialism.

Characteristics of existentialism

The main characteristics of existentialism are the following:

  • Your posture has pessimistic thoughts and attitudes that produce notorious uneasiness.
  • Eagerly seeks the power to reveal the meaning of man’s existence
  • It proposes to discuss problems such as the man-divinity relationship, freedom , the meaning of being, nothingness.
  • It has influenced many artistic manifestations .
  • One of the most expressive artistic fields of existentialism has been literature .
  • The theory said that every human being is one hundred percent responsible for his actions because he enjoys freedom .
  • One of its key points is the choice .
  • He says that the human being only exists if he has meaning for his own life.
  • It positively affirms human existence .


There are several types of existentialism, the three most important are the following:

  • Atheist Existentialism : tells us that man does not need or have any type of rule to be able to live and that there is no God who imposes these rules. For them, man can give meaning to his life regardless of whether what he does is moral or immoral , they think that life should be lived and find a way to satisfy all needs regardless of the consequences . They also don’t believe that they can be saved by someone and that power is everything.
  • Christian Existentialism:  tells us that there is a God who gave us the commandments to follow them. He says that principles and values serve as the basis for forming the morals of a good person and that we must live life correctly, following rules , being prudent and avoiding hurting other people. There is the fear of God and salvation is sought .
  • Agnostic existentialism : considers that some claims regarding the existence of God are unknown and lives in a state of suspension of beliefs. It relies mostly on the intellect to find demonstrable conclusions . It is a philosophical position that says that humanity has no rational grounds to justify other beliefs.

Literary existentialism

It was the way in which some existentialist philosophers found a way to convey the thought . The greatest representative of existentialist literature was Fyodor Dosteoivski.  The authors were in charge of expressing the different existential problems and the anguish suffered by contemporary man was reflected in the works , the feeling of feeling lost for no reason.

Existentialism in education

In the educational field, existentialism tells us that the teacher must become aware that he exists as a human being just like his students and that these are not simply objects , that they are thinking and intelligent beings and that teachers have existential freedom to choose the best methodology to teach their students, the freedom to choose the best tools to evaluate them , the best texts to search for information, the use of the best didactic material to improve and make learningof the simplest content and also says that the exercise of this freedom should promote the ability to participate , question with valid arguments to improve its use .

Existentialism in psychology

He bases his perspective on existential philosophies and focuses on the human condition as a whole, in therapy focusing on human capabilities and helping individuals to take responsibility for their successes. It also focuses on the conflicts that the person has when faced with a world that threatens existence. The difficulties emotional and psychological are an internal conflict that is caused by to the confrontation that has the individual with its existence.


It is important because it is a theory that shows interest and concern for the freedom of the individual, it faces the different aspects of the human condition that are not often thought about, they see the human experience as an essential part of life that helps us face the world, which makes it important for man to lead a correct and proper life depending on his actions.


  • Sören Kierkegaard : He was a Danish philosopher and theologian , whose interest in existence had great influence on modern Western theology and philosophy .
  • Martin Heidegger : He was aGerman philosopher who founded existential phenomenology and is considered one of the most original thinkers of the 20th century. He spoke of the structure of everyday life , what he thought was an interrelated system of skills , social roles, projects and intentions .
  • Jean-Paul Sartre : French  philosopher , playwright , novelist and political journalist , considered the main representative of existentialism. He qualified his own philosophy using the term and became the great diffuser of the movement internationally .
  • Karl Jaspers –  German philosopher and psychiatrist , who was one of the founders of existentialism. His work had a decisive influence on theology , the psychiatry and philosophy of the twentieth century .


Some important works of existentialism have been the following:

  • Nausea (Jean-Paul Sartre): novel that mentioned the principles of existentialism.
  • Weddings (Albert Camus): set of articles inspired by readings and travels.
  • The plague (Albert Camus): describes ideas of solidarity and the capacity of resistance that the human being has.
  • Diary of a Seducer (Soren Kierkegaard)
  • The second sex (Simone de Beauviour)
  • The Black Heralds (César Vallejo)
  • The Stranger (Albert Camus)


Some of the most famous phrases of existentialism are the following:

  • The convictions could be more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • There is hardly any passion without a fight .
  • rebel , therefore I exist.
  • Some men become the person they were born for .
  • The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, just indifferent.
  • All power is in essence power to deny mortality.
  • Only after you have lost everything are you free to do anything.


Some examples of existentialism that we can observe in daily life are the following:

  • The infidelity that we observe when a person mentions the phrase “he had no choice and he got carried away . ” This is not true because you can always choose and when two people really love each other there is no infidelity.
  • Another of everyday life would be when a student does not study for a test because they have to play first, and the most important thing is to study because it is the best thing to do.

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