“Either no one knows what it is like to be alone because no one truly is. Or everyone knows what it is like because everyone truly is. I believe we are all in this together-more than your tired heart will ever know”– Christopher Poindexter.
Each one of us has gone through that one instant in our lives when we begin to question our entity & integrity as individuals. In this rat race, nobody wants to lose. Everyone wants to emerge victorious by realizing his potential & striving hard to achieve it. ‘Make each & every endeavor count’ has become the motto of the Modern Man. But how successful are we? This is the question that is worth considering.
Too often, we are extremely harsh on ourselves: being too analytical & critical of our failure & too judgmental about others’ achievements. The truth is that nothing can leave you satiated permanently. The Universe is complex, mysterious & way beyond human understanding.
The 19th century philosopher, Nietzsche extended his views to suggest that the Death of God-the loss of collective faith in religion & traditional morality created a more widespread existential crisis for the philosophically aware.
Existential crisis can sometimes be the extreme form of self introspection. The moment we begin to question our principles, our values & even our self worth, is the moment when we realize that our life is based entirely upon the choices we make. Our choices & beliefs confer to us our distinctiveness. The realization of the fact that we are all superfluous, is enough to cause despair.
The theme of existential crisis reverberates through Milton’s sonnet, ‘How soon hath time’ as he evaluates his achievements: ‘Perhaps my semblance might receive the truth that I to manhood am arrived so near, & inward ripeness doth much less appear, that some more timely happy spirits endu’th.’ He is aware of the fact that he is getting older & yet he is far from achieving all that he is capable of.
As human beings, we are often burdened with making the right choices for ourselves. When we suddenly realize that there are far more options available to us than we normally allow ourselves to think of, we also come to know that we’re freer than we think. But this thought, although liberating, is quite anxiety-inducing because we may think that we’ve been misleading ourselves about what we could be & what we could do. Coming to the realization that our ultimate responsibility is to ourselves & we are answerable for all our choices, can be excruciatingly depressing.
We become acutely aware of death & conclude that there is not enough time to explore all the options. We tend to plan our course of action in the dark mostly without adequately reasoning or having an insight. We don’t even have the security that we’ve made the right choice. Guilt & regret are the natural consequences of the choices we make.
So, how should existential crisis be dealt with in the right way? There are multiple ways to do so: firstly, we need to isolate ourselves from all the disturbing & destructive thoughts. Overthinking never helps. Then, we distract ourselves by doing things that we are interested in. Watching our favorite movies, listening to songs & reading inspirational books can be the best ways to redirect our energy from negativity to positivity.
Moreover, having a firm belief in oneself & trusting in certain realistic norms can lead us to focus our attention in a consistent manner. Most importantly, having a positive outlook towards life can eradicate existential crisis completely.
‘All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.’– Ralph Waldo Emerson.