One might expect bad behaviour from existentialists – indeed that was what existentialism was all about, was it not? – but to find this happening on one’s own doorstep was a shock.
John Clellon Holmes ... and I were sitting around trying to think up the meaning of the Lost Generation and the subsequent Existentialism and I said, 'You know, this is really a beat generation' and he leapt up and said 'That's it, that's right!'jack kerouac
Now the basic impulse behind Existentialism is optimistic, very much like the impulse behind all science. Existentialism is romanticism, and romanticism is the feeling that man is not the mere he has always taken himself for. Romanticism began as a tremendous surge of optimism about the stature of man. its aim like that of science was to raise man above the muddled feelings and impulses of his everyday humanity, and to make him a god-like observer of human existence.colin wilson
The bomb reveals the dreadful and total contingency of human existence. Existentialism is the philosophy of the atomic age.
Existentialism does not offer to the reader the consolations of an abstract evasion: Existentialism proposes no evasion. On the contrary, its ethics is experienced in the truth of life, and it then appears as the only proposition of salvation which one can address to men.
Once we can see how this question of freedom of the will has been vitiated by post-romantic philosophy, with its inbuilt tendency to laziness and boredom, we can also see how it came about that Existentialism found itself in a hole of it’s own digging, and how the philosophical developments since then have amounted to walking in circles round that hole.colin wilson
The dilemma created by the existentialist “leap” is inescapable. Every attempted escape becomes an escape from Existentialism itself. … It is one of the characteristics of Existentialism that its adherents are continually on the verge of apostasy.
From the very beginning , Existentialism defined itself as a philosophy of ambiguity. It was by affirming the irreducible character of ambiguity that Kierkegaard opposed himself to Hegel , and it is by ambiguity that, in our own generation, Sartre , in Being and Nothingness , fundamentally defined man, that being whose being is not to be, that subjectivity which realizes itself only as a presence in the world , that engaged freedom , that surging of the for-oneself which is immediately given for others.