March 27, 2006


Existentialism is a religion. It therefore has a prescribed path that one can stray from, realize the error of one's ways, and return to. Like all religions, it is difficult and requires self-control and self overcoming. I think it's easier for me to accept being a part of a religious group when I realize that I had been trying to convert people to the religion long before I realized it even was one. It's easier to understand that need to "save" others, when I put it in the context of the other religions of the world.

One problem with existentialism is that it isn't sufficient to describe one's beliefs. For me, it dictates that life has no inherent meaning and you must create your own meaning for your life. And you should be as diligent about it as possible, as time is finite. Yet it leaves the meaning up to you. It could be hedonism, it could be utilitarianism. This is the next step for me.

I have come to the realization that my community organizing is faith-based. I realized from the start that I was creating a career in “waking people up�, but I didn’t make the connection between that and existentialism as a religion. Even the idea of each individual creating his or her own meaning has been codified in community organizing theory. But I still don’t know if it works.

January 16, 2006

Pieter Claesz

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