The Existentialists Richard Dawkins, Author of The God Illusion, said in his book, “There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it. ” This entire statement pertains to the characteristics of Existentialism. Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible person determining their own life and development through acts of will.
This philosophy has been shown in the books Tuesdays with Morrie and the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass and the life story of Malala Yousafzai. The book Tuesdays with Morrie takes the life and ideals Of Morrie Schwartz and Uses them to inspire one of his former students, Mitch Albom. The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass is written by Frederick about the struggle of slavery and how gaining free will assisted in the abolishment of this peculiar institution.
Malala Yousafrai was not allowed to be educated by the Taliban in Pakistan and that s all that she wanted; Malala wrote a blog in order to invoke hope in the concept of education for women in Pakistan. These different forms of persuasive texts involve the emotional appeals of pathos, logos, and ethos in order to further persuade their audience towards the belief of existentialism and free will. The ideology of existentialism is exhibited and aided society in the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, Malala’s experiences, and Tuesday’s with Morrie by way of Malala’s fight towards education, Frederick
Douglass’ fight for free will and freedom from slavery, and Morrie’s life story which positively developed society. First and foremost, the ideology of existentialism is exhibited and has aided society in the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass by way of assisting in the abolishment of slavery and the enhancement of free will in the individual person. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery and whipped constantly just due to his personality because he was “awkward” at times. Douglass was able to pick himself up from the downs of slavery after being partially taught the lphabet by Mrs.
Sophia Auld then thwarted from learning because of the legality of teaching slaves how to read and write. He was able to, by himself, learn how to read and write and become a voice for the revolt against slavery by using his oratory skills to persuade whites and blacks alike to abolish slavery once and for all. The idea of Douglass gaining free will from his enslavers and gaining meaning to his life by changing the lives of his own people that were bound to a lives of servitude and punishment is a fundamental ideal of existentialism.
Frederick Douglass’ influence, through is oratories, assisted in the abolishment of slavery and created a new life in which African Americans could partake in and contribute new ideals, inventions, and culture into American life. An example of an African American rising through racism and becoming the first African American president of a country that once enslaved his people was Barack Obama. The philosophy of creating a meaning and taking responsibility for one’s life is the core ideal of existentialism and is at the core of everything that Frederick Douglass strived to achieve in his life by fighting against oppression.
A famous ideal used in United States history is that education is freedom and that is entirely the case in the lives of African Americans and Frederick Douglass. Undoubtedly, the ideology of existentialism is exhibited and has aided society in the life story of Malala Yousafzai through her fight towards education for women in the Taliban controlled Pakistan. Pakistan has been under the control of the Taliban whose ideals are ultimately selfish and cruel towards other individuals not within their organization.
The Taliban have strictly enforced laws that have involved sexual ntercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette, and fasting. Through the use of fear and restriction of education has the Taliban remained in power because the people they have ruled over have hardly any knowledge Of the ideals of the Outside world and of the Taliban’s intentions. Malala Yousafzai is a teenage girl who wanted an education in order to better her life in Pakistan but due to the Taliban law she was forbid from gaining it.
Malala was able to start a blog in order to gain an influence and persuade a change to occur in Pakistan in order for her and many other women to receive an education. She was a threat to the Taliban and she was shot in the side of the face for her will to educate herself. She was nothing and became everything to the women of Pakistan. Existentialism involves making a meaning for your life and having the free will to do what you want in your life. She was able to achieve that and that is why her influence has had an effect on the people of Pakistan in an entirety and especially the women.
This ongoing change has impacted the entire world by creating a stir in other governments that could have an effect on the future existence of the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai was ble to create a meaning in our life and pick herself up from not having an education to having one which are the fundamental ideals of existentialism. Parallels can be drawn between the lives of African Americans in slavery and Malala as education is freedom and it is a stepping stone to freedom from oppression such as the Taliban.
Pursuing this further, the ideology of existentialism has been exhibited and aided society in Tuesdays with Morrie through Morrie’s inspiration given to his students and especially Mitch Albom. Morrie Schwartz was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (AL S) hich is a gradual deterioration of muscle that quickly consumed Morrie’s life. He was able to connect with a former student, Mitch Albom, and through weekly meetings teach him lessons on the importance of the individual and different characteristics Of existentialism.
In one Of the lessons, Morrie spoke about how important it is to stare death in the face and know that there was a meaning to your life. In the philosophy of existentialism, a person should be aware of death in order to give significance to their life. The fear of death looms over those who are afraid to fully participate in life. Existentialists believe that those who fear death also fear life and it is similar to us saying, “l fear death because I have never fully lived. In Morrie’s lessons, Mitch consistently encourages Morrie to not talking about dying and death. There are parallels that can be established between Morrie teaching Mitch to live his life so it has meaning after death and the existential belief of not living if not believing in death. People in society give up on life and never really do what they know they can do because of the denial of death and more people must ealize that it exists and find some meaning in their lives.
Through the ideal of “fearing death makes you fear life” there can parallels drawn between Tuesday’s with Morrie and existentialism in society. I conclude that the ideology of existentialism is exhibited and has aided society in the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, Tuesday’s with Morrie, and the life story of Malala Yousafzai. Through gaining an education for himself, Frederick Douglass was able to contribute to a change in society by assisting in the abolishment of slavery and the enhancement of education in African Americans.
In her life, Malala Yousafrai was able to fight oppression by speaking out against an oppressive regime and gain a foothold in the fight towards education for women in Pakistan. In Tuesdays with Morrie, Morrie was able to teach Mitch that fearing death makes us not want to live life to the fullest and binds us to a boring, not meaningful life and that exact theory is a core ideal in existentialism. Through the works of Frederick Douglass, Mitch Albom, and Malala Yousafzai parallels be drawn between existentialism and positive changes in society.