Author: Christina Robertson

Reflections of an Existential Grandmother


I have always defined myself as an existentialist. As a parent, this meant I was responsible for providing opportunities for my children so they could develop into unique individuals. I watched as they created their respective identities through the authentic (fortunately, more authentic than inauthentic) choices they made. It was easy to see my two… Read more »

Considering Institutional Cover-ups Using an Existentialist Perspective


Beaver Stadium at Penn State University Living in Philadelphia in recent months, I have been listening to news about two scandals—one involving a Monsignor of the Catholic Church accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest, and the scandal that broke last Fall involving a football coach at Penn State University accused of… Read more »

Remembering Paul Fussell 1924 _ 2012


Photo from US Army, 1945 Paul Fussell, professor, literary scholar, expert on the First and Second World Wars, social historian, and a critic of popular culture, died on May 23rd at age 88. Words frequently used to describe Paul are curmudgeon and stingingly opinionated—I would agree with these words. Paul was not a person who… Read more »

The Perspective Nature Provides


What role does nature play in your life?  My family is divided between city and country dwellers.  While I appreciate the numerous cultural advantages of living in the city of Philadelphia, occasionally I am annoyed by the downside – the noise, ugly alley and street views from our windows, not being able to see the… Read more »

The limits of what we can measure


Not the whole story What is the best way to measure performance? What role should metrics play? Should measurements strive to be entirely “objective”? What is the best way to measure “reality”? These are some questions I have grappled with in recent months trying to understand students’ grading concerns in a graduate course I taught… Read more »

Why do we like to be –scared to death?”


We are approaching that time of year known as “Halloween.”  While Halloween may not have achieved the holiday status of Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is second only to Christmas in revenues (seven billion) generated by sales of scary costumes, decorations, candy, and haunted activities.  It is the season when my grandmother would recite the old… Read more »

What Would Simone de Beauvoir Say About SlutWalks?


Chicago SlutWalk photo by Gracie Hagen I was not aware of SlutWalks until I listened to Marty Moss-Coane of Radio Times on WHYY Radio interview two women about the SlutWalk scheduled for Philadelphia that occurred on August 6th.  SlutWalks started in April in Toronto when women reacted to advice given by a police officer that… Read more »

The link between Creativity and Authenticity


Carl Ernst Christoph Hess (1755-1828) I have been interested in Existentialism for as long as I can remember.  As a college freshman I took a course on Walt Whitman and wrote a paper on the existential ideas presented in Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself.  Before I knew it, I was knee deep in existential concepts… Read more »

A trip to Cambodia prompts existential reflections


A major tenet of existentialism is we create our lives through our values, choices, and actions. Certainly, no one would say this is an “easy” task during any time period. European Existentialists of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, and Frankl, formed their philosophies with World War II as a backdrop—when… Read more »