Tag: Art and Existentialism


The Spiritual Heresy of Maria Von Trapp: Existential Musings on The Sound of Music, Part Two

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As we pick up the story of Maria in The Sound of Music from where we left off in Part One, The Reverend Mother sends Maria against her wishes to the estate of the widower Captain Von Trapp. She is to be Governess of his seven children. Maria is hesitant. Here, she must come up… Read more »

The Spiritual Heresy of Maria Von Trapp: Existential Musings on The Sound of Music, Part One

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When lay people think of existentialism, they often make associations to death and atheism. Nietzsche’s phrase “God is Dead” is interpreted to target the existence of God versus our belief. Sartre’s “Hell is Other People” suggests that we are here, in hell, on Earth. Camus’ The Plague illustrates in excruciating detail the uselessness of dogma… Read more »

We Need To Talk About KevinÄ And His Mother

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Photo by Oscilloscope Laboratores. “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” (Sartre, 1957, p. 27) Or… is he? And what about his mother? A few nights ago, I watched the 2011 movie “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Since then I’ve been saying,… Read more »

The Call to Authentic Existence: Scrooge and the Hope of Redemptive Transformation

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Ebenezer Scrooge in a 19th woodcut by John Leech. The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Every year I look forward to it with great excitement, eagerly anticipate it, and can’t wait for it to arrive. Most especially, I love Christmas. While I know it may sound corny and cliché to some,… Read more »

Zap! Pow! Bam! Being!: Batkid, Cirque du Soleil, and the Soul of a City

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Within Existential conversations, there is a lot of talk about Being. And why not? Existentialism has been called the “Science of Being” and, as such, how “Being” is defined and understood tends to be the basic premise against which all our movement’s themes and concerns are evaluated. “Being” has been described as the ur-experience, the… Read more »

Awakening the Senses: Materializing Our Own Meaning

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Johann Peter Hasenclever’s Die Sentimentale This past week I was looking for a definition of perception for some academic work and sat down to read through my notes on Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (1954). The vivid accounts of magnanimous shifts of consciousness were enticing. I thought about the fantastic accounts of folds in trousers… Read more »

Waxing Existential: The Dangers of the Creative Process, Part Two

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Mark Rothko In The Courage to Create (1975), May stated: In human beings courage is necessary to make being and becoming possible. An assertion of the self, a commitment, is essential if the self is to have any reality.… Courage is not a virtue or value among other personal values.… It is the foundation that… Read more »

What Would Jesus Do?

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I am willing to admit that I live in a “bubble”—a liberal bubble. I live in an East Coast city and agree with most progressive political and social positions. Most of the people I associate with share similar views and opinions. It takes concentrated effort, therefore, to understand views diametrically opposed to my own. One… Read more »

Counter-Culture of the Counter-Culture: What the Dead Kennedys Taught Me About Anger

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Jello Biafra. Photo by Catherine Andersen. “Last call for alcohol; last call for free speech; drink up; happy hour is now enforced by law.” —“We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now” On a drive home from a recent family reunion, my daughter and I popped in the Dead Kennedys’ (1980) Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. It’s… Read more »