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Existentialism - We Create Our Own Destiny

Existentialism - We Create Our Own Destiny

We Create Our Own Destiny

“That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny,” (Stein, 43). I read this quote written by Garth Stein in his book, The Art of Racing in the Rain. This simple statement made me question what this means for us as human beings. Ultimately, it means that we have the power, the ability, and responsibility to create our lives and become the people that we want to be. This way of thinking means that both success and failure are ultimately derived from the choices that we make and while the opinions and ideas of others may influence our decision, the final decision or choice is for us to decide. While believing that we are artist behind our own masterpiece rather than a Divine Creator or God being the reason for our picture, would suggest an atheistic view, both parties (those that believe in God and those that do not) can agree that all of our actions have a certain outcome, predetermined or not, and it is those outcomes that shape our lives. This theory that our choices determine the person that we become, to create our own destiny, is supported by Jean-Paul Sartre’s idea of existentialism and William James’ idea of pragmatism.
In his work, Existentialism and Human Emotions, Jean-Paul Sartre introduces to us the idea of existentialism. As an existentialist, Sartre believes that existence precedes essence, (Sartre 13) meaning that we exist then have the freedom to define our purpose. To illustrate this thinking, he uses the example of a paper cutter. The paper-cutter, Sartre describes, “is an object which has been made by an artisan whose inspiration came from a concept. He referred to the concept of what a paper-cutter is and likewise to a known method of production, which is part of the concept, something which is, by and large, a routine, (Sartre, 13). This means that the object or the paper cutter’s essence has been predetermined before its existence, which is idea of those who believe in God....

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