What is an Existential Crisis actually ?
Existential Crisis, in simple, means a threat or a danger to someone’s life.
If I have to simplify further, then, I can go about like this : It’s a situation, where someone finds life unbearable or finds it difficult to tackle.
Let’s start from the very beginning.
The fact that I am writing this story and you are reading, means that both of us are alive. In fact, there are billions and billions of people who are living at this point in time and there are thousands of people who are also dying at this very moment. We often take the words ‘life’ and ‘living’ for granted. The very fact that me and you are alive means that we are here already, and We are ‘Existing’ !
Now comes the problem area. If I ask you, why were you born in the first place ? You might think that it’s a very silly thing to ask, but let me tell you it isn’t. The reason is – the entire barrage of problems emanate from the very phenomenon of being born. It is indeed an ambiguous question, but there is philosophical way of looking at it. The befitting answer will be : ‘I never wanted to be born, I just happened to arrive on the scene by chance. Well, if you really ask me, it’s cause my parents brought me in here.’
Remember that from the very point that you are born into this world, your fight for survival begins.
A child has a tough time to stand on his own feet and learn to walk, he may fall over and hurt himself badly, he may be growing up in a troubled family, he may have difficult parents and he may see a lot of negative things around him, but then, all these do not affect him, at least upto a certain age, simply because, the child is not yet ready with that sensitivity needed to judge situations and analyse the going – ons around him. So even though, a kid might run into problems, yet he is largely unaffected. However, the vital point here is that the equation changes from the very moment, he becomes ‘aware’ of his surroundings. So the ‘Rise of Consciousness’ is the key factor here, which in turn, makes us perceptive and reactive to our life situations. From this juncture onwards, the problem of Existential Crisis begins.
We all know how tough life is. It’s undoubtedly, a daunting task out there. It’s not an easy job at all to go through the demands of life. As we grow up, we invariably gravitate towards hardships and sufferings, and then one fine morning, we realize how difficult life is actually. This is not to mean that we should give up on life and surrender. Life must go on at any cost. It’s a major challenge, a major hurdle to be negotiated. Some of us sail through despite being in rough weather constantly, whereas, many of us get crushed by the whirlpools of life and are resigned to a state of despair.
From the outside, it might appear that it’s all pretty and sunny out there in life, but that’s not the case at all.
I frequently see clients who are pretty well – off and rich. They have everything that one can ask for, yet they are totally unhappy and lost. Why ? The reason is – Money and Wealth can never get you happiness. They are only ephemeral props for you to believe that you got all those stuffs, which are ‘supposed’ to make you happy. But you will see, that your happiness is momentary and very soon you will find yourself to be downcast, alienated and lonely from inside. A Ferrari in your driveway, a Lamborghini in your backyard, a luxurious outhouse in Nova Scotia, expensive vacations the world over and a fat bank balance, are not going to make any more happier, on the contrary, you might feel ‘I have everything, but I have nothing’. That’s the typical Existential Predicament of the Modern Man.
It is worthy of a mention here that the advent of a ‘robotic culture’, in the present scenario, has worsened the Existential Quandary of the mankind.
The point is that there’s got to be a trade – off and that’s the middle path.
Life in any case, is a daunting task. It’s never going to be a cake walk for you out there, no matter, whether you are a tycoon or a pauper. It might sound too off – putting but the fact remains that Life has in – built destructive potentials inside the ‘apparently delightful’ exterior.
Life in all it’s finery and jubilation, has a seething dormant volcano inside, which is ready to erupt at any point of time, often with the most inconsequential trigger.
So what has to be appreciated is that each of our lives are different, yet there are some striking commonalities which come to a point of convergence, either to unsettle you at times, and please you ‘momentarily’ at other times.
Existential thinkers are often labelled as pessimists because they shed light on the darker part of human life. Such an uninformed accusation is unfair. If you take good look at Existentialism, you will see that it has been a dominant ideology and a meaningful philosophy for hundreds of years.
The crucial point is that we human beings have two serious problems – first one is that, we are ignorant, delusional and hypocritical (which is a fatal combination of qualities), while on the other hand, we have difficulty in admitting our problems. That’s why we suffer even more. Get hurt easily. And get disenchanted at the drop of a hat.
So what are we supposed to do ?
Here are the most useful riders :
Don’t take Life too seriously.
Tread the Middle Path.
Build Mental Muscles.
Be a tough nut.
And, above all, Simplify Life.
While the rest is Destiny.