Ad Nausea


New at Reason: As you've probably suspected all along, the editor of Reason is a lone antihero acting in a meaningless universe. Nick Gillespie dons his beret, lights up a Gauloise, and explains the enduring appeal of American existentialism.

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  1. I would add to Nick’s article that liberty to choose may be a necessary precondition for existential meaning, but it is not sufficient by itself. A variety of choices does not preclude us from binding ourselves in habit.

    The danger is that we choose without thinking, and therefore never appreciate the choices that define us.

  2. This I have always known about Americans. 🙂

  3. Thought provoking piece, Nick.

  4. Once again a well-done essay, but:

    Left out Hemingway, particularly the killer (forgive the pun) short stories like 50 grand, the undefeated, or a clean well lighted place, “nada y nada y nada y pues nada”

  5. He left out Grand Funk Railroad, too. Man, they were existential as hell.

  6. Existentialism can be summed up as this:

    If you wanna have a pizza, have a pizza…

  7. mmm, pizza …

  8. I eat therefore I am

  9. As Martin Gardner put it “Try to be happy as possible before you vanish back into the Black Hat from which you popped into existence.”

  10. But, in the end, what the hell’s the point?

  11. Phil, it’s called reductio ad absurdum. Did you read to the end of Gillespie’s piece?

  12. I agree with Nick. My appreciation for my spiritual freedom, and the resulting sense of responsibility for achieving meaning on my own terms, are greatly enhanced by the opportunity to buy vinyl cell phone covers in an assortment of eye catching colors.

  13. joe,

    You are the undisputed master of the straw man argument.

  14. Since American culture is somewhat in the hotseat here, I would submit after watching both “Matrix” movies back to back on DVD about six times that:

    a.) Only in America could the concept of The Matrix been thought out and executed so well, despite some fairly lame CGI scenery-chewing in the sequel. The choice/destiny dichotomy in these films tilts farther toward choice than any other culture on Earth would be willing to go.

    b.) The Wachowski Brothers – while clearly adreniline addicts – know both their Nizche and Camus. Note the character of The Merovingian in the sequel. The nihilistic power-seeker par excellence. Had to be French.

    c.) My eyes are red, and they sting.

  15. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 02:59:32
    Underestimation is a two-way street.

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