Existentialism And Extreme Situations: How Are They Related?


“He has died; my cancer is advancing; she has become terminal; I’m going to die; Life terrifies me; I have regretted it.”… These are phrases that you have surely heard in movies or perhaps a loved one has mentioned them, but have you thought about the day it is your turn to name them? How do you feel when thinking about that possibility?

What is existentialism? How is it related to Psychology?

The philosophical and therapeutic approach from existentialism has permeated various areas of intervention, care and prevention, both psychological and emotional, in recent times. However, there are some topics that are more prolific in content than others and, at times, they attract attention. of the interested in the perspective, leaving aside other issues of vital importance.

Suffering is an example of this, a fundamental topic of study within this theoretical perspective, even being considered as an existential attribute but it has maintained various limitations in the depth of the topic, not in the theoretical contributions, but rather in the practical foundations in the daily life of Life, the ways of experiencing said theory from action and not just reflection.

Currently, in the 21st century, specifically in its second decade, the world experienced the pandemic again in an exponential way, compromising the health and lives of millions of people, families and social circles modified by the effects that, at times, were devastating. In such a situation, it was possible to observe how despite the effects of globalization and technology that characterize this period of time, humanity continued to base itself on precepts and beliefs that only evidence its vulnerability, liquid thinking and lack of posture in the face of the various choices that it made. life came to pose.

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The freedom and responsibility of the human being are once again the focus of attention and explicit dilemmas due to their importance, but also in their painful effects. Look at the pain and suffering of humanity, the possible ways of coping and the perspectives that from a phenomenological-existential perspective could and can continue to be valid and even fundamental for those who are going through a tragic or painful situation in these times.


The connection with suffering

The main objective of this article is to share a look at the experience of unavoidable suffering as well as to expose the contributions and resources that are known from a phenomenological-existential perspective. taking into account the philosophical perspective of authors such as Martin Heidegger, Sören Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre and Karl Jaspers, who, based on their theories and foundations, contributed important merits to the theoretical and practical development that characterize this existential view.

In addition, it is allowed to share some general resources from existential analysis and coaching and their application as a model of initial coping with situations that cause suffering to human beings and the possibilities that such an attribute allows for their growth, solidity of personality and continued process of development. maturity.

Considering the various experiences that Life exposes us to, as well as the response we have to give to them, allows the existential view to be currently seen as a theoretical requirement in its analysis and subjective understanding of each experience, as also practical to the extent that each person puts themselves before their circumstances and chooses a position with which they face their reality.

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However, it is a model that, despite its valuable contribution, is little recognized in its dissemination and establishment in academic and social terms. This may arise as a result of the confrontation with the models and paradigms that currently govern the world, although perhaps This is transforming and the possibilities of changing, taking into account the transformation and movement in which the world continues and where it seems that the experience is requiring, for the majority of people, different responses to the circumstances it presents.


Guilt, death, finitude, suffering, contrasts, injustice, to name a few, are concerns that with ancient evidence have meant an important movement, not only in what is known and said about these terms, but mainly because of the questions that continue to arise and what is still not known about the subject but it is identified as a void of which it is necessary to become aware of its stay in the world, in particular, in the human being.

Moments of crisis, pain, losses and radical changes in the lives of human beings have marked the evidence of the inevitable that, due to probabilities, people must go through at some point in their lives and that enabling alternatives and resources to face them allows recognize the fundamentals of its recognition and application, in moments where life seems not only to be changing but distressing.

An eternal process of change

Currently, no matter how many technological advances that transform and increase annually, society continues to debate, reflect and seek answers to questions that permeate its existence, in which by continuing without finding any that nullifies its distressing experience, it continues with beliefs and methods that Allow them at least to alleviate a little the frustration and desperation resulting from a prevailing anguish in situations that, no matter how painful they may be, you seem to be condemned to experience.

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It is at this point that the search for answers continues to have meaning and validity, but it is no longer the only objective of humanity, since it seems that formulating the right questions and the attitude with which to face their possibilities is now required to the continuity of human thought, if what is planned is to move through the experience at the same or similar pace at which the technological and material world advances. A materialistic and essentially individualistic world that is increasingly closer to living the experiences of its existence in greater solitude, speed and emptiness, even at the end of its days.