The human angst that makes us ponder is familiar yet mysterious in its own ways. Through the various life stages most of us at some point or the other are faced with questions like; what am I doing here? What is the purpose of my living? What will happen when I am dead?
The existential question comprises of two words existence and essence. It is a question concerning the essence of what it means to be living. It can be quite often misinterpreted as boredom. Boredom makes us feel that the entire life around us is uninteresting and it is characterized with a desire that is hard to satisfy. On the other hand, an existential crisis comprises of uncertainties relating to the human condition. Thoughts like: where do I belong? Why do I feel so alone in this world? What is the point of building up something that will be washed away by death? Why am I striving for a life that is so short and meaningless? become a part of everyday thinking.
The existential anxiety is broadly categorized into four; death, isolation, freedom and worthlessness. When a person experiences a crisis of this kind it permeates at all levels: physical, mental and emotional. The grief, loneliness, void and anomie that surrounds a person is questioned in this process of sense-making.
These all-encompassing questions usually take a seat in the mind of people who are not satisfied with comforting clichéd answers like focus on the monetary and family goals of life. The majority of people consider this as nonsensical questions that leads nowhere. I have personally encountered many such situations where as a child I was encouraged to not question the hard realities of life. Thinking in hindsight, I feel our culture doesn’t let the curious minds breed and nurture their own creativity. We are conditioned with answers borrowed from religion, media, ancestors and family. They are the answers that silence our need to think for ourselves and find our own reasons for existing in this world.