Turner Fishermen at SeaA few years ago, I saw and giggled a bit over a piece done by the humor site the Onion about an existentialist firefighter who muses that, in saving three lives, he was merely postponing the inevitable, as death will come for us all:


At the time, I was amused, but when the piece popped up again yesterday when a friend posted it, I realized that it, misrepresents existentialism as a sad, depressed philosophy obsessed with despair and death, as many have done.  In the very beginning of the piece, the firefighter says:

“Like any other man, I am thrown into this world, alone and terrified, to play a meaningless role in an empty life.”

FannonKierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and Fanon did argue that we are thrown into the world, that this is terrifying, and that life can seem meaningless, but also that life is only terrifying and meaningless if we do not have the courage to give our lives meaning, to take responsibility as individuals to grow and discover even if we do not see any final end or justification to the process.  This fictional firefighter is actually talking like a nihilist, not an existentialist, speaking like an existentialist who has given up.  I have a video about Nietzsche that explains why existentialism is not nihilism I made a few months back that explains further: