Tragedy of Existence – Outline

I’m currently working on a paper exploring the concept of life as tragedy. So far I’ve put together this basic outline illustrating the various topics, ideas, and issues I’m planning to cover. The aim of the paper is to dissect the existential problems of modernity: namely, how we cope in a world in which “God is Dead,” how we take a stand on our being in a world that is disinterested to our very existence; the fate of valuation in an era in which the highest values de-value themselves; and consequently whether or not there’s a solution to the problem of nihilism.

In a way, this is also an attempt to synthesize a response to the fundamental concerns of (atheistic) existentialism.  As anyone can plainly see, I take most of my inspiration from Nietzsche and Heidegger, but also Schopenhauer, Camus, Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Cioran, Leopardi, and others.

I. Introduction — Tragedy

II. Post-Christian Expectations
a. ‘Death of God’
i. Christian expectations w/o Christian Metaphysics
ii. Suffering as Meaningful
iii. The meaninglessness of suffering

III. Throwness or Contingency of Life
i. Randomness – world that we’re not prepared for; nor is it prepared for us
ii. Making sense of chaos
iii. Need for ‘order’ and ‘meaning’ in a world of artificial meaning
iv. Conflict of the ‘world’ and ‘reality;

IV. Valuation
i. Nihilism – de-valuation of our highest values
a. Valuing devalues our highest values
ii. Bankruptcy of Morals
a. Ecstatic time
iii. Conflict – morality vs. existence
iv. The Self vs. the Crowd

V. Finitude of Life
i. Finite beings in an infinite reality/ time as meaning and destruction
ii. Ecstacy of time – groundlessness
iii. Projection
iv. Death – as “being towards”

VI. Responses to Tragedy
i. Irony
ii. Withdrawal/Resignation
iii. Affirmation/Authenticity


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