Human beings are unique in their self-absorption; rather than follow animal norms by simply living out our daily existences, we are compelled to seek out a greater purpose for our lives. As the only species on earth to exhibit such hubris, we see ourselves as true individuals, and work towards standards of perfection in health, inner peace, and material possession. Various scholars have attempted to root out this uncommon characteristic, and have formed entire philosophical schools of thought in doing so. These are existentialism and materialism. Furthermore, philosophers such as Aristotle and Dr. Nugget have also undertaken the task of discovering the nature of man's ego. After careful examination of the above philosophies, the root of humanity's quest for individual greatness is cultural dominance.
Existentialist thinkers question the meaning of human existence as well as the presence of a higher power that guides human actions. In effect, Existentialism is the belief that an individual creates his own destiny, and serves only to improve his own unique place in the universe. According to Existentialists, we strive toward a higher sense of purpose because our goals validate our existence. As individuals struggling in a world without God or guidance, we have nothing to turn to but our own sense of self-preservation and improvement.
Nineteenth-century man felt as if he had been thrown out of the Garden of Eden; he was in the world on his own. He might, with great difficulty, find his way back to some faith and affirmation; but the old sense of peace and universal order had vanished . The source of his emotional life, his sense of meaning, lay in religion.
(Wilson 19-20) .
With the birth of science, many beliefs were fractured. God was not as accepted as being a supreme being responsible for a large portion of existence. His validity was questioned extensively, and existentialism was born.