Existential Psychology

Unobserved Life

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Many psychologies focused on the individual miss the fact that all human life occurs in a social context, even when others aren’t around, and most problems are social problems, problems in relating to others. Our culture celebrates the individual and puts individualism on a pedestal, but come on. Life would be pointless without others to share it with. Actually the state of insanity is being totally unrelated to the world, isolated from objective reality and lost in subjective fantasies.

This is why if you are having any life issues the first thing to ask yourself is how you feel about your human relationships and if you really feel connected to other people. Your problems might not seem related to social functioning but they probably are. People who have solid social networks report higher levels of happiness and fulfillment than those who don’t. We make a lot of rationalizations to protect ourselves, and when you are lonely or feel unrelated one of the best rationalizations is to decide that you really just don’t want or need other people in your life.

The unobserved life is hell. When we are related to others we exist not just within ourselves but also within the minds and hearts of these people. Human relation is probably the best shield against existential anxiety because the threat of nothingness is less intense when we know that even if we die we will live on through the actions of those who were influenced by us. The way that you exist right now in the mind of the person who loves you, if you are not currently in the same place interacting, is not that much different from how you will exist in that person’s mind once you have passed away.

Don’t lie to yourself to protect yourself if you feel a lack of positive human connection. The lack of connection is the problem and needs to be remedied if you want to be happy and fulfilled. Telling yourself you don’t need others doesn’t change the existential fact that you do.