Can people stop seeking existential worth?


Ozodi Osuji

      Stand apart from people and observe what they are doing; what they are doing is this: they feel like they have no existential worth (this is an inference from their behavior); they feel like they are mere animals that live for a season and die off and their death are like the death of other animals and trees, insignificant. They respond to this perceived lack of existential specialness with an obsessive-compulsive desire to have worth, importance, and significance.

      All people are seeking worth, in normal situations, through their work or in fantasy by merely wishing for it.

     What is social ranking and class system but a futile effort to make some people seem especially important and others not important and give folks motivation to seem important by trying to become like the currently perceived important folks in society.

      People know that their bodies are food for worms so they must attempt to make their bodies seem important in their eyes and in other people’s eyes.

     They bedeck their bodies with expensive clothes, jewelry, and move their bodies around in luxury cars and other means of transportation; they dine well (and die from attendant cardiovascular diseases from rich food).

     Without the illusion of worth, people are just animals, they are like flies and rats. However, even animals, in their own ways, seek worth; if you doubt it go touch a sleeping lion and it will devour you, meaning that it values its existence and sees you as a threat to its life hence attack and get rid of you to maintain its valued existence.

      The question is this: can human beings exist without seeking worth, significance and importance? Natural forces destroy them as they destroy other parts of nature; for example, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanos, hurricanes, tsunamis, bacteria, virus destroy people as if they are not important.

   Given their apparent existential worthlessness, can people not struggle to defy existence and seem to have worth and still live?

      People must, at least, pretend to have worth to tolerate their existence in a universe that treats them as if they are nothing.


      If you understand that people are seeking worth then you desist from insulting them; if you belittle a man or woman, he will not hesitate from killing you because you remind him of what he is fleeing from, what he does not want to confront, existential nothingness; do not degrade people in words and deeds if you want them to like you and keep you alive.

     Only a few human beings accept their existential nothingness, worthlessness, insignificance, and unimportance; those who do are peaceful and happy people because they reconciled themselves to their reality and have no false goals that they aspire to attain.

      It is said that when a person accepts his total nothingness that he finds real worth in God. I have not experienced that situation and will not talk about what I do not know.

     What I do know is that I have no worth and have accepted that reality and live in peace with it.


     Nature allows thinking and philosophy; people do not just live like mindless animals and do not ask painful, existential, and phenomenological questions! Therefore, deal with the fundamental questions raised above and do not be a Pollyanna, pretending that all is fine with you when you are afraid of death and its implied oblivion and finitude (and if Christian, life in hell).


Becker, Ernest (1973) The Denial of Death. New York: Free Press.

Ozodi Osuji

July 23, 2022

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