Life’s purpose remains as a variable for mankind. There are three possible choices for this variable: no purpose, a purpose, or the purpose. These choices can be analogous to nihilism, existentialism, and belief in a divine being respectively. But how should one live? From a nihilistic viewpoint, an existentialistic perspective, or just in plain faith? The answer: the latter. However, humans tend to believe their thinking is rational, but one can only say one’s thinking is rational if one knows everything. According to Jesús Mosterín, “Humans are not rational by definition but they can think and behave rationally… depending on whether they apply… the thoughts they accept” (Infosources). In the context of these words, humans create what
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As Jean-Paul Sartre describes, “[we] are condemned to be free” (2). Being about free will, existentialism says that people can ultimately change their future through the actions they proceed to take. However, because existentialism allows people to change their future for a subjective purpose, it cannot be related to nihilism as nihilists would not bother to change the future knowing that it is pointless.
Carrying this along, there is no appeal to be living life from either a nihilistic or existentialistic viewpoint. Eventually living to serve oneself does reach a point to where one can no longer be content in living life. In a response to a question, John Gardner states that his character Grendel “represents irrationality.” Justified, Grendel does represent irrationality as throughout his life he vacillates from an existentialist to a nihilist. Grendel is the ideal paradigm of the dissatisfaction one feels from living a selfish life; he lives for himself not others.
As a young monster, Grendel experiences his life as an innocent being with no guide in life; he accepts the images others perceive him to be. To his mother, the villagers, and the Shaper he is known as “son,” the “monster,” and the “devil” respectively. However, Grendel “was transformed…born again… [he] was Grendel, Ruiner of Meadhalls, Wrecker of Kings!” (Gardner 80). By the name Grendel sets for himself, he is