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Explain Like I'm Five: Existentialism and Friederich Nietzsche

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Published on Mar 18, 2013

A web series inspired by the subreddit Explain Like I'm Five. http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeim...

Subscribe to the reddit's YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/iAL9W

Learn more about Existentialism: http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeim...

The Explain Like I'm Five subreddit is an inclusive place to ask questions and get layman-friendly answers, without fear of judgement. Appropriate for questions about current events, history, politics, culture and more. http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeim...

DonorsChoose.org and Reddit are making sure the next generation has the resources they need to stay curious. Visit http://www.donorschoose.org/elif, and donate to support low-income elementary school students.

Hosts: Michael Kayne and Langan Kingsley
Kids: Gabriella Stein, Ryan Budinick, Toby Altholtz, Christian Cespedes
Directed by Jared Neumark
Written by Jared Neumark and Michael Kayne
Produced by Dan De Lorenzo
Shot by Alonso Homs
Music by Sean Hannigan
Intro Jingle by Doug Widdick

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Comments • 1,001

Marcel de Jong
Marcel de Jong4 years agoHighlighted comment
I guess I'm 4, because after watching this video, I still don't understand existentialism.
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Luke William
I imagine this is how Socrates first felt when he was talking to the Greek people for the first time.
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Kurt Daluege
>Explain like I'm five >starts by pronouncing Nietzsche incorrectly
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Scott Bitterman
Oversimplified, inaccurate, misleading drivel.
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Ashley-Nicole Fisher
THIS VIDEO BROKE MY HEART IN TWO! Nietzsche freed me from despair, he taught me self-acceptance, he empowered me to take control of my life and most of all he taught me how to see beauty in all things & how to make life worth living. Please be aware that this description of Nietzsche's philosophy is completely inaccurate!!! To see his name be soiled and then literally stomped on was like watching my best friend get hurt and humiliated. The fact that you're supplying materials to teachers would lead me to believe this video was not meant to be satyrical. There is absolutely no way the producers of this video have ever read Nietzsche– I have a hard time believing they finished reading the Wikipedia page before composing this monstrosity. May I suggest at least reading a philosophy before it is misrepresented to children+435,404 youtubers and counting! (If you are truly interested in existentialism I will include a book list at the end of this comment.) "Superman" is an inaccurate translation rather it is better translated as "Overman". This "Overman" is NOT a domination over others or a self indulgent hedonism, rather it is an overcoming and a transcending the all too human self. (Suggested reading: Thus Spoke Zarathustra) Nietzsche was such a beautiful human being. He wrote poetry inspired by his heart wrenching love for mankind. He acknowledged the nihilism caused by his secularization– for this reason he created Zarathustra, wrote about the importance of Myth and Music, showed us how life lived as an aesthetic phenomenon can help us to bare our suffering, etc. Throughout all of this he suffered from terribly debilitating physical ailments and alienation from those who misunderstood him–much like those misunderstanding him in this video! Existentialism can by no means be summed up in 5 minutes. The philosophy portrayed in this video is more along the lines of an ignorant adolescent Nihilism.There are various ways to approach existential topics: Metaphysics (What is Existence?)– Ontology (What exists?)– Epistemology (What can we know/understanding about existence? Is there truth in existence?)– Phenomenology (How does one experience existence?)– Ethics (Is there a right or wrong way to exist?), etc. Nietzsche himself did not "identify" as an existentialist. "Existentialism" as a specified "type" of philosophy seems to have begun with French Existentialism post WWII (if I'm not mistaken). Though to be completely honest I find the majority of French Existentialism to be apathetic, cynical, decadent, and all-around "lukewarm". With this said if anyone truly needs to sum up Nietzsche in 5 minutes I might suggest these questions for children or adults: - Why are we alive and is it for a specific purpose? - Would you rather spend most of your day sleeping or awake?- Why? - What is art? Is there good art and bad art? What makes good art good? Can we be art? What is an artist? Is art important? - What is nature?- Are we a part of Nature? - What is God? Is it real? What would happen if god wasn't real– would it change the way you live? - What is the difference between a human and an animal? - What makes a person a great person? Is there a difference between a good person and a bad person? How do you know this? - Why are you who you are? Why are you not somebody else? - What is an individual? - Are we separate from each other? Are we connected to each other in some way? - What do you fear most? - Is there a difference between good and evil? What is the difference? How do you know this? Are there some things that are neither good or evil or are both good and evil at the same time? - Do you want to be alive? Why? - Have you ever done something that made someone sad but you felt it was the right thing to do? Why did it make them sad? Why do you think it was the right thing to do? Could you have been wrong? How are these decisions made? -What is "nothing"? -How do we know what is real? Does it matter? -Does it matter what other people think of us? Are there parts of yourself that you have to hide because of others? - Are there things that upset your parents, but you can't figure out why? When do these things seem important and when do they seem silly? - Is it important to ask questions like these? Why or why not? - What might be the best version of you? How did you determine this to be the best version of you? -What is happiness? What is sadness? Can you feel these at the same time? Why? When? - Why do you go to school? What is school? What is learning? What is knowledge? Are there somethings you know without having been taught them? - What is thinking? What is knowing? What is feeling? Why do we feel? When do we feel? Does feeling come from within us or is it acted upon us? What is mood and where does it come from? Where do thoughts come from? What is imagination? What is intuition? Does intuition come before knowledge or does knowledge lead to intuition? BOOKS etc. If you truly wish to understand Nietzsche I highly recommend Kaufmann's translations. Also, in order to understand a lot of Nietzsche's philosophy it may be a good idea to read up on Schopenhauer, Kant, Hegel, Socrates, Plato, various pre-socratic philosophers (Pre-Socratic fragments are often compiled) Goethe & Montaigne. Karl Jaspers: Way to Wisdom (I'd suggest reading this first.) Nietzsche- -Beyond Good and Evil & Genealogy of Morals -The Birth of Tragedy (Especially If you love art*) -Untimely Meditations I&2 -Thus Spoke Zarathustra *Please note "The Will to Power" was published after his death and was pieced together by his anti-semitic sister in a way that would have devastated Nietzsche as he was adamantly and actively opposed to nationalism and anti-semitism. If read as fragments compiled– the work is brilliant. Kierkegaard- (Kierkegaard is very sincere and approachable in my opinion. If Nietzsche's writing strikes you as too intense at first I'd suggest Kierkegaard...especially if you're just beginning to question religion.) -Three Discourses on imagined occasions (Occasion 1&3). -The Concept of Anxiety -Either/or - Stages on Life's way (Guilty/Not Guilty) - Fear and Trembling Schopenhauer -World as Will and Representation Vol. 1&2 Leo Tolstoy -The Death of Ivan Ilych J.D. Salinger- Franny and Zooey Albert Camus- -The Stranger -The Myth of Sisyphus If you're interested in a feminist's approach to existentialism may I suggest Simone de Beauvior. Also you could read Heidegger's Being and Time. I highly recommend waiting to read this if you're just embarking on a philosophical journey as his style of writing is very dense and takes some patience. "Being-in-the-World" is a very helpful companion by Dreyfus. Sartre's famous book "Being and Nothingness" is really just an ode to Being and Time–though many agree it doesn't seem as though Sartre actually understood Being and Time. I would also suggest the Lars Von Trier Film "Melancholia" and literally any Bergman film if anyone wants a jolt of existential nausea :) Hope this helps! (Sorry about the Grammar I'm to tired to read over my own rant.)
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Benjamin Samuel
A lot of what they said was wrong. Please don't use this video as a source.
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Sam Harrington
The blond-haired boy's response perfectly lined up with someone defending their ideology. Nietzsche's ideas threatened the boy's identity/ worldview/ ideology, so he responded with violence. Just something I noticed.
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Zareisha
Søren Kierkegaard invented Existentialism, not Nietzsche.
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ZaZuBoi
I dislike that people seem to equate existentialism with non-Kantian philosophy as a whole, just because they both have Freedom as a recurring theme. Just because some of Nietzsche's ideas inspired guys like Sartre and Jaspers to develop their own schools of thought, doesn't make Nietzsche himself existentialist. The core of existentialist philosophy is the angst, the nausea, crisis of an individual realizing the absurdity of the world - and his attempts to overcome it. Freedom here is initially a terrible burden you've got to learn to appreciate. Nietzsche's focus lies elsewhere, for him Freedom is an ultimate blessing per se: an Übermensch doesn't experience any kind of existential crisis, he just goes on and gets what he wants because he's an embodiment of man's vitality. That makes Nietzsche a really bad example to explain what existentialism actually is about.
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almagnuson06
Would someone please explain Nietzsche to the fucktards in front of the class
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