"The New Existentialism consists of a phenomenological examination of consciousness, with the emphasis upon the problem of what constitutes human values. Existentialism is romanticism, and romanticism is the feeling that man is not the mere creature he has always taken himself for." Colin Wilson
In this book, Wilson claims Nietzsche as the true founder of the new existentialism because it was he who heralded the coming of the superman, with his valiant optimism and zeal, so utterly removed from passivity, complacency and herd-following. Whereas the optimism of the new existentialism entreats us to achieve a state of constant awareness, to become conscious of every thought that comes into our heads, every belief that underpins our personal value system, every act that expresses our most intimate, truest self. This is what Husserl meant when he said that consciousness is intentional.
The new existentialism is pure attention. Wilson proposes that we make a science of our happiness and fulfilment. By applying ourselves, by bringing our willpower and attention to bear, every day will become a site of potential, an adventure, that is, a chance to put our abilities to the test. Because as with science, the premise of the new existentialism is optimistic, it believes in the success of its mission, of its quest.
The new existentialism is the philosophy of the future because its goal is to create the ideal man. The man yet to be born. It urges us to recognise the active part we play in constructing our lives, reminding us that we do not need to go on suffering the "passive fallacy". The new existentialism empowers us, awakens our ontological ambitions and brings awareness of all that we can achieve. Samantha Devin