Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
— Ecclesiastes 1:2
It was left to that mournful Dane, Søren Kierkegaard, the father of existentialism, to say that all is vain and the quest has ended in utter despair; rationalism is dead and human reason has failed in its great effort to grasp and comprehend the universe in which we live.
It was at the time of the bloody First World War that Kierkegaard’s ideas began to take root, slowly at first, until today existentialism is without question the regnant, the dominant philosophy of our time in the world. Existentialism teaches that because of the finiteness of man and his understanding, he will never be able to grasp ultimate reality—that there is nothingness out there. The world is unintelligible, the cosmos cannot be comprehended, and ultimately all things are without meaning and significance. This has been the great contribution of existentialism to our time.
It is a philosophy of despair.
A young woman told me that when she was in college she embraced the existential philosophy. Certain pressures then came upon her and she endeavored to take her life. She ended up in a mental institution having shock treatments. All this because existentialism had robbed her of any meaning to life and ripped from her grasp any hold she had upon transcendental significance or purpose in this world. She knew the blackness and emptiness that the worldview of existentialism offers.