Harri Teikka: The Existentialist Young Man

Human Types: The Existentialist Young Man

The age of a typical representative of this human type varies between approximately 15 and 35 years. The Existentialist Young Man knows he is different from the rest. He always feels and experiences powerfully and has strong opinions on everything. The Existentialist Young Man either feels that he is not understood or that he is always misunderstood.

The Existentialist Young Man, often an aesthete, expresses his tastes, differing from the despicable mainstream, sovereignly on the fields of music, literature, cinema and art; also with the styles he wears and his other external habitus. He often has a hurt, sulky frown on his face and usually wears black or otherwise in "alternative style". He can be a shaggy-bearded neo-hippy, who obtains his colourful clothes from flea markets, or he can be a gloomy goth-metal fan or a rasta-braided vegan or a traditional shabby jacket-wearing punk existentialist: there are uncounted variations.

The Existentialist Young Man of the class-conscious 1970s used to despise the "petty bourgeoisie" and the "Establishment". Nowadays his scorn addresses the listeners of chart pop music, the "carnivore" non-vegetarian meat-eaters, or the individuals of competitive Existentialist Young Man sects (meaning here mostly those pitiable characters not sharing the exactly similar eclectic tastes of music with him).

Narcissicism and the Asperger Syndrome (i.e., the slight autism) are the typical characteristics of the symptoms of an Existentialist Young Man. He lives in a state of general angst, Weltschmerz, caused by repressing society, the shellsuit-wearing plebeian common people hicks representing the masses, the chart pop music based on commercialism and profit-making, globalisation, the corporate power, USA, yuppies wearing fashion clothes, and TV's quiz shows.

The traditionally popular art form must be the films and literature depicting the characteristic Existentialist Young Man Odyssey; where a misunderstood Existentialist Young Man spends his times in bodegas and "on the road", faces with all kinds of misadventures because of his bohemian lifestyles and general being of an outsider; searching for Freedom, the Woman, and first of all, Himself. He is a romantic cowboy-beatnik-poet, who would like to stand by his woman but has to hit the road.

At its worst, (the miserable but always-oh-so-romantic) suicide or self-destruction must be the end of an Existentialist Young Man's journey and myth, but many an Existentialist Young Man has managed to reach his serene middle and even old age. Nevertheless, inside many balding and pot-bellied family men there still lives that eternal rebel spirit, dreaming of Harley-Davidsons and rock'n'roll. Sartre and punk are still alive!

Copyright © 2003 Harri Teikka. Translation from Finnish by pHinn.

[Harri Teikka Resurrection Library]

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