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Misuse of ‘existential’

Matt Kane is the latest culprit in the misuse of the term existential in his BDN column of July 27.

The term does not refer to a threat of any kind; not to people’s lives or to the existence of persons or of things. Instead, the term is all about the meaning of an individual’s existence. The philosophy of existentialism determines that there is no inherent meaning to our existence, that our existence is no more “meaningful” than that of all the other animals with whom we share this planet.

The only manner of an existential crisis occurs within an individual’s psyche when he or she realizes their existence is meaningless, that meaning does not come ready made or is predetermined, that there is no inherent meaning to be found.

It is not as bad as it sounds. It means that we are free to realize our own unique individuality and our death will be fully understandable and unencumbered.

Keith Dunson

Belfast

King should stick to horror stories

Stephen King is a prolific writer of horror stories, many of which have become best-selling books, and movies as well. He is widely renowned throughout the world for his genius in this area, and made millions from them. None of this makes him any more qualified in his political opinions than the average Viking Lumber truck driver.  

His assessment of Gov. Ron DeSantis as “not the brightest bulb in the chandelier” tells us more about King than it does the Florida governor. King should stick to what he knows how to do well, and leave the political opinions to people who know about what they are talking about.

Chris Ficker

Montville  

Missiles and diplomacy

I’m not sure if hypersonic missiles or Iran’s drones have a chance of first strike capability. If so, or if some countries will think so, and/or don’t fear a second strike, then we need to take preventative steps. The same applies to nuclear weapons, and perhaps even poison gas.

If there is a chance of conquest by China, Iran or North Korea — or a chance of destruction by any of those countries or by Russia, we need a freeze on new missiles and/or weapons of those sorts; there should be immediate inspection of any suspicious sites in order to verify this. (If they don’t fear a second strike, we need to have them dismantle such missiles and/or weapons they already have; again there should be immediate inspection.)

Perhaps the way to do this is by offering and/or establishing increased trade while threatening increased sanctions, with the spread wide enough so that they won’t want to chance our missing any of the sites.

In the case of Russia, perhaps we might also take diplomatic steps such as inviting them to join NATO. In the case of North Korea, perhaps we might also give them a choice between denuclearizing the Korean peninsula or putting enough arms in South Korea and nearby to destroy them.

Perhaps we can bring about human rights, such as freedom of religion; and perhaps we can get China to stop supporting North Korea if nothing else works with the latter.

Alvin Blake

Bangor