Existential Confidence

By Jean Mavrelis - 10.15.2010

I heard a new term on Charlie Rose. 

He was interviewing an Israeli journalist named David Grossman about his new book, To The End of the Land.

Grossman, who lost his son, Uri, in the last hours of the 2006 Israeli conflict in Lebanon, said he wrote the book to help restore his own existential confidence, along with the existential confidence of Israel.

It blew me away.

I always thought of existentialists as profoundly bitter and disillusioned folks who felt there was no meaning to life.

What Grossman was talking about was different – it was the optimism that would come from expecting to live your life in peace without threat of violence and despair looming around every corner.


Post Traumatic Stress victims know what that means.

Those of us who have lost children or suffered other profound loss know it.

Existential confidence – the confidence that life still has meaning and hope and even promise.

I’m still blown away by the power of that interview.  Grossman is a wounded, bereaved father, who looks at life and tries to create meaning through the stories of real families and relationships.

I can’t wait to read it.

If any of you have thoughts on the concept of “existential confidence”, I’d love to hear them.