It’s strange to think that existentialism and pop culture could be similar in any way. Connecting those ideas are difficult, especially if the ties are obscured. Unbelievably, these two are kinda close in a weird way. Tom Stoppard wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, an existentialist play. It’s a different point of view for Hamlet, seen through the eyes of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. If you're wondering what this has to do with anything that's happening right now, existentialism can actually still be seen in modern society.
Maybe existentialism is easier to see if we focus on celebrity deaths. A morbid topic but important for this conversation. It seems that the only time the public actually ponders death and what comes after, is if someone that's loved by that public dies. Celebrities are treasured in our society, which isn't really a big deal. Except we treasure them the most when they pass away. That's not our fault, sometimes we get so caught up in living we tend to forget what comes after for all of us. That's also not our fault and it's also not a bad thing. Sometimes we'll think about existentialism at random moments with no explanation of why it entered our brain, but it's depth can be limited. The death of a celebrity can be a very clear reminder that time, for everyone, is limited.
In Rosencratz and Guildenstern are dead, Guildenstern says something kind of peculiar.
“A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population, or significance sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until-”My God” says a second man, “I must be dreaming, I thought i saw a unicorn,” at which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience…”Look, look,” recites the crowd. “A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer.”
Sometimes we become so familiar with the things and people that surround we forget that at one point, it was all wonderfully new. It was all foreign. However, as time passed and we were able to become more and more acquainted with everything that had a part to play in our lives, the wonder started to wear off. It slipped quietly away, along with our fears of what lay under our beds and the silly bedtime stories. The world's biggest mystery, what happens after death, is solved by everyone but no one lives to tell the tale.
In pop culture, existentialism isn’t really a popular topic but it does still exist. It just breaks through more when someone like David Bowie passes away. There’s bands that sing about and artists that paint it. But our culture doesn't focus on it like it used to. Live in the moment, right? ... YOLO