The tremendous interest that Existentialism once generated has not quite simply abated. Historians of ideas will of course continue to write about it, and philosophers will continue to borrow and modify some of-its concepts; but still it does not have the immediate and even urgent impact it once had, both deserved and exaggerated, Seldom any longer will one hear a friend say, “I am grateful to Sartre. He gave me a language to describe fears and feelings I really had when I….”
Existentialism has receded to a distance where it can be viewed with more calm and detachment; but such was its nature, its considerations—“alienation,” “engagement,” “authenticity,” existence(!)—that this recession means in a sense that it has lost part of its meaning. It is now perceived as a kind of intellectual institution, energized by only flickers of urgency, a body of ideas instead of an activity, a vital intellectual engagement with the world, a philosophizing.