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First can somebody explain me the meaning of "Existentialism" in a layman's term. I looked up Wikipedia and some other sites but I am not getting the definition.

In an episode of 'Criminal Minds', a character, Dr. Spencer Reid (a genius with 3 Ph.D's, one in philosophy too) cracks a joke in a classroom which no one gets except one or two, and he himself laugh pretty hard.

JOKE-
"How many existentialists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Two.
One to change the lightbulb, and one to observe how it symbolizes an incandescent beacon of subjectivity in a netherworld of cosmic nothingness."

Please explain what existentialism is, and what this joke means?

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  • It suggests that existential questions are useless. Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 11:15

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