Protocol #9: Existential Characters as Ice Cream

Contemplating life is a lot of work, and existentialism can get pretty heavy sometimes. But you know what makes everything better? Ice cream! You can learn a lot about someone by their go-to flavor.  

At over 50 offerings, Ben & Jerry’s array of ice cream is bound to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Here’s my take on how each of Simone de Beauvoir’s existential characters would be represented by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors. 

The Sub-Man: Half Baked

This flavor contains cookie dough and brownies in it, what more could you want? But the sub-man looks at them with a half-baked attitude. Nothing’s worth his desire or effort. He only feels the facticity of his existence. He actually doesn’t like chocolate, and he could choose to exercise his freedom to ask for a plain cookie dough flavor. But he takes what he’s given and determines that it’s not worth the effort to try something new. 

The Serious Man: Americone Dream

The serious man tends to dedicate himself to an idol (could be a person or ideology), and well… this flavor has Stephen Colbert’s face on it. And the name provides the chance for some nationalism if that’s his preference. Despite the fudge-covered cone chunks mixed into this flavor, the serious man does not waffle around. An external value system determines his thinking, and he’s all-in: if Stephen loves this flavor, he does too.

The Nihilist: Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core

This character has the potential for a rich inner mindset, which matches the sumptuous, intense chocolate-mocha base of this frosty treat. In recognizing that nothing matters in life, the Nihilist could form his own value system and meaning. But be very careful, as a wrong turn can cause the nihilist to give up on existence and try to destroy it. You’ll really experience an explosive boom of the chocolate core then. 

The Adventurer: Gimme S’more

Inspired by outdoorsy campfire vibes and penchant for pursuing the sweet things in life, the adventurer is described well by this flavor. But a jaunty hike reaching the summit of a mountain can go to the adventurer’s head and cause him to simply want to conquer more. And have you ever tried sharing a s’more? That’s a gooey mess. The adventurer is not driven by a commitment to collective freedom and instead has an appetite for pursuits only in his own self-interest. 

The Passionate Man: Everything But The…

These people are driven toward worthy causes but become attached to a goal so tightly that they lose sight of their freedom. This ice cream flavor is loaded, which is fun at first. But how many more tastes and textures can the passionate man add to the palette? Packing more and more flavors into this ice cream is a notable passion project, but it is also an endless pursuit, and the passionate man will never be fulfilled. This bogs down his potential for existential freedom. 

The Free Man: Vanilla

Ah, a classic. Solid and secure in itself as the root of all ice creams. Some people might consider vanilla “boring,” but it is anything but. A truly altruistic ice cream, it provides others the freedom to dress it up with toppings, or use it as a base for other thrilling flavors. Simple but powerful, vanilla is a timeless flavor that keeps on giving just like the free man.

What do you think of these choices? Any fave alternatives you’d use to describe the type of people you see in the world?

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