Existentialism Essay

Existentialism Essay-55
Not only is Sartre the original self-help writer, but also the best.His ideas aren’t simply inspirational catchphrases, but fit into a coherent and compelling view of humanity.

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Sartre’s groundbreaking work and ideas influenced society and have become, over the years, a form of accepted wisdom, to the point that it has trickled down to self-help mantras.

As Mc Bride points out, for example, France’s post-World War II recovery can be at least partially attributed to the societal impact of Sartre’s work.

The first Existentialist idea is the belief in "existence before essence." This emphasizes the individuality of man, reasoning that every person is unique because of his/her past experiences in life.

This unique view on mankind is reflected in literature in that the authors of the time now dealt with the question "who am I? " The second common theme is that of "reason's impotence in dealing with the depths of human life." Contradicting Plato who separated reason from the rest of the human psyche because of its importance and higher state of existence, this idea unifies all the parts of man, brining"wholeness" and a larger sense of unity to one's life.

This, in turn, results in man's further separation from God, leaving him with a "spiritual bareness" and rift from nature.

Coming after the horrors of the Second World War, Existentialists tended to lived in fear, paranoid with questions like, "when will I blow up?On the contrary, Sartre says in this essay (and elsewhere in his writing) that “man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.”In language that is far more quirky than melancholic, he argues that this trait distinguishes humans from “a patch of moss, a piece of garbage, or a cauliflower.” While there’s not much moss can do about what it is, Sartre says, humans must create themselves through actions and choices.In other words, “man will be what he will have planned to be.” This self-deterministic mindset sounds little like the fatalism typically associated with Sartre.Sartre was a major public figure, with a level of fame of which philosophers today can only dream.He became an active political commentator towards the end of the World War II, and continued to weigh in on public debates and write in newspapers for general audiences in the years following.Self-help, after all, aims to show readers how humans must take control of their destiny to live well.Sartre makes clear that we cannot avoid responsibility for our destiny. These writers may not have focused explicitly on self-help, but they explored the weight of individuals’ responsibility for their own destiny and other existentialist themes.Such ideas, in turn, permeated mainstream views on the self and spread to the self-help genre." This "unbearable terror" caused many to lose themselves in anguish, bringing forth an era of lost ideals and moral values.For someone alienated by God, nature, man and himself – at the same time living in constant panic and par...


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