Sartre & I [long overdue]

For the uninitiated, it was Sartre who gave birth to the philosophy of existentialism, which he defined [informally and indirectly] as a philosophy to adopt for living life with the complete absence of ANY notion of intelligent design, ie God.

He expressed this sentiment in a novel of his, in which a young man strives to find the answer to why everything he does, touches and feels just makes him sick and wnt to vomit. And he comes to the conclusion that in the absence of God, there would be no reason for anything to exist, and without this reason, purpose if you will, anything that exists is just an excess of itself.
If you drink too much, you puke. If you eat too much you puke. If you do too much of your favourite thing, you eventually end up hating it [is it?]. So by drawing parallels Sartre [or at least his character] decided that the reason he felt sick was the lack of reason for existing. As such, a human’s only choice is to forge a purpose for himself, or die. Destiny had no place in Sartre’s world.

He illustrated this in other ways too. His theory was that humans [or anything sentient] could either be or be aware of its being but not both. [Quote] Because of the awareness which we have of ourselves, we can never completely be ourselves. Ergo we play at being us, which is an inauthentic way of dealing with the problem. [unquote] Confusing isn’t it? I myself don’t really dig what he’s saying but I guess he’s trying to highlight things like the difference between impulse and premeditated action. The former might be instinctive, but the latter action definitely cannot be. If you’re being too self-conscious, then you’re not being yourself. Logical.

[In another of his stories] A young woman, a newly wed wife, falls in love with another man while her negligent yet loving husband is away. When he comes back, she is unable to decide to elope with the suitor or stay with her husband [who has done no wrong mind you]. So she purposely aranges a rendezvous with both men at the same place and decides to let the chips fall where they may. Sartre would say [quote] only a being which was afraid of its freedom and the responsibility this freedom brings with it would seek to behave this way. [unquote]

I can identify with that. Sometimes I just don’t want to have to make major decisions so I don’t eventually regret that I coulda/shoulda/woulda taken what was behind door #2. Come to think of it, this is only done in the hope that things will happen for a reason, and may happen with or without one’s active input. According to Sartre though, this would be a bad idea, cos there’s no reason for anything to happen, so by not affecting it tangibly, the odds of something favourable happening are vastly diminished. Sartre was all for taking responsibility for one’s own actions then, so his philosophy isn’t that morbid, just the way he puts it. Perhaps he was dismayed by that society’s willingness to “blame” God for any misfortune and outright contradict themselves by prasing themselves in times of good fortune. Perhaps.

One thing I like about Sartre was that he was actually a Marxist. He believe that society was divided into classes, and the differences in luxury were the driving force of human history. He wasnt really a fan of capitalism, cos he thought it was too criminogenic. It needed scapegoats because it spawned criminals because it thrived on desire and want. We have criminals because we create them?

The downside of all this was that he didnt believe in applied science [was his brain damaged?], which explains why he might take to existentialism. Just because there is no God doesn’t mean there is no destiny. There might be. My hope is there is, otherwise, Sartre was right and we exist because. Period.

Anyway I thought I was existentialist once, but I’m not willing to discount the possibility of a greater goal, a purpose, destiny. The reason why anything’s happening. In fact, if I wanted to be very egotistic about it, I could say everything that has happened so far in the universe was so that I could start making the world a better place since 1986. Sorta like Agent Smith, who thought he had lost his purpose when he became an exile, but in fact he had finally got one.

Seriously though, why do we exist? I’ve asked, nobody has given a sufficiently logical explanation. If that’s so, why do we continue to exist and reproduce? I’m not asking for mass genocide, just a brief while to get your priorities right. I’ve seen too many people in NS who seem convinced that being god-fearing, marrying and having a family is the right thing to do, not a normal thing or a popular thing, but the right thing. Since when did marital status call into question your moral alignment?
I’ve asked them why they think so, but the answer was…unsatisfactory.Some descend into pseudo-philo babble about how family lines must be continued [Why? Who’s forcing them? Will anything significant happen if they dont? What if they’re impotent?].

I’ll not waste my breath or disk space, just read the contents of the link. Asexuals Rool! [3rd article]


About this entry