Existentialism is a Humanism Essay

In Existentialism is a Humanism. Jean-Paul Sartre ( 1905-1980 ) presents an accessible description of existential philosophy. A cardinal thought of existentialism—and of the human condition— is that being precedes kernel. The kernel of something is its significance. its intended intent. A paper cutter is made to cut paper ; that is its point. Humans. nevertheless. do non hold an kernel. Man exists. turns up. appears on the scene. and. merely afterwards. defines himself. We have no greater intent. no pre-determined program. no ultimate significance. We have. in Sartre’s words. no human nature. since there is nil ( e. g. God ) outside of us which would gestate of it for us. We are merely here. and it is up to us to specify ourselves.

Responsibility Man is nil else but what he makes of himself. We have pick. we have subjectivity. and we choose what we will do ourselves to be ; we are wholly responsible for our being: Therefore. existentialism’s first move is to do every adult male aware of what he is and to do the full duty of his being remainder on him. This idea is frequently non easy accepted. ‘Subjectivity’ is a word that riles up many. “If everything is subjective so nil is nonsubjective ; nil is absolute! Our values are nil more than our caprices! Nothing is right or incorrect! Rabble. rabble. rabble! ” Sartre replies that. “it is impossible for adult male to exceed human subjectiveness. ” He isn’t stating “I prefer subjectiveness over objectiveness. ” he’s request. “how can we perchance non be subjective? ” Even the spiritual person who believes that morality is absolute and comes from God must. at some point. take to believe that this is the instance. Our duty is a approval and a expletive. It leads us to experience things like torment. loneliness. and desperation.

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Anguish We experience anguish in the face of our subjectiveness. because by taking what we are to make. we ‘choose for everyone’ . When you make a determination you are stating “this is how anyone ought to act given these fortunes. ” Many people don’t feel anguish. but this is because they are “fleeing from it. ” If you don’t experience a sense of anxiousness when you make determinations. it’s because you are burying about your “total and deep responsibility” toward yourself and all of humanity.

Forlornness Forlornness is the thought that “God does non be and that we have to confront all the effects of this. ” There is no morality a priori. There is no absolute right or incorrect. There is no ultimate justice. This is a really distressful thought. As Dostoievsky said. “If God didn’t exist. everything would be possible [ allowable ] . ” Without God we have nil to cleaving to. “There is no determinism. adult male is free. adult male is freedom. [ … ] We have no values or bids to turn to which legalize our behavior. ” In other words. we have no alibis. and we are wholly responsible for our determinations. What are our values? The lone manner to find them is to do a determination. At the terminal of the twenty-four hours. your ideals aren’t what affair ; what matters is what you really did.

Despair Despair arises because we merely have power to alter things that are within our power to change—and there is a batch we can non alter. Reality is impartial and out of your control. except for little facets of it here and at that place. We despair because we can ne’er hold full control of the hereafter.

What Will Happen Will Happen Tomorrow. after my decease. some work forces may make up one’s mind to put up Fascism. and the others may be cowardly and muddled plenty to allow them make it. Fascism will so be the human world. so much the worse for us.

Regardless of what is right or incorrect. good or bad. and irrespective of whether these are absolutes or non. “things will be as adult male will hold decided they are to be. ” What will go on will go on and humanity will be wholly responsible for what it does. Make this mean we ought to go passively accepting of what will go on? Sartre says the exact opposite. Does that intend that I should abandon myself to quietism? No. [ … ] Quietism is the attitude of people who say. “Let others do what I can’t do. ” The philosophy I am showing is the really opposite of quietism. since it declares. “There is no world except in action. ” Furthermore. it goes farther. since it adds. “Man is nil else than his program ; he exists merely to the extent that he fulfills himself ; he is hence nil else than the ensemble of his Acts of the Apostless. nil else than his life.

No Excuses This is why existential philosophy horrifies some people. It puts such a load of duty forthrightly on their shoulders. They can’t stand to believe they were at mistake for non being a great or successful individual. for holding no great friendly relationships or love. They think they are the victim of fortunes ; they haven’t had the proper instruction. leisure. or inducements ; they haven’t found the right individual yet ; they haven’t had the chance to demo their illustriousness. Sartre. nevertheless. says that “The coward makes himself cowardly. the hero makes himself epic. ” The creative person is an creative person because of the plants of art he created. non because of what he could hold created.

The mathematician is celebrated for the math he did. non what he possibly could hold done. We find that this is “a rough idea to person whose life hasn’t been a success. ” We are responsible for our successes and failures. But at the same clip. this abrasiveness forces us to confront the improbably of import fact that: World entirely is what counts. Sartre sees these positions non as a pessimism. but as an “optimistic stamina. ” Optimistic in that we are the swayers of our lives ; our fate is within our custodies ; we are encouraged to take action.

Sartre summarizes his thought of optimism and action in the undermentioned transition. Thus. I think we have answered a figure of the charges refering existential philosophy. You see that it can non be taken for a doctrine of quietism. since it defines adult male in footings of action ; nor for a pessimistic description of man—there is no philosophy more optimistic. since man’s fate is within himself ; nor for an effort to deter adult male from moving. since it tells him that the lone hope is in his playing and that action is the lone thing that enables a adult male to populate.

Is Choice Arbitrary? Sartre ends this piece with a farther defense mechanism of subjectivism. in which I wish he had gone into a little more item. He says people are still non satisfied with the thought of subjectivism. and expostulations normally come in one of the undermentioned signifiers: 1. “Well so. you’re able to make anything. no affair what! You’re advancing lawlessness! ” But this isn’t the point. It is non possible to non take.

In non doing a pick you are still taking non to take. Choice is ineluctable ; we are “condemned to be free” because we are human. whether or non we are existential philosophers. 2. “You can’t base on balls opinion on others. because there’s no ground to prefer one thought to another! ” We can still keep values. and values appear out of the picks we make. Through our actions ( as an person and as a group ) . we create moralss. 3. “Everything about your pick is arbitrary! ” We define ourselves through our actions. “in relationship to engagement. ” And as we make ourselves—as we make choices—it is absurd to state we are taking randomly.