Jean-Paul Sartre was a 20 th century philosopher, writer, playwright, and professor. He was born in 1905 in Paris, France, and died on April 15 th, 1980. He published many philosophical works, and was inspired by Heidegger's existentialism. Sartre’s own idea of existentialism however, was very original. Sartre explained that man is condemned to freedom, and that the meaning of a man’s life is not determined before his existence. In his explanation, athiesm is taken for granted. Man is free from all authority, and once freedom is realized, man must make his own meaning in life. Sartre also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964.
I believe that there is no knowable providential order in nature or in the larger realm of existence or cosmos. I believe that the being of man is ultimately meaningless, which is to say that man knows not why he exists and cannot rise to the knowledge of his destiny. I believe that each man is an individual and should break his dependence on society and rely solely upon his own individual life, spirit, personality and thought. I believe that immortality is not a condition of man. Death is quite realistically seen as an ultimate end and radical fact which cannot be overcome. Man should not tolerate even an anguished hope of personal survival. I believe that harmony and security in human relationships are impossible to achieve, and the only satisfactory attitude toward others is based upon explicit recognition of this fact. I believe that "Evil is not an illusion. It is not the effect of passions which might be cured, or a fear which might be overcome. It is not an ignorance which might be enlightened. Evil cannot be redeemed" (Sartre). I believe that God does not exist. I believe that the highest and best life is lived in the intensity of being fully conscious of the life experience. This experience necessarily contains problems, struggle, suffering and conflict. This is man's unalterable reality within which his free, creative action and choice gives birth to the fullness of consciousness which would otherwise be deadened by security and contentment. I believe that the soul of man is not whole without such unpleasant things as death, anxiety, guilt, fear and trembling, and despair. It would be the final error of reason to deny that these emotions exist, or to strive to manipulate them out of existence. Therefore, it can be said that nothing can be accomplished by denying that man is essentially a troubled being, except to make more trouble.
h Remember when you are bemusing, And daily decisions confusing, That for life existential, The thing that’s essential Is never the choice but the choosing. —Cyril Hughes I suppose I could try if I chose, But the question is: “Can I suppose I could choose what I chose if I chose?” I suppose if I chose to. But nobody knows. —“E. F. C.”