Thursday, March 27

Sartre: Existentialism & Humanism

It's appealing if you don't have a religion. It's appealing, I'd imagine, for many teenagers; 'Life is nothing until it is lived; but it is yours to make sense of, and the value of it is nothing else but the sense that you choose.' It's also - bearing in mind that I'm reading it in English translation this time - concisely written, with lots of yummy rhetoric.

A friend (who lives in the states, so I've not seen him for a long time) talked to me about his interpretation and readings of Sartre a couple of years ago. Now I finally read it, and I can see why.

I like the idea that you are who you are in the actions that you make (or don't, as the case may be) right now. But it doesn't work like that in reality, does it? People hardly take you for what you're actually doing right now - and to ask them to would be impossible. But maybe we're supposed to just tell them where to go? I'm not sure. I need to re-read it. It's hopeful, anyway. A text I began in the early hours and, after sleep, finished in the bath.

I still can't get away from the 'man' and 'for all men' etc annoying me. Yes, I can't change it in what's already written, blah blah, but I somehow think that 'one' - at the risk of sounding stuffy - is more equal. I hate the way language excludes women. And why is God always 'he'? What about a 'she'?

Too bad it's not a set text of mine. The discussions, I imagine, would've been great.

2 comments:

therapydoc said...

I loved that stuff as a teenager. Thanks for the memories. And who said it's a He?

Katy Murr said...

You're welcome. My copy's now residing by another friend - I hope she enjoys it as much. Lots of philosophy books assume it's a He, don't they?