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Satre Essay

1527 words - 6 pages

"Existence precedes essence." (Sartre, 103) Essentially the atheistic ideology that asserts an unlimited potential for freedom. "Nothing else than the attempt to draw all the consequences of a coherent atheistic position" (Sartre, 111). Some 18th century philosophers like Nietzsche deny God but still contend that there is a "shadow of God" that is prevalent enough to be a basis for our so called collective "human nature." However, Sartre sees it as problematic to deny god but to revert to this notion of "human nature", one that merely feeds our dependance and unnatural desire for certainty. Sartre, through the denial of God and the deconstruction of man's preconceived notion of "human nature" has come to the basic premise that "man is nothing but what he makes for himself," in doing so Sartre claims this freedom condemns man to live in despair, anguish, and forlornness.Sartre's view is simply that there is no human nature, and in saying that he leaves the onus of living entirely on the individual. "There is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also only what he wills himself to be after this thrust towards existence." (Sartre, 103) Sartre goes further to suggest that not only are we entirely responsible for our actions but obligated to act on behalf of the entire human race. "We do not only mean that he is responsible for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men." (Sartre, 103) We must think collectively he contends, what is good for us should be good for others. Each choice we make should be in conjunction with the awareness of how that choice will affect others. "I am responsible for myself and for everyone else. I am creating a certain image of man of my own choosing. In choosing myself, I am choosing man." (Sartre, 104) This is the key to his outlook, the idea that even though we are entirely free, with unlimited freedom comes a grave responsibility to all.The idea of responsibility overtly suggests the concept of morality and ethics. That as we make our way through life we must be aware of the choices we make and the actions we undertake. "Man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself" (Sartre,103). Our morality has no theological basis, it is strictly consequential to our our experience. "If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be." (Sartre, 103) In this case one constructs their own morals and is held entirely accountable for one's actions, no longer can we say "I'm good at heart but I do bad things." Our actions are all we are, and that which we act upon is all that is held up for judgment.In Sartre's opinion, the realization that "existence precedes essence" belief lends itself to certain contexts by which we must examine life. The first of which is anguish. "And every...

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