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I hate my childhood and everything that remains from it. This is the bitter statement of the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in the autobiography entitled The words which he wrote when he was in his late fifties and which describes his life up to the age of 12 His autobiography is a biting aggressive attack upon his father and mother his grandparents and the bourgeois society into which he was born. Softer attacks all of these from his viewpoint as an existentialist and also from his more recent Marxist position. It is doubtful whether any other intellectual or artist has ever written such a hostile description of his own childhood. What was his childhood like the childhood of the most influential existentialist philosopher of the 20th century. Thatcher was born in Paris in 1905. His father was a second lieutenant in the French navy who had contracted an intestinal disease while on duty in French Indochina and died when his own Paul was only 15 months old. So his mother and Marie had no option but to return with her infant son to the home of her
parents Charles and Louise fights. Despite her family had their roots in Alsace which had become part of Germany and Marie's first cousin and her father's nephew was a famous Protestant theologian and medical missionary to Africa. Albert Schweitzer the household in which young Paul grew up was dominated by his grandfather Charles Schweitzer a language teacher the author of a German language textbook used an old French schools and the inventor of a new direct method of teaching languages. Although Charles fighter had been ready for retirement he went back to teaching in order to support and reenters son and in return and Marie became in effect an unpaid housekeeper for her parents and was treated as a child again totally subordinate to their instructions and which is so true. Makes the point that as a young child he was already perceiving in his grandparents treatment of his mother the exploitation practiced by the bourgeoisie and the hypocrisy with which they can feel this exploitation and
selfishness with high sounding liberal principles SOP as autobiography is especially savage in exposing the bourgeois hypocritical pretentiousness of Charles Schweitzer Charles fights there was a tall handsome bearded man whom Sartre describes as looking so much like God the Father that he was often taken for it. But although he ruled the household by playing the role of a stern godlike patriarch Charles Schweitzer's soon became completely devoted to his grandson and kept him at home until he was 10 years old supplying him with Tudor's rather than submitting him to the inferior standards and the less gifted students of the public schools. Here again Socred discovers boys wog hypocrisy concealed behind the grandfathers high sounding noble intentions of treating the small boy as a child prodigy who deserves purely a private education. There was a profoundly selfish motive the presence of the small boy in the household served to alleviate spites his fear of his own death. And so it
was for a selfish reason hypocritically concealed by bourgeois ideals of superior education that the young John Paul Sartre was kept at home for five years beyond the normal time for entering school. He received a poor education from irregular tutoring. He was cut off from association with children of his own age and he was kept a prisoner sequestered in the apartment on the top floor of Number One Rule of golf in the Latin quarter of Paris. Even his physical well-being was neglected by his grandparents. Father tells us they failed to notice and to get medical help for a growth in his right eye which was to give him a walleyed cross-eyed look for which he is famous and eventually brought about the loss of sight than that on this was another example of the bourgeois hypocrisy with lofty claims to humane concern for others actually concealing indifference and selfishness. There was however.
One advantage in being kept sequestered on the top floor of the apartment building at number one rule of golf and that was the small boy lived in a world of books. The books which overflowed his grandfather's study the lending library books of his grandmother the books from which Anne Marie read him stories. I began my life on says. I shall no doubt end it amidst books the words in these books became the world with the boy longed to possess and manipulate. And by the age of three he was wild with joy as he says he had taught himself how to read and responding to the flatteries of his grandfather. This small boy became a little monster. Cloverlea playing the role of a child prodigy and he took the next step. He began to write his own books but it was Charles fighter who pronounced the words which decided Saputra state his lifelong vocation. His original project which became the project to which he had given his entire life the project of writing of becoming a writer. In his autobiography
recalls this occasion when his grandfather became deadly serious and talking man to man to the seven year old boy who was sitting on his lap. The grandfather said that it was understood of course that the boy would be a writer but that he should be warned that literature did not fill a man's belly. This was the moment hearing these words and Saputra made his own original choice of what he would become. And as we will see Stomper's existentialism claims that a similar event occurs in the development of all persons. A moment when the person chooses the original project which will color the rest of his life. But Charles Schweitzer was given no credit even for this for his role in sockless choice of his vocation his life's project as a writer. Instead of condemning the view of literature which he acquired from his grandfather the view that literature can provide man's salvation at the end of his autobiography soccers says he has finally smashed that illusion to bits. Literatura he now sees
doesn't say anything or anyone literatura He says it's only a Noura which gives us a picture of ourselves. He sees now that his writing career was a fake. The boys are autist pretension that he is God a savior of mankind. But by now this faking this imposture as he found its way into his character and he knows that he can never be cured of that. I still write he says. What can I do. After that you cations once he was liberated from his grandfather's apartment was provided by some of the finest schools in France culminating in the Akos not Mao's superior. A graduate school for the training of university professors the most intellectual and exclusive of all French graduate school after his graduation. Then came the competitive examinations for college teachers of philosophy which soccer
fail the first time the second time however za'atar took first place and the second fyce was taken by Simone de Beauvoir. They had met shortly before their exams in the spring of 1929 and they had been lovers and friends and also partners in philosophy and politics ever since. For 50 years while always defiantly rejecting bourgeois marriage for themselves Simone de Beauvoir is an important contributor in their own right to French existentialism. Short stories or novels. A study of women called The Second Sex and many philosophical essays. Most of what we know about Saundra comes from her own autobiography which is now in four volumes. They both began teaching philosophy in colleges softer in the northern port city of La Hava de Beauvoir in the Mediterranean port of musée in 1930 3:34 Sautter was able to be released from teaching which he regarded as imprisonment both for himself and for his students by gaining a scholarship for himself to the
French Institute in Berlin where Hitler had just a few months before become chancellor of Germany. Neither father nor the Beauvois at this time had any knowledge of politics nor any interest in it. Both of them were passionately opposed to the entire bourgeois world and were dedicated to destroying it. But this they intended to achieve by literature or not by politics. It was during this year of the establishment of Nazi totalitarianism in Germany that Sartre lived as a politically naive and unaware student in Berlin and establish for himself his philosophical ties to the currents of philosophy which were then developing in the heavy and dangerous atmosphere of Germany prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. This contemporary German philosophy joined with older great philosophical traditions to be the resources with which the bold and subtle imagination of Jean-Paul Sartre work. Is attempting to create a philosophy for a modern man to
live by a philosophy which will provide guidance for one's life by explaining the nature of the world and by expressing the human condition what it is like to live as a human being to which philosophers of the past will be turned for support and from which were they turned away. He turns away from all empiricism because empiricism limits knowledge to sense perceptions and empiricism denies that philosophy can provide guidance for human life. Father also turns away from rationalistic induction such as Day cards because deduction can either explain the world or express what it is like to live as a human being. Who then are the philosophers to whom socked returns. Who are the philosophers who are Sabras powerful resources in the history of philosophy and from them the richness of cypress philosophy is drawn first of all satirise philosophy derives from Descartes who as the first and greatest of all French philosophers remains a formidable influence upon all French philosophers who have
followed him in front of they call upon Satara is clear. It is Descartes subjectivism. It is Descartes insistence that philosophy begins with the absolute certainty of my consciousness of myself. A second resource upon which Socker was to draw was the analysis of consciousness that was available in the exciting new philosophy of Edmund Husserl which sockless studied intensively during his year at the French Institute in Berlin. Edmund Husserl a professor of philosophy at Fribourg and other German universities had originally been a mathematician and a physicist like Descartes who had also been a mathematician physicist so tried to achieve for philosophy the certainty of mathematics himself pointed out his similarity to car that they both attempted to find certainty for philosophy and those found in the Kogut toe in the self which thinks and cannot be doubted. What Sartre takes from glycerol is complex and formal philosophy is the discovery first that I am
not a thing a thinking substance as they claim. I am not substantial a stable enduring self and secondly from glycerol he takes the concept the Koso from herself. The conscience is always all of something other than itself. The consciousness is directed toward an object. The consciousness is intentional. A third philosophy upon which Satara soon draws is that of the German existentialist Martin Heidegger hustle's most brilliant student and the successor to his professorship at the University of Fribourg from Heidegger's software takes the concept of existence as being in the world and the concept of being thrown absurdly into existence. Also from how to go father takes the concept of man as making himself by having projects into the future and finally the distinction between authentic and an authentic existence. In addition to using Descartes and Hueso for their
analysis of consciousness and Heidegger for his existentialism in addition to these philosophies Saputra also finds valuable philosophical materials in the dialectical philosophies of Hegel and Marx and their analysis of self and society and also in the two major forerunners of existentialism. Kick a goal and each from Hagel Socred takes the distinction between the object as it is in itself and the object as it is for a subject. Also sotware takes the concept of dialectic from Hago and use it in the basic opposition between my conscious being and its nothingness and in the great opposition between being and nothingness from Marx. Satya will attempt in 1960 to take his entire system with some revisions and to incorporate existentialism within Marxism from category sotware takes the emphasis upon existence instead of upon Essence and also kicking the concept of dread and finally
from nature. He takes the concept of the bold freedom of the Superman in being a law unto himself independent of conventional thought on morality. The first significant product of sapless philosophical reflections was a novel the philosophical novel to which his publisher gave the title Naseer why a mobile softer is already finding his way at this point toward a philosophy of existentialism which will use literature or novels plays short stories to grasp in concrete human existence. To present my existence the human condition the lived life as distinct from the overlay of essences by which other philosophers the sciences social organizations conceal distort and explain away my concrete existence as a conscious being as Simone de Beauvoir says a philosopher who makes subjectivity concrete human existence central to his viewpoint is bound to become a literary artist
so as to convey the human condition in its full concrete reality. And she adds that only the novel allows a writer to evoke the original gushing forth of existence. Sartre had been working on the novel nausea for almost a decade ever since his years in graduate school when it was published in France in 1938. It was an immediate and huge success and rapidly in the following years. The principal character of the novel nausea. And when all can turn has become a familiar figure in Western civilization he has become a recognized stable part of my literary world as have other literary figures like Shakespeare's Hamlet or Dickens is all the twist of James Joyce's bloom of Kafka's heroes whose names begin the letter K references to wrote contends concrete existence to rock and hands experience his nausea his crisis of despair occur throughout contemporary discussions in the field of psychology and
philosophy and where ever wherever the consciousness of modern man is examined. Who has broken time and how they find finest philosophical novel made him into a personality so real for us that he lives among us outside the novel itself what are the moods and thoughts of this fictional character and how have they become our own moods and thoughts. The novel is shrewdly presented by Sartre as rock hands own diary a first personal account of his daily life written only for himself as a direct and truthful statement of one man's subjectivity. One man's concrete here and now existence the scene is a port city in France which has the name of the movie which means Mudville. It is clearly a description of the actual Porterville job the main waterfronts the ugly commercial city in which Sobchak lived in cheap hotels near the railway station while he was teaching philosophy there. In many ways rooking
is similar to Sartre. He is close to 30 years old. He comes from a middle class background and is living on a small inherited income. He is an intellectual and a writer but content is represented as being tall rather than short as opera is and with red hair and as having no family ties no job no friends but he has travelled widely. He is a free man free to do what he wants and he has come to Movil to finish a biography that he is writing on the life of an 18th century diplomat the Marquis de Roboam. But from the very first page we know that something is wrong. The first page of a diary mentions that a change has come over him and we soon learned that the whole point of keeping a diary is to determine what this change is and what it means for his life. The best thing he says in the diary would be to write down events from day to day and above all he said.
I must tell how I see this table this street the people my packet of tobacco since those are the things which have changed with these words Saphira has taken us into the psychology of a mind that is aware that it is slipping away from its normal state or aware that his world is beginning to take on a strange new appearance. And yet he is sufficiently in touch with reality to want to observe his own mental states to want to keep a day to day account of the psychological symptoms. When did it all begin. Rockingham remembers on Saturday. Some children were playing on the waterfront and like when he says I wanted to throw a stone into the sea. But when he picked up a stone he says I saw something which disgust me. He is confronted by the Stones bare existence and he is overwhelmed by a feeling of here. Day after day
he lives with depression nausea feelings of vertigo and mounting anxiety. The nausea is becoming constant. It even comes over him in the cafe which had been a place of refuge well lighted for the people. But now rooking 10 says the nausea is not inside me. I am the one who is inside it. As the days go by broken town discovers that there is no rational order in existence things have no essences which define what they are. There are no fixed laws according to which things relate to other things in the universe. All rationality. All sciences are only of our own making. They have nothing to do with the bare existence that they named things as broken and are divorced from their names. And when we face them in their bare existence they are simply their own loathsome and fearful and we experience them with no
real content is riding on the street car in movil. And he says this thing I'm sitting on or leading my hand on. It's called a seat he says they made it purposely for people to sit on. They took leather Springs and cloth. They went to work with the idea of making a scene and when they finished that was what they had made said Rock content. I murmur. It's a seat but the word stays on my lips. If he chooses to go out and put himself on the thing it stays what it is with its red plush thousands of little red paws in the air all still little dead paws. And then he says this enormous belly turned upward bleeding inflated bloated with all its dead paws this
belly floating in this car in this gray sky is not a seat. It could as well be a dead donkey tossed about in the water. And this agonizing terrifying fantasy about the red plush seat of the streetcar in town and discovering that things in their actual existence have nothing to do with the names we give them and that the existence of things has no connection with the essence which we assign to them. This thing on which he is living he is it a street car seat. Is this its name. Is this its essence. That is one interpretation. It could just as well be a thousand little red bars or the red belly of a dead donkey. Things as they exist in their nakedness have no essences. Their existence is not confined by any words or explanations that we give them. Sartre is here a broken time have here reached the same conclusion as
David Hume had reached two hundred years earlier. The world of existence on matters of fact has no connection with the world of words. Reason mathematics and logic. Existence is not rational. There is no reason that things are as they are and not otherwise. There is no rational explanation as to why there is any world at all. Rather than nothing why does thoughts respond to the irrationality of existence with a sense of excitement fear and nausea. It is because to saunter to kick Igor and to micel before him. Are not intellectual games philosophies are things we live by and are a matter of life and death for the human spirit. Because of their powerful effect upon human psychology and if it is true that existence has no rationality and no order is governed by no scientific laws and by no philosophic essences then anything can happen in such a universe. The
world without any structure falls apart and dissolves. And I myself dissolve along with it as broken hand says. In such a world my tone may turn into a centipede 200 years ago. David Hume had said that since the world is one in which reason and existence have no connection with each other there is no reason that the sun will rise tomorrow. On the streetcar contains an Aussie moves toward crisis as he feels himself surrounded by nameless frightening things. He jumps off of the streetcar runs into the park and drops onto a park bench. He feels that he is suffocating. Existence penetrates him through his eyes nose mouth and here in front of him are the roots of a chestnut tree roots shooting from the ground under the bench and he says I was sitting. Says Rock stooping forward head bowed alone
in front of this black NAAFI mass entirely beastly which frightened me. Then I had this vision. Here then is Santror his famous chestnut tree vision never wrote content continues until these last few days. Had I understood the meaning of existence and then all of a sudden there it was clear as day. Rockingham looks around at the chestnut tree the park gates the fountain and himself a red haired man digesting on a bench and it suddenly flashes upon him that none of these things have the slightest reason to be there. None of these things is necessary. They are all simply in the way and superfluous broken in knows now that he is found as he says the key to existence. The key to my nausea to my own life.
The key is absurdity the fundamental lack of any rationality in the existence of things. This root of the chestnut tree of this existence this great all explanation. It was below explanation. It was simply there for no reason without explanation and it was absurd. All existence is merely contingent without any necessity to exist without any rationality simply in the way superfluous and so is absurd. Now Rogan's Guntown understood his nausea. Nausea is what human beings cannot help feeling in the face of the absurd in the face of the world which is irrational superfluity and therefore absurd. This is the world shattering vision of the chestnut tree. It has now taken its place among the great visionary experiences of human history. But there remains the real content. Another discovery this told him not about things but about himself the self which he has assumed he had namely broke into the person
whom he thought of as having the essence of a man an intellectual and historian the biographer of the Marquis de Roboam. This too was only an interpretation and essence which he has constructed for himself but which has nothing to do with his existence. The self exists only as a consciousness which is conscious of a succession of objects. There is no enduring self no Cartesian Coquito no thinking substance. No one lives there any more he said. There was only the stream of consciousness of this and that object. And so in addition to the loss of the court's physical substances there was the loss of a Cartesian cell. The thinking substance which Descartes had carefully established both are now gone. There are no physical substances there are no thinking substances. What has no love for broken too often on is nausea had been relieved when an American jazz record was played on the jukebox in the café. A record of a black woman singing some of these days rock and
how has already decided to give up writing the biography and in the final moment of inspiration he thinks of the New York musician creating this song. Some of these days he thinks that the two will create something. You are thinking of writing a novel. So in artistic creation finally you will have a reason for living and perhaps even a way to redeem his life. Next time we will see how Sacra handles these problems and his great work. And. Nothing. Like. Recorded at the studios of the Maryland Center for Public
From Socrates To Sartre
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Sartre II: Bad faith. Ethics. Freedom. Dread and Nothingness - Existentialist ethics: freedom. Sartre's attack on determinism, on Marx, on Freud. Facticity and Transcendence. Bad Faith. Examples: the waiter; the courtship; the homosexual; the keyhole. Sartre's concept to total freedom. Morality as the recognition of my total freedom. Dread and Nothingness. The failure of Sartre's existential freedom: ethics is impossible.
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"From Socrates to Sartre is an educational show hosted by Dr. Thelma Z. Lavine, who teaches viewers about the theories and history of philosophy."
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Copyright Holder: MPT
Host: Thelma Z. Lavine, Ph.D.
Producing Organization: Maryland Public Television
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