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Existence preceding essence?

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  • XXX0009 xxx0010
    Considering these thoughts how would Sartre respond to the idea that being a good judge of character is of great use in life. What would he say to the age old
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 31, 1999
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      Considering these thoughts how would Sartre respond to the idea that being a good judge of character is of great use in life. What would he say to the age old wisdom that a man must know his limits. Wouldn't this involve knowing one's essence to some degree?

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    • Russell, J. Michael
      esperanto said: We exist. This is the story up to our death. At that point we (to paraphrase) become what we are and cease to be what we are not (the
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 3, 1999
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        "esperanto" said:


        We exist. This is the story up to our death. At that point
        we (to
        paraphrase) 'become what we are and cease to be what we are
        not' (the
        original quote is from the other side of death if you dig my
        drift ie
        'Man is what he is not and is not what he is')

        Bad faith is, in a way, an attempt to die a little bit
        early; to
        acquire an essence before this is possible.

        Michael Russell says:
        Nicely put! And it brings out why the sort of 'god' we want
        to be is impossible. Even if we were immortal we'd have to make choices,
        and our 'being' would still be unsettled. There's another reason why I
        can't understand what it would be for me not to exist.


        "esperanto" said:

        Indeed i have sometimes thought that mailing lists may be
        another
        example of a being which is 'pour-soi' but i doubt anyone
        will want
        to pick up on that one.

        To which Michael Russell says:
        Interesting. On the face of it our email posts are no
        different from anything else we do, or say, which immediately reveals
        ourselves to the Other while being, in a way, inapprehensible to ourselves.
        But there's something about the medium that seems to foster fear and
        flaming, perhaps because we are more vulnerable with an email message
        quickly fired off than with a manuscript that is carefully edited, or the
        spoken word which, I suppose, seems less permanent. As for membership in a
        list as illustrating how one is what one is not, and is not what one is, one
        can be a non-participating list member-- a mere on-lurker.

        Cheers.
      • esperanto
        On 31 Jul 99 at 20:05, you, DJRNews@aol.com wrote: Hi all ... This last phrase is I think the crucial point. Sartre s dictum existence precedes essence is
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 3, 1999
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          On 31 Jul 99 at 20:05, you, DJRNews@... wrote:

          Hi all

          > I'd want to go at this differently, at several points. The
          > slogan "existence precedes essence" is unfortunate for giving the
          > impression that after a while I'll have an essence. The idea,
          > rather, is that human existence is such that only in bad faith will
          > I ever be able to summarize myself with some claim about who or what
          > I am "essentially." So if you ask me when I'm going to finish the
          > book I've promised and I beg off with, "I'm just too lazy to get it
          > done," I'm trying to run from my freedom by making it look as if who
          > I am is already settled. Existence precedes essence means that who
          > I am is never settled --- at least not for me.

          This last phrase is I think the crucial point. Sartre's dictum
          'existence precedes essence' is useful coz it points out that *in
          point of fact* indeed 'after a while' I will indeed have an essence
          and as with all essences it is beyond my control because it resides
          elsewhere and in Sartrian thought in the conscience of 'the other'.

          We exist. This is the story up to our death. At that point we (to
          paraphrase) 'become what we are and cease to be what we are not' (the
          original quote is from the other side of death if you dig my drift ie
          'Man is what he is not and is not what he is')

          Bad faith is, in a way, an attempt to die a little bit early; to
          acquire an essence before this is possible.

          Garcin *is* a coward. He is a coward because he is dead and because
          Ines says so. There is (now) no way out for him: hell/essence is
          Ines/other people. However, this is just a metaphor it is not a
          human/living reality. Tomorow, as long as i remain alive, i can
          usubscribe from this list, head for Nepal and become a Buddhist monk.
          Many here may wish I would choose that path. But it is my choice.
          Only after I unsub could i be said to have gained some 'virtual'
          essence.

          Indeed i have sometimes thought that mailing lists may be another
          example of a being which is 'pour-soi' but i doubt anyone will want
          to pick up on that one.

          neil
          (looking forward to the slow read of _Exist' is a Hum'sm_ which
          covers so much of all this)

          FREEDOM PRESS
          http://freedom.tao.ca
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