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Sartre's Existentialist View

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Introduction

Sartre's Existentialist View Jean-Paul Sartre says "man is nothing else but what he makes of himself" (762). This existentialist view depicts the idea that one is not based on the essence of a soul, but rather, based on decisions made throughout life. Sartre also believes that every man is responsible for all men. One may choose his marriage partner; however, in choosing to marry, one chooses monogamy. Decisions that individuals make will collectively create a set of principles and beliefs for all of man. Many people believe that a person's decisions are a reflection of his soul and personality. However, it is more likely that the conclusion a person reaches is due to the influence of different ideas, as well as the circumstances surrounding the choices. One does not have an innate "essence", but instead, the choices that a person makes constantly shape his character, which in turn creates his essence. Decision-making is based on many different conditions and controlling factors that exist at the time of conflict. ...read more.

Middle

It is completely upon the man to decide what is good and what is not. There is no longer the sense of "God judging man" so one must make his own decisions and based on them he is "condemned to be free" (765-766). Sartre believes that man is condemned because he did not choose to exist, but is also free because he is completely responsible for his actions. Existentialism does not allow room for mistake. A person has no one to blame for bad decisions or misunderstandings. One cannot say, "I have had bad luck" because existentialism does not believe in fortune or misfortune, but only in personal decisions. This enhances the true reality of life. Situations create the future and therefore hopes and dreams are a mere loss of reality. The future is produced by a person's decisions and so one should not dream but rather, make decisions that will lead to a beneficial life in the future. ...read more.

Conclusion

People will follow laws because they created them. Laws are based on choices that should be made when given specific circumstances. If the wrong decision is made, then negative consequences follow. By living an existential life a person can detach himself from the idea of expectations and hopes, and instead, choose the right paths that will lead him to his desires. Sartre steers away from the traditional belief that God has an influence on choices that a person makes, and the idea that unreasonable circumstances, or worse yet, bad luck, play a role in one's decisions. Instead, existentialism prompts a person to become liable for his choices. This often ignites anxiety because there is no longer a cushion to fall back on. Sartre explains this by saying, "the coward is defined on the basis of the acts he performs" (771). This portrays the idea that people are not born a certain way, or with a certain type of personality. Everyone creates his own essence by the decisions that he makes on a daily basis, and from this, he becomes the person that he created. ...read more.

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