An Existentialist View of Life

Topics: Existentialism, Philosophy of life, Ontology Pages: 2 (606 words) Published: April 14, 2007
Emotions of despair and forlornness stem from two basic ideas that fundamentally define the existentialist view of life. According to the existentialist it is mans freedom that is the source of his anguish despair and forlornness. Because of our utter responsibility we are condemned to be free. Man suffers and is in anguish because of the unavoidable responsibility he must shoulder and the unavoidable choice that he must make to create himself and those around him. According to Sartre man suffers because he is condemned to be free. Man's anguish begins with the problem he faces regarding his own existence. Sartre's ethics go against any notions of god as the creator of life and meaning. The reason that he believes man must exist before he can make the choice to create himself stems directly from the idea that there is not God to direct him and give him a meaning a priori.

Sartre's views stem from a form of atheistic existentialism that states that if god does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and that this being is man" (15). Man is nothing because there is no human nature, since there is no god to conceive it. When Sartre speaks of forlornness he means that "God does not exist and that we have to face all the consequences of this." (pg. 21) The consequences of this are that life and values are stripped of their a priori meaning. With the absence of god all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with him. "Nowhere is it written that we must be honest, that we must not lie…," (22) or that man must be anything besides what he wills himself to be. What strips life of it's a priori meaning and causes man to be forlorn is that everything is permissible if God does not exist… because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to" (22). Without the existence of God man loses the ability to make excuses for...
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