Existence of Man

Topics: Meaning of life, Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism Pages: 3 (1029 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Existence of Man

For centuries man has grappled with the riddle of what it means to be a person. But the questions Who is man? and What is the meaning of life? are still unanswered. Yet, while man is still a long way from arriving at any acceptable definitions, there is deep within everyone the hint of an idea of what it means to be a whole person, that is happy, functioning and fulfilled. So, throughout history man has made a continuous search to find out what makes him whole. Every person is different so the special situation in which one person finds fulfillment can't work for everyone. But in the lives of those who have found fulfillment there is a universal pattern. The universal pattern is that those who have found fulfillment have had a willingness to accept change and take risks. Conversely, those who have not found wholeness are characterized by an unconquerable desire to be safe, to be out of danger and to avoid risk.

The first step in the search for identity is to answer the question, How do you see yourself? In the play No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre Estelle loses sight of her identity. She says "When I can't see myself, I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist." What a man sees himself as in the mirror largely determines his actions during the day. Estelle had to look into the "mirror" of men to confirm her identity. A man is the number one determining factor in discovering who he is. Each individual must understand that he is responsible for his own pain, misery, unhappiness, or for his own joy. Man is not a product of what people have done or are now doing to us. Man has the power to become whatever he wants to be; to feel as much love or anger or joy as we want to feel. Another subsequent factor in determining our identity is the image, name, or label given to us by society. In other words, what we believe other people think of us. Most people participate in many groups friends, school, family, jobs, clubs, churches and...
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