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Video: Sartre – The Unyielding Existentialist

Born in Paris in 1905, Sartre was a brilliant student with a rebellious streak. He questioned everything, from traditional morality to societal expectations. His early
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Imagine a world where freedom is absolute, but also terrifying. Where existence precedes essence, meaning you create your own meaning in life. This is the world of existentialism, and Jean-Paul Sartre was its leading philosopher.

Born in Paris in 1905, Sartre was a brilliant student with a rebellious streak. He questioned everything, from traditional morality to societal expectations. His early exposure to the horrors of World War I deeply influenced his existentialist views on human existence.

Sartre’s philosophy is centered on the individual’s absolute freedom. We are “condemned to be free,” he argued, meaning we have no preordained purpose. This freedom comes with great responsibility, as we must forge our own identities and values in a seemingly meaningless universe.

One of the most significant relationships in Sartre’s life was with Simone de Beauvoir. They met as students at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure and formed an intellectual partnership that lasted a lifetime. While their unconventional relationship challenged societal norms, their mutual respect and intellectual support were undeniable. Beauvoir, a brilliant philosopher in her own right, championed feminist causes and inspired generations with her book “The Second Sex.”

Sartre’s ideas resonated with a postwar generation grappling with disillusionment. His writings, like his play “No Exit” and his philosophical treatise “Being and Nothingness,” explored themes of alienation, authenticity, and the human condition.
In 1964, Sartre controversially refused the Nobel Prize in Literature. He felt the award would compromise his intellectual independence and his commitment to leftist political activism.

Sartre’s existentialism remains a powerful force. His ideas continue to influence philosophy, literature, and social movements. He showed us the power of individual freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.

Sartre’s life and work challenged conventions and forced us to confront the complexities of human existence. He inspired us to take ownership of our choices and create our own meaning in a world devoid of inherent purpose.


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