By Walter Kaufmann
Existentialism may be the main misunderstood of contemporary philosophic positions-- misunderstood as a result of its huge acceptance and common unfamiliarity with its origins, representatives, and ideas. Existential pondering didn't originate with Jean Paul Sartre. It has earlier spiritual, literary, and philosophic origins. In its narrowest formula it's a metaphysical doctrine, arguing because it does that any definition of man's essence needs to stick to, now not precede, an estimation of his life. In Heidegger, it provides a view of Being in its totality; in Kierkegaard, an method of that inwardness necessary to real non secular event; for Dostoevsky, Kafka, and Rilke the existential state of affairs bears the stamp of recent man's alienation, uprootedness, and absurdity; to Sartre it has huge moral and political implications. This ebook comprises in simple terms entire choices or whole works by way of the key thinkers.--From writer description. �Read more...
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Additional info for Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre
But why has he 'such a passionate love for destruction and chaos also? Tell me that! But on that point I want to say a couple of words myself. May it not be that he loves chaos and destruction (there can be no disputing that he does sometimes love it) because he is instinctively afraid of attaining his object and completing the edifice he is constructing? Who knows, perhaps he only loves that edifice from a distance, and is by no means in love with it at close quarters; perhaps he only loves building it and does not want to live in it, but will leave it, when completed, for the use of les animaux domestiques–such as the ants, the sheep, and so on.
In fact, those will be halcyon days. Of course there is no guaranteeing (this is my comment) that it will not be, for instance, frightfully dull then (for what will one have to do when everything will be calculated and tabulated), but on the other hand everything will be extraordinarily rational. Of course boredom may lead you to anything. It is boredom sets one sticking golden pins into people, but all that would not matter. What is bad (this is my comment again) is that I dare say people will be thankful for the gold pins then.
Decide that for yourselves. They say that Cleopatra (excuse an instance from Roman history) was fond of sticking gold pins into her slave-girls' breasts and derived gratification from their screams and writhings. You will say that that was in the comparatively barbarous times; that these are barbarous times too, because also, comparatively speaking, pins are stuck in even now; that though man has now learned to see more clearly than in barbarous ages, he is still far from hav-ing learnt to act as reason and science would dictate.