Jean Paul Sartre

The Nothingness At The Heart Of His Philosophy

Empowering perspectives undermined by intellectual arrogance and spiritual ignorance


Jean Paul Sartre.The Nothingness At The Heart Of His Philosophy. Picture

Jean Paul Sartre - An Overview

Jean Paul Sartre (1905–1980) is one of the better known philosophers of the twentieth century.

He will always be remembered for his espousal and advocacy of the existentialist philosophical perspective. Alongside Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus he is rightly regarded as one of the leading lights of this modern movement.

At root, existentialism:

  • Views human existence as having no meaning other than that which you choose to give it, and 
  • Is about living life authentically by making your own choices for which you alone accept total responsibility.

Sartre the Existentialist

His writings  and lectures set the tone for intellectual life in the decade immediately following the Second World War as existentialism gained traction and became fashionable in the mid-20th century which was the post-war era of the rejection of absolutism, and a period of systemic challenges to the political and societal status quo. It was also the time of the emergence of the “swinging sixties”.

Existentialism provided a language for what was seen as the problem of life as a human being faced with a bewildering array of choices, in a world of absurdity devoid of any inherent meaning, and for which you hold total responsibility.

Jean Paul Sartre was born in Paris, where he lived for most of his life. He studied philosophy at École Normale Supérieure until 1929 when he met the existentialist feminist philosopher with whom he enjoyed a lifelong partnership.

He spent most of the 1930s teaching in the northern French port city of Le Havre, until he was drafted into the French army at the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and where he served as a meteorologist but was captured and held as a prisoner of war until 1941.

After returning to German-occupied Paris, he had some limited involvement with the underground resistance to the occupation and wrote many of his best-known works, including "Being and Nothingness", the plays "No Exit" and "The Files", and the novel "The Age of Reason".

Sartre the Marxist

In 1946 he quit teaching and from this period onward, Jean Paul Sartre’s work and public image became far more political and particularly anti-colonial in tone. He became a committed Marxist.






Sartre the humanist

In 1945 Jean Paul Sartre delivered what has become his famously popular public lecture “Existentialism is a Humanism” to an eagerly receptive crowd in Paris on 2th Oct 1945.

The transcript and analysis of this lecture continues to be the major introduction to his philosophy tom a non-specialist general audience.

Sartre allegedly regretted the publication of this lecture as it revealed his attempt to widen the social application of existentialism in response to his Communist and Catholic critics. 

For a key point summary of existentialism [in simple English] together with a closer look at some of it's big ideas and their weaknesses and a practical assessment of how this aligns with the key themes on this site please see: Existentialism

Sartre the Christian

It is interesting to observe that in his last days Sartre could not live with the consequences of his own atheist existential beliefs and he became a Christian believer and called for a priest...













Resources:


The academic view of Jean Paul Sartre:

Stanford University Encyclopedia Of Philosophy

Criticism of Jean Paul Sartre:

Jean-Paul Sartre - The nothingness at the heart of his philosophy

The academic view of existentialism:

Stanford University Encyclopedia Of Philosophy

Easy to read view of existentialism:

Notre Dame University - College of Arts & Letters







"...his philosophy was never felt, but all a pose."

[Clive James]






Return to: Existentialism





English Chinese (Traditional) Russian French German Italian Spanish Vietnamese



LATEST ARTICLES

  1. The Transformative Power Of Acceptance

    Experience The Power Of Acceptance. This website contains about 500,000 words. You could read every single word and it wouldn't make any real difference to you. You might become better informed, but t…

    Read More

  2. Inversion - The Power Of Opposite Thinking

    How To Avoid The Unwanted Outcome. The power of opposite thinking, also known as inversion, lies in its ability to stimulate creativity, enhance problem-solving, and provide a fresh perspective on cha…

    Read More

  3. Are You Aligned With Reality? Or Do You See What You Believe?

    We tend to see that which aligns with what we believe, and to act upon that rather than acting on reality. Being aligned with reality starts with a clear and accurate understanding of the world. It me…

    Read More

  4. The Law Of Response and Outcome

    A New Approach To A New Life At time of writing we are entering a new year which is traditionally a time of making resolutions to change our behaviour and improve the quality of our lives. And yet pow…

    Read More

  5. Clear Thinking - Turning Ordinary Moments Into Extraordinary Results

    There are two ways to handle the world - try to predict, or try to prepare. "Clear Thinking" by Shane Parrish, published in Oct 2023, is a laudable testament to the art of cogent thinking, and will be…

    Read More

  6. Self Dialogue - Working With Your Many Selves

    Self Dialogue Is About Working With ALL Levels Of Your Mind. The key to effective self dialogue is to have tools, techniques and resources that work with all levels of your mind. This simple self-faci…

    Read More

  7. The Balanced Brain - The Ultimate Route To Personal Transformation

    How To Experience The Benefits Of A Balanced Brain. Underpinning all of the belief systems and practices that offer routes to personal change, transformation and spiritual growth is the balanced brain…

    Read More

  8. How To Make Better Decisions - By Avoiding The Narrative Trap

    To Understand The Truth We Have To See The Whole Picture. One of the best ways to make better decisions is to have a deeper understanding of the many things that might stop that happening. To understa…

    Read More

  9. The Greatest Love - The Most Important Relationship You Will Ever Have

    Yet Most Will Never Know It Everyone of us has a place, in our hearts there's a space, that is home to the greatest love of all. This love transcends everything we think we know about the world of for…

    Read More

  10. Everything Is Connected And Why You Don't Feel It

    ...And Why It Matters As human beings we are skating on very thin ice with our sense of self and certainty about "how things are" and what we like to think of as reality:

    - What if everything we think…

    Read More

  11. Who Is In Charge Of Your Brain?

    How Not To Be Stupid. Who is in charge of your brain? This is not a silly questions. It matters because the outcomes that you experience in your life are determined by how you respond to the events th…

    Read More

  12. How To Be A Winner On A Very Large Scale

    The Incredible Benefits Of Selective Attention. This is not a typical article about how to be a winner. We are not going to talk about goal setting, the importance of habits, the power of focus and al…

    Read More

  13. The Metagame Approach To Life

    How To Achieve Your Biggest Objectives. The metagame approach to life is all about winning and achieving your biggest objectives by: - Understanding the bigger picture
    - Being better by doing things d…

    Read More

  14. Shantideva - The Way Of The Bodhisattva

    Walking The Path Of Compassion. Shantideva the 8th century Indian Buddhist sage is famous for his treatise "The Way of the Bodhisattva" delivered as an extended teaching to the monks of Nalanda monast…

    Read More

  15. Reframing History - Deconstruction And Discussion Not Destruction

    History is always about context, not imposing our own moral values on the past. For those of us fortunate enough to live within western democracies, we are living in an age where a vociferous and into…

    Read More

  16. Tao Te Ching - Connecting To Your True Source Of Power.

    How To Be Lived By The Tao. The Tao Te Ching is one of those books that many people read, few understand, and even fewer put into practice. The only way to know the Tao is to experience it, and it is…

    Read More

  17. How Things Really Are - The Inbuilt Design Flaws

    Chaos, Disorder And Decay Is The Natural Order Of Things. Nobody has the perfect life. We all struggle and strive to attain health, wealth and personal happiness. Yet these three big areas: our health…

    Read More

  18. Intuition Or Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Crawling Here?

    How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety. How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety? Several months ago I was having a drink…

    Read More

  19. What Is Truth - How To Tell A Partial Truth From The Whole Truth?

    How the truth and nothing but the truth is often not the whole truth. My great aunty Flo broke her arm and died. It is true that she broke her arm in 1923. It is also true that she died in 1949. But t…

    Read More

  20. Duality And Life Beyond Your Thinking Mind

    Duality and life beyond your thinking mind focuses on the limitations of time, foreground and background, duality and "stuckness". The first aspect of duality and life beyond your thinking mind focuse…

    Read More

  21. The Conscious Mind Is Limited - Be Aware And Be Prepared

    Being aware is the first stage of being prepared. The conscious mind is limited in so many ways. There are some who would argue that there is no such thing as conscious thought and that it is represen…

    Read More

  22. Your Inner Map Of Reality - Here's Why You Think The Way You Do

    The big picture of how your inner map of reality creates your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. Your inner map of reality is based on the filters of your own ethnic, national, social, family and rel…

    Read More

  23. The Failure Of Cancel Culture - Suppression Not Engagement

    Why we need to wear our beliefs lightly and develop negative capability. Throughout history people have campaigned to fight beliefs, ideologies, and injustices that they perceived to be oppressive, di…

    Read More

  24. 4 Big Reasons Why We Get Stuck In Our Attempts At Personal Change

    Most People Spend Their Entire Life Imprisoned Within The Confines Of Their Own Thoughts. This first of the 4 big reasons why we get stuck is, in my view, the most important. The "self-help industry…

    Read More

  25. How Do I Change And Why Is It So Hard?

    We Would Rather Die Than Change, And We Usually Do In my experience, the vast majority of people who say they want to change don’t change. Most people reading this won’t change because they don’t real…

    Read More

  26. The Illusion Of A Separate Self - Windows 11 With Self Awareness!

    Beyond the content of your mind you are so much more than you think you are. When we talk of "myself" this is the conventional way of referring to our self image which is in fact the ego's constructio…

    Read More

  27. Finite And Infinite Games - Dazed, Confused & Ultimately Transcendent

    This is not an instruction manual, it is a wake up call! Over this past week I have read Professor James Carse's highly regarded "Finite And Infinite Games - A Vision Of Life As Play And Possibility"

    Read More

  28. The Gap And The Gain - How Your Brain Sabotages Your Happiness

    How Your Lizard Brain Sabotages Your Happiness We are hardwired to measure our progress in any and all areas of life where we have goals and aspirations. We can't not do it. But what we measure and ho…

    Read More

  29. How To Wake Up - 4 Simple Practices To Help You Wake Up Now

    So What Exactly Does It Mean to Wake Up - What Is "Enlightenment"? There is nothing magical, mystical or mysterious about waking up we’re actually having glimpses of enlightenment all the time. Enligh…

    Read More

  30. Situational Communication - Different Strokes For Different Folks

    Situational communication is about taking account of 3 often ignored factors about the other person. You are a situational communicator when you recognise that effective communication is not an event…

    Read More



Get new posts by email:









Zen-Tools.Net





Support This Site