Existentialism Essay

Artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon wrestled with existentialist themes, as have writers from Samuel Beckett to Graham Greene.

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Bigelow, Gordon E., "A Primer of Existentialism." In his essay "A Primer of Existentialism," Gordon Bigelow acknowledges the impact of this "ism" on literature, art, philosophy, theology and social science.

Furthermore, he goes on to state the six major themes common in Existentialism, exploring each in great detail.

On the contrary, Sartre says in this essay (and elsewhere in his writing) that “man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.”In language that is far more quirky than melancholic, he argues that this trait distinguishes humans from “a patch of moss, a piece of garbage, or a cauliflower.” While there’s not much moss can do about what it is, Sartre says, humans must create themselves through actions and choices.

In other words, “man will be what he will have planned to be.” This self-deterministic mindset sounds little like the fatalism typically associated with Sartre.

Sartre was a major public figure, with a level of fame of which philosophers today can only dream.

Existentialism Essay

He became an active political commentator towards the end of the World War II, and continued to weigh in on public debates and write in newspapers for general audiences in the years following.

Of course, existentialism’s gloomy reputation must’ve come from somewhere, and Sartre does make a big thing about the fact that, because we create ourselves, we are “condemned to be free,” he writes. If someone’s a coward, Sartre writes, that’s his fault.

“He’s not like that because he has a cowardly heart or lung or brain; he’s not like that on account of his physiological make-up; but he’s like that because he has made himself a coward by his acts,” Sartre writes.

The first Existentialist idea is the belief in "existence before essence." This emphasizes the individuality of man, reasoning that every person is unique because of his/her past experiences in life.

This unique view on mankind is reflected in literature in that the authors of the time now dealt with the question "who am I? " The second common theme is that of "reason's impotence in dealing with the depths of human life." Contradicting Plato who separated reason from the rest of the human psyche because of its importance and higher state of existence, this idea unifies all the parts of man, brining"wholeness" and a larger sense of unity to one's life.


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