Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sartre: A Philosopher of Freedom?

In one of my earlier posts, I criticized Sartre's conception of freedom as a human "burden". At that time, I was not really and fully clear on Sartre's ideas, but I knew there had to be something wrong about it because "freedom" viewed as a burden that people try to shun and flee from seemed horribly wrong if it were one's real outlook on life in this world. Since then, I have been reading more about Sartre and his theories. The recent "Philosophy Now" Issue 53 was dedicated mostly to Sartre in observance of his 100th birthday. In the editorial of the magazine briefly sketched Sartre's life that I excerpted as such: "[Sartre's] intake of coffee, nicotine, and harder drugs was prodigious, and may have contributed to his one-time delusion that he was being stalked by a giant lobster. Sartre, having constructed an uncompromising philosophy of personal freedom,... spent many years entangled to varying degrees with the French Communist Party - stalwart defenders of Stalin's gulags." To me, Sartre's confused and decadent life seems to be just the logical and practical consequence of the philosophy that he himself formulated. Quite consistently, Communism would be the only ideological system compatible with a concept such as "freedom is a burden" and that "humans are condemned to be free". "The validity and efficacy of ideas are most evident in the actions they generate" - that is the credo of my blog.

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