No Exit

trap

I am definitely not an existentialist. While they do search like many of us for the meaning of life, they express a deep sense of despair. I do not.

Existentialists stress freedom of choice and do agree that we should accept responsibility for our actions, but find humanity unexplainable to the extent that life becomes meaningless. I strongly disagree.

Philosophically speaking, existentialism is a belief that human beings are independent thinkers, and as such, the only real answers in life are the ones that are authentically our own. In other words, we define who we are by examining what comes from inside each of us. We create the meaning of our lives, not deities, authorities, or rules. If you follow this belief, you accept the fact that life itself is absurd and meaningless, except to the extent we individually choose to give it meaning.

The master of this philosophical branch was Jean-Paul Sartre. While I disagree with him on an intellectual level, I respect his ability to predict the future so well. We, as twenty-first century Americans, are enjoying his prediction. In order to express 320 million individual meanings of life, we seek representatives to help us think for ourselves.

In his famous work, No Exit, Sartre presents three damned souls trapped in the same room in hell, each for different reasons. They expect medieval forms of torture, but find none of it. Instead, they have each other.

Garcin is a weakling, big-time adulterer, and a coward who used to bring mistresses home as acts of cruelty toward his wife. Now, in hell, he wants to be considered a hero. He surmises that Inez knows and understands his emotions and shortcomings and desperately seeks her approval as a hero. Inez tortures him with her refusal to acknowledge his heroism or manliness.

Estelle, perhaps a prostitute, wants and needs a “manly man” and seeks the affection of Garcin, who is clearly not one. He tortures Estelle with his disinterest in her.

Inez is a lesbian with designs on Estelle. She is tortured by Estelle’s unreciprocated attraction to her.

The three damned souls are "inseparable." Life has caused them to become "inextricably linked." The "agony” each suffers is “of the human mind." Trapped in hell, none are allowed respite from each other. They exist in hell, where sleep is nonexistent. Consumed with the absurdity of their bleak, eternal future, they conclude that “hell is other people.”

Sartre accurately predicted the current state of the U.S.A. He simply got the numbers wrong. Instead of three damned souls, we enjoy the absurdity of a President, House of Representatives, and a Senate. It might not be true, but I hear the leading candidate for the White House in 2016 is Saint Michael the Archangel.

. . .

Comments

  1. I hear that the next 2 leading candidates for President are expected to be a power-obsessed Marxist control-freak and another Bush, hand-picked by Karl Rove. These two, plus the people currently in the Senate and House, are our future. I'm thinking this truly IS hell.

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    1. L.W. Roth has it right. Vote all of them out, which is also a problem for many people. They would have to work for a living.

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  2. Well, I follow existentialist philosophy - maybe not to that extent though. That hell makes more sense to me than burning throughout eternity with no chance of redemption.

    Will there still be a United States in 2016 for anybody to be president of? We'll be bankrupt, a welfare country, and possibly blown up by then.

    *sighs*

    ........dhole

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    1. Donna: I definitely agree with you. However, the only part of existentialism I cannot accept is the futility. We are already a bankrupt, welfare country. If I were King, I would do SOMETHING.

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    2. I expect that the government WILL do something. My prediction: when life becomes so miserable that the populace is screaming for mercy, they will suggest that the only way to make things better is to throw out our Constitution and become part of a One World Government. We can stop using worthless dollars that are so hyper-inflated as to be useless and become a part of a currency that has VALUE. People will be able to buy food again, their checks will actually sustain them, blah blah blah. The only hitch: we must ditch The Constitution and The United States of America. Maybe The United States of The World???? And the International Bankers who have profited so enormously from running The Federal Reserve will step up to control the currency of the entire world with all of the power that entails. It will be a Brave New World. Aren't you excited????

      The thing that people continue to get wrong is that our King, I mean President, is doing NOTHING. He is doing everything right if you look at it from the perspective that the goal is to move us toward a One World Government. I would say everything is Right On Track.

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    3. Robin: I have trouble eating carrion.

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    4. Me, too. You and I will be in the minority, I fear, when Push comes to Shove.

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  3. So far, all we've been able to come up with is: We, the people who vote, should make a pact not to vote for any incumbents.Obama's speech was just more us/them. From a leader, the pronoun has to be we, as in we all . Governor Snyder is a good example. He has done a very appropriate, non partisan job here in Michigan. He has put the good of the state first. And We are healing.

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    1. Linda: Governor Rick Snyder is one of the few representatives of either party that is a businessman and an American first. Notice that I did not say politician out of respect for him.

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  4. Great line of thought, but the situation in D.C. reminds me more of another of Sartre's works: "Nausea." Just think about it. The guy believes a bunch of inanimate objects are screwing up his life, and getting in the way of his self-realization. I ask you: can you think of any more inanimate inanimate objects than our governmental do-nothings taking up space in the hallowed halls of Congress? Then there's the obvious connection, of course. Those guys really make me sick at my stomach.

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    1. Susan: I can't think of a better analogy.

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  5. I can't personally think of much more to add to the conversation/discussion here. My husband, who gets paid to predict the future, says we're in for someone even more liberal/Marxist- that we ain't seen nothin' yet.
    Ah, sometimes we can't help but learn the hard way...

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    1. Jasmine: Your husband is certainly correct. As a student of history, I can state with confidence that this is exactly the way they infiltrated other countries. It starts with the education system. Take Nathan Hale out of the history books and insert a 1960s radical like Abbie Hoffman, and you are half-way there.

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    2. Two men who I admire greatly for their ability to see the big picture are telling me what I don't want to hear. My husband refers often to the indoctrination of our kids in the classroom. Yikes! You are both on the exact same path with this...
      BTW, his prediction is Julian Castro- to actually try and steal away Texas, and with that any hope that conservative/traditional Americans have left.

      *BIG sigh* I feel myself heading for the land of Jimmy Buffett. After all, if we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane!

      Delete
    3. Two men who I admire greatly for their ability to see the big picture are telling me what I don't want to hear. My husband refers often to the indoctrination of our kids in the classroom. Yikes! You are both on the exact same path with this...
      BTW, his prediction is Julian Castro- to actually try and steal away Texas, and with that any hope that conservative/traditional Americans have left.

      *BIG sigh* I feel myself heading for the land of Jimmy Buffett. After all, if we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane!

      Delete

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