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What did Jean Paul Sartre 1905 1980 and Ernesto Che Guevara 1928 1967 have in common Prior to reading this book, I did not know that they saw each other when they were both still alive This is my first book read written by Sartre and three years ago, I read John Lee Anderson s Che Guevara A Revolutionary Life Before Sartre s image in my unsophisticated read zero knowledge in philosophy mind was this old professor talking inside his wood paneled and fully carpeted office about the things like existentialism that was so deep I would never ever understand what he was saying On the other hand, prior to the Anderson s book, I used to see the image of Che Guevara printed on the t shirts of some hip teenagers I had some clues who he was because of the communist posters my handsome brother brought home when he was still in studying in a radical university But not all young Filipinos one caller in a morning show thought that Guevara was some kind of a band soloist so he asked what latest rock song he recorded Thanks to printed words Thanks to books We can read them and we can be informed We can choose not to be ignorant We can also contribute to influencing future generations by writing too We can make books of our own.The importance of reading and writing to his life This is basically the main theme of this book, The Words by the existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre At the age of 59, he wrote this book about the first 10 years of his life on earth He was exposed to books at a very young age He remembered looking at the volumes and volumes of similar hardbound books stacked in his grandparents room He did not know what were those but he loved to touch them and hear the flipping of the crisp pages From then on, he resolved to himself that he would not only read those books someday but he also become a writer Same thing happened to Che Guevara His parents also loved to buy and read books In the above mentioned Anderson s biography of Guevara, one of Che s childhood friends recalled that he could barely navigate inside the living room of the Guevaras because of the many stacks of books and magazines on the floor So, what made Sartre and Guevara in common 1 They both loved to read 2 They both believed and supported Marxism 3 They actually saw and talk to each other in Cuba in the 60 s In fact, when Guevara died in 1967, Satre declared He is not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age and the era s most perfect man 4 I both have read something about them Ako naMe already.Next in my to be read is the childhood days of Sartre s girlfriend, Simone de Beauvior, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter. Sartre was at the outset of his career, as well as at its end a man without hope Like so many socially minded intellectuals of a practical cast in mid century, Jean Paul Sartre leaned seriously toward socialism, Marxism and even, briefly, communism But practical people refuse not to act And Sartre had few illusions, which made practical action for a better world imperative And the inevitable disillusionment followedThat is why Les Mots, The Words, seems so sad to us now Disillusioned and prematurely aged by the beginnings of a long series of strokes, Sartre could no longer confidently act decisively And without hope in his own and mankind s future, life was brutal.Sartre always had seen the end of his life as an impassable obstacle to self fulfillment, the dark side of the dichotomy Being Nothingness.For as proof of the perceived utter futility of the human predicament, the climax of his philosophical magnum opus, l tre et le N ant states baldly, Man is a hopeless passion But at about the same time as that work, across the Channel, as Sartre s discouraging words rallied France to alternative political action, T S Eliot was urging in wartime London Descend lower, descend onlyInto the world of perpetual solitude,World not world, but that which is not world,Internal darkness.Had Sartre read, and heeded Eliot s words he might have become a different person, in touch with his deepest emotions But Sartre had already achieved recognition and notoriety at a very young age So he simply became his persona.Clinical, aloof and detached Cool Sartre was cool when James Dean was a toddler He thus inspired generations of the with it and hip youngsters of the fifties, sixties and seventies.He assumed the role of philosopher without Knowing Himself and thus mocked Socrates Was that cool Later books of his like this one find Sartre trying to play catch up on that count But he was a Johnny Come Lately to the game of self knowledge To know yourself you have to BE yourself Sartre was a Matchstick Man.He utterly lacked everyday warmth, poor soul But in the darkness of postwar Britain, the best strategy for T.S Eliot was to accept so many great losses in a spirit of faithful brokenness, admitting personal frailties before God, so that the Darkness will become the Light.For Eliot followed the dictum of the cryptic Presocratic, Heraklitos The way up IS the way down Hope from the ashes of hope For through the darkness of Faith there comes the great joy of a New Day.As it came for Eliot, with a new marriage made in Heaven, and a joyous and dignified summation to his life In the end, Sartre finished his life as he had begun his early years, WITHOUT hope But as he looked back on his life in this at times light and charmingly whimsical book, he saw many lost childhood memories.But they were all mixed with the feeling that his life was slowly ebbing away without purpose or meaning.At least he had his many friends and the company of de Beauvoir But uncompromising till the end, he rejected the ordinary hope that makes life bearable for the rest of us, because he rejected himself.In spite of this, in Les Mots we see Sartre opening up about his personal space for the first time which he was to continue obliquely in his great study of Flaubert, l Idiot de la Famille, the Family Idiot.For now he was no longer an untouchable and lapidary world icon His disguise had worn too thinNow he was just old, frail and human like the rest of us. Les Mots The Words, Jean Paul SartreThe Words is Jean Paul Sartre s 1963 autobiography The text is divided into two near equal parts entitled Reading and Writing Jean Paul Sartre s famous autobiography of his first ten years has been widely compared to Rousseau s Confessions Written when he was fifty nine years old, The Words is a masterpiece of self analysis Sartre the philosopher, novelist and playwright brings to his own childhood the same rigor of honesty and insight he applied so brilliantly to other authors Born into a gentle, book loving family and raised by a widowed mother and doting grandparents, he had a childhood which might be described as one long love affair with the printed word Ultimately, this book explores and evaluates the whole use of books and language in human experience 2008 195 20 1344 337 1396 337 9789643463663 1348 287 1387 243 1386 216 1388 9789643116064 1387 243 9789644483721 1963 1905 1847 1906 1882 1969. [ KINDLE ] ♸ Les Mots ♋ After His Father S Early Death Jean Paul Sartre Was Brought Up At His Grandfather S Home In A World Even Then Eighty Years Out Of Date In Words Sartre Recalls Growing Up Within The Confines Of French Provincialism In The Period Before The First World War, An Illusion Ridden Childhood Made Bearable By His Lively Imagination And Passion For Reading And Writing A Brilliant Work Of Self Analysis, Words Provides An Essential Background To The Philosophy Of One Of The Profoundest Thinkers Of The Twentieth Century
Faith, even when profound, is never entire.There is considerable audacity in a project of this nature The famed philosopher playwright novelist creates a memoir fifty plus years into the past, a poking about in a small child s mind I hazard to say there s a some fancy in these pages Much as Sartre notes throughout most of his childhood he was acting, I assume the great thinker feels compelled to craft something of stature to merit his adult achievement I will be honest I don t remember much of my early life One or two images of leaving Michigan ages 3 4 There are a few flutters after that My adoptive mother telling everyone I was reading at age two Was I I have always had books and much like Sartre I feel indebted Also, just like the author I had flowing curly locks, a surprise I guess after being bald for 14 months The stories bifurcate there as Sartre benefited from his grandfather s library and I read comics and books from the local public library Both of us constructed constant narratives where we were the heroes He was encouraged to write I was given a typewriter and I filled notebooks in junior high when I should have been learning geometry The second section Writing isn t as magical as the first Reading He broaches his burgeoning narrative structures, slowly evolving in a stumbling gait and how everything was ultimately enriched by attending school That period of his life so deserved a further extensive treatment, if only his adolescent friendship with Paul Nizan Outside of his widowed mother and tacit grandmother, women do not feature large in this vision His partial blindness, his diminutive stature, his less than ideal looks all reflect upon this but without explicit comment. Demolidor Tornei me traidor e continuei a s lo em v o que me entrego inteiro ao que empreendo, em v o que me entrego sem reservas ao trabalho, c lera, amizade eu sei que me renegarei num instante,eu quero j me traio em plena paix o,pelo pressentimento jubiloso da minha trai o futura. Ohne Vater aufgewachsen sucht der kleine Sartre von Kindesbeinen an nach der Berechtigung seiner Existenz Er entz ckt die Erwachsenenwelt, indem er schon als Kleinstknirps die Kunst des Lesens erst simuliert, dann tats chlich im Eigenstudium erwirbt Er spielt Theater im umfassenden Sinn des Wortes , sucht in B chern und im Kino, einer ganz neu aufgekommene Unterhaltungsform, nach Vorbildern Trotz aller Rollen, die er mit Inbrunst annimmt, scheint es doch, als w rde die Welt nicht begreifen, dass nur noch einer fehlt Sartre Als er sich schlie lich in der Rolle des Schriftstellers versucht, sind die Weichen gestelltSehr interessant fand ich, dass Sartres Gro eltern noch ganz der b rgerlichen Gesellschaft Frankreichs angeh ren, wie sie uns bei Victor Hugo begegnet Die fr hen Erinnerungen k nnten noch die eines Proust sein, trotz der drei Jahrzehnte Unterschied Daran mag man erkennen, dass der gesellschaftliche Wandel immer schneller vonstatten geht Schon bald wird es die Form des B rgertums nicht mehr geben, der Sartres Gro eltern angeh rten Insofern klingen auch Motive an, die mich bei Benjamins Berliner Kindheit um neunzehnhundert so sehr ber hrt haben.Ich hatte nicht mehr in Erinnerung, wie humorvoll DIE W RTER geschrieben ist und wie gut lesbar Der Leser muss keine gro en philosophischen Vorkenntnisse haben, um das Buch lesen zu k nnen und ein Bild vom jungen Sartre zu bekommen. This book is an awesome display of the deeply literary and religious religious in the sense of considering all the world and one s self to be profoundly significant and purposive in every part nature of Sartre It explains so much about him The title, The Words, refers to the way he attached a supremely high value in the first half of his life to reading, writing, and being read This is an autobiographical account of his first ten years of life which were so formative for his adult life I cannot emphasize enough how very much of Sartre s philosophy is explained here I was actually shocked to discover in his first decade alone so many unveilings to the meaning AND motive for his later work Sartre was once tempted to think it funny that people wondered if he even had a childhood When I was thirty, friends were surprised One would think you didn t have parents Or a childhood And I was silly enough to feel flattered This was due to Sartre s early adult abandonment of his past which he believed could only be interpreted from his future Now, Sartre is writing this book in his sixties and finding value in his earlier life like he thought he would, but in a different way I truly believe he grew to appreciate each moment of his life in itself, rather than as a chronicle to lure others into loving himself, which he couldn t do Because I did not love myself sufficiently, I fled forward The result is that I love d myself still less Sartre s father died when he was two years old, and his mother moved with him into her parents home It was an upper middleclass home steeped in education, impassioned politics, and family tension which would indelibly shape his psyche and self esteem for the rest of his life His relationship with his mother was much like brother and sister, even as an adult to a child at times, and he accustomed himself to calling her by her name Anne Marie The cause of this was his grandfather s contempt for Jean Paul s father, who died very inconveniently, and the subsequent belittling treatment of Anne Marie by his grandfather who was irked to have his daughter again as his dependent plus one leveled, in Jean Paul s mind, the roles of Jean Paul and his mother Anne Marie was treated as an importunate child, but Jean Paul was coddled as his grandfather s alter ego, and praised from a young age for his precocity Actually, he was a spoiled brat, and he knew it, and it wasn t long before he despised himself for the pretentious, melodrama with which he stooped to please his grandfather and sustain his image as a child prodigy Sartre developed a persona that existed solely to please others around him, and his authentic abilities and desires were hidden deep beneath a veneer that was for him hardly comfortable or satisfying Even in solitude I was putting on an act I sank deeper and deeper into imposture Condemned to please, I endowed myself with charms that withered on the spot He developed many neuroses during his younger years, and may never have outgrown some of them His feeling of superfluity and absolute insignificance apart from the attention of his doters, which was inconsistent at best and frankly demoralizing, hollowed out his sense of security and worth, and he increasingly repressed and compartmentalized his less favorable habits, interests, and personality traits to survive socially The result is that he loathed himself and all identity pimps He fell in love with writing only superficially and theatrically at first, determined to impress his watchers He then introverted so far that he couldn t find his way out for a long time, and he wrote himself into an self awareness coma by creating fictions in which he was always a delivering hero and the world was celebrating him eternally It was during this time he began to live posthumously , imputing meaning to his life by imagining how his ideas and fantastical exploits would be read by people after he was dead Only then did he believe his life would be explained and his value to others would be etched in stone as a form of legacy which has been a maelstrom for many heroes and celebrities who have unwittingly wasted their life in this denial of self Much of this early tortuous introspection and self loathing was because he had no friends he wasn t permitted to attend schools which didn t recognize his genius and when he finally made friends at a school he was allowed to attend, he began the slow process of breaking out of what was quickly becoming a sociopathic escapism the human race became a small committee surrounded by affectionate animals , though he would never completely overcome the desire to see his life as a book which would justify all of his actions in some future reader s mind In his later years, he began to be grieved about his early and late inauthenticity He relates that while writing Nausea he was fake to the marrow of my bones, and hoodwinked And yet, as much as he tried to escape it, he resorted to the elitism of criticizing everyone, but at the same time, I was I, the elect, chronicler of hell, a glass and steel microscope peering at my own protoplasmic juices I doubted everything except that I was the elect of doubt In trying to get back to the beginning of his insincerity and objectified, artificial persona, he found an infinite regression of personas that was forever creating new masks for him to unmask This was a foreshadowing of his theory of the spontaneous and transcendent ego which is beyond our reach, for it inspires and directs our reach Any sense of self that we discover or delineate has become an artifice, a forgery of the real self which is impelling the discovering and objectifying a decoy self Trying to get to the back of the cogito probably kept him busy for a while, and this, along with a fear of death, inflamed his neuroticism I lived in a state of terror it was a genuine neurosis I m truly saddened to think how many psychoses and suicides a little Zoloft back in the day might have prevented Sartre was truly oppressed by the thought ingrained in him, mostly by his grandfather s behavior, that he was not needed anywhere, or had any importance to anyone He felt completely superfluous I think his psyche and nervous system was scarred by having to play act for his grandfather so much He literally did not feel significant or valuable, and was looking for ways to make himself feel real We were never in our own home This caused me no suffering since everything was loaned to me, but I remained abstract Worldly possessions reflect to their owner what he is they taught me what I was not I was not substantial or permanent, I was not the future continuer of my father s work, I was not necessary to the production of steel In short, I had no soul At nine years old c mon he was thinking about the existential holes people leave behind when they aren t at a party or gathering and people notice that they are not there This spoke to Sartre of necessity, and he so badly wanted to feel necessary in a way that his absence would be palpable and would shake the world It affected his whole outlook on his literary career, and Sartre admitted that it still affected him in his later years His desire to write in such a way that he would be immortalized and missed when he was dead consumed him He later realized the flaw of living solely that you would be remembered, and labeled this posthumous thinking and yet he couldn t shake the need to leave a profound impression with others about his past being, whether or not he was still being or not This probably illuminates his matured ideas about intersubjectivity and our connection to others that is irreducible and fundamental to our consciousness and being Could it be that Sartre so badly felt the need to be needed, that he invented a philosophy in which this need is proof of our ontological interconnectivity Or, could Sartre have felt intensely and consistently this need we all have, and rightly surmised a possible reason for it that better explains its appearance than any other theory I think both.Sartre gives an excellent analogy about how he began to feel which may communicate to the reader in imagery than Sartre could explain in abstract philosophy Since nobody laid claim to me seriously, I laid claim to being indispensable to the Universe What could be haughtier What could be sillier The fact is that I had no choice I had sneaked onto a train and fallen asleep, and when the ticket collector shook me and asked for my ticket, I had to admit that I had none Nor did I have the money with which to pay my fare on the spot I began by pleading guilty I had left my identity card at home, I no longer even remembered how I had gotten by the ticket puncher, but I admitted that I had sneaked on to the train Far from challenging the authority of the ticket collector, I loudly proclaimed my respect for his functions and complied in advance with his decision At that extreme degree of humility, the only way I could save myself was by reversing the situation I therefore revealed that I had to be in Dijon for important and secret reasons, reason that concerned France and perhaps all mankind If things were viewed in this new light, it would be apparent that no one in the entire train had as much right as I to occupy a seat Of course, this involved a higher law which conflicted with the regulations, but if the ticket collector took it upon himself to interrupt my journey, he would cause grave complications, the consequences of which would be his responsibility I urged him to think it over was it reasonable to doom the entire species to disorder under the pretext of maintaining order in a train Such is pride the plea of the wretched Only passengers with tickets have the right to be modest I never knew whether I won my case The ticket collector remained silent I repeated my arguments So long as I spoke, I was sure he wouldn t make me get off We remained face to face, one mute and the other inexhaustible, in the train that was taking us to Dijon The train, the ticket collector, and the delinquent were myself I was also a fourth character, the organizer, who had only one wish, to fool himself, if only for a minute, to forget that he had concocted everything Writing this book in his sixties, he was able to understand the genesis of his motives for writing, and he could see that he would never be fulfilled by writing in the way he originally thought he could be For the last ten years or so I ve been a man who s been waking up, cured of a long, bitter sweet madness He could see that his eagerness to write involves a refusal to live in that he would always be inclined to think of writing as a need to be loved and justified as a legend, a story, an object in the mind of some other existent My individuality as a subject had no other interest for me than to prepare for the moment death that would change me into an object I was charging my descendents to love me instead of doing so myself He does a wonderful job of sniping the false pride of legacy in himself and his culture A desire to leave a legacy is a loathing of the present moment for the sake of being a chapter in someone else history, a drawing in some children s book, that no longer risks hunger, humiliation, or danger of any kind It is an agreement for one to die if everyone will tell good stories about them I became my own obituary His loud, self affirming declaration at the end of the book is as bold and clear as any man who has ever spoken a word in his own defense and fought for his own honor, or humbly but confidently surrendered himself to the gallows he would justly hang on What remains of my work A whole man, composed of all men and as good as all of them and no better than any I love Sartre s writing Absolutely love it It s genius, meandering, spontaneous, anti climactic, playful, enigmatic, and always, always honest He reminds me of Wittgenstein I often wonder if the two ever interacted Both of their M.O seemed to be anti elitism Never in my life have I given an order without laughing, without making others laugh , anti institutionalism, spontaneity, and an emphasis on knowing the world through relation I love when he tells on himself for being disingenuous, then tells on himself for telling on himself I m always ready to criticize myself, provided I m not forced to He is a fountain of messy, sudden, and superlatively powerful ideas From a young age he liked word puzzles, and I think he created cryptic messages for diligent readers to unlock, though I think the point is not memorization but assimilation if you don t have to work for what you know, you don t really know it to your core Sartre notices and says all the things we ve been taught for so long not to notice or say, and having dumbfounded you, leaves without knowing what you made of it It was enough for him that he said it the rest of your life is up to you, as the rest of Sartre s own life and meanings are left to him Never have I thought that I was the happy possessor of a talent my sole concern has been to save myself His early childhood ideas and experiences were emotionally and cognitively overwrought and perhaps frantic by some people s standards, but his hyper developed sensitivity to existential angst and boredom allowed him to help people realize with devastating accuracy the tradition vacuum into which modern man and academia has fallen, and the way to climb out Sounds like a rough road, experiencing such psychological torment before the age of ten and much to follow after, but I m glad he wrote about it for the postmodern explorer Thanks Sartre my brother.