In other words, people are born with no true identity or sense of self; they construct themselves over time. One can do this by taking "responsible action for the sake of wholeness, to correct lacks in concrete situations and thus alter themselves in the light of some projected ideal" p.
Knowledge is said "to be the way a [person] comes in touch with [his or her] world, puts questions to it, transforms its component parts into signs and tools, and translates [his or her] findings in words.
Knowledge is used "to clarify and to open up a life" Greene, , p. Through knowledge, one builds a life day to day. Rather than illustrating their messages through argumentation and persuasion, as other philosophies have done, existentialists use the venue of stories to propagate their message.
They do this because they believe that "life is not the unfolding of a logical plan; one cannot argue from trustworthy premises what a life should be like or how it should be lived…meaning is created as we live our lives reflectively.
Characters generally face a life of "angst, anxiety and alienation in an absurd universe" Gutek, , p. The mission of existentialism "analyzes the basic character of human existence and calls the attention of [people] to their freedom" Wingo, , p.
However, much can be gleaned from the original words of thinkers that apply to the state of an existentialist education, as education has come to be seen as "a foundation of human progress" Park, , p. Furthermore, a "careful" understanding of existentialism reveals "strong qualitative ties which provide a framework for understanding the roles individuals play, and how they struggle with those roles in educational institutions" Duemer, A few modern philosophers, including Van Cleve Morris and George Kneller, have written extensively, applying existential thought to education.
In an existentialist school, individualism must be "the center of educational endeavor" Knight, , p. Van Cleve Morris sees education as a way "to awaken awareness in the learner," with the task of education falling chiefly on secondary schools at a time when schools provide "occasions and circumstances for the awakening and intensification of awareness" Park, , p.
He says that prior to puberty a time called the Pre-Existential Period , children are not really aware of the human condition or yet conscious of their personal identity and should learn the basics of education. After puberty, young adolescents experience their Existential Moment, when they become more aware of themselves in relation to the world Gutek, To Morris, school should be concerned with developing "that integrity in [students] necessary to the task of making personal choices of action, and taking personal responsibility for these choices, whether the culture smiles or frowns" , p.
School policy that supports the existentialist philosophy focuses on the individual student, as teachers enter the "private world" of the student. However, he has no way of knowing what the outcome will actually be — only God knows what will happen in the end.
So Abraham proceeds with the genuine intent of murdering his son, but at the same time he believes that God will keep Isaac alive. By such strong faith in the face of extreme anguish and anxiety, Abraham received rather than lost: By faith Abraham did not renounce Isaac, but by faith Abraham received Isaac.
I will conclude by making clear how the two philosophers differed in terms of defining anguish. Sartre claims that anguish is a result of our realization that we are obligated to choose from limitless possibilities without any knowledge of what the consequences will be.
Yet, we must take full responsibility for the consequences knowing that whatever we choose impacts not just ourselves individually, but all of humanity. For Kierkegaard, anguish results from freely choosing in the face of uncertainty, accepting the risk and responsibilities of our actions, and having faith in God that things will work out for the better.
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Our work is high quality, plagiarism-free and delivered on time. You made fun of a certain kind of humanist. Why come back to it now? By humanism one can mean a theory which takes man as an end and as a higher value. Humanism in this sense can be found in Cocteau's tale Around the World in Eighty Hours when a character, because he is flying over some mountains in an airplane, declares, "Man is simply amazing.
This would imply that we ascribe a value to man on the basis of the highest deeds of certain men. This humanism is absurd, because only the dog or the horse would be able to make such an over-all judgment about man, which they are careful not to do, at least to my knowledge.
But it can not be granted that a man may make a judgment about man. Existentialism spares him from any such judgment. The existentialist will never consider man as an end because he is always in the making. Nor should we believe that there is a mankind to which we might set up a cult in the manner of Auguste Comte. The cult of mankind ends in the self-enclosed humanism of Comte, and, let it be said, of fascism.
This kind of humanism we can do without. But there is another meaning of humanism. Fundamentally it is this: There is no universe other than a human universe, the universe of human subjectivity. This connection between transcendency, as a constituent element of man — not in the sense that God is transcendent, but in the sense of passing beyond — and subjectivity, in the sense that man is not closed in on himself but is always present in a human universe, is what we call existentialism humanism.
Humanism, because we remind man that there is no law-maker other than himself, and that in his forlornness he will decide by himself; because we point out that man will fulfill himself as man, not in turning toward himself, but in seeking outside of himself a goal which is just this liberation, just this particular fulfillment.
From these few reflections it is evident that nothing is more unjust than the objections that have been raised against us. Existentialism is nothing else than an attempt to draw all the consequences of a coherent atheistic position. It isn't trying to plunge man into despair at all. But if one calls every attitude of unbelief despair, like the Christians, then the word is not being used in its original sense. Existentialism isn't so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn't exist.
Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing. There you've got our point of view. Not that we believe that God exists, but we think that the problem of His existence is not the issue. In this sense existentialism is optimistic, a doctrine of action, and it is plain dishonesty for Christians to make no distinction between their own despair and ours and then to call us despairing. Any man who sets up a determinism is a dishonest man. Those who hide their complete freedom from themselves out of a spirit of seriousness or by means of deterministic excuses, I shall call cowards.
There can be no other truth to take off from this—I think, therefore I exist—ie. Every theory which takes man out of the moment in which he becomes aware of himself is, at its very beginning, a theory which confounds the truth, for outside the Cartesian cogito , all views are only probable, and a doctrine of probability which is not bound to a truth dissolves into thin air.
Therefore, before there can be any truth whatsoever, there must be an absolute truth; and this one is easily arrived at; it is on everyone's doorstep; it is a matter of grasping it directly. Existential psychoanalysis is guided from the start toward a comprehension of being and must not assign itself any other goal than to discover being and the mode of being of the being confronting this being. It is forbidden to stop before attaining this goal.
Although the considerations which are about to follow are of interest primarily to the ethicist, it may nevertheless be worthwhile after these descriptions and arguments to return to the freedom of the for-itself and to try to understand what the fact of this freedom represents for human destiny. The essential consequence of our earlier remarks is that man being condemned to be free carries the weight of the whole world on his shoulders; he is responsible for the world and for himself as a way of being.
We are taking the word "responsibility" in its ordinary sense as "consciousness of being the incontestable author of an event or of an object. He must assume the situation with the proud consciousness of being the author of it, for the very worst disadvantages or the worst threats which can endanger my person have meaning only in and through my project; and it is on the ground of the engagement which I am that they appear.
It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are. Furthermore this absolute responsibility is not resignation; it is simply the logical requirement of the consequences of our freedom. What happens to me happens through me, and I can neither affect myself with it nor revolt against it nor resign myself to it. Moreover everything which happens to me is mine.
By this we must understand first of all that I am always equal to what happens to me qua man, for what happens to a man through other men and through himself can be only human. The most terrible situations of war, the worst tortures do not create a non-human state of things; there is no non-human situation. It is only through fear, flight and recourse to magical types of conduct that I shall decide on the non-human, but this decision is human, and I shall carry the entire responsibility for it.
But in addition the situation is mine because it is the image of my free choice of myself, and everything which it presents to me is mine in that this represents me and symbolizes me. Is it not I who decide the coefficient of adversity in things and even their unpredictability by deciding myself? Thus there are no accidents in a life; a community event which suddenly bursts forth and involves me in it does not come from the outside. If I am mobilized in a war, this war is my war; it is in my image and I deserve it.
I deserve it first because I could always get out of it by suicide or by desertion; these ultimate possibles are those which must always be present for us when there is a question of envisaging a situation.
For lack of getting out of it, I have chosen it. This can be due to inertia, to cowardice in the face of public opinion, or because I prefer certain other values to the value of the refusal to join in the war the good opinion of my relatives, the honor of my family, etc. Anyway you look at it, it is a matter of a choice. This choice will be repeated later on again and again without a break until the end of the war. Therefore we must agree with the statement by J. Romains, "In war there are no innocent victims.
Of course others have declared it, and one might be tempted perhaps to consider me as a simple accomplice. But this notion of complicity has only a juridical sense, and it does not hold here.
For it depended on me that for me and by me this war should not exist, and I have decided that it docs exist. There was no compulsion here, for the compulsion could have got no hold on a freedom. I did not have any excuse; for as we have said repeatedly in this book, the peculiar character of human-reality is that it is without excuse.
Therefore it remains for me only to lay claim to this war. But in addition the war is mine because by the sole fact that it arises in a situation which I cause to be and that I can discover it there only by engaging myself for or against it, I can no longer distinguish at present the choice which I make of myself from the choice which I make of the war.
To live this war is to choose myself through it and to choose it through my choice of myself. There can be no question of considering it as "four years of vacation" or as a "reprieve," as a "recess," the essential part of my responsibilities being elsewhere in my married, family, or professional life. In this war which I have chosen I choose myself from day to day, and I make it mine by making my self. If it is going to be four empty years, then it is I who bear the responsibility for this.
Finally, as we pointed out earlier, each person is an absolute choice of self from the standpoint of a world of knowledge and of techniques which this choice both assumes and illumines; each person is an absolute upsurge at an absolute. It is therefore a waste of time to ask what I should have been if this war had not broken out, for 1 have chosen myself as one of the possible meanings of the epoch which imperceptibly led to war.
I am not distinct from this same epoch; I could not be transported to another epoch without contradiction. Thus I am this war which restricts and limits and makes comprehensible the period which preceded it.
In this sense we may define more precisely the responsibility of the for-itself if to the earlier quoted statement, "There are no innocent victims," we add the words, "We have the war we deserve.
Yet this responsibility is of a very particular type. Someone will say, "I did not ask to be born. I am responsible for everything, in fact, except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being.
Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world, not in the sense that I might remain abandoned and passive in a hostile universe like a board floating on the water, but rather in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.
For I am responsible for my very desire of fleeing responsibilities. To make myself passive in the world, to refuse to act upon things and upon Others is still to choose myself, and suicide is one mode among others of being-in-the-world. Yet I find an absolute responsibility for the fact that my facticity here the fact of my birth is directly inapprehensible and even inconceivable, for this fact of my birth never appears as a brute fact but always across a projective reconstruction of my for-itself.
I am ashamed of being born or I am astonished at it or I rejoice over it, or in attempting to get rid of my life I affirm that I live and I assume this life as bad. Thus in a certain sense I choose being born. This choice itself is integrally affected with facticity since I am not able not to choose, but this facticity in turn will appear only in so far as I surpass it toward my ends. Thus facticity is everywhere but inapprehensible; I never encounter anything except my responsibility.
That is why I can not ask, "Why was I born? Here again I encounter only myself and my projects so that finally my abandonment — ie. I am the being which is in such a way that in its being its being is in question. And this "is" of my being is as present and inapprehensible. Under these conditions since every event in the world can be revealed to me only as an opportunity an opportunity made use of, lacked, neglected, etc.
It is precisely thus that the for-itself apprehends itself in anguish; that is, as a being which is neither the foundation of its own being nor of the Other's being nor of the in-itself, which form the world, but a being which is compelled to decide the meaning of being — within it and everywhere outside of it. The one who realizes in anguish his condition as being thrown into a responsibility which extends to his very abandonment has no longer either remorse or regret or excuse; he is no longer anything but a freedom which perfectly reveals itself and whose being resides in this very revelation.
But as we pointed out at the beginning of this work, most of the time we flee anguish in bad faith. Quantum theory explains most of physics and all of chemistry. Concern for man himself and his fate must always be the chief interest of all technical endeavors so that the creations of our mind shall become blessings and not a curses to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. The one thing that I have learned in a long life is that all science measured against reality is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have.
Once in Sunday school while going over the Greek New Testament, I asked a question regarding the meaning of a parable. From that moment forward I began to think for myself, or at least knew that I could.
I remember clearly the classroom with its windows so high that we could not see out, the desks, the platform on which the headmaster sat, his thin scholarly face, his nervous habits of twitching his mouth and jerking his hands—and then suddenly this profound inner revelation that neither he nor anyone else knew about anything that mattered.
It was this threshold moment that was to be the starting point of my liberation from the external world. I knew then for certain that true knowledge could only be arrived at by authentic inner perception—and that all my loathing of religion, as it was taught to me, was at last vindicated. Existential Psychoanalysis The principle of this psychoanalysis is that man is a totality and not a collection.
Consequently he expresses himself as a whole in even his most insignificant and his most superficial behavior. In other words there is not a taste, a mannerism, or a human act which is not revealing. The goal of psychoanalysis is to decipher the empirical behavior patterns of man; that is to bring out in the open the revelations which each one of them contains and to fix them conceptually.
Its point of departure is experience; its pillar of support is the fundamental, preontological comprehension which man has of the human person. Although the majority of people can well ignore the indications contained in a gesture, a word, a sign and can look with scorn on the revelation which they carry, each human individual nevertheless possesses a priori the meaning of the revelatory value of these manifestations and is capable of deciphering them, at least if he is aided and guided by a helping hand.
Here as elsewhere, truth is not encountered by chance; it does not belong to a domain where one must seek it without ever having any presentiment of its location, as one can go to look for the source of the Nile or of the Niger. It belongs a priori to human comprehension and the essential task is an hermeneutic; that is, a deciphering, a determination, and a conceptualization. Its method is comparative.
Since each example of human conduct symbolizes in its own manner the fundamental choice which must be brought to light, and since at the same time each one disguises this choice under its occasional character and its historical opportunity, only the comparison of these acts of conduct can effect the emergence of the unique revelation which they all express in a different way.
The first outline of this method has been furnished for us by the psychoanalysis of Freud and his disciples. For this reason it will be profitable here to indicate more specifically the points where existential psychoanalysis will be inspired by psychoanalysis proper and those where it will radically differ from it.
Both kinds of psychoanalysis consider all objectively discernible manifestations of "psychic life" as symbols maintaining symbolic relations to the fundamental, total structure which constitute the individual person. Both consider that there are no primary givens such as hereditary dispositions, character, etc.
Existential psychoanalysis recognizes nothing before the original upsurge of human freedom; empirical psychoanalysis holds that the original affectivity of the individual is virgin wax before its history. The libido is nothing besides its concrete fixations, save for a permanent possibility of fixing anything whatsoever upon anything whatsoever. Both consider the human being as a perpetual, searching, historization. Rather than uncovering static, constant givens they discover the meaning, orientation, and adventures of this history.
Due to this fact both consider man in the world and do not imagine that one can question the being of a man without taking into account his entire situation. Psychological investigations aim at reconstituting the life of the subject from birth to the moment of the cure; they utilize all the objective documentation which they can find; letters, witnesses, intimate diaries, "social" information of every kind.
What they aim at restoring is less a pure psychic event than a twofold structure: Here again we have to do with a situation. Each "historical" fact from this point of view will be considered at once as a factor of the psychic evolution and as a symbol of that evolution. For it is nothing in itself. It operates only according to the way in which it is taken and this very manner of taking it expresses symbolically the internal disposition of the individual.
This original choice operating in the face of the world and being a choice of position in the world is total like the complex; it is prior to logic like the complex. It is this which decides the attitude of the person when confronted with logic and principles; therefore there can be no possibility of questioning it in conformance to logic.
It brings together in a prelogical synthesis the totality of the existent, and as such it is the center of reference for infinity of polyvalent meanings. Both our psychoanalyses refuse to admit that the subject is in a privileged position to proceed in these inquiries concerning himself.
They equally insist on a strictly objective method, using as documentary evidence the data of reflection as well as the testimony of others. Of course the subject can undertake a psychoanalytic investigation of himself. But in this case he must renounce at the outset all benefit stemming from his peculiar position and must question himself exactly as if he were someone else. Empirical psychoanalysis in fact is based on the hypothesis of the existence of aft unconscious psyche, which on principle escapes the intuition of the subject.
Existential psychoanalysis rejects the hypothesis of the unconscious; it makes the psychic act coextensive with consciousness. But if the fundamental project is fully experienced by the subject and hence wholly conscious, that certainly does not mean that it must by the same token be known by him; quite the contrary. The reader will perhaps recall the care we took in the Introduction to distinguish between consciousness and knowledge. To be sure, as we have seen earlier, reflection can be considered as a quasi-knowledge.
But what it grasps at each moment is not the pure project of the for-itself as it is symbolically expressed — often in several ways at once — by the concrete behavior which it apprehends. It grasps the concrete behavior itself; that is, the specific dated desire in all its characteristic network.
It grasps at once symbol and symbolization. This apprehension, to be sure, is entirely constituted by a preontological comprehension of the fundamental project; better yet, in so far as reflection is almost a nonthetic consciousness of itself as reflection, it is this same project, as well as the nonreflective consciousness. But it does not follow that it commands the instruments and techniques necessary to isolate the choice symbolized, to fix it by concepts, and to bring it forth into the full light of day.
It is penetrated by a great light without being able to express what this light is illuminating. We are not dealing with an unsolved riddle as the Freudians believe; all is there, luminous; reflection is in full possession of it, apprehends all.
But this "mystery in broad daylight" is due to the fact that this possession is deprived of the means which would ordinarily permit analysis and conceptualization. It grasps everything, all at once, without shading, without relief, without connections of grandeur — not that these shades, these values, these reliefs exist some where and are hidden from it, but rather because they must be established by another human attitude and because they can exist only by means of and for knowledge.
Reflection, unable to serve as the basis for existential psychoanalysis, will then simply furnish us with the brute materials toward which the psychoanalyst must take an objective attitude.
Thus only will he be able to know what he already understands. The result is that complexes uprooted from the depths of the unconscious, like projects revealed by existential psychoanalysis, will be apprehended from the point of view of the Other.
Consequently the object thus brought into the light will be articulated according to the structures of the transcended-transcendence; that is, its being will be the being-for-others even if the psychoanalyst and the subject of the psychoanalysis are actually the same person. Thus the project which is brought to light by either kind of psychoanalysis can be only the totality of the individual human being, the irreducible element of the transcendence with the structure of being-for-others.
What always escapes these methods of investigation is the project as it is for itself, the complex in its own being. This project-for-itself can be experienced only as a living possession; there is an incompatibility between existence-for-itself and objective existence. But the object of the two psychoanalyses has in it nonetheless the reality of a being, the subject's knowledge of it can in addition contribute to clarify reflection, and that reflection can then become a possession which will be a quasi-knowing.
At this point the similarity between the two kinds of psychoanalysis ceases. They differ fundamentally in that empirical psychoanalysis has decided upon its own irreducible instead of allowing this to make itself known in a self-evident intuition. The libido or the will to power in actuality constitutes a psycho-biological residue which is not clear in itself and which does not appear to us as being beforehand the irreducible limit of the investigation.
Finally it is experience which establishes that the foundation of complexes is this libido or this will to power; and these results of empirical inquiry are perfectly contingent, they are not convincing. Nothing prevents our conceiving a priori of a "human reality" which would not be expressed by the will to power, for which the libido would not constitute the original, undifferentiated project.
On the other hand, the choice to which existential psychoanalysis will lead us, precisely because it is a choice, accounts for its original contingency, for the contingency of the choice is the reverse side of its freedom. Furthermore, inasmuch as it is established on the lack of being, conceived as a fundamental characteristic of being, it receives its legitimacy as a choice, and we know that we do not have to push further. Each result then will be at once fully contingent and legitimately irreducible.
Moreover it will always remain particular; that is, we will not achieve as the ultimate goal of our investigation and the foundation of all behavior an abstract, general term, libido for example, which would be differentiated and made concrete first in complexes and then in detailed acts of conduct, due to the action of external facts and the history of the subject.
On the contrary, it will be a choice which remains unique and which is from the start absolute concreteness. Details of behavior can express or particularize this choice, but they cannot make it more concrete than is already known in a self-evident intuition. The libido or the will to power is in us. That is because the choice is nothing other than the being of each human reality; this amounts to saying that a particular partial behavior is or expresses the original choice of this human reality since for human reality there is no difference between existing and choosing for itself.
From this fact we understand that existential psychoanalysis does not have to proceed from the fundamental "complex," which is exactly the choice of being, to an abstraction like the libido which would explain it. The complex is the ultimate choice, it is the choice of being and makes itself such. Bringing it into the light will reveal it each time as evidently irreducible. It follows necessarily that the libido and the will to power will appear to existential psychoanalysis neither as general characteristics common to all mankind nor as irreducibles.
At most it will be possible after the investigation to establish that they express by virtue of particular ensembles in certain subjects a fundamental choice which cannot be reduced to either one of them.
We have seen in fact that desire and sexuality in general express an original effort of the for-itself to recover its being which has become estranged through contact with the Other. The will to power also originally supposes being-for-others, the comprehension of the Other, and the choice of winning its own salvation by means of the Other.
The foundation of this attitude must be an original choice which would make us understand the radical identification of being-in-itself-for-itself with being-for-others. The fact that the ultimate term of this existential inquiry must be a choice, distinguishes even better the psychoanalysis for which we have outlined the method and principal features.
It thereby abandons the supposition that the environment acts mechanically on the subject under consideration. The environment can act on the subject only to the exact extent that he comprehends it; that is, transforms it into a situation. Hence no objective description of this environment could be of any use to us. From the start the environment conceived as a situation refers to the for-itself which is choosing, just as the for-itself refers to the environment by the very fact that the for-itself is in the world.
By renouncing all mechanical causation, we renounce at the same time all general interpretation of the symbolization confronted. Our goal could not be to establish empirical laws of succession, nor could we constitute a universal symbolism. Rather the psychoanalyst will have to rediscover at each step a symbol functioning in the particular case which he is considering.
If each being is a totality, it is not conceivable that there can exist elementary symbolic relationships eg. Furthermore the psychoanalyst will never lose sight of the fact that the choice is living and consequently can be revoked by the subject who is being studied.
We have shown in the preceding chapter the importance of the instant, which represents abrupt changes in orientation and the assuming of a new position in the face of an unalterable past.
From this moment on, we must always be ready to consider that symbols change meaning and to abandon the symbol used hitherto. Thus existential psychoanalysis will have to be completely flexible and adapt itself to the slightest observable changes in the subject. Our concern here is to understand what is individual and often even instantaneous.
The method which has served for one subject will not necessarily be suitable to use for another subject or for the same subject at a later period.
Precisely because the goal of the inquiry must be to discover a choice and not a state, the investigator must recall on every occasion that his object is not a datum buried in the darkness of the unconscious but a free, conscious determination — which is not even resident in consciousness, but which is one with this consciousness itself.
Empirical psychoanalysis, to the extent that its method is better than its principles, is often in sight of an existential discovery, but it always stops part way. When it thus approaches the fundamental choice, the resistance of the subject collapses suddenly and he recognizes the image of himself which is presented to him as if he were seeing himself in a mirror. This involuntary testimony of the subject is precious for the psychoanalyst; he sees there the sign that he has reached his goal; he can pass on from the investigation proper to the cure.
But nothing in his principles or in his initial postulates permits him to understand or to utilize this testimony. Where could he get any such right? If the complex is really unconscious — that is, if there is a barrier separating the sign from the thing signified — how could the subject recognize it? Does the unconscious complex recognize itself? But haven't we been told that it lacks understanding?
And if of necessity we granted to it the faculty of understanding the signs, would this not be to make of it by the same token a conscious unconscious? What is understanding if not to be conscious of what is understood?
Shall we say on the other hand that it is the subject as conscious who recognizes the image presented? But how could he compare it with his true state since that is out of reach and since he has never had any knowledge of it?
At most he will be able to judge that the psychoanalytic explanation of his case is a probable hypothesis, which derives its probability from the number of behavior patterns which it explains. His relation to this interpretation is that of a third party, that of the psychoanalyst himself; he has no privileged position. And if he believes in the probability of the psychoanalytic hypothesis, is this simple belief, which lives in the limits of his consciousness, able to effect the breakdown of the barriers which dam up the unconscious tendencies?
The psychoanalyst doubtless has some obscure picture of an abrupt coincidence of conscious and unconscious. But he has removed all methods of conceiving of this coincidence in any positive sense. Still, the enlightenment of the subject is a fact. There is an intuition here which is accompanied by evidence.
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