Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism Author(s): Jacques Hardré Source: Studies in Philology, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Jul., 1952), pp.

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in the wars and revolutions which have shaken the bases of society during the last several years. These have given to Man a view of the Universe which staggers his imagination. faced by the same events. governed not by laws of progress or by divine providence. The causes of the despair felt by the Occidental Man of the twentieth century are all too clear: the first World War followed by the depression. plunged into a world which seems to have lost all meaning. a notable and definite trend has appeared in French literature. They have therefore come personally into contact with events and people and have gained. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but more particularly since the last World War. The latter. no one will fail to understand. Their protest has therefore been because Man was denying these values and was forgetting that the world cannot live without discipline. That such a protest could be made. Bernanos and Giraudoux. a belief that what really counts is the concrete Man and that the world in which we live is basically absurd. and have given him machines and implements of destruction the responsi534 This content downloaded from 5. Not so obvious. have uttered protests also but theirs have been aimed not at the flouting of the eternal values but at Man's belief that such values exist.101 on Sat. at one time or another. but through pure chance. The younger writers. buffeted by forces unleashed by Man's brutal instincts. all these are quite obvious. the decline of Western prestige in the Orient. through this contact. Most of these writers have participated actively.153. the conflicts between political and social ideologies. Valery and Claudel or such as Mauriac. the younger writers have reacted in a way which contrasts interestingly with the reactions of their predecessors. order and principles. the precarious peace in which we now exist. to mention a few representatives of two generations.SARTRE'S EXISTENTIALISM By AND HUMANISM JACQUES HARD1E During the last twenty years. such as Gide. the second World War. Faced with upheavals caused mainly by Man's stupidity.13. but just as important are the scientific discoveries. the Spanish Civil War. have raised their voices in protest against the scandalous flouting of values and have proclaimed their faith in the rights and dignity of Man and in the values which Man has always respected such as Liberty and Justice.

and Man is being told that all he has to turn to are his instincts. conscious and subconscious. this scale of values is itself placed in doubt. Man has before this questioned the accepted values and has felt the anguish which inevitably comes when he asks himself about the whys and wherefores of his existence. the HighPriest of this school of thought. he has had recourse to one of two doctrines and has sought in it a refuge and a source of strength.153. the psychologists. Small wonder. Usually. This popularity is due in great part to Sartre's own efforts to bring existentialism to the attention of the reading public and dramatizing it in the form of the novel. Sartre. p. Our argument therefore is based upon his concept as it stands today and upon the influence that it has today. the play and the short story. then. whereas today. known as existentialism. L'Existentiali8me est un humanisme. that this philosophy "est strictement destin6e aux techniciens et aux philosophes 22it has been discussed since the end of the second World War by people in all walks of life. We also recognize that Sartre has stated that he would elaborate a system of values later.Jacques Hardre 535 bility for whose use burdens his soul. the doctrine being sponsored by some of the younger writers swerves from both these roads. He has turned to faith in God or to faith in Man. In spite of the warning of Jean-Paul Sartre. and how pertinent today is Pascal's meditation on the two infinites of Man! But Pascal lived in a day when Man was after all pretty certain of some things. placing into doubt his heretofore accepted notions on the normal and the abnormal. to conform. the psychiatrists and the psycho-analysts were occupied in delving more and more into his mind. this is not the first time that this despair has been felt. if by success one means being talked about. ironically. while Man was thus affirming his power over matter. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Today.13. in some measure. 2 J.101 on Sat. when he held an almost unquestioned faith in a scale of values to which he tried. and derided. that Man does feel despair ! And yet. 1946. is one that is having an extraordinary success. P. to the religious or to the humanistic. Sartre has thus himself taken his philosophy out of the narrow 'As the title indicates. probing ever deeper into his pathological states and gradually weakening his faith in himself." This philosophy. Paris. What a pitiful figure Man has made of Man. And. however. we are concerned here only with the Sartrian concept of existentialism. 16% This content downloaded from 5.

these variations are not over fundamental issues. However gruesome the details which the naturalists and the existentialists may unearth. has done more than that. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . humanism holds that there is a universal and permanent human nature. this term has varied interpretations. we would in all probability have heeded Sartre's warning! M. joys and sorrows. These details were already known to him. It is this contention that I would like to examine at this time because I believe that humanism. However. In a small book published in 1946 8 he has championed the belief that. a personage in Homer or Plutarch. for example. the humanist will not be dismayed nor will he turn away in disgust. knowing that there is a universal human nature. It is to be found exemplified in the great literary works of all time and of all countries. The proof of this assertion lies in the spontaneous communion which establishes itself between a modern reader and. the humanist is never one to be shocked by what he finds in the contemporary human heart and soul. to paraphrase a famous saying of Clemenceau. in the man of the Middle Ages the same dreams.153. constitute the doctrine of humanism. together. Why do we so often draw a parallel between Ancient and Modern History? Is it because of the similarities which we find in Man's condition then and his condition now? Surely not: Man's condition is always changing. especially in modern times. for does not the ancient formula say that humanism is a desire to ignore nothing and repudiate nothing which is human? 3 Ibid. moreover. It is simply that we recognize. Knowing this. Were it not for that. existentialism is a humanism. I think. in spite of the varied interpretations given to the term. in reality. hopes. and aspiratio-nswhich we ourselves have. Sartre. and all humanists agree.536 Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism circle of professional philosophers and into the public forum. To ignore that is to ignore one of the most important beliefs of the humanistic mind. has a definite meaning and a most vital one. This content downloaded from 5. on certain basic tenets which. feeling probably. that philosophy is too serious a matter to be left in the hands of the philosophers. First. because I believe that the word humanism should not be allowed to sanction any doctrine merely because that doctrine deals with Man.13. it is that we react basically in the same manner towards the same fears. What then do we mean by Humanism? As I have said.101 on Sat. say.

The humanist also believes that Man's happiness is conditioned by his relations with his fellow-men. The basis of this philosophy is the assertion that. This relationship. it is only This content downloaded from 5. that Man recognizes the existence of a scale of values and that he is constantly striving. For humanism is primarily interested in Man's happiness and this happiness depends to a large degree upon whether or not Man can find a meaning to life. but also. Humanism does not say that Man comes into the world prepared to recognize. by the use of his reason. as a guide. through Man's fortified and enriched intelligence. I believe. From the knowledge of human nature which the humanist has gleaned.153. as far as relations in space are concerned.yhave a Christian basis or it may have a pagan basis. is to commit a fraud. he betters himself. in time as well as in space is characterized. In other words. There is no universal essence of Man. In fact. that is to say. He who tells Man that this life is absurd and meaningless robs him of his happiness. not only from his contemporary experiences. Let us now turn to Sartrian existentialism and define it. using as guide the ideal that has been elaborated through the Ages. by an interdependence which contrast with both rugged individualism and class consciousness. but in any case. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . There is therefore in humanism an idealism and an act of faith in Man and to ignore that and still speak of Humanism. the humanist is bound to recognize that there is in Man both good and bad and to abstain from excluding the one to concentrate on the other. He bows to the fact that there are villains and devils but he proclaims also that there are saints and heroes. This ideal ma. it exists and it is that which gives a meaning to life.Jacques Hardre 537 By that very formula. are the essential aspects of humanism. to attain the highest values in that scale. by a communion and. to evaluate. the best that exists in Man. in Man.13. to adopt or discard these values but that through culture. without this communion there could not be a humanism. he holds up to humanity.101 on Sat. and above all. but each man creates his own during his lifetime. according to humanism. or again it may be based simply upon Man. These. he is at first nothing. The humanist believes that Man is characterized by the use of reason. existence precedes essence. from the experiences which he has acquired by contact with the great minds and souls of the past. when Man is thrown into the world. also in its essential aspects.

In speaking of Man.153. For example. Sartre says that when you sow the seeds of some vegetable. This Self is unceasingly being faced with the necessity of choosing and by its choice. je suis celui qui ' Ibid. it follows that he is entirely responsible for what he is. you know that you are going to get that vegetable and none other. such as a table or a chair or the life of Napoleon or my own past. in turn. Concerning this fluidity of the Self. Not only is he responsible to himself but also to the others. for example.538 Sartre's Existentialisnt and Humanism later that he will become something and he will then be what he has made himself be. of engaging itself in life. The former is whatever is concrete and unchangeable: a material object. The essence of the vegetable therefore precedes its existence. These things are and cannot be changed. It is fluid and perfectly free. the Being-for-itself. we find second part of latter's Treatise this passage: " Je ne suis pas. it is because he holds that all men should be married. Je ine vois comme un milieu incompr6hensible entre le neant et l'etre: je suis celui qui a ete.13. existence precedes essence. If he chooses to marry. since he is a being gifted with reason and a conscience. Therefore. on the contrary. But when a man is born. To quote Sartre: " L'homme n'est rien d'autre que ce qu'il se fait. p. In the on the the Existence of God. in human beings. etc." 4 To illustrate this. is what causes it to exist in a state of anguish. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the existentialist makes a sharp distinction between the En-soi and the Pour-soi (the Being-in-itself and the Being-for-itself). This content downloaded from 5. Fe6nelon. This compulsion. it is interesting to note a curious parallel between Sartre's thought and that of a French churchman of the 17th Century. Tel est le premier principe de l'existentialisme.101 on Sat. else he would not choose that party. ce qui est: h6las! je suis presque ce qui n'est pas. bishop of Cambrai. It is constantly fleeing towards the future. For when Man chooses he does so for all men. if a man decides to join a certain political party. you cannot say. 22. what that man is going to be. is the conscious Self. The latter. he indicates that he would like the others to do likewise. o mon Dieu. since by his choice he indicates the image he has of what all men should be.. Since Man is nothing except what he has made of himself.

en sorte que je ne puis jamais an seul moment me trouver moi-meme fixe et present A moi-meme pour dire simplement.. (In existentialist language: I am not what I am $ F6nelon. Tome I. Je suis. qui s'enfuit de mes propres mains. je suis celui qui n'est plus ce qu'il a t6k. 1820. qui s'ecoule repidement comme l'eau. cit. as we shall see.153. L'Bawistentialisme. says: "To be is to have been. Sartre has this to say: " L'homme qui s'engage et qui se rend compte qu'il est non seulement celui qu'il choisit d'etre mais encore un legislateur choisissant en mime temps que soi l'humanit6 enti6re. qui n'est plus d6s que je veux le saisir ou l'apercevoir. to indicate its lack of stability and of form. p. je suis celui qui nest pas encore ce qu'il sera: et dans cet entre-deux que suis-je? un je ne sais quoi qui ne peut s'arreter en 80i. 253-54. champion of the existentialist movement. mais nous pr6tendons qu'ils se masquent leur angoisse. 28. qu'ils la fuient. in Sartre it leads to Nothingness. op.Jacques Hardre 539 sera. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Mais en v6ritk on doit toujours se demander: qu'arriverait-il si tout le monde en faisait autant? et on n'echappe A cette pens&3 inquietante que par une sorte de mauvaise foi.") But whereas in Fenelon this flowing of the being leads ultimately to union with God. un je ne sais quoi que je ne puis saisir. the German existentialist.101 on Sat. ne saurait &chapperau sentiment de sa totale et profonde responsabilit&Certes. (Let us note also that just as Fenelon says: " I am the one who has been. and Sartre. champion of the quietist movement. certainement. beaucoup de gens croient en agissant n'engager qu'eux-memes. beaucoup de gens ne sont pas anxieux. This content downloaded from 5. Versailles. un je ne sais quoi qui finit dans l'instant m8me ofi il commence. It is also worthy of attention that both the Christian and the Existentialist compare the Being to water." Heidegger. et lorsqu'on leur dit: mais si tout le monde faisait comme ga? ils haussent les epaules et r4pondent: tout le monde ne fait pas comme ga. pp. On the state of anguish which is the normal state for the Beingfor-itself. qui n'a aucune consistance." 6 Thus F6nelon. Ainsi ma dur6e n'est qu'une defaillance perp6tuelle.13. Oeuvres. use identical expressions to describe the never-resting flight of the Being." 6 Another cause for the anguish of the existentialist man is that he realizes that his Being-for-itself is always in flight toward the being which it will be. which is a conception foreign to humanism.

In brief. He considers me as En-soi. Death may prevent me from accomplishing this act and the knowledge of that causes my anguish. the In-itself and the Foritself. But the realization of this future being is problematical. Man. only when he has been absorbed by Nothingness. Man realizes this impossibility and as a consequenceis plunged into despair. By the definitions of these terms.13. says Sartre. Until that moment he is free to change his essence and is therefore without meaning. he sees me as an object. he solidifies me and labels me according to some trait of character that he sees in me. Knowing that I am thus considered as an object fills me with This content downloaded from 5. Basically. such a project is impossible. as unchangeable. Thus anguish is born from the fact that Man is a being whose meaning is always in doubt.540 Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism and I am what I am not. I committed a cowardly act. Let us now turn to the relations between the Self and the Others. Thus far we have examined the problems of the Self. he is an In-itself. This division of the Being into two. as we have seen. However. I cannot change the fact that in the eyes of the Others I am a coward. this relation may be defined as a conflict between two liberties. That act belongs to my past. is also the cause of another fundamental existentialist belief which is that the For-itself. The In-itself is dead and has no consciousness of itself and can therefore not be at the same time a For-itself which is alive and conscious. always in movement. said in much clearer terms). This anguish is considerably heightened by the belief of the existentialists that after Death there is nothing. is a useless passion since he wants to become God knowing all the while that the existence of God is an impossibility. But I may have the project of becoming a hero and changing the picture that the others have of me.101 on Sat. that is.153. Thus Man is completely himself. this is the existentialist argument: When I come into contact with another Self. Man seeks to be an In-itself-for-itself. He does not consider that my Pour-Soi is never at rest and that therefore I may not be what he defines me as being. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . yearns to become an In-itself which is always in repose. In other words. Man has meaning only when " the chips are down "-at Death. one seeking to dominate the other and the latter fighting against this attempted domination. it is a part of my Being-in-itself. Let me illustrate this in the following manner: Yesterday. or to put it in another way. which Fenelon. I have the liberty of choosing to accomplish an heroic act.

according to him. For example. This shame-consciousness is moreover that which establishes the existence of the Other. which takes place. The essence of the relationship between Selves is not union. but conflict. is that of love. the poor against the rich. Existentialism. there exists the desire to make the other suffer physically and that is known as sadism. In certain pathological deviations of love. or I can conquer the liberty of the Other. etc. Man must therefore create his own. for if it were absolutely alone.153. To overcome this tendency of the Other to consider me as an object. says Sartre. only as a union against Another. the lover. but also because his choice engages the others as well. the Self would feel no shame. This he does by constantly choosing. In certain sexual aberrations. Thus we have the oppressed class forming a union against the oppressing class. The second attitude. There is a possibility for the Self to unite with the Other. then. Man is a com- This content downloaded from 5. I am in an intermediary state. I am therefore constantly oscillating between two opposites: on the one hand I am a liberty and on the other an object. Love. two Selves may unite and consider themselves as we when they are both looked upon as a single object by a third. I may do one of two things: I can turn against him and consider him as an object. This naturally provokes a conflict. In between the pure fluidity of my liberty and the solidity of myself-as-anobject. however. liberty.101 on Sat. It is this tendency of the Self to become viscous. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . to become a thing that Sartre uses time and again in the psychological descriptions of his fictional characters. voluntarily forces the Other to treat him as an object. a viscous state. Love itself is doomed to failure because of the impossibility for one liberty to dominate the other completely and still respect it. is the conquering of the Other's liberty. according to the existentialists. thus relinquishing its liberty. believes that Man is thrown into a Godless world in which there exist no ready-made values. or her.13. while still respecting it and force it to respect my own. Both masochism and sadism can be explained by the conflict which arises between two liberties. since the Other wishes to keep his. mindful that he is entirely responsible for his choice not only because by choosing he is creating his own essence and engaging himself. says Sartre. This is what is known as masochism. on the other hand.Jacques Hardre 541 shame.

he gives as ' lbid. pp. Let us note that he calls it a humanism and that he differentiates between what he calls classical humanism and existentialist humanism in the following manner: " En realite. Moreover. is still far from being considered a humanist. A ma connaissance tout au moins. Cela signifle que moi. This anguish is caused by the knowledge that he lives in an absurd world. It is this philosophy which Sartre calls a humanism. car seul le chien on le cheval pourraient porter un jugement d'ensemble et d6clarer que l'homme est epatant. qui n'ai pas construit les avions. il faut le dire. Et nous ne devons pas croire qu'il y a une humanit6 A laquelle nous puissions rendre un culte. A la mani?ere d'Auguste Comte. le mot humanisme a deux sens tres differents. for all his brilliance. Finally Man is a creature whose relationship with the Others is basically one of conflict.13. for the only immortality that Man can hope for is in the memory of Others. et. un personnage declare.. L'existentialisme le dispense de tout jugement de ce genre. Cet humanisme est absurde. Par humanisme on peut entendre une theorie qui prend l'homme comme fin et comme valeur sup6rieure. First of all. Le Tour du monde en 80 heures. l'existentialiste ne prendra jamais l'homme comme fin. I1 y a humanisme dans ce sens chez Cocteau. when he is authentic. car il est toujours A faire. is that of anguish.101 on Sat. en tant qu'homme. referring to one of Cocteau's works. Sartre cites as an example the writer Jean Cocteau who. This content downloaded from 5. C'est un humanisme dont nous ne voulons pas. 91-92. je ben6ficierai de ces inventions particuli6res. et que je pourrai personnellement. quand dans son r6cit. Cela supposerait que nous pourrions donner une valeur A l'homme d'apr&sles actes les plus hauts de certains hommes. personnellement. au fascisme. Then. parce qu'il survole des montagnes en avion: l'homme est 6patant.me considerer comme responsableet honore par des actes particuliers A quelques hommes." 7 The fallacies of this definition of humanism are immediately apparent. that his life began and will end in Nothingness and that whatever meaning his life will have will be realized only at his death.542 Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism pletely free being but a being whose normal state. par exemple. Ce culte de l'humanit6 aboutit A l'humanisme ferm6 sur soi de Comte. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . this meaning will depend upon the Others. ce qu'ils n'ont garde de faire.153. Mais on ne peut admettre qu'un homme puisse porter un jugement sur l'homme.

28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . during the retreat of the French armies in 1940." We need not insist upon this strange definition of humanism-strange. becomes aware of the fact that to become free one must disentangle oneself from all the bonds and links that daily life and the people around us forge to imprison us. But since when has this been the humanistic ideal or even a humanistic ideal? Thirdly. that engagement does not create responsibilities and duties.153. Man's achievements in the mechanical world. there is no issue to life. he is engaged. Mathieu finally gains his moment of liberty when. he says. together with a few other soldiers. But is he free? Is he not rather the victim.101 on Sat.'> Man. Let us grant. no truths to guide Man in his slow and painful evolution towards self-betterment. to attempt to realize some semblance of the human ideal. is absolutely free. then what is the meaning of this word " liberty " ? Liberty to do what ? To pass from one meaningless moment to the other-meaningless except for the immediateuntil one reaches Death-at which time one passes into Nothing- This content downloaded from 5. But if. in a church belfry.Jacques Hardre 543 the humanistic ideal. in these three novels. that is not our real quarrel with the existentialist doctrine. but he must always choose and be engaged. But is there not a startling contradiction in the two terms? If Man is engaged. Sartre. The impression given is that classical humanism is either a glorification of the machine age or of the " Fiihrer Prinzip. Man must play his part in the world and assume his responsibility. coming as it does from a former professor of philosophy! Let us rather examine in more detail some of the main principles of Sartre's " humanism. he chooses to take part in a hopeless last stand. let us grant that Man is absolutely free. wants none of it. Sartre cites Comte and his cult for humanity and proclaims that since this cult may lead to fascism he.13. Man may use his liberty to achieve self-betterment. however illogical it may seem. He is now authentic. to say the least. does not this engagement create duties and do these duties not negate Man's liberty? The protagonist of Sartre's trilogy of novels (Les Chemins de la Liberte) is a young professor of philosophy named Mathieu who. he has chosen. and to that decision? However. like any of the rest of us. The important question now is: what is Man going to do with his liberty? In classical humanism. if there is no scale of values. of forces far stronger than he that have brought him to that village. according to existentialism. Engagement is one of Sartre's favorite words and by it he means that to be authentic. In the last novel.

There is therefore no room in the existentialist doctrine for a communion. is the conquering of the Other's liberty. according to Sartre. a coward and a deserter who was shot by a firing squad. He is therefore a link in a long chain and his thoughts.101 on Sat. as the existentialists would have us believe. Ines. to say the least. fail to materialize. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . locked up in an ugly room from which there is no exit. And it is precisely this hope that humanism cherishes and that existentialism destroys. desires and aspirations are consciously. The validity of that is questionable. between minds and soul. a little blond bourgeoise who killed her illegitimate child and thereby caused her lover to commit suicide. They are all three in iell. influenced. Garcin. and they soon become aware of the fiendish fact that the real torture they are to undergo is each other's presence. A Christian may speak to the invalid of a future happiness and influence the man's reactions. First of all. by the other links in that chain. either in time or in space. Moreover. What. determined.13. Love. but surely not for the life which this disease forces him to lead. or unconsciously. This conflict Sartre has illustrated in one of his best plays entitled No Exit. or at any rate. But the tortures. but in the name of what will the existentialist speak to him? In the name of a future Nothingness? Man's relationship with Others is one of conflict. then. says Sartre. is responsible for his own essence. In it we see three beings who are dead: a man. Man is the son of someone and his youth and adolescence are spent under the guidance and care of his elders. What they forget is that if Man knows despair it is because he has a hope. happens to maternal love? Are we to assume that the love that a Mother feels for her child is at heart a This content downloaded from 5. we are told.153. is an essential part of humanism. he is what he chooses to be and he alone is responsible for that choice. which they naturally expect. a lesbian who drove her friend to suicide and murder. for a communion. can one say that Man is what he chooses to be? Can an existentialist in all honesty tell a man suffering from some hereditary disease that he is responsible for his essence? The sick man may of course be held responsible for the way in which he reacts under the burden of that disease. Man is not thrown into the world in utter abandonment. that. and two women.544 Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism ness ? The existentialists are prone to state that Man knows despair when he realizes the absurdity of this world. and Estelle. if I am not mistaken. Man.

Surely.Jacques Hardre 545 desire to enslave that child's liberty? Can there never exist. may have. 86. If Man is alone judge of his actions and if he recognizes no established moral code. masochism but never to an unselfish and mutually-satisfying love. Existentialism then cuts Man away from that long tradition of ideas and ideals upon which humanism is based. between a man and a woman. There are no universal values. there is no room obviously for real friendship or true love. the champions of that doctrine must have read an essay by one of the world's great humanists. abnormally abnormal. a love based upon mutual respect and admiration? If not.. For his homosexuals are always. if one may be permitted to use a redundancy. The existentialists forget that humanism postulates a certain discipline without which no one can be free.101 on Sat. for in these we find constant references to abortions. sadism. so do we fail to find any reference to friendship. p. It never seems to occur to them. c'est de savoir. There are many references also to homosexuality and there again Sartre reveals a curious attitude.13.153." 8 Let us examine the humanistic implications of that. This content downloaded from 5. their creator. is love then based simply upon the urge for sexual gratification? The answer to the latter question is an affirmative one if we are to judge from Sartre's novels. provided that he has engaged himself and that the choice was made in good faith. or rather to Sartre. Man must therefore create his own as he goes along. " La seule chose qui compte. no one can help him and no one can judge him. entitled " On Friendship "? But since conflict and not communion is the keystone to Man's attitude towards Man. This doctrine places Man in a situation and then tells him that the moral value of the choice he makes is his to judge. si l'invention qui se fait. it seems difficult to understand how he can live in a community or how he can accept the democratic way of life. no one can do that for him. just like other men. Humanism has never stood for liberty in chaos. these values being applicable only to the present situation. in that philosophy. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . se fait au nom de la libert6. that they are anything but homosexuals and that they could develop the qualities that they. Michel de Montaigne. In the same way as real love does not exist in this doctrine. says existentialism. " Ibid.

whatever it may be. The existentialist. yet they chose for two diametrically opposed ideas.9 The portrait of the existentialist Man which we get from them is one of a Being cut loose from any religious. Someone once said that the classical authors brought the reader * It may also be that Sartre has chosen them to represent the low level to which humanity has sunk and to show that. the latter accepted and defended the Nazi regime. This content downloaded from 5. in some measure. moral or social bond. we shall have to wait for his promised system of values. There again. brought us. if not an enrichment. through existentialism.153. One may affirm. must flee from the conventional but does he believe that by dwelling within the exceptional he is describing the whole universe? It cannot be denied. the morbid and the pathological sides of life. through his characters. we may suppose. that the existentialists excell in descriptions of the abnormal nor that their descriptions have. they both therefore chose their engagement freely. Such a person is bound to be somewhat boring after a while. in himself he offers no interest. naturally. Indeed the only time that he becomes interesting is when he comes into contact with an exterior situation. who will dare to pass judgment on any action? If there is moral value only to engagement. will it not be necessary to go outside of existentialism to justify this assertion? It is quite probably this denial of established moral values which has led Sartre to portray such extraordinary characters in his novels and plays.13. even they may be able to be saved. wandering through a meaningless world. not only to himself but also to those who read about him. Which one was right? If one asserts that either of the two has chosen the right solution. any cause? Then between Hitler and Montaigne.546 Sartre's Existentialism and Humanism If good faith is the only criterion which existentialism recognizes. which one would obtain the approval of Sartre? Or again. the sordid. that they have not treated the complete man and that it is in the latter that Humanism is interested. if we accept this doctrine. without reference. of course. They are both existentialists. however. who will judge between Sartre and his German counterpart. and is willing to die for.101 on Sat. to an established code of values. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . abandoned to himself and to his instincts. Sartre has also chosen to limit himself to describing. does this not lead to the exaltation of anyone who engages himself in. Heidegger? The former sided with the Resistance movement in France. at least an enlightenment in our knowledge of the human creature.

Humanism and existentialism have but one point in common: they both have Man as their object. Humanism is interested in the complete Man.Jacques Hardre 547 into a home through the parlor. existentialism denies that such a nature exists. Humanism recognizes a universal and permanent nature of Man. is interested in pursuing Man's happiness. Humanism. usually the worst.13. This content downloaded from 5. finally. existentialism only in one side of Man.101 on Sat. But in an other points they are fundamentally at odds. 28 Dec 2013 09:49:48 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . existentialism toward materialism. It seems. he is deliberately ignoring the real meaning of that doctrine. Humanism is based upon a long tradition. in conclusion.153. The University of North Cazrolina. Humanism tends toward idealism. It might be said that the existentialists take the reader through an insane asylum and pride themselves upon having shown him a complete picture of humanity. existentialism postulates that Life is meaningless. the Sartrian existentialism of today offers Man nothing but anguish and despair. that when Sartre affirms that his philosophy is a humanism. existentialism only upon the immediate. Humanism seeks to give a meaning to Life. while the naturalists bring him through the kitchen and show him the dirty dishes.

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