Simone de Beauvoir and Existentialism are discussed by Jeremy Sabol and Robert Harrison in an episode of the KZSU podcast ‘Entitled Opinions’. The audio for this episode can be found here: https://entitledopinions.stanford.edu…. The visual part of the video includes various clips of Beauvoir and Sartre, intended solely as a background to the audio. “Existentialism does not offer to the reader the consolations of an abstract evasion: existentialism proposes no evasion. On the contrary, its ethics is experienced in the truth of life, and it then appears as the only proposition of salvation which one can address to men. Taking on its own account Descartes’ revolt against the evil genius, the pride of the thinking reed in the face of the universe which crushes him, it asserts that, despite his limits, through them, it is up to each one to fulfill his existence as an absolute. Regardless of the staggering dimensions of the world about us, the density of our ignorance, the risks of catastrophes to come, and our individual weakness within the immense collectivity, the fact remains that we are absolutely free today if we choose to will our existence in its finiteness, a finiteness which is open on the infinite.” Simone de Beauvoir “From the very beginning, existentialism defined itself as a philosophy of ambiguity. It was by affirming the irreducible character of ambiguity that Kierkegaard opposed himself to Hegel, and it is by ambiguity that, in our own generation, Sartre, in Being and Nothingness, fundamentally defined man, that being whose being is not to be, that subjectivity which realizes itself only as a presence in the world, that engaged freedom, that surging of the for-itself which is immediately given for others. But it is also claimed that existentialism is a philosophy of the absurd and of despair. It encloses man in a sterile anguish, in an empty subjectivity. It is incapable of furnishing him with any principle for making choices. Let him do as he pleases. In any case, the game is lost. Does not Sartre declare, in effect, that man is a ‘useless passion’, that he tries in vain to realize the synthesis of the for-itself and the in-itself, to make himself God? It is true. But it is also true that the most optimistic ethics have all begun by emphasizing the element of failure involved in the condition of man; without failure, no ethics; for a being who, from the very start, would be an exact co-incidence with himself, in a perfect plenitude, the notion of having-to-be would have no meaning. One does not offer an ethics to a God. It is impossible to propose any to man if one defines him as nature, as something given. The so-called psychological or empirical ethics manage to establish themselves only by introducing surreptitiously some flaw within the thing of man which they have first defined beforehand.” Simone de Beauvoir
Can money and power ever make us happy? How much is enough? Our constant desire for more is part of our human nature. Some call it a useful dowry of evolution, others a fault in the human genetic make-up: The old mortal sin Greed seems to be more ubiquitous than ever. Why can’t people ever get enough, where is this self-indulgence leading – and are there any ways out of this vicious circle of gratification? “People like to have a lot of stuff because it makes them the feeling of living forever,” says American social psychologist Sheldon Solomon, who believes today’s materialism and consumerism will have disastrous consequences. Anyone who fails to satisfy his or her desires in this age of the Ego is deemed a loser. But with more than 7 billion people on the Earth, the ramifications of this excessive consumption of resources are already clear. Isn’t the deplorable state of our planet proof enough that “The Greed Program,” which has made us crave possessions, status and power, is coming to an end? Or is the frenzied search for more and more still an indispensable part of our nature? We set off to look for the essence of greed. And we tell the stories of people who – whether as perpetrators or victims or even just as willing consumers – have become accomplices in a sea change in values.
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Again ethics, Hitchens reference about Sokrates who would feel shame when making a dishonest or shady argument clearly points at Tureks demagoguery (Hitler=Humanist) from before.