Steppenwolf PBA by JN

Existentialism PBA by RW

Nausea Essay by JP

Embracing Superfluousness: Sartre’s Existential Outlook Nausea

            In Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, the protagonist Antoine Roquentin frequently experiences physical discomfort while reflecting on certain aspects of his human existence. His discomfort comes in the form of nausea, and is triggered when Antoine reflects on the idea that his existence is unnecessary and ultimately meaningless. He has trouble coming to terms with this fact, but as the novel continues, Antoine becomes progressively accepting of the absurd nature of his existence (he recognizes his meaningless birth and inevitable death). Sartre’s belief in the nothingness that defines existence parallels that of Arthur Schopenhauer, and Schopenhauer’s philosophies at times directly reflect Antoine’s thoughts. Additionally, the existential outlook of Viktor Frankl frequently applies to Antoine’s life, and his ideas explain some of Antoine’s confusion about existence. Through Antoine’s experiences, Sartre conveys the idea that the contingency of human existence is discomforting, yet if one can embrace it, he will become conscious of the freedom he has to define himself. [Read more…]

Nausea Essay by SLL

The Angst of Existence: The Restrictions on Freedom and Authenticity

            Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea reflects the individual’s obsession with attempting to escape time through distractions in order to disregard the reality of his existence. Throughout Nausea, Antoine struggles with a pestering feeling of anxiety, which he describes as nausea, caused by a sudden change in his life. He thus embarks on a journey to find the root of his anxiety, in which he is faced with many realizations. As he observes people, he remarks their inauthentic relationships and comes to a conclusion that society pointlessly follows formalities in order to distract themselves from their own existence. Martin Heidegger would call Antoine’s feeling of nausea Angst, and would consequentially relate it to Antoine’s root of existentialist struggle. Because Antoine does not know how to deal with his Angst, he dedicates his life to research on a historical figure, Rollebon, who’s life has many uncertainties. By doing this, Antoine escapes the present, which according to Arthur Schopenhauer, is somethings that humans innately do, because, after all, it is impossible to truly live in the present. In a way, both Antoine’s freedom and self worth are restricted by this research as he struggles to come to terms with the present. It is only once Antoine abandons his research on Rollebon that he accepts his nausea, which stemmed from his existence. Through Heidegger and Schopenhauer’s philosophy, Sartre proves that as a result of life’s contingency, man fears the implications of his own existence and it is only once man accepts life’s contingency and assumes total freedom that he is living life authentically. [Read more…]

The Stranger Essay by RC

The Hour of Consciousness: Understanding God’s Judicial System

Albert Camus’ The Stranger juxtaposes the importance of God’s morality and the impact it has in the judicial system of an absurd reality, in which social code is rigid and behavior that strays from protocol is subject to scrutiny. In presenting this environment, Camus emphasizes a universal morality, swayed by God and superimposed over an individual’s unique perception of the world, such as Meursault, the protagonist. Others condemn this tragic hero to an unfortunate fate, validated by the belief that because an atheist is subordinate in the eyes of God, he must gradually come to understand the ubiquity of this singular morality. Much like Meursault, in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, Sisyphus is condemned to a fate he cannot control due to the social constructs of an absurd reality. Only when Sisyphus has reached the top of the hill with his boulder does he amount to what Camus calls, “the hour of consciousness”: essentially, the understanding of the absurdity of life. Camus’ placement of biased judicial figures gradually strengthens Meursault’s understanding of absurdity, illuminating the importance of the “hour of consciousness” in both articulating and refuting God’s ubiquitous morality. [Read more…]