BIOGRAPHY OF JEAN PAUL SARTRE
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre. (Paris, June 21, 1905 – Paris, April 15, 1980), commonly known as Jean-Paul Sartre. He was a French philosopher, writer and playwright, exponent of existentialism and Marxism. He was the tenth French writer selected as the Nobel prize in literature, but he rejected it by explaining in a letter to the Swedish Academy that he had the rule to decline all recognition or distinction and that the ties between man and culture should be developed Directly, without going through the institutions. He was also a couple of philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.
Sartre’s parents were Jean-Baptiste Sartre, a naval officer, and Anne-Marie Schweitzer, sister of Albert Schweitzer. His father died of fever when he was 15 months old, and Anne-Marie raised him with the help of his grandfather, Charles Schweitzer, who would teach mathematics to Jean-Paul and would introduce him from very young to classical literature.
Philosophy attracted him since his adolescence in the 1920s, when he read Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, by Henri Bergson. He studied in Paris at the elitist École Normale Supérieure, where he met Simone de Beauvoir and Raymond Aron in 1929. Sartre and De Beauvoir became inseparable companions for the rest of their lives, in a non-monogamous relationship. Together they fought the assumptions and expectations of the bourgeois formation. The conflict between oppressive and destructive spiritual conformity (bad faith) and an «authentic» state of existence, became the central theme of the work of Sartre, a theme developed in its main philosophical work of Being and Nothing (1944).
The most well-known introduction to Sartre’s philosophy is its work existentialism is a Humanism (1946). In this work, Sartre defends the existentialism of its critics, which in the end require the falsification of its ideas.
He graduated from the École Normale Supérieure in 1929 with a doctorate in philosophy and served as a conscript in the French Army from 1929 to 1931. In 1964 he refused the Nobel prize in literature, alleging that his acceptance would imply losing his identity as a philosopher.
His life was characterized by a militant attitude of philosophy. He expressed solidarity with the most important events of his time, such as the French may, the Chinese Cultural Revolution — in his approach to the Maoists, at the end of his life — and with the Cuban Revolution. It is the paradigm of the committed intellectual of the TWENTIETH century.
The writer and philosopher died on April 15, 1980, at the 74 years of age, in the hospital of Broussais after an illness, which in fact removed it from the direction of Libération years before. It was buried on April 20, surrounded by a huge crowd. More than 20,000 people accompanied the coffin to the cemetery of Montparnasse, in Paris, where they rest their remains.
«Existence precedes the essence»
Sartre considered that the human being is «condemned to be free «, ie, thrown into action and fully responsible for it, and without excuses.
In turn, conceived to human existence as a conscious existence. The being of man is distinguished from the being of the thing by being conscious. Human existence is a subjective phenomenon, in the sense that it is consciousness of the world and self-awareness. One observes here the influence exerted on Sartre the Cartesian rationalism. At this point it differs from Heidegger, who leaves the conscience out of play.
It was formed in the phenomenology of Husserl and in the philosophy of Heidegger, disciple of that one. In the middle of World War, when he was part of the French army as a meteorologist, Sartre is a prisoner, and in the long period of being captive of Nazism reformulates many of his ideas and elaborates others. He writes constantly and even depicts plays in the prison camp.
If in Heidegger the Da-sein is a «being-there», thrown into the world, «e-Project», for Sartre, the human one, as «being-for-yes», is a «Pro-Project», a being that must «do-be».
Sartre wrote that in the human being «existence precedes the essence», contrary to what had been believed in the preceding philosophy. What does this mean? Sartre gives a famous example: If a craftsman wants to carry out a work, first «the One» thinks, it builds it in its head: that prefiguration will be the essence of what will be built, which then will have existence. But we, human beings, were not designed by anyone, and we do not have within ourselves something that will do us «evil by nature», or «tenders to good» — as various philosophical and political currents have believed, and continue to sustain —. «Our essence, that which will define us, is what we will build ourselves through our actions», which are inescapable: not acting is an act in itself, since our freedom is not something that can be left aside: being is being free in situation, being is Be-stop, be like project.
Sartre and Communism
The initial period of Sartre’s career, defined by being and nothing (1943), was followed by a second period of political and intellectual activism. In particular, his work of 1948 dirty hands examined the problem of being an intellectual while participating in politics. The French Communist Party (PCF) was joined, although it was only a member for a few weeks, and played a prominent role in the fight against French colonialism in Algeria. It could be said that he was the most notable sympathizer of the war of liberation of Algeria. He had an Algerian domestic aide, Arlette Elkaïm, whom he adopted as an adoptive daughter in 1965. He opposed the Vietnam war, and together with Bertrand Russell and other luminaries he organized a tribunal for the purpose of exhibiting the war crimes of the United States. The court was called ‘ Russell Court ‘.
Acutely critical of Stalinism, its political thought went through several stages: from the moments of Socialism and freedom, political grouping of the French resistance to the Nazi occupation, when it writes a program based on Saint-Simon, Proudhon and others, When it considered that state socialism was contradictory to the freedom of the individual, until its brief adherence to the French Communist Party, and its subsequent rapprochement with the Maoists. His main work in the attempt of communion between existentialism and Marxism was a critique of Dialectical Reason, published in 1960.
During the six-day War he opposed the policy of support for the Arabs, trumpeted by the communist Parties of the World (except Romania). And, together with Pablo Picasso, he will organize 200 French intellectuals to oppose the attempt to destroy the state of Israel, calling for the strengthening of anti-imperialist sectors on both sides as the only way to reach a just peace and socialism.
Sartre’s emphasis on the humanist values of MARX and its resulting emphasis on the young Marx led him to the famous debate with the principal communist intellectual in France of the years 60, Louis Althusser, in which this one tried to redefine the work of Marx in a pre-M period Arxista, with essentialist generalizations on humanity, and an authentically Marxist, more mature and scientific period (from Grundrisse and Capital). Some say that this is the only public debate that Sartre lost in his life, but to date it remains a controversial event in some philosophical circles of France.
Sartre and literature
During the decades of 1940 and 1950, Sartre’s ideas were very popular, and existentialism was the preferred philosophy of the beatnik generation in Europe and the United States. In 1948, the Catholic Church listed all the books of Sartre in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Most of his plays are full of symbols that serve as an instrument to spread his philosophy. The most famous, Huis Clos (closed door), contains the famous line: «L’enfer, c’est l´Autre» («Hell is the other»). The other-in French has a universal and almost metaphysical scope-as otherness, as radical alterity. (Grüner, E.,2005, the end of the little stories).
In addition to the obvious impact of nausea, Sartre’s greatest literary contribution was his trilogy The Paths of Freedom, which traces the impact of pre-war events on his ideas. This is a more practical and less theoretical approach to existentialism. It also excels its famous essay on Gustave Flaubert: «The idiot of the family «. It is a thorough and voluminous text concerning the author of Madame Bovary, where Sartre examines how the desire to write emerges.
Sartre after the literature
In 1964 Sartre wrote an autobiography called Les Mots (the words). That same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, but he declined strongly.
Despite its overwhelming worldwide fame, Sartre kept his life simple, with few material possessions and actively committed to several causes until the end of his life, such as the student Revolt of May French of 1968.
Novels and stories
The Wall (1939)
The childhood of a boss
The ways of Freedom (1945 – 1949):
I: The Age of Reason (1945)
II: The Postponement
III: Death in the Soul (1949)
Luck is cast (1947)
Barioná, the Son of Thunder (1940)
A closed Door (work) (1944)
Dead Without Burial (1946)
The Respectful Whore (1946)
Dirty Hands (1948)
The Devil and God (1951)
The kidnapped ones of Altona (1959)
Les Troyennes (1965)