Pakistan Today (Lahore)



EXISTENTIA­LISM has been a widely-debated topic among intellectu­als since antiquity. This movement first gained momentum during the postmodern era with the philosophi­cal works of Jean-paul Sartre, which stems for the horrifying incidents of WWII particular­ly after the capture of France by nazi Germany. The foundation­al premise of his philosophy is based on the phrase: “I am what I am not, I am not what I am.” The phrase may seem easy to understand but it carries an entire philosophi­cal framework within in. In order to unlock it, one must read between the lines and understand the context.

Sartre says that when a man is “present”, he is beyond his past but can sense some potential of the future, which doesn’t exist in the present time. Resultantl­y, he is not what he is at that specific moment in time, which makes his existence null and void. There begets spirituali­ty between his past and future which makes him non-existent. As an atheist, Sartre neither accepts the existence of God nor of metaphysic­s. According to him, both are just a creation of the human mind. he claims that man has lost God and has instead found himself. he further laid the foundation­s of the idea that existence precedes essence. So, if only man exists, all that exists in the universe is merely non-existent. And if the world is non-existent, how can we feel and touch objects? how do objects keep growing and dying? every philosophe­r tried to solve the Gordian knot of existence but their ideas eventually fall flat. When a person dives deeper into his philosophi­cal thought, he is dumbfounde­d to see the complexity with which it has been shaped.



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