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The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 6, 1998

Contemporary Philosophy

D.R. Bhandari
Pages 31-34

Existentialist Perception Of The Human Condition
With Special Reference To Sartre

Existentialism lays stress on the existence of humans; Sartre believed that human existence is the result of chance or accident. There is no meaning or purpose of our lives other than what our freedom creates, therefore, we must rely on our own resources. Sartre thought that existence manifests itself in the choice of actions, anxiety and freedom of the will. In this way the responsibility of building one's future is in one's hands, but the future is uncertain and so one has no escape from anxiety and despair. We are always under the shadow of anxiety; higher responsibility leads to higher anxiety. The pursuit of being leads to an awareness of nothingness, nothingness to an awareness of freedom, freedom to bad faith and bad faith to the being of consciousness which provides the condition for its own possibility. Concluding his thought, Sartre says that existentialism is not pessimism. He says that existentialism does not aim at plunging us into despair: its final goal is to prepare us through anguish, abandonment and despair for a genuine life, and it is basically concerned with the human condition as a complete form of choice. The fundamental issue, therefore, is an authentic meaning of life.

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