Personally, I find Sartre’s philosophical stance on the freedom of an individual very bold and motivational, as it can lead a person to become more proactive. Vaughn reveals that Sartre’s idea that “existence precedes essence” is a vital source of inspiration for those who are willing to take matters into their own hands (262). While there are nuances to this determination of freedom, I believe that they are not as troublesome as the possibilities it opens to humanity.
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At the same time, I understand that some people, especially those who consider themselves spiritual or religious persons, may find Sartre’s views unsettling. The weight of one’s decisions in life might be unbearable for those who have issues with self-esteem, decision-making, and tendencies to be swayed by others’ opinions. Sartre argues that there is no such notion as human nature that defines one’s actions and reactions from the beginning (Vaughn 263). I do not perceive radical freedom as a direct contradiction to the idea of God, as free will is what defines people amongst other creatures on Earth. Vaughn summarizes Sartre’s idea regarding fate by concluding that “we are determined only if we allow ourselves to be determined” (261).
This worldview has its advantages and downsides, yet I think that it brings more positivity to those who choose to adopt it. Making oneself might appear like a challenging concept to accept, but the benefits are immense. The author recognizes that people do have predispositions towards certain types of behavior, but they can be perceived as obstacles on the way to gaining the true form of freedom through self-determination (Vaughn 261). In conclusion, Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism can have a significant positive impact on a person who has the will to define themselves.
Vaughn, Lewis. Philosophy Here and Now: Powerful Ideas in Everyday Life. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2019.