Read e-book online An Introduction to Existentialism PDF

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By Robert G. Olson

ISBN-10: 0486200558

ISBN-13: 9780486200552

Vital consultant to at least one of the main influential notion platforms of our century. Stressing the paintings of Heidegger and Sartre, it deals a cautious and goal exam of the existentialist place and values — freedom of selection, person dignity, own love, inventive attempt — and solutions to the everlasting questions of the human .

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The sciences of eugenics and hygiene would see to it that the best possible human beings were being bred. Diseases would have been abolished. There would be a purposive economy wherein . . the needs of all would be supplied. . Without struggle . . the joys of life would be provided for all in unalterable allotments, with the expenditure of little labor and with ample scope for pastime. 43 In truth, however, such a condition of affairs is impossible. It is prevented by the working of incalculable natural forces.

Events which appear to be the product of accident are in fact rigidly determined. The wise man will, therefore, accept the counsel of the Stoics and, rather than seek that the things which 30 happen should happen as he wishes, will instead wish the things which happen to be as they are. Fear, envy, regret, anger—all the disturbances of the mind—have their source in the desire that things be other than they are no less than in the finitude of their object. But once man recognizes that things cannot be other than they are, disturbing passions will no longer agitate him.

Berdyaev, for instance, appends to his declaration of faith in the possibility of achieving general well-being the remark that this is precisely what is to be feared. Aldous Huxley quotes him to this effect in the epigraph to Brave New World, and significantly the brave new world therein depicted is one in which planners have been forced to stifle passionate love and creative endeavor. 44 Since, however, most existentialists do believe in the impossibility as well as the undesirability of establishing universal well-being and since moreover freedom of choice is usually a greater existentialist value than love or creative endeavor, the following attack upon the Enlightenment by Dostoyevsky in Notes from Underground is more typical: You see, you gentlemen have, to the best of my knowledge, taken your whole register of human advantages from the averages of statistical figures and politico-economical formulas.

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An Introduction to Existentialism by Robert G. Olson

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