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Jean-Paul Sartre and Existentialism


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The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was a crucial figure in Existentialism. Although his work may seem dauntingly incomprehensible at first glance, this video from The School of Life makes Sartre's ideas--about the absurdity of the world, humans' freedom of choice, and the fluidity of our supposedly rigid roles and institutions--shockingly understandable. 

If you look around you, you'll notice many instances of "bad faith"--when people believe (and act on the belief) that things must stay as they are. From accepting dead-end jobs to complying with unfair rules, it's easy to simply accept the status quo instead of questioning how we can change it. Why do you think bad faith exists? Do you think Sartre is right in saying that we don't fully acknowledge our freedom? 

Sartre saw capitalism as a "giant create a sense of necessity that doesn't exist in reality," a machine that enables the denial of freedom and the possibilities of living in other ways. What do you think about this assertion? How might you live your life differently if money were not a factor?

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