How to party like an existentialist?

In the article below, a hint of the concept of partying of the famous existentialist couple de Beauvoir and Sartre. To face life absurdity, partying is a key, making the world more playful whereas too much seriousness turns it rigid.

For the full article, click on the link below:

The first traffic jam on Broadway

I’ve owned the book Time and Free Will by French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) since university days – but regretfully never quite got around to fully reading it. It still resides on my bookshelf, awaiting the day… I was also interested in American polymath William James, and did at that time read some of his […]

The first traffic jam on Broadway

Albert Camus vs Jean-Paul Sartre

In this post published on Medium, James Cussen describes the relationship between Camus and Sartre, the “intellectual superstars” of post-war France. As I am interested in the French Existentialism, which is a recent interest to me, this article shows the real relationship between the two men, beneath the surface.

From intellectual competition to political feuds, their friendship accompanied their philosophical and literary works.

For more details, click on the link below for the full article. A pleasure to read!

Showcase: Simone de Beauvoir on feminism and existentialism

Considered as a pioneer of feminist philosophers, Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was one of the most important French existentialist philosophers and writers. Working alongside other famous existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir wrote excessively on ethics, feminism, fiction, autobiography, and politics.

In The Ethics of Ambiguity, she developed an existentialist ethics that condemned the “spirit of seriousness” in which people too readily identify with certain abstractions at the expense of individual freedom and responsibility.  In The Second Sex, she produced an articulate attack on the fact that throughout history women have been relegated to a passive acceptance of roles assigned to them by society. Freedom, responsibility, and ambiguity are main concepts of existentialist philosophy shown in her works.

Her influences include French philosophy from Descartes to Bergson, the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the historical materialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the idealism of Immanuel Kant and G. W. F Hegel. Her most famous and influential philosophical work, The Second Sex (1949), remains to this day a central text in the investigation of women’s oppression and liberation.

Showcase: Gilles Deleuze

Gilles Deleuze was a 20th century French philosopher (1925-1995) who, from the early 1950s until his death in 1995, wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and SchizophreniaAnti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with psychoanalyst Felix Guattari. His work has influenced a variety of disciplines across the humanities, including philosophy, art, and literature, as well as movements such as post-structuralism and postmodernism.

Here is a list of my posts on Gilles Deleuze:

Gilles Deleuze on the world and space dilemma

Gilles Deleuze and his views on people

Gilles Deleuze on desire, becoming an Idiot and dismantling systems

The Idiot: Deleuze’s political concept to crack the system’s wall

Le nomade, le migrant et le sédentaire chez Gilles Deleuze et Félix Guattari Reading WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? (17): Spectres and Personae (Deleuze and Derrida)

The body in philosophy

White Man vs white men

Yoga or the deleuzian Body without Organs !

J-P Sartre: La conscience est intentionnalité

La conscience et le monde sont donnés d’un même coup : extérieur par essence à la conscience, le monde est, par essence, relatif à elle. C’est que Husserl voit dans la conscience un fait irréductible qu’aucune image ne peut rendre. Sauf, peut-être, l’image rapide et obscure de l’éclatement. Connaître, c’est « s’éclater vers », s’arracher à la moite intimité gastrique pour filer, là-bas, par-delà soi, vers ce qui n’est pas soi, là-bas, près de l’arbre et cependant hors de lui, car il m’échappe et me repousse et je ne peux pas plus me perdre en lui qu’il ne se peut diluer en moi : hors de lui, hors de moi. Est-ce que vous ne reconnaissez pas dans cette description vos exigences et vos pressentiments ? Vous saviez bien que l’arbre n’était pas vous, que vous ne pouviez pas le faire entrer dans vos estomacs sombres et que la connaissance ne pouvait pas, sans malhonnêteté, se comparer à la possession. Du même coup, la conscience s’est purifiée, elle est claire comme un grand vent, il n’y a plus rien en elle, sauf un mouvement pour se fuir, un glissement hors de soi ; si, par impossible, vous entriez « dans » une conscience, vous seriez saisi par un tourbillon et rejeté au-dehors, près de l’arbre, en pleine poussière, car la conscience n’a pas de « dedans » ; elle n’est rien que le dehors d’elle-même et c’est cette fuite absolue, ce refus d’être substance qui la constituent comme une conscience. Imaginez à présent une suite liée d’éclatements qui nous arrachent à nous-mêmes, qui ne laissent même pas à un « nous-mêmes » le loisir de se former derrière eux, mais qui nous jettent au contraire au-delà d’eux, dans la poussière sèche du monde, sur la terre rude, parmi les choses ; imaginez que nous sommes ainsi rejetés, délaissés par notre nature même dans un monde indifférent, hostile et rétif ; vous aurez saisi le sens profond de la découverte que Husserl exprime dans cette fameuse phrase : « Toute conscience est conscience de quelque chose. » […] Que la conscience essaye de se reprendre, de coïncider enfin avec elle-même, tout au chaud, volets clos, elle s’anéantit. Cette nécessité pour la conscience d’exister comme conscience d’autre chose que soi, Husserl la nomme intentionnalité.

Jean-Paul Sartre, « Une idée fondamentale de la phénoménologie de Husserl : l’intentionnalité », Situations [1947], Gallimard, 2010, p. 10-11.?

Over the past and far beyond: why does the past haunt us?

Haunting past, good and bad memories, good and bad experiences stay somehow vivid. Regrets, remorse, resentment, nostalgia are emotions whose accuracy is questionable. The 20th century French philosopher Henri Bergson defines consciousness as memory. Erase memory, than consciousness is no longer there. Consciousness plays the role of a bridge between past, present and future making them seem as a continuous story. Therefore, historicity is the human consciousness trademark.

However, what is the past more than an amalgam of stories and ideas?

It is nothing. It doesn’t exist. It has “passed”. Although its presence is powerful because it shaped our identity. Sometimes it gets heavy, paralyzing.

So is hanging to the past a sign of a sick or a healthy mind? Can amnesia be a remedy?

The answer is neither nor. It is more about controlling ideas and thoughts fuelled by memories then erasing memories. If time in itself and past events can’t be controlled, one can control, to a certain extend, their inside world.

Oftentimes, one doesn’t want to control their inside world. With control comes freedom and responsibility.

Descartes’ mechanism and the muscle-centric approach in fitness

Rene Descartes was a 17th century French philosopher known for his concept of consciousness and the emancipation of man through thinking when he wrote: “Cogito ergo sum”, “I think therefore I am “.

Descartes was in Plato’s dualistic theory of the body and mind. According to Descartes, humans are made of two dimensions, the body and the mind, unlike nature and animals who are one-dimensional as pure machines. However, the human body in itself is a machine. Bodies are submitted to physical and mechanical laws; this is Descartes’ theory of the animal-machine.

The question is: is the muscle-centric approach to fitness mechanistic?

Fitness’ muscle-centric approach is focused on muscles as types, categories, functions, performance and their respective related types of exercises and nutrition. Although being direct consequences, fat loss and general health are not the main target in the muscle-centric fitness. The main target is optimizing muscles with strength and performance. In other words, this approach is very much cartesian mechanism.

Muscle-centric paradigm is thought of as new because it is applied now in some types of fitness but it is rooted in the 17th century philosophy. Whether one likes it or not, it is very efficient.

Daniele Lorenzini on Foucault and Descartes (open access) – part of Theory, Culture & Society Special Issue: ‘Foucault Before the Collège de France’

Daniele Lorenzini’s article “Philosophical Discourse and Ascetic Practice: On Foucault’s Readings of Descartes’ Meditations” is now available open … Daniele Lorenzini on Foucault and Descartes (open access) – part of Theory, Culture & Society Special Issue: ‘Foucault Before the Collège de France’ ——killer paper!

Daniele Lorenzini on Foucault and Descartes (open access) – part of Theory, Culture & Society Special Issue: ‘Foucault Before the Collège de France’

Peculiarly inspiring quotes!

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid”. Epictetus

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage”. Seneca

“We have art in order not to die from the truth”. F. Nietzsche

“Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science”. H. Bergson

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live”. Marcus Aurelius

“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters of the slaves”. Herbert Marcuse

“Love is a serious mental illness”. Plato

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”. Plato

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”. Aristotle