Examine Existentialism: Quotes from Jean-Paul Sartre

The summer solstice this year also marked the birthday of a famous philosopher, writer, novelist, and more. His name was Jeal-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre, better known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre is best known for his writings and thoughts on the philosophy of existentialism.

Existentialism examines the human experience as individuals face what appears to be a surreal, absurd, and/or meaningless life and world around them. Sartre wrote a great deal of works based in existentialism and in any conversation of the philosophy, his name will no doubt crop up. The thinker would have been 109 years old on June 21st.

Sartre was also heavily into politics, supporting communist and socialist groups throughout much of his life, even the French Communist Party, actions of the Soviet Union, and the Maoists. Eventually, however, Sartre insisted on being known as an anarchist rather than a communist, a belief that appears to fit well with the existentialism he spent countless hours thinking and writing about.

If you’ve read Sartre before, you probably have an appreciation for his style and his ideas. If you’ve never encountered his writings, you’re in for a crash course in his perspective and on existentialism.

To celebrate his 109th birthday, we decided to share some great quotes from the thinker:

On other people: “Hell is other people.”

On what we are: “We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are — that is the fact.”

A rather depressing thought on all things existing: “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.”

On time: “Time is too large, it can’t be filled up. Everything you plunge into it is stretched and disintegrates.”

On responsibility: “Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed, because it involves all mankind.”

If any of these ideas or quotes caught your attention, there are dozens of works by Sartre that are worth reading!

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