Sartre and Evil: Guidelines for a Struggle

Sartre and Evil: Guidelines for a Struggle

Sartre and Evil: Guidelines for a Struggle

Sartre and Evil: Guidelines for a Struggle

Synopsis

Sartre has more to say about Evil--its origins in, effects on modern man, and how to fight it--than any other philosopher in the 20th century. In this book, the authors examine many of Sartre's literary and philosophical writings for what they have to say about the nature of Evil and its effect on our lives. From this, they evolve guidelines for those wishing to fight Evil in their own lives. Using examples from their experience with human rights violations, the authors suggest that Evil is "any attempt to purposely destroy the freedom of a person," and clearly demonstrate that Sartre's work can be useful as a guide for getting along in the contemporary world.

Excerpt

An American said to me one evening, "After all, if international politics were in the hands of well-balanced and reasonable men, wouldn't war be abolished for ever?' Some French people. present said that this did not necessarily follow, and he got angry. "All right," he said in scornful indignation, "go and build cemeteries!" I, for my part, said nothing; discussion between us was impossible. I believe in the existence of evil and he does not. Jean Paul Sartre in "Individualism and Conformism in the United States." 1945

We also believe in the existence of Evil, not only as an abstract concept, but rather, as a description of concrete events in the world: this drunken father who is brutally beating his daughter, that judge who favors the rich and the powerful, this envious woman who spreads lies about her rivals. Many concrete manifestations of Evil, however, cannot be attributed to one single person. They are results of our political systems, of our manners of governing the world, and of our ways of relating to other human beings: the rampant destruction of the rain forests, the greedy exploitation of millions of peasants and laborers, the prevailing oppression of women, the killings in Cambodia, in Afghanistan, in El Salvador, in Guatemala, and yes, in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. These many instances of Evil profoundly disturb us. We strive daily to struggle against them, at least in our own backyard. The humility and feelings of impotency that often accompany these struggles have led us to agree with Sartre that "the . . .

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