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Self-determinism
September 23, 2002
4:07 pm
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Cici
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I'm currently reading Sartre's "Essays in Existentialism" and came upon a quote in the first essay:

"Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life."

Any thoughts on this? I'd like to hear other opinions.

September 23, 2002
8:50 pm
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Anonymous
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Well Life to me entails alot, and i guess it depends on what man does with his life and what GOD gave him. I don't know but all the "nothings" in that statement seem negative to me.

September 23, 2002
9:36 pm
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karoline
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Off hand this reflects western thought, the relentless pursuit of individuality, self-fulfillment and self-gratification. Like the old Army slogan, "Be all that you can be". I'm not totally anti-western though it does have some good qualities.

September 23, 2002
10:44 pm
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Ladeska
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That's pretty bleak and would nothing for the spirit man....but I think for some naricissists on the planet - that would "suit" them just fine. Me, me, me and then "me"! What else could possible matter in life, right? (smile) Being my sarcastic self tonight, in pain....sorry, just couldn't help myself, trying to recoop over here...just cleaned the house, washed the dishes and now doing this because I'm ignoring the damn back thing!!!! Grrrr!

September 24, 2002
11:48 am
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Cici
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I guess I interpret this differently - I think this is just a distillation of the idea that every point in your life is a choice, and even not choosing is a choice you make - and so the responsibility lies in your own hands rather than in some unseen force controlling you.

Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I exist.

September 24, 2002
12:36 pm
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eve
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I think he is saying that you really live and not that you *are lived* by circumstances, powers beyond your control or other things.

This is quite scary and immensly hopeful for me.

September 24, 2002
1:58 pm
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Ladeska
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Asolutely the responsibility of your own life falls into your own hands. I can take that - from what he wrote and see the other in it at the same time. I guess you could turn it either way.... People hide behind alot of things and say they have no control, no power over things and yet - in the moment of it all - they have all the power........they just get scared or feel powerless and hide behind something else and use it as a crutch or a shroud.

September 24, 2002
3:38 pm
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karoline
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Self-determinism implies individuality and therefore a orientation towards self, to me. This is not wrong as we are all individuals with responsibility first to ourselves. This is an empowering quote, alone. However, it does not capture much of the essence of our relationships to and with one another (mutuality) and our relationship with a higher power, God. I see that we are individuals with responsibility to ourselves as suggested. I see that our lives are unquestionably linked to the lives of one another and in a higher power.

To isolate ourselves from others and a higher power we diminish ourselves, our spirit and our humanness.

I do like the interpretation that Eve made. Choosing to wear life not having life wear on you, however.

September 24, 2002
5:20 pm
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sosos
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I read it as though none of us are superior and we are all living in God's plan, to thine own self be true, your actions and life speak of who you are, so forget about looks, or material things as being any measure of you as a person. It brought to mind something my priest said recently, our bodies are no more than a vehicle for our soul.

September 24, 2002
5:26 pm
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Cici
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If you live according to values that are true to you - if you always choose action over inaction - if you follow through with what you believe, then isn't that following God's plan anyway?

Or does God need that update all the time? I mean, being omnipresent and omniscient and all.

I always wondered this in Catholic school. Why do I go to church if I am aware of God's presence and behave in accordance to that? Why will I go to limbo if I live a good life and do good for those around me but never go to church?

September 24, 2002
8:57 pm
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sosos
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I used to question the going to church also. Only because I truly felt that I was trying to live each day for the most part as I thought God wanted me to or planned for me, so to speak. Then I would see the hipocrits in the front row that gave the most money, yet led their daily lives being mean, judging others, treating their neighbors or family badly, noses in the air as if they were better because they're front row seat for one hour made up for the other 6 days, 23 hours. Now I go to a church which is now outdoor as long as weather permits, and he's a monk/former priest (not sure of his whole story), but I go because it became the peaceful place I needed to be in my hellish life, and allowed me in some way to feel an individual presence of God with me.

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