Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Saturday, 7 May 2011

I watched yesterday a programme on BBC iplayer that was previously broad-casted on TV called "Inside the Human Body"
(Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01102yg/Inside_the_Human_Body_Creation/)

This programme is a must see for anyone who wonders about the human body....

Are we pre-determined beings? Are we free to choose our own destiny?

Questions like this trigger my every emotion and makes me really anxious to know the answers fearing that I already know the answers and wish not to admit to them...

Funny enough I attended in the morning as usual my Existentialism lecture where I heard this quote from my all times favourite philosopher J.P Sartre:

"Man is condemned to be free carries the weight of the world on his shoulders; he is responsible for the world and for himself as a way of being"

"The one who realises in anguish his condition as being thrown into a responsibility which extends to his abandonment has no longer either remorse or regret or excuse, he is no longer anything but a freedom which perfectly reveals itself and whose being resides in this very revelation. But as we pointed out at the beginning of this work (Being and Nothingness by Sartre), most of the time we fee anguish in bad faith." (p.577)

So Sartre's answer to the questions above would be YES WE ARE FREE- OK, Mr Sartre what kind of Freedom are we talking about here...

And he says free to choose the "projects" you would like to take in life, free to travel, sleep, eat, love, hate...etc

But all this freedom is restricted by the "facticty" of life- the fact that you may have only one arm- so you  have to consider the alternatives to swimming for example- or the fact that you live in a country who objects to same sex marriage or impose a head scarf on you- or the fact that you are born to a millionaire opposed to someone who is born in a really poor family...

All these factors play a major role in your life and life-choices!! You are actually NOT free at all..

So Yupe- you are right at this stage to think that this Freedom is not really "freedom" as you would have liked it to be...

I think that is the part where I rolled my eyes and realised that I am back to square one again in an endless cycle which I cannot break.

So I guess the answer to being pre-determined for Sartre still stands open to interpretation with a big question mark...

But to me, I see the answer clearly now... I think we certainly are and this programme tells us that too!

                                       Favourite Quotes
Life is like a game of cards.... The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.
Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like.

Our destiny hides among our free choices, disguised as the free-est of all.  

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