Existentialist Ontology


Viikko 1

Tässä tulee ensimmäinen puhe, jonka oheistan muiden luettavaksi.


Motion: THB existentialism to have been a time-bound fad of its times
Role: PM (gov.)

In my humble opinion, Albert Camus’s book ”L’etranger” (Finnish: Sivullinen), first published in 1942, is a book based on the times it was born in, rather than being a timeless classic of fiction of importance to all its future readers. For instance, young people of today might find it slightly less useful than the rock-and-roll-worshiping youth of times past.

L’etranger is set in Algeria during the French occupation. Meursault, an impassive French civil servant or such static character, kills an arab in a fit of calculated hatred or indifference or recklessness. The book ends with M’s capital punishment that he incurs partly because he does not defend himself on any grounds or show remorse. He’s like, whatever.

Herein lies the nucleus of the book: it was written at a time when religion had largely become redundant thanks to attacks by Nietzsche, Sartre et. al. For a short period of time, people did not believe. They felt their lives pointless and arbitrary and meaningless, as there was no God. This would later pave the way for such masterpieces as Waiting for Godot. But, for our purposes, Meursault’s was a world without any old certainties. Meursault committed his crime because he was no longer anchored in something safe and sound.

Another contributing factor was the population expansion, which is in full swing now, but which was only taking its very first baby steps back in the 40’s. The world’s population was between 2 and 3 billion people at the time of writing. (2 billion was surpassed in 1927, the publication year of Sein und Zeit.) Now, if we think about the crime itself, it was not strictly speaking a hate crime, but nonetheless some kind of reaction on the part of a Western citizen to the anonymity and growing numbers of the ”savages”, or peoples multiplying in the developing countries such as Algeria. Meursault killed an arab, but he did not do it out of hate. He did it because that person meant nothing to him, and they say that the real form of hate is not hate but indifference and void of feeling.

From this aforementioned point we get the premise or extrapolation that we could kill in the same vein as Meursault right now in some nondescript foreign country, whose people and language we could not understand. Turkey, Gabon, Basque country, Tibet… the list is long. We carry the same destructiveness as Meursault carried within him and it could backfire on us and send some hapless savage to his or her death.

What sets us apart from Meursault’s time, and thus sets the book in its own time-bound frame of mind is the fact that we have managed to collect ourselves after the exodus of the mind after God’s death. Youth subcultures coupled with the help of the computer have tribalized people unlike ever before. This means that we again believe in stuff and something, other people. Existentialist thinking does not dominate — as it did in early 50’s Parisian cafés. With these words I conclude: ”It is darkest right before Dawn.”

Pituus luettuna: 3 minuuttia 43 sekuntia
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