Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris on the 21st day of June 1905. He was the only child in a family that had both parents coming from very distinguished families. His father was called Jean-Baptiste while his mother was Anne-Marie Sartre. Jean-Baptiste, his father, was the son of Eymard Sartre who was a renowned medical doctor in Dordogne region in France. Eymard did a great deal of work in medical related research and is credited with many medical texts, some of which he wrote in his early twenties. His mother was a cousin to Albert Schweitzer, a German missionary who was very famous. His grandfather was a man who was always cautious about his social class, in this context he had to marry a pharmacists daughter to ensure that he maintained his social position. Sartre also emerged to care so much about social status. The father of Anne-Marie Schweitzer was Karl Schweitzer. Karl was a man who published several books on religion, language as well as philosophy. With two grandfathers who were both famous writers, Sartre had all the reasons he needed to become a writer.

Sartres father died one year after his birth. His mother was forced to relocate to her parents residence. His grandfather was a very strict person who valued and dedicated himself to learning. His mother did not like the way his grandfather treated her, and to avoid being hurt by such actions, she always spent the better part of her time taking care and playing with Sartre. Karl Schweitzer has an aura of authority and respect wherever he went. His grandfather used the fame he had to engage in many extramarital affairs which did not please Sartre and his mother. This was a habit that Sartre would later adopt in the course of his life. He was not handsome in looks, and was short in size. He became a figure of abuse among his peers. This made him develop an angry personality. The only thing that gave him hope was the self confidence he had, he was sure his smartness outdid all the other children. Karl was very proud of Sartres smartness, though in most occasions, Sartre denied that he was taught by his grandfather. He learnt to lie at a very tender age, and this was a habit he portrayed all through the course of his life.

He enrolled at Lyce Henri IV, in 1915. He made careless mistakes in school. He mother remarried when he was 12 years old. He always rebelled against step father at any instance, though the step-father tried his best to foster their relationship with him. He became very rude, and always fought other children in school. Sometimes he stole money fr9m his mother and denied doing so. He later joined Lyce Louis-le-Grande, a very famous French school, with his friend Paul-Yves Nizan. In 1924, they joined Ecole Normale Suprieure, which was considered one of the best French universities at the time. Sartre liked rebellion, not necessarily because of the underlying reason, but sometimes just because of the fun. He fell in love with Simone de Beauvoir. They deeply love each other but in a number of occasions, they both had other lovers. He served as a teacher at Lyce in Le Havre. His friend Raymond Aron influenced him to study phenomenology as a school of philosophy. He joined the French military in the course of the Second World War. He was captured in 1940. This was the time when he had enough time at detention to write books and other articles. He never took care of himself and smelt. He managed to escape in 1941.

Albert Camus owed his origin in Mondovi, Algeria. He was born on the 8th of November 1913. His father was called Lucien Camus while the mother was Helen Sintes. Lucien was orphaned while in Algeria. Alberts parents were French immigrants who wanted to secure better lives for themselves. His father was self-educated and worked as cellerman in a winery. His mother was not French. She hailed from Minorca, an island in Spain. She suffered speech impediment as well as hearing loss. She was illiterate and greatly depended on her husband to support her. His father died in the course of the First World War. The mother had to contend with responsibility of raising Camus alone. They had to shift to Rue de Lyon. The place was so crowded but this was the only alternative since their grandmother was expected to take care of them. They lived with a paralyzed uncle while the grandmother suffered from liver cancer. This is a clear image that Camus family was in the middle of human misfortune and misery. They lived in very deplorable conditions.

As a way of escaping their predicaments, Camus focused more on his studies and athletics. He had cut his own niche as a true sportsman and also as an academic. His instructor, Louis Germain, mentored Camus to pass his Lycee entrance examination which he did in 1923. As a step towards emancipation himself from abject poverty, he joined the University of Algiers. He was accepted in the philosophy department. He contacted tuberculosis which reduced his strength so he had to struggle for more than 20 years to complete his studies.

After examining human relations for some time, Sartre concluded that bad faith was inescapable and omnipresent. Sartres philosophy has always aimed at avoiding bad faith. He says that every one of us is endowed with infinite freedom which can enable us make choices which are authentic and can liberate us from bad faith. Sartre expressed the opinion that every individual has unlimited freedom. This statement appears to be inconsistent with an individuals choice freedom which is always characterized by a multitude of limitations. Social as well as physical constraints can never be overlooked as far as the manner with which we make our choices is concerned. Sartre accepts this fact but this does not contradict his statement. This is because freedom should never be defined by a persons ability to take action. Freedom should be deemed to be a consciousness nature characteristic, that is, as spontaneity.

There are choices without existing grounds, in such a case, a person is supposed to choose the action which is more meaningful than the other. Each of a persons choices comes with inherent consequences. Sartre expresses the opinion that freedom amounts to choice making and the inability to avoid making a choice. Sartre felt that a persons life expresses a given original project which unfolds in the course of time. The project is not within ones knowledge but he may interpret it (sometimes in the wrong way). The original project choice is thus constituted by specific choices. Sartre believes that authentic choice should properly coordinate facticity and transcendence. Lack of this proper coordination comprises bad faith at either the individual or the interpersonal level. Recognizing the manner in which facticity and freedom interact exhibits our responsibility in making proper choices. Proper choices are those which are not trapped in bad faith.

Absurdism is the philosophical perspective that human efforts aimed at finding meaning as well as a rational explanation as far as the universe is concerned have been futile implying that they are absurd. Such meanings do not exist, at least in human circles. Absurd here, is used to imply humanly impossibility as opposed to logically impossibility. Absurdism is often used to imply a feeling of frustration which arises as a result of contradiction between human effort to establish lifes meaning and the inaccessibility of such meaning. Absurdism is deemed to have originated from existentialism and was greatly advanced by Albert Camus who was both a writer and a philosopher. This idea is more manifested in his book The Myth of Sisyphus. Absurdist views were greatly advanced after the Second World War, especially in France which had been devastated by the war.

Camus based his existentialism on the absurdity of life. In this context absurd is derived from the fact that man is bound to die from mistakes he did not actually do. There is no way may can liberate him from death and this is what contributes to the absurdity of life. Camus feels that there is actually no God. He feels that those people who console themselves by hoping for the afterlife are bound to be disillusioned. He feels that since God is inexistent, then the purpose and meaning of the afterlife are consequently lost, and are bound to end. Man can only find relief in the sense that even with the inexistence of God he is able to depend on his fellow man all of whom are subject to death. He also considers this as an absurdity and it is based on the opinion that man is liberated by understanding lifes absurdity. He feels that man is bound to act in a manner portraying that life is very important yet they are bound to loose it.

Camus expresses the opinion that when a person realizes Absurdism in his world, he is bound to choose to either commit suicide, leap his faith, or recognizes his situation. Camus feels that committing suicide is usually a way of confessing of the unworthiness of life. This is a choice meant to declare that life has exceeded a persons capacity. Suicide is deemed to be the easiest way for a person to exit absurdity by terminating the place the individual occupies in life. Absurd encounter is also able to arouse leap of faith. This implies an individuals belief that there is more that exist beyond rational life. The faith does not have any expectations, but it is flexible power which is initiated by recognizing the absurd. Camus considered faith leap as not being absurd but it escapes rationality as well as deferring personal experiences abstraction. Camus chose to refer to faith leap as philosophical suicide since it rejects this as well as physical suicide.

A person may also choose to embrace absurdity which surrounds his world. Camus felt that the recognition of absurdity depended on ones freedom as well as his opportunity to give some meaning to life. If our absurd experience manifest that the universe fundamentally lacks absolutes, then we can be considered to be truly free. Human freedom can thus be deemed to be established in mans natural ability as well as the opportunity to come up with his own purpose and meaning to decide for himself. The individual is the most precious existence unit since he represents unique ideals capable of being characterized as a universe on its own. An individual acknowledges the absurdity that surrounds the search for meaning but continues with the search, this way the individual is able to be happy as he develops his own meaning based on the search. Camus feels that people are able to create meaning in their lives but this is not always necessarily the objective life meaning. It just provides something worth striving for.

Both Sartre and Camus seem to embrace existentialism. This is an idea that expresses human beings as being passionate as opposed to being rational. Both Sartre and Camus philosophical appear to have been influenced by their living conditions and background. As existentialists they have a common interest in the concept of freedom. Camus and Sartre express the opinion that the only way to escape absurdity is by being absurd. The universe is characterized by great absurdity. Man is never able to get the actually meaning of the universe. Absurdity prevails because of the lack of clear knowledge by man. Camus, on his work concerning absurdity said that one of the best options for man to escape from his absurd condition is by embracing absurdity. While Camus offered other alternatives like suicide and leap of faith he felt that man could only be happy by embracing his absurd condition and thus himself being absurd. The same opinion is echoed by Sartre in his literary work.

Camus believed that man was always in the quest to find meaning in life. He felt that man was getting more and more frustrated by his lack of finding the meaning of life. Since according to him there was no God, he felt that people had to find a way of creating some meaning to their lives. Life had no purpose, life in itself is absurd (Camus, 1991). When people are not able to continue with this absurdity, they have to choose what to do. They can escape the absurdism by terminating their existence from the absurd world through suicide, they can leap in their faith by believing in meaning outside rationality or they can embrace the absurdity all together and become absurd themselves, and this way they can achieve happiness in a universe of absurdity. Sartre also felt that man had no purpose in life and thus man was has to make a purpose for his life. This is an idea which Sartre had borrowed from Heidegger, who felt that life had no purpose an individual had to create his own purpose to life. Man has to create the purpose of his life if he wants to realize happiness.

Sartre expresses the belief that each person is endowed with the freedom of choice. Life is full of choices and one cannot avoid choosing in the course of life. There is no way one can escape choosing. Even avoiding choosing is a choice in itself (Sartre, 1993). Every choice we make come with a set of consequences. Sartre feels that a person is bound to make a choice which is more meaningful to him. He feels that we are living in a sort of an original project in which the choices we make are part of the original project. Camus also believes that people have the ability to choose. A person has to make choices in a bid to deal with the absurdity which characterizes the world. Even committing suicide is considered to be someones choice. This is an expression that man is not able to find meaning to his life. To escape absurdity we may choose to leap our faith or even to embrace our predicament. Both Camus and Sartre seem to be in agreement as far as choice is concerned. They also agree that freedom exists, the freedom of choice. Camus feels that freedom as a choice can only be attained after a person has embraced absurdity. In this way, man has the freedom to create the purpose for his life. This is an idea which Sartre also agrees with since much of Sartres philosophy is based on the concept of the freedom of choice. Man has the freedom to choose what he wants only bearing their consequences in mind.

While Camus and Sartre seem to be having common grounds in their philosophies, it is worth noting that they are antagonistic to each other in some aspects. While Sartre feels that man lives in a sort of an original project which unveils with time, implying the possibility of Gods existence, Camus does not believe that God exists. Camus feels that God may be a creation of human beings to find an explanation and meaning of their lives beyond rationality. Sartre feels that man has choices but in a way or the other, the choices seem to be predetermined to some extent since he expressed the opinion that people live in a sort of an original project which unveils with time. This is not the case with Camus who feels that once an individual has decided to embrace absurdity he out rightly acquires the freedom to create the purpose of his life and choose what he wants in a bid to make his life meaningful. Camus does not feel that an individual has a real freedom since his end is already determined, he is bound to die, while the same individual may be having the freedom of choice in the course of his life, the freedom is meaningless because the person cannot avoid dying. This, Camus equates to suffering for a mistake one did not actually commit.

Camus and Sartre have been established to have been renowned philosophers of their times. Their backgrounds seem to have been covered with difficulties of all sort, these are believed to have influenced their philosophies to a larger extent. They both subscribe to the idea of existentialism. Their literary works seem to touch on the concepts of freedom, choice, as well as absurdity. While they agree that these are basic concepts, they tend to disagree on the manner of their application and availability. Camus and Sartre had been noted to have been good friends at one time but they later turned to be worst enemies due to their ideological differences at the time.


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