Being and Nothingness

There is nothing at the foundation of existence.

Fortunately, there is more to existence than that trauma informed meaning.

Sartre’s philosophical myopia, at least the more narrow “Existentialism” part, was brought about by the incredible trauma that the world was encountering in the early 20th century. He could only see through correlation.

And, remembering Kierkegaard, but not in Sartre’s way, just because we are heirs to a particular existential state, does not mean we must be limited by it: nothing is a result of making meaning, not the ground of it.

The result of Sartre’s nothingness is incorrect.

This is to say: Something is the result of meaning making. Nothing is always informing what something is able be.

Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

11 thoughts on “Being and Nothingness”

  1. But is there nothing? Are we not told that energy is at the very bottom layer of matter and hence our universe? Perhaps energy is fecund amd creative as taught by Eastern philosophy. I am convinced there may be something behind the curtain: some set of physical laws perhaps which makes the universe or multiverse less bleak than it might appear. Mere conjecture of course but then so were the views of the existentialists.

    1. As opposed to regular definitions, I’d say that Nothing is the fullness, the over abundance , from which we are able to speak about anything at all. Nothing is like zero: it is just a place holder that marks off what is actually occurring.

      1. Idk. What is it to know nothing? Or to know of nothing. Or nothingness? In what manner or quality of knowing nothing or of nothing is different than something?

        Is the space between things lacking “thingness” ? If that was the case then why doesn’t everything just get sucked together in one massive lump?

  2. While I would agree that Sartre is largely overblown, I think it is unfair to dismiss Sartre because of the historical context which informed his philosophy. Some of Sartre’s writing in Being and Nothingness is still pretty profound, especially his remarks on the Gaze, Sadism, and Masochism.

    1. Yes. I totally forgot. I suppose I get too involved in the “large” existential idea that we make our own meaning Becuase there is nothing which is substantial to anchor a common experience, bit.

      My point is that I see philosophy of times in context. And I tend to use the Existentialism as an example of how we obviously cannot be talking about me, or my being, but more “us” in the sense of ideology, or ideas that circulate even though they really have ‘nothing’ (lol) to do with the truth of existence now. As I go on in my work…etc.. this argument i am making. The nothing meaning was in response or correspondence to the atrocity of industry and the world wars that seemed to displace the notion previously that indeed there is essence. Existence prior to essence. Comes out of an already misplaced ideal of what being human is; I’d say a particularly 20th century ideal.

    2. Thanks for your comment because it reminded me how my lack of engagement with the text when I first read it about maybe 20 years ago, and then my understanding of it maybe 10 years ago, how the meaning, the points that I considered valid, that I took from that period of engagement with being and nothingness, has kind of distilled it self down through my own process, my own work. So I just went back to my book and kind of refreshed myself with the various sections and stuff dealt with. My opinion hasn’t changed, and the reason why I’ve carried forth into my work what I consider to be the important aspects of his work anyways, these haven’t changed.

      But it does remind me that I have to be careful when I generalize to say that his ideas as a whole are incorrect as opposed to saying that the conclusions that he dries through his arguments I think are largely incorrect so far is the significance that has been attributed to them so far as we are able to comprehend a life with reference to what everyone knows as existentialism , regardless of if they are philosophers or not.

    3. I think if I had been in the same situation as Sartre I might’ve come to the same conclusions. I feel like his existentialism is what is upheld when people usually use the word existential, or existentialism as some sort of general kind of intellectual philosophy of ones life. But at the same time I feel that Sartre himself, as a philosopher, has kind of been given a bad rap. It’s kind of funny though.

      I see his philosophy is pretty much defining the parameters of what intellectualism is, the basis of any sort of philosophical approach to life and being human people commonly referred to tenants that came from Sartres existentialism.

      My point to this kind of given of philosophical approach, which is to say that there’s nothing underneath it all, that existence precedes essence, is that we would not be able to know anything about existence if indeed we weren’t relying on some sort of essence. That indeed the south that is merely self knowing, so to speak, is indeed an essence that is only limited to a particular human subject under certain conditions. But that also these conditions pervade the world almost everywhere we look despite what we want to say philosophically about it; and this is to say that it is an essential condition, not a relative, eternal Lee meaningful generation of a bunch of separated subjects talking to each other and using symbols, generating a multiplicity of realities or universes.

      I’m stepping a little far in my work here, but this condition that I’m talking about is ultimately a real condition. And that the truth of this real condition is that it is merely one particular condition, and that this condition does not arise through negotiation but is actually true in its essence, and thus defines the human being as a universal object which can be addressed to us essence which is to say it’s actual existence as opposed to its meaningful existence. Sartre is all about the essence of a subject which creates its own meaningful existence, and thus existence precedes essence. This tact of philosophy, I argue, is taken because of the massive trauma that humanity was undergoing at that particular time in the world. Such that the only way to avoid any trauma is to generate some sort of meaning as if indeed the individual human being is at route in the generation of that meaning . And this is to say that this is what trauma does to a person, this is evidence of trauma. When a persons traumatized it is because what they thought was sensible has been shown to have no basis in sense and so the person must start from nowhere, and a best, and begin to create meaning as if on their own, as if spontaneously generated from subjectivity. Indeed, I say, this is necessary for the human being, but whatever and meaning is generated does not mean that it is true so far as what the event was and so far as what the human being is.

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