April Meeting: Existentialism
Existentialism, as defined and described by Jean-Paul Sartre, is a lucid, compelling account of what it means to live a meaningful life in a world devoid of ultimate meaning. His famous dictum “existence preceded essence” says it all: by accepting the fact of our existence and by acting appropriately on it, one can fashion an identity far truer than the one imposed by religion, the state, or other presumptive authorities.
Sartre begins by tracking the three emotional stages experienced by a person when awakened to the absence of a god: “anguish, abandonment, and despair.” In despair—an end point, according to religionists—he sees a new beginning, in which the individual takes complete control of his or her life. He describes how, simply by making conscious, mindful choices, we begin to live “authentically” and to forgo the acts of “bad faith” that rob us of our legitimate selves. The end point of this process—actually the process itself—is a re-integration of our personal, moral, and social beings, based on a principle shared by every human society: the Golden Rule.
Our April meeting will feature Nick Pease, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and founder and CEO of Pease Prose Services. Pease will talk on the topic of existentialism, especially as it relates to a freethinking, atheistic worldview. Pease will argue that existentialism is “applied atheism,” and has been presenting it as such for decades as part of his humanities courses. Additionally, Pease will consider Sartre’s ideas and their relevance to our daily lives.
Please join us!
Sunday, April 18, 2009
1:00-1:15 p.m. – Social Time
1:15-1:45 p.m. – Business Meeting,
1:45-2:00 p.m. – Social Time
2:00-3:30 p.m. – Speaker’s presentation and Q&A
4:00 p.m. – Dinner at Wanderer’s Garden Chinese Buffet Restaurant
Ridgedale Public Library
12601 Ridgedale Drive