Today I spent the whole day reading and writing about existentialism. Oof.
Sartre, I might add, looks increasingly feeble in his claims of atheism the more I read him. He’s constantly talking to and about the God in whom he doesn’t (really! He doesn’t! He means it!) believe. Not to mention this key chunk from his autobiography:
I had been playing with matches and burned a small rug. I was in the process of covering up my crime when suddenly God saw me. I felt His gaze inside my head and on my hands. I whirled about in the bathroom, horribly visible, a live target. Indignation saved me. I flew into a rage against so crude an indiscretion, I blasphemed, I muttered like my grandfather: “God damn it, God damn it, God damn it.” He never looked at me again.
I’m sorry, he does not say–even all of those years later, when he wrote this story down–that he imagines that God saw him, or that he wondered if God saw him. He communicates a pretty clear record of his understanding of reality–God was there. He may have vanquished God from his life and awareness out of sheer will, but that’s not the same thing as the Deity never existing in the first place. I am just saying.
What autobiography is the quote from?
The quote’s from Les Mots (The Words), Sartre’s 1964 autobiograpy/biography of his childhood…