Thursday, February 5, 2009

my take on The Age of Reason

There is this girl (whose name is the last thing I'd want to post on this blog :D) who talks a lot about existentialism. I did a bit of wiki-ing around on existentialism and found some nice things. From what I could understand, Existentialism is nothing but saying that all this philosophy thing is a bucket load of shit and that every man is an individual and philosophy can neither be used to generalize the behaviour of a person or set some arbit framework.

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Around two or three weeks back, I found this book - The Age of Reason written by Jean Paul Sartre who happens to be this author who gave shape to the early theories of existentialism. Now, I consciously stay away from the likes of Marquez, Dostoyevsky, Ayn Rand who, I heard, write in a very abstract sense. Yet I found myself issuing this book. The book didn't disappoint my expectations of what it might be. It was a philosophical treatise disguised in this story set in France in world war 2 era. The book was outright boring. It was about this guy Matheiu who had this totally wierd way of looking at life. He loved two women(Marcelle and Ivich) but wanted to marry neither. He had friends(Boris, Lola, Daniel, Brunet) but wanted to be a loner, etc, etc... The book was so depressing that I left it after reading some 180 pages and gave it back to the library.

* * *

Yesterday when I went to the library and saw the book still lying around. Better senses DIDNOT prevail and I took the book and decided to see how the story ends. Hence started reading from the last 40 pages. Matheiu grew more frustrated, his friends were only more pissed with him, he deserted his mistress(Marcelle) who was pregnant and found out that she married one of his friends(Daniel) who was gay. He stole 4k francs from Lola who thought that the thief was Boris. The book ended by saying that Matheiu is truly free because "he exists in nothing." Wow! what a great way to end things. As if things weren't depressing enough.

Seems like the author wanted to convey the fact that it's ok to be frustrated in life. Frustration in life is a kind of lifestyle and the earlier you accept it, less miserable your life will be.

Moral of the story - Though there are people who are great fans of Existentialism in general and Sartre in particular, I'd want to stay away from it.

PS : does anyone know if there is any Spinoza stuff in library?? :P


aniket said...

It's okay to agree or disagree with philosophers. People here are such BIG fans of Ayn Rand, while I positive abhor her and what I perceive to be her unidimensional philosophy.

Philosophers are humans after all, and their theories about life may or may not match with yours. The sooner you're able to sort out how you're gonna live your life on your own, the better. Atleast that's what I think.

Niklaus Wirth said...

Read Ayn Rand once.
Start with Fountainhead. You'll enjoy it.

Deepti said...

I liked the way you wrote this post a lot.. But I personally think Ayan Rand is a great writer and you would love her narrative style.

Sankalp said...

I totally agree with the idea that "being frustoo is a way of life". In fact, till now, I thought I was the one who added this wonderful idea to humanity's collective pool of wisdom.

Why is one frustoo? Because he is not happy with some existing thing. He wants to change things, for the better of the world, or at least to suit him better.
(Of course you can replace all he-s here with she-s. No MCP-ism intended)

What's wrong with that?