Love and Freedom

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Love and Freedom What is love? Is it something we do or something we can know? Some classify love as something that you feel for some people sometimes. It is often linked or used interchangeably with lust. Others feel that it is something that is constant and untouched by judgement and feeling. The only common denominator for love is that it is something that is desirable; it is something that we want. So what do people want? Many philosophies pose answers; but those answers frequently lead to more questions. Examining Sartre’s idea of love from Being and Nothingness, we find a love that is an action in the form of a project. The goal of the project is to attain a totality of being through the use of another. This differs from the love outlined by Socrates in Plato’s Symposium. Through Socrates, Plato characterizes love as a desire to partake in the beautiful for the purpose of gaining happiness. Sartre states that love is an engagement in an impossible project. Plato, while agreeing that the task is not easy, feels quite differently that love is attainable. This paper seeks to find they areas where the two philosophies overlap, hoping that an even better definition or goal of love can be reached. In order to understand Sartre’s idea of love, we must first examine his ontology. This will lead us to why love is sought. First, there is a distinction between what is free and what is determined: our consciousness exists as a freedom, for-itself, that can transcend any element that is not part of the present consciousness. The human being is a freedom that is able to detach itself through a “nihilating withdrawal.”[1] This means that the person who talks with others and lives in the world with people can choo... ... middle of paper ... ...rans. Hazel. E. Barnes, Washington Square Press Pub., 1965, specifically term “nihilating withdrawal” pp.58 and 61, discussion in between [2] B&N, p. 68 [3] B&N, p. 72 top [4] B&N p.69—parenthesis added [5] B&N p. 72-73 [6] B&N p. 99 [7] B&N p.106 [8] B&N p.138 [9] B&N p. 139 [10] B&N p. 144 [11] B&N p. 475 [12] Plato, The Symposium, from The Collected Dialogues of Plato, trans. Michael Joyce, Princeton Univ. Press,1989, p.555 or 203 b-d [13] Symposium, p. 556-57 or 204 b-e [14] Symposium, p. 557-58 or 205 d-e [15] Symposium, p. 558 or 206 e [17] Symposium, p. 562 or 210-211 c [18] Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism, excerpted from Walter Kaufman, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, Meridian, 1989, p. 348 [19] B&N p. 136 [20] B&N p. 364 [21] B&N p. 534 [22] B&N p. 358
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