May 24, 2010 1 Comment
Sartre explained that the average man hides behind masks and sustains himself on a kind of false existence of wearing masks and role-playing. Nietzsche said much the same of the masses. It is hard to deny this to be the case. The ancient pre-socratic philosophers alternated within this same dialectic, too, with Heraclitus claiming all reality was constant flux and Parmenides rebutting that all reality was actually permanence. These are two sides of the same dialectic found in post-lapsarian time-existence.
What occurred to me was that these pre-Socratics were looking for an ultimate impersonal ontological grounding, while the modern existential philosophers were concerned with this issue anthropologically and socially. When one thinks of Sartre’s man who steps forward to dispell the viscous, as he calls it, and begins to be being-for-itself, one of his characters ends in suicide. The ultimate act of chaos, change, and rejection of the permanent. Someone like the rock star comes to mind. (But isn’t this just a role as well? Yes, it is.) On the other hand, you have the masses, dumbed down as obeisant sheep who follow blindly whatever Übermensch comes along. In other words, same dialectic protracted through the history of philosophy. Read more of this post