Existentialism Is A Humanism: Commentary

Existentialism Is A Humanism: Commentary

A brief analysis of Sartre's existentialist philosophy

In the essay “Existentialism is a Humanism” Sartre, a French writer whose philosophy resolved around the concepts of existentialism, attempts to better clarify the ideology supported by the existential school of thought through the critical analysis of arguments posed by opposing critics. In the piece Sartre highlights existentialism’s defining traits, arguing that it is essentially a philosophy of positivity, thus, refuting antagonistic accusations denoting the existentialist philosophy as one that focuses only on the “dark side of human life.”

As he presents it, existentialism preaches for the existence of individual agency and exposes the sense of moral responsibility that is invested in the individual. Sartre argues that guidance provided by an omnipotent being is nonexistent therefore placing all responsibility for one’s actions upon the individual. Knowing that God does not exist, as Sartre explains, also places humans in a state of perpetual abandonment thus eliciting in us feelings of desperation once faced with the realization that life carries no other meaning beside that which we ascribe to it. Although, I generally do agree with Sartre that the philosophy of existentialism carries elements of positivity, I fail to support the existentialists’ neglect of the massive role played by nature and nurturing in constructing the individual’s understanding of the “self”.

As I understand it, Sartre’s existentialist concepts suggest that the individual is capable- or better yet is responsible- for creating their own self-definition. One is not born knowing who they are or who they will become, instead one molds their own character through the free choices one makes throughout the course of one’s life. Sartre summarizes this understanding by simply stating that “existence precedes essence”, thus emphasizing his belief that life has no meaning a priori. Yes, ideally this may appear to be a spectacular concept as it arms individuals with the weapon of free choice, enabling one to characterize themselves as they wish and suggesting that a state of personal freedom is attainable. However, realistically, I find the idea of one being completely in charge of every aspect of their lives to be rather inconceivable. There are factors that serve to dictate who I am which I have no control over and these include aspects of my genetics and upbringing.

Suppose one is born to schizophrenic parents and is therefore prone to developing the disorder later on in life. If this individual does indeed develop the mental illness at one point in their lifetime and this does hinder their quality of living, causing them to lead an unhappy life, then is one to blame for the condition developed due to the influence of genes? The individual did not choose to be schizophrenic and neither did they choose to be born to parents who had the disorder. Then, how is it their fault that this character defining trait is part of who they are as individuals? Under Sartre’s descriptions of existentialism, based solely in the understanding derived from this essay, the individual is to be considered responsible for such a turnout and this is something I am incapable of agreeing with.

The influences of our environment, including the way our parents choose to raise us, natural catastrophes, and the genetic abnormalities we inherit at birth are all factors that serve to characterize who we are as individuals, yet, Sartre’s existentialist philosophy ignores the clear influence these elements have on one’s construction of their understanding of the self. As someone who studies psychology, it is difficult for me to do the same as throughout the course of my studies I have come to understand that there are a multitude of extraneous variables that we are not in control of. If I were to risk telling a patient that they are in control of every aspect of their lives, then I would likely be pushing those with disorders such as depression to admit that it is their worthlessness which has prevented them from succeeding in overcoming their illness and therefore I’d probably not achieve much in my attempts to aid them.

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
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Top 10 Easiest And Most Effective Ways To Increase Protein In Your Diet

Hitting the gym, eating healthy, and not seeing results? Let's fix that.


Protein is a vital part of any good diet. It'll bring out those changes you work so hard for in the gym, but it's definitely hard to incorporate in every meal. Here are some easy and tasty ways to pack your meals with more protein and see results for all your hard work:

1. Remember that breakfast is just as important as dinner.

Breakfast can be difficult to make a high protein meal because, most the time, you're rushing in the morning. But, if you focus on incorporating some foods that'll increase the amount of protein in your breakfast, you'll see significant changes. Foods like greek yogurt, eggs, and protein powder in your coffee are small changes that can make a big difference.

2. Supplements.

Although a lot of people hesitate to use diet supplements, protein powder can be effective for anyone struggling to reach the amount they need daily (which is most people). If you look at protein powder as a tool and not a 'quick fix' to adding protein, you'll find it extremely helpful. You can add it to yogurt, smoothies, pancake mix, and even your morning coffee!

3. Make every snack a protein snack.

Make it your goal that when you snack, you're having a protein snack! My personal favorites include greek yogurt parfaits, protein chips, protein bars, hard boiled eggs, or beef jerky!

4. If you don't track your protein intake, try it out.

Tracking how much protein you consume in a day can help you figure out how much more you need to add to your diet, as well as where you need to work on incorporating it the most.

5. Include a high protein source in every dinner.

Chicken, salmon, beef, tofu, etc...

Whatever you choose as a protein source, try to incorporate it into your dinner as much as possible. In the mood for pasta? Add chicken or beef to your pasta for protein.

6. Pair peanut butter with fruit.

Having a banana? Add some peanut butter to it for added protein. But, beware, too much peanut butter can significantly increase caloric intake! So measure, measure, measure if you're aiming to be in a caloric deficit!

7. Buy or make a big, protein-packed salad for one of your meals.

A whole lotta greens with protein-packed toppings is a great way to have a high protein, low carb meal! Choose the right toppings, a high protein source, and a healthier dressing, and you'll see that a salad can leave you full and satisfied for a while.

8. Choose protein enriched food when eating out.

Going out to eat with friends or family? Try your best to opt for a high protein entree! For example, choose egg whites with sausage when out to breakfast instead of french toast or pancakes.

9. Meal prep!

Sometimes it's hard to get enough protein because you might just not have enough time to prep it and add it to a meal! However, if you meal prep for the week when able to, it'll make life a lot easier. Something as simple as cooking a lot of chicken Sunday night to use throughout the week can be extremely helpful!

10. Utilize seeds!

Adding hemp, chia, or flaxseeds into your diet can give you an extra amount of protein that could go a long away although seemingly small. Add them to protein smoothies or on top of a salad!

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