Tag Archives: Sartre

Lon K. Montag Asks: “Who am I?”

Most of us are probably aware now of the shooting that took place at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.  Twelve dead.  Fifty-eight injured.

Three men lost their lives last week as they shielded others from the gunfire coming their way.  The selflessness of these young men is getting some good traction in the media and I’m glad to see it, because as terrible as this event is, and as much as it reveals the destructive capacities inhering in man (as I discussed a few weeks back; see “What Horrifies You?”), it also reveals the courage and compassion man is capable of.

I wonder sometimes how I would stack up if subject suddenly to such a violent test.  And that’s no easy question, because, to answer it, I have to try to step back and make an honest assessment of myself; I have to ask myself, “Who am I?”  And would the person I am be courageous enough to do what’s necessary when the time comes?  How can I know? Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Philosophy: Theory & Practice

On Fiction: Toward a Theory of Creation (Part I: Foundations)

The current project is to try to codify, to some extent, a theory on the creation of fiction.   Here I’m concerned with the foundations underlying the creative process.  By “foundations,” I do not mean “style.”  Sartre says, of style, that  “[e]veryone invents his own, and one judges it afterward.  It is true that subjects suggest the style, but they do not order it.  There are no styles ranged a priori outside of the literary art” (Sartre 323); and I am inclined to agree with him.  (The issue of style, like most things, shouldn’t go unquestioned — but we can can come back to this later.)  What I’m concerned with now is authenticity.

I’ll start by laying bare my presupposition which is that there is in fact a telos to the creative process.  There is an end to be achieved here; there is a reason why we write fiction.  The telos is something I’ll have to leave somewhat vague for now (though we will come back to it in part two of this essay series).  I do want to say something about telos now, however briefly.  Sartre claims that “the function of the writer is to act in such a way that nobody can be ignorant of the world and that nobody may say that he is innocent of what it’s all about” (ibid. 321).  Sartre here seems to be implying that there is some sort of truth which the author has access to which is conveyed to a reader through the medium of fiction.  We can agree with this, provisionally.  The question of which particular truth, if any, an author is supposed to reveal will have to wait until part two (there we might also encounter the question of whether “truth” has any value at all).  With such questions, we’ll find ourselves in the most interesting of company…For now, we can content ourselves with telos broadly conceived as “truth.”  So the current topic of discussion, then, is how one ought to go about conveying truth. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy: Theory & Practice