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Postmodernism and Jean-Paul Sartre - Essay Example

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The essay explores postmodernism and "No Exit" by Jean-Paul Sartre. Increasing industrialization and modernization of this world has made us judge a person’s worth on grounds of how many material resources he/she possesses. This materialistic thinking has also made the idea of death abstract…
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Postmodernism and Jean-Paul Sartre
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19 April Postmodernism: Increasing industrialization and modernization of this world has made us judge a person’s worth on grounds of how many material resources he/she possesses. This materialistic thinking has also made the idea of death abstract. The play, No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre also seems to stir this idea that in the postmodernism era, the idea of the social relationships between people has disappeared along with the human self. Sartre encourages people to believe that postmodernism is to be blamed for blurring the boundary line between humans and objects.
Before modernism, there was a very distinct line which separated humans from machines. However, increasing industrialization has transformed us into automatons without feelings. Death was not an abstract thing as long as people remained people and acknowledged the value of social relationships. Transition into mere objects can be explained by increased industrialization which has made human life increasingly mechanical. A mechanical lifestyle has made us “lose touch with the pulse of life” (Delio 163). Postmodernism has not only introduced us to an absence of social relationships because we have gone beyond that. We have also lost ourselves (Delio 163). Through No Exit, Sartre forwards this argument that we abuse the right to gaze at others so much that we restrict their freedom in addition to objectifying them. All three damned souls in the play also are so infuriated with each other’s gaze upon themselves that they desperately look for mirrors or anything that could help them avoid the burning effect of gaze. It is claimed that in a postmodern life, “reality itself—i.e., what we have conventionally understood as real—is in a process of disappearance” (Baudrillard cited in Omid). In the past, people were considered human beings. Now, they are gazed upon as objects. People are judgmental and they view others as objects. Such is the culture found around the globe in the current postmodern era in which we witness “the disappearance of the human, the social, and the real” (Omid). We are so deeply enmeshed in this postmodern era that we even view our own death in an abstract light. In this postmodern world, things which were once real have become unreal and things which were conventionally considered unreal are believed to be real. “The new reality is that which can be ‘simulated’ (Omid). For example, death has become unreal and what is shown to us via the reality shows has become the new reality. This is because the new real is that which is artificially reproduced (Best and Kellner 102).
Concluding, there is a very big difference between what we see and what we believe. Postmodernism has blurred this borderline between reality and images. Such concepts like death which were conventionally highly valued and people essentially believed in them because they saw them as real have turned into mere images now which we see every day around us, but which have no effect on us because they are not real. In this age of postmodernism, death is just something we see and not believe in anymore.
Works cited:
Best, Steven, and Kellner, Douglas. The Postmodern Turn. Guilford Press, 1997. Print.
Delio, Ilia. Simply Bonaventure: An Introduction to His Life, Thought, and Writings. New City Press, 2001. Print.
Omid. Disappearance of the Social. Philossophy.wordpress.com, 20 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. Read More
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