Youth-Led Community Organizing: Theory and Action

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He asserts himself as a pure internality against which no external power can take hold, and he also experiences himself as a thing crushed by the dark weight of other things. At every moment he can grasp the non-temporal truth of his existence. But between the past which no longer is and the future which is not yet, this moment when he exists is nothing. This privilege, which he alone possesses, of being a sovereign and unique subject amidst a universe of objects, is what he shares with all his fellow-men.

The Ethics of Ambiguity - Wikipedia

In turn an object for others, he is nothing more than an individual in the collectivity on which he depends. However, far from God's absence authorizing all license, the contrary is the case, because man is abandoned on the earth, because his acts are definitive, absolute engagements. A freedom which is interested only in denying freedom must be denied.

This does not mean that one should consent to failure, but rather one must consent to struggle against it without respite.


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To re-establish man at the heart of his destiny is, they claim, to repudiate all ethics. He bears the responsibility for a world which is not the work of a strange power, but of himself, where his defeats are inscribed, and his victories as well. Nothing exists outside of his stubborn project; therefore nothing can induce him to modify his choices.

And having involved his whole life with an external object which can continually escape him, he tragically feels his dependence. Even if it does not definitely disappear, the object never gives itself.

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The passionate man makes himself a lack of being not that there might be being, but in order to be. And he remains at a distance; he is never fulfilled. Thus, to say that action has to be lived in its truth, that is, in the consciousness of the antinomies which it involves, does not mean that one has to renounce it. In Plutarch Lied Pierrefeu rightly says that in war there is no victory which can not be regarded as unsuccessful, for the objective which one aims at is the total annihilation of the enemy and this result is never attained; yet there are wars which are won and wars which are lost.

So is it with any activity; failure and success are two aspects of reality which at the start are not perceptible. That is what makes criticism so easy and art so difficult: the critic is always in a good position to show the limits that every artist gives himself in choosing himself; painting is not given completely either in Giotto or Titian or Cezanne; it is sought through the centuries and is never finished; a painting in which all pictorial problems are resolved is really inconceivable; painting itself is this movement toward its own reality; it is not the vain displacement of a millstone turning in the void; it concretizes itself on each canvas as an absolute existence.

Art and science do not establish themselves despite failure but through it; which does not prevent there being truths and errors, masterpieces and lemons, depending upon whether the discovery or the painting has or has not known how to win the adherence of human consciousnesses; this amounts to saying that failure, always ineluctable, is in certain cases spared and in others not.

The failure and the hell which he creates for himself have been described often enough.

Ambiguity in moral choice

Welcome back. The adventurer "does not attach himself to the end at which he aims; only to his conquest. He likes action for its own sake. He will not hesitate to treat them as things.

Ethics: a general introduction

And finally there is genuine freedom , which takes the excitement of the adventurer and the passion of the passionate man and includes with them a concern for other people, other freedoms, as well. It includes five sections. The brief Conclusion sums up de Beauvoir's view of human freedom: " From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Ethics of Ambiguity. Translated from the French by Bernard Frechtman. Works by Simone de Beauvoir. This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book. If you own the copyright to this book and it is wrongfully on our website, we offer a simple DMCA procedure to remove your content from our site. Start by pressing the button below! School Choice: The Moral Debate.


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