Sartre’s Existential Philosophy Sample Essay

Jean-Paul Sartre is a renowned philosopher of the 20th century, belonging to the same group of philosophers as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and contemporaneous to Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir. The latter ones all experienced the same significant event that tremendously influenced their life and philosophy: The Second World War. The despair and inability to conceive the violence of life in the conditions of meaningless struggle made the notion of absurdity prevalent among these Western thinkers. So, the existential philosophers, including Sartre, reflected upon the central topics: fear, hopelessness, anguish, crisis, absurdity, and the phenomenon of individuality. Sartre is distinguished from others by his answer to the question about the meaning of life and the way of being that a person might choose.

The core concept that determines Sartre’s philosophy is the absurdity of life. Namely, the thinker perceives life as a constant struggle that arises from a necessity to make choices. This process is not pleasant to people because it urges them to realize that they are the only ones responsible for their actions and lives (Bhandari, n.d.). Hence, the reality of life is that each person is entirely alone in their consciousness, which precedes their being. This understanding of being is related to the notions of existence and freedom, elaborated further in the paper. By now, it is essential to note that the philosopher distinguished three categories of being: being in itself, being for itself, and being for others (Bhandari, n.d.). The first term denotes the existence of an object, a passive fact of existence. Being for itself means the realization of being separate from things and unlike others. Finally, being for others is the awareness of the existence of other people and the recognition of outer observation (Sartre, 2021). Therefore, life is not homogenous and presents suffering related to the manifestation of free will.

The meaning of life in Sartre’s understanding is closely connected to the decision-making process. Precisely, he states that life is primarily accidental and has no point. It is meaningless unless one enters being-for-itself, which demands to somewhat restrain from the whole world and yet embrace others (Sartre, 2021). Hence, each individual decides their purpose in life and creates their identity by interacting with others. This identity has value only if a person realizes that it is not their true self but an image for society; moreover, one might seek freedom from this identity, which would awaken their consciousness. Therefore, there is no predetermined meaning in life but only the one that each person creates for themselves by rejecting the identities and things that do not comprise them.

Next, the concept of freedom should be discussed in greater detail since it is essential for Sartre’s philosophy. One of Sartre’s most renowned expressions is that “man is condemned to be free” (Sartre, 2007, p. 29). He explains that a human being is “condemned, because he did not create himself, yet nonetheless free, because once cast into the world, he is responsible for everything he does” (Sartre, 2007, p. 29). This entails that, although some factors predetermine the life of people, each person can decide further what to do with the situations that the world presents them. Moreover, responsibility as a part of freedom is predated by the realization that one is not everything that surrounds them. This negation is painful since it is comfortable to agree with what others expect one to be, but separation is what makes a person human. Therefore, to be free is to accept the nothingness of others in one’s consciousness and remain to be a self.

In turn, freedom constitutes the existence of every human being. Namely, all emanations of being are always present in the existence of a person, whether they are aware of them or not. The being-in-itself is constant and does not evoke many emotions, while being-for-itself causes struggle. Being for itself looms over an individual every time they face a situation that makes them decide what their further actions are. Every time the individual becomes afraid of their loneliness and responsibility but makes a choice is the experience of existence.

A note on death should be made to contrast it with existence as it is presented in Sartre’s works. For example, the philosopher states the following on this subject: “Ultimately, at the infinitesimal instant of my death, I will no longer be anything but my past. It alone will define me” (Sartre, 2021). Since the past presents only being-in-itself, it does not denote existence. Similarly, death is not a part of life because it invokes no choices that an individual might make. Everyone is afraid of death and tries to avoid it; hence, everyone makes decisions and accepts the suffering of existence.

The other concept often appears in Sartre’s reflection on existence is “bad faith.” The philosopher seems non-religious in his works, yet this notion does not relate much to the idea of spirituality. Instead, bad faith is the desire of an individual to avoid the turns of free will by accepting the expectations and identities that others present to them. Bad faith is when being in itself is the primary strategy of one’s consciousness while an individual is still capable and aware of making choices that correspond to themselves.

So, for an individual to become a self, a process of realization of these phenomena must occur. It is argued by Sartre that identities do not comprise one’s genuine personality but only trap people in others’ beliefs about themselves (Sartre, 2021). The placement of stereotypes and conventions restricts an individual to their being-in-itself. The self is achieved through the negation of the things that are external to an individual and through interaction with others. Thus, to become a self, one suffers the free will’s weight and accepts their consciousness that is separated from all others.

After discussing all the important concepts of Sartre’s existential philosophy, it could be stated what exactly means the absurdity that was often mentioned. Specifically, it rises from the notion of the angst caused by the freedom which is inevitable for each human being with consciousness. However, the suffering continues because an individual cannot accept death and tries to avoid it. Then, making decisions is the only available option, although some attempt to invoke bad faith to prevent it. In the end, the absurdity is the fact of the contradiction of the suffering and its avoidance that nevertheless leads back to anguish.

To conclude, Sartre’s existentialism is distinguished by the notions of free will, angst, and the dual nature of human existence with the presence of others. The philosopher believed that existence is possible only when a person negates with others about the nature of the self. So, the realization of nothingness, which is being apart from people’s beliefs, denotes free existence and constitutes an individual.

References

Bhandari, D. R. (n.d.). Existentialist perception of the human condition: With special reference to Sartre. Paideia. Web.

Sartre, J. (2007). Existentialism is a humanism (C. Macomber, A. Elkaïm-Sartre, & A. Cohen-Solal, Eds.). Yale University Press.

Sartre, J. (2021). Being and nothingness (S. Richmond, Ed.). Washington Square Press.

Keeping Vs. Repatriating The Antique Artifacts

There are hundreds of various touristic attractions that introduce local culture to foreign or native visitors. However, some of the most important ones are museums as they contain some of the most highly valued cultural objects. With the development of technology, one can become familiar with the greatest worlds of arts, artifacts, and the exposition of the world’s most famous museums online. Hence, one is able to notice upon visiting museums such as the British Museum or Berlin’s Neues Museum that most of the objects presented there do not belong to the British or German culture. One of the famous examples of such a phenomenon is the Bust of Nefertiti, which was discovered in 1912 and placed in Berlin’s Neues Museum in 1913 (Hanna 87). The essay unveils the complex background behind this particular case and the tendency to relocate antique artifacts from their homeland to countries whose expeditions found them.

The Nefertiti bust was found by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt and his crew on December 6, 1912, in what had been sculptor Thutmose’s workshop in Amarna, Minya governorate (Hanna 87). In violation of the then-existing regulations on the distribution of architectural findings, Borchardt removed the statue from Egypt in 1913. The German government is resisting requests to restore the Pharaoh statue to Cairo, while the Egyptian government is attempting to reclaim the Queen Nefertiti bust from it. Egypt has highlighted that it is taking all necessary steps to return Egyptian artifacts that have been unlawfully trafficked outside of the nation, including the Bust of Nefertiti.

On December 6, 1912, the Nefertiti bust was found by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt and his crew in what had once been sculptor Thutmose’s workshop in Amarna, Miny.

The dividing regulations at the time specified that Egypt would receive the extraordinary treasures unearthed by international excavation teams, while the parties responsible for their discovery and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo would split the remaining artifacts. Egypt will continue to press for the return of the object, according to Supreme Council of Antiquities director Zahi Hawass in an interview with Deutsche Welle. Hawass cited records that the director of Berlin’s Neues Museum, where the Bust is on exhibit, had provided. He said that the documents proved that the German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt, who discovered the Bust, attempted to downplay its significance in order to get it for Berlin. In addition, at the time of the discovery, other countries such as the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, and French Empire were interested in gaining financial benefits from Egypt (Bearden 43). Hence, the case represents how complex and sophisticated the disputes over the right to own antiques can become.

During the course of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Egyptian government made numerous attempts to return the Bust of Nefertiti but was refused every time. For Germany, the antique has both prestigious and cultural value. According to their position, the fact that they are able to keep one of the fascinating cultural artifacts safe is a representation of their stability and might. Therefore, the Bust of Nefertiti is a significant antique piece of art, which became symbolic for Germany as they had a mission of keeping it safe not for themselves but for humanity.

There are several arguments against the tendency to store antique artifacts in the countries that discovered them. First, it is a direct continuation of the colonialist politics that had led to the discovery initially. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Western empires took advantage of the colonized countries and relocated all of the most precious antiques that they were able to find (Hanna 87). Back then, it was a sign of superiority and is associated with many colonialist theories that are based on the supremacy of the West over the rest. By keeping the order that was settled during colonial rule, abusive practice and white supremacy continue to be present in the modern world.

The relocation of the Bust of Nefertiti to its homeland was rejected numerous times. Some of the main justifications for that include the social and political instability of the country, which puts the precious ancient artifact in danger. However, Germany is also not the safest country possible for storing cultural objects. Since the Bust of Nefertiti was placed in Berlin’s Neues Museum, Germany was the central country in two World Wars and then was divided by the Soviet Union and the Allies. During World War II, the Bust was found in the salt mine by Americans, while Berlin’s Neues Museum was a part of Eastern Germany (Bearden 48). As a result, the fact that the Bust of Nefertiti has remained safe does not mean that it was secured through the time it was relocated.

Yet, the proponents of the relocation can also be understood. Despite the fact that the ancient cultural object was relocated in times when international legal and political systems were different, the artifacts were treated well and highly valued. Western countries such as France, Great Britain, and Germany, in particular, have a long tradition of museums and galleries that have developed techniques for maintaining antiques and preventing their distortion (Oruç n. p.). In addition, despite the political instability that had happened in Germany, museums remained to be well financed, and cultural heritage remained protected.

The case of the Bust of Nefertiti is not unique, as it represents a wide variety of antiques that were relocated during the age of colonialism. Therefore, the resolution of one artifact can become a landmark example that would be applied to others. Considering the pros and cons of each side of the argument, it is safe to come to the conclusion that the solution needs to be a compromise. The Bust of Nefertiti should be returned to Egypt, but only in case there is an international commission that supervises its condition, maintenance, transfer, etc. This solution would bring justice as Egypt will be able to represent its cultural heritage, while at the same time, such a tendency marks the end of colonialism’s influence and creates a new globalized cultural environment that respects each individual culture. The international supervision would ensure the preservation of the object.

In conclusion, the question “Who own the Antique?” needs a thorough analysis of the background that has led to historical artifacts being relocated. In general, it is clear that such practice represents colonialism and promotes the idea of the supremacy of the West over other cultures. Hence, to truly respect foreign and ancient cultures, cultural objects such as the Bust of Nefertiti should be returned to their homeland, while their protection and maintenance should be guaranteed by international organizations.

Works Cited

Bearden, Lauren. “Repatriating the Bust of Nefertiti: A Critical Perspective on Cultural Ownership,” The Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research: vol. 2. no, 1 , Article 2, 2012.

Hanna, Monica. “Repatriating Cultural Identity.” Museums, Transculturality, and the Nation-State: Case Studies from a Global Context vol. 52, 2022, 87.

Oruç, Pinar. “Rethinking Who ‘Keeps’ Heritage: 3D Technology, Repatriation and Copyright.” GRUR International, 2022.

BSc (Hons) International Tourism And Hospitality Management

Multinational food conglomerates are increasingly integrating and controlling overseas food markets. This tendency is evident in China, where the economy and food industry have seen an increase in foreign direct investment and international retail and restaurant branches. Globalization in the food industry has led to various forms of cultural diversity regarding cuisines. The contemporary world features of cuisine differ from that which pertained a decade ago in many perspectives, such as the development of an integrated food production and distribution system. Ready-to-eat food delivery has emerged as a significant market due to the development of enticing, user-friendly apps and tech-enabled driver networks, as well as shifting consumer expectations. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdowns, and physical distance limitations significantly boosted the category, with delivery turning into a lifeline for the struggling restaurant sector.

Homogenization describes a society where the underlying values and beliefs are shared and prevalent, thus leading to a dominant cultural conviction. On the other hand, heterogenization describes a society where diverse population groups hold values and beliefs, leading to a multicultural society. In China, food is closely tied to the social context, but the increased economic progression and cultural integration with western nations led to a homogenous cuisine culture. The increased interconnection between Chinese and Western civilization led to a more homogenous culture as the Chinese adopted a western lifestyle model. This period coincided with the entry of American fast-food firms such as Mcdonald’s and Starbucks. The massive number of Chinese nationals overseas contributed to the cultural homogeneity as they perceived western cuisines as high quality.

The increase in rural-urban migration to megacities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou led to greater exposure to ideas that reshaped the cultural perspective. The critical component in homogenization in China is its adaptation to a fast tempo of city life coupled with its rapid economic development, which provided suitable conditions for fast food culture (Wang, 2022). China is third in the number of Mcdonald’s restaurants worldwide, depicting the homogeneity of the Chinese food industry.

Young people have popularized the integration of foreign food cuisine as they emulate the western lifestyle of having the restaurants as romantic and formal celebrations spots. Since many Chinese customers began gathering at American eateries like Starbucks Coffee Shop, eating is often associated with socializing. The seating arrangement provided opportunities for the middle class to gain privacy and embrace unique ideals such as eating in shopping malls in the city centers.

The outbreak and spread of the coronavirus led to numerous changes in the daily life of Chinese residents. The preventative actions initiated by Chinese authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19, such as social isolation and mobility limitations, had detrimental effects on the supply chain for different cuisines’ production and consumption. The lockdown restrictions also led to the closures of various food services such as restaurants and decreased food availability due to increased lead times among suppliers. Online shopping grew popular among many Chinese city dwellers during their confinement at home at the beginning of the pandemic.

The demand for online groceries and fast foods increased significantly as the lockdown measures limited mobility. The contemporary cuisine culture in China exhibits heterogeneous tendencies, as the COVID-19 pandemic altered the food sector landscape. As the pandemic raged, food consumption was affected as many people preferred home cooking instead of takeaway orders due to the nutrient content believed to prevent infection (Zhang et al., 2020). Chinese residents began consuming less processed foods, thus changing the landscape into a heterogeneous society where local and indigenous foods were advocated.

In a heterogeneous Chinese society, the influence of traditional food has far-reaching consequences regarding cultural value. The Chinese have a long-standing, millennia-old eating tradition passed down from generation to generation. One of the defining features of Chinese culture is its cuisine. Home cooking has been the aspect of food habits that has changed the most during the pandemic, as lockdowns made individuals stay at home, thus altering their way of life (Tian, Zhou, & Wang, 2022). Many folks found themselves with extra time to prepare and organize meals; thus, homes became the new hub for socialization and family gatherings.

The decrease in dietary diversity due to supply chain issues increased dietary quality for households as they increased uptake of healthy foods to strengthen their resistance against the virus. In addition, many Chinese residents began associating making regional cuisines with traditional methods, thus localizing the dining experience (Kartari et al., 2021). China’s intangible cultural heritage has increased prominence in the food service sector in the post-pandemic world. The home dining experience has greatly influenced the increased emphasis on ethnic Chinese cooking, which does not involve deep-fried cooking (Kang, 2022). Chinese residents concentrated on natural flavor and vegetables and decreased meat consumption.

Disneyfication and Cultural imperialism

Food is identity and history and thus is embedded in the culture of specific populations such as China. Globalization and cultural integration have led to the Americanization of Chinese cuisines and eating lifestyles. American fast-food restaurants are growing faster in China than in the U.S. as a result of cultural imperialism. The growing consumption of fast food is increasingly altering China’s cuisine due to the ever-increasing disposable income of the Chinese residents. These fast-food restaurants serve American cuisines such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries which are made to suit the taste of most people.

These foods have no exotic spices or traditional combinations of ingredients emphasized in Chinese cultures. Chinese cuisines such as bones, chicken skin, and dumplings are prepared in a specific way and take time to prepare (Cui, 2017). Although the American quick-service restaurants do not have exceptional cuisines, they have taken over the Chinese food industry and are keen to increase their influence with more stores. The Chinese middle class prefers quick-service restaurants as they offer greater affordability.

One significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was the economic downturn due to business closures. Fast food restaurants have benefited from this phenomenon as consumers prefer cheaper options served in fast food joints (Li, 2021). Cultural imperialism regarding Chinese cuisines has seen the American fast-food lifestyle penetrate the market through companies such as Mcdonald’s, Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King. These brands are poised to make China their largest market within a decade as each company establishes more stores annually.

The epitome of disneyfication of the Chinese food sector is through the standardization of the major American-owned fast-food restaurants, including Mcdonald’s and Starbucks. These quick-service restaurants impose themselves on local markets in the Chinese society while offering their standardized menu and maintaining their operations model. Standardizing these processes means that the store’s offerings and operations emphasized in the U.S. are similar to those in China. The enormous expansion of such standardized systems in the international arena indicates the disneyfication of the Chinese food industry. The fast-food restaurant standardization model is booming in China as they market themselves as authentic taste of the west (Pavlova, 2019). The lack of bullishness on fast food joints adapting their dishes for the Chinese society is due to the trust arbitrage in China.

China is infamous for its domestic food sector scandals, such as fake eggs, tainted baby formula, and mislabeled meats. Chinese residents do not trust Chinese brands, thus encouraging disneyfication of the food sector. The novel coronavirus outbreak was believed to have originated from a seafood and wild food wet market in Wuhan (Wei, 2018). This incident encouraged Chinese residents to increase online food delivery from American fast-food joints as they were deemed free from the tainted Chinese outdoor market (Chen, 2020). There is a pervasive belief that American companies have higher hygiene standards than their Chinese counterparts. Food integrity is crucial in the restaurant industry, especially in preventing infections such as coronavirus. Disneyfication is poised to increase as Chinese consumers push American companies to conform to the standards employed in the U.S.

Conclusion

Multinational food firms are increasingly integrating into China and controlling the market through various imperialism features. The change in food supply coupled with the expansion of the food delivery ecosystem led to explosive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many people ordered food from major fast-food joints due to mobility restrictions. The food diversification aspect of the Chinese food sector was aided by the perception of western food as high quality and the resident’s adaptation to a fast tempo lifestyle. In the food service sector, China’s intangible cultural heritage has become more prominent as Chinese residents emphasize a healthy traditional diet and home cooking to strengthen preventative measures against the viral pandemic. Disneyfication and cultural imperialism of the Chinese food sector is mainly due to the embrace of American cuisines sold at fast-food restaurants. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Chinese markets compounded this belief leading to the increased popularity of American cuisines.

References

Chen, M. (2020). Fast food industry in the post-pandemic era. A case study of KFC. In E3S Web of Conferences, Vol. 218, p. 02005). EDP Sciences.

Cui, J. (2017). The Americanization of Chinese food: How Chinese restaurateurs adapted “authentic” cuisine that sells. Ruggles Media.

Kang, L. (2022). Passion for culture boosts China’s food industry. Global Times.

Kartari, A., Özen, A. E., Correia, A., Wen, J., & Kozak, M. (2021). Impacts of COVID-19 on changing patterns of household food consumption: An intercultural study of three countries. International journal of gastronomy and food science, 26, 100420.

Li, L. (2021). Effect of covid-19 on the quick-service restaurant industry in China and the U.S. In 6th International Conference on Financial Innovation and Economic Development (ICFIED 2021) (pp. 460-468). Atlantis Press.

Pavlova, R. (2019). Globalization of American fast-food chains: the pinnacle of effective management and adaptability. The Yale Globalist.

Tian, X., Zhou, Y., & Wang, H. (2022). The impact of COVID-19 on food consumption and dietary quality of rural households in China. Foods, 11(4), 510.

Wang, S. (2022). The Rise of American Food in China (Publication No. 1357) [Master’s Projects and Capstones, University of San Francisco]

Wei, C. (2018). Why McDonald’s, Starbucks, and KFC are popular in China. Eater.

Zhang, J., Zhao, A., Ke, Y., Huo, S., Ma, Y., Zhang, Y., Ren, Z., Li, Z., & Liu, K. (2020). Dietary behaviors in the post-lockdown period and its effects on dietary diversity: The second stage of a nutrition survey in a longitudinal Chinese study in the COVID-19 era. Nutrients, 12(11), 3269.

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