This is not to say, of course, that the creative impulse is measurable by what we produce. He penned as many words on unavailability, indisponibilité as he did availability, and with good reason: obstacles frequently occur when individuals attempt to coalesce their experiences to emerge as stronger, more cohesive beings. If the self is in communion with another, and is present to the other, the self is more present towards the self. 5.0 out of 5 stars THE FRENCH EXISTENTIALIST EXPLAINS EXISTENTIALISM Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2015 Gabriel Honoré Marcel (1889-1973) was a French philosopher, playwright, music critic and Christian existentialist. Marcel argued that, “Nothing is more awful than this reduction of man, of a human being by such distinctions,” (TW 225-6). He has set himself up as the champion of traditional monarchy and has just achieved a great success in the city council where he has attacked the secularism of public schools. The mystery of being for the existential self is unsolvable, because it is not a problem to be solved. (The reciprocity of presence is a necessary condition for it.) During the First World War he worked as head of the Information Service, organized by the Red Cross to convey news of injured soldiers to their families. Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973) was a philosopher, drama critic, playwright and musician. Marcel almost certainly borrows from Martin Buber’s I-Thou in his view of communion, in that Buber’s ontological communion is the free expression of those who are able to give and receive freely to each other so that an encounter with the other is possible, and for Marcel this communion is expressed as a free reception of the other to oneself (IB 136). Philosophy Of Existentialism Gabriel Marcelfree subscriptions, which they do from time to time for special groups of people like moms or students. This reflection is secondary reflection, and is distinguished from both primary reflection and mere contemplation. The feud between the two, though heated, had the effect of casting a shadow over Marcel’s work as “mysticism” rather than philosophy, a stigma that Marcel would work for the rest of his life to dispute. As Marcel developed philosophically, however, his work was marked by an emphasis on the concrete, on lived experience. Rather than working out a lexical definition of the term, we ought to evoke its meaning through our shared experiences. As odd as it first seems, this mutation is evoked by the awareness that members of humanity are contingent on conditions which make up the framework for their very existence. For Marcel, to exist only as body is to exist problematically. The Mystery of Being is a well-known two-volume work authored by Marcel. So, to create is to reject the reduction of the self to the level of abstraction—of object, “The denial of the more than human by the less than human,” (CF 10). U. S. A. Bollnow, Otto Friedrich. An acceptable ontology must account for the totality of the lived experience, and so must have as a point of departure the fact that humans are fundamentally embodied. The philosophical approach known as existentialism is commonly recognized for its view that life’s experiences and interactions are meaningless. The free act is significant because it contributes to defining the self, “By freedom I am given back to myself,” (VII vii). The Philosophy of Existentialism-Gabriel Marcel 2002-02 An exposition in five parts of the character of existentialist philosophy, including an analysis of the theories of Jean-Paul Sartre. Yet, even if there is despair in our situation, there is always movement towards something more. It is the participative subject, who is governed by the uniquely Marcelian doctrines of reflection, communion, receptivity, and availability, which can move from self-as-body to self-as-being among beings. Though often regarded as the first French existentialist, he dissociated himself from figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre, preferring the term philosophy of existence or neo-Socrateanism to define his own thought. His brand of existentialism was said to be largely unknown in the English-speaking world, where it was mistakenly associated with that of Jean-Paul Sartre. As an existentialist, Marcel’s freedom is tied to the raw experiences of the body. Gabriel Marcel was born in Paris in 1889, the city where he also died in 1973. Presence is concerned with recognizing the self as a being-among-beings, and acknowledging the relevance of others’ experiences to the self, as a being. To be sure, even as experiences change, society evolves, and relations emerge, the individual who seeks meaning through an investigation of their being will never be fully satisfied. For Marcel, an understanding of one’s being is only possible through secondary reflection, since it is a reflection whereby the self asks itself how and from what starting point the self is able to proceed (E 14). Although “presence” is found throughout Marcel’s work, he admits that it is impossible to give a rigorous definition of it. To be available is not to be possessed as an object. Throughout his life, Marcel sought out, and was sought out by, various influential thinkers, including Paul Ricoeur, Jacques Maritain, Charles Du Bos, Gustave Thibon, and Emmanuel Levinas. It was in these early wedded years that Marcel became engaged as a playwright, philosopher, and literary critic. The "theistic existentialism" of the French Catholic philosopher Gabriel Marcel is too little known in the English-speaking parts of the world, and too often assimilated uncritically to the philosophy of Sartre, to which it is in many respects diametrically opposed. (Marcel was pleased to be awarded the Peace Prize of the Börsenverein des Buchhandels in 1964.). The mark of presence is the mutual tie to the other. He was raised primarily by his mother’s sister, whom his father married two yea… Life is, for the problematic man, a series of opportunities to possess, and the body is alienated from the problematic man’s own corporeality. University of Texas at San Antonio Rather, the self cannot fully understand the existential position without orientating itself to something other than the self. A prolific life-long writer, his early works reflected his interest in idealism. Reflexive reflection is the reflection of the exigent self (see 5 below). To move towards a greater sense of being, one must have creative fidelity. At first glance, Marcelian freedom is paradoxical: the more one enters into a self-centered project, the less legitimate it is to say that the act is free, whereas the more the self is engaged with other free individuals, the more the self is free. That we are body, of course, naturally lends us to think of the body in terms of object. Ontological exigence is the Marcelian actualization of transcendence, which is manifested as a thirst for the fullness of being and a demand to transcend the world of abstract objectivity. The ability to yield to that which is encountered, and so to pledge oneself to another, is the component of presence that Marcel calls availability (HV 23). When we are able to act freely, we can move away from the isolated perspective of the problematic man (“I am body only,”) to that of the participative subject (“I am a being among beings”) who is capable of interaction with others in the world. On the strength of this, Gabriel Marcel, the leading religious existentialist in Europe, considering our state of life in a relational level, propounded the theory of I-thou relationship. In fact, participation with others is initiated through acts of feeling which not only allow the subject to experience the body as his own, but which enable him to respond to others as embodied, sensing, creative, participative beings as well. He believed that, “As soon as there is creation, we are in the realm of being,” and also that, “There is no sense using the word ‘being’ except where creation is in view,” (PGM xiii). One of the differences in how we use the term is in the strength of a thing’s “here-ness”. The philosophical approach known as existentialism is commonly recognized for its view that life’s experiences and interactions are meaningless. His existentialism is centered on commitment to the development of the individual’s real existence, establishing mutual respect, and trust in human relationship which acknowledge the worth of man in relation to his fellow man in the feeling of connection. The leading exponents of existentialism are Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), a Danish philosopher, Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, German philosophers, Gabriel Marcel and Jean u1 Sartre, French philosophers and a host of others like Schelling, Nietsche, Pascal, Hussrell, etc.. Marcel was the only child of Henri and Laure Marcel. Existence is prior, and existence is prior to any abstracting that we do on the basis of our perception. Marcel was opposed to anti-Semitism and supported reaching out to non-Catholics. He is often classified as one of the earliest existentialists, although he dreaded being placed in the same category as Jean-Paul Sartre; Marcel came to prefer the label neo-Socratic (possibly because of SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard, the father of Christian existentialism, who was a neo-Socratic thinker himself). Existentialism being one of the models of philosophy advocates for a life of commitment which gives focus and sense of direction to one’s life. Communion with other participative beings is renewing to the self as a result of the other giving to me out of who he is, rather than merely by what he says. This devolution creates a situation in which individuals experience the self only as a statement, as an object, “I am x.”. After converting to Catholicism in 1929, he became a noted opponent of atheistic existentialism, and primarily that of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre’s characterizations of the isolated self, the death of God, and lived experience as having “no exit” especially disgusted Marcel. Sartre’s notion of commitment is based on the strength of the solitary decisions made by individuals who have committed themselves fully to personal independence. His primary texts span a range of relevant contemporary topics, and recent monographs have rejuvenated dialogue on Marcel's … GABRIEL MARCEL: MYSTERY OF BEING In the past Existentialism in continental Europe was dominated by the profound but deplorable influence of Sartre's atheistic existentialism, of which even Heidegger is known to have said, "Good God! When he was eight he moved for a year where his father was minister plenipotentiary. The notion of presence for Marcel is comprised of two other parallel notions, communion and availability. The objectification of the self through one’s possessions robs one of her freedom, and separates her from the experiences of her own participation in being. and M. Machado, “Marcel’s Notion of Incarnate Being,” In, Zuidema, S.U. Perhaps the most fundamental ideological disagreement between the two was over the notion of autonomy. It isn’t simply to pursue the impetus of the exigent life, although that is involved. Just as the joints of the skeleton are conjoined and adapted to bones, Marcel contends that the individual life finds its justification and its meaning by being inwardly conjoined, adapted, and oriented towards something other than itself (V I, 201-2). The goal of primary reflection, then, is to problematize the self and its relation to the world, and so it seeks to reduce and conquer particular things. Primary reflection explains the relationship of an individual to the world based on her existence as an object in the world, whereas secondary reflection takes as its point of departure the being of the individual among others. To sum it up, Gabriel Marcel’s existentialism can serve as a solution to how we should live our lives. Hope for Marcel is not faith that things will go well, because most often, things do not go well. The depravity of the problematic man threatens to suffocate. Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973) was a philosopher, drama critic, playwright and musician. A key aspect of communion, then, is the way it limits the objectification of beings. Neither does mere contemplation suffice to explain this phenomenon. “Autobiographical Essay,” In, Marcel, Gabriel. The exigent person can transcend her problematicity—indeed, she, “Gradually develops individuality” (CF 149), and she does this by being aware of the self as a body in relation with, and in participation with, others in the world. “Reply to Gene Reeves,” In, Strauss, E.W. The term “presence” is used in various ways in the English language, although each connote a “here-ness” that indicates whether or not a subject was “here”. Marcel rejects primary reflection as applicable to ontological matters because he believes it cannot understand the main metaphysical issue involved in existence: the incommunicable experience of the body as mine. In spite of the many whom he positively influenced, Marcel became known for his very public disagreements with Jean-Paul Sartre. Additionally, fidelity requires that a subject be open to changing her mind, actions, and beliefs if those things do not contribute to a better grasp of what it means to be. As for his literary works, Marcel in total published more than 30 plays, a number of which have been translated in English and produced in the United States. Marcel’s autonomy is rooted in a commitment to participation with others (see 3 below), and is unique in that the participative subject is committed by being encountered, or approached by, another individual’s need. Marcel was the only child of Henri and Laure Marcel. No longer does the subject have to struggle with her facticity, but she can find contentment through the mutual presence—from the communion and availability she has with a community of beings, all of whom are committed to the same end. (This isn’t to say, of course, that the self will experience wholeness just in virtue of her being available to others. Availability can be understood as being at hand, or handiness, so that a person is ready to respond to another when called upon. Marcel argues that one cannot have presence with—that is, one cannot welcome or gather to the self—whatever is purely and simply an object. One can create, and create destructively. But what is it that Marcel thinks we ought to be faithful towards? The Philosophy Of Existentialism Gabriel Gabriel Honoré Marcel (1889-1973) was a French philosopher, playwright, music Marcel was puzzled and disappointed that his reputation was almost entirely based on his philosophical treatises and not on his plays, which he wrote in the hope of appealing to a wider lay audience. And, where there is objectification, there cannot be participation, and without the availability of participation, there cannot be presence. But individuals who resort to seeing the self and the world in terms of functionality are ontologically deficient because not only can they not properly respond to the needs of others, but they have become isolated and independent from others. The most significant end achievable for an individual is to be immersed in the beings of others, for only with others does the self experience wholeness of being. Together, communion and availability enable an individual to come into a complete participation with another being. For Marcel, it means that the self is “given” to the other, and that givenness is responsively received or reciprocated. This movement towards is the philosophical project for Gabriel Marcel. Although all humans have basic, autonomous freedom (Marcel thought of this as “capricious” freedom), in virtue of their embodiment and consciousness; only those persons who seek to experience being by freely engaging with other free beings can break out of the facticity of the body and into the fulfillment of being. It is not enough to be constant, since constancy is tenacity towards a specific goal, which requires neither presence nor an openness to change. Fidelity exists only when it triumphs over the gap in presence from one being to another—when it helps others relate, and so defies absences in presence (CF 152). Negatively, freedom is, “The absence of whatever resembles an alienation from oneself,” and positively as when, “The motives of my action are within the limits of what I can legitimately consider as the structural traits of my self,” (TF, 232). I never in tended that!" It is our active freedom that prevents us from the snare of objectifying the self, and which brings us into relationships with others. In his introduction to The Philosophy of Existentialism, Gabriel Marcel describes the first three essays, which make up most of the book. On the strength of this, Gabriel Marcel, the leading religious existentialist in Europe, considering our state of life in a relational level, propounded the theory of I … The subject is not an object to be disposed of, then, but a fellow subject in need of the influence of the experiences of the other. If the creative élan is a move away from the objectification of humanity, it must be essentially tied relationally to others. The typical person (that is, the “Problematic man”) has become an object to him or herself through sheer busyness of life, through a lack of meaningful relationships with others, and through the intrusion of technological advancement. Freedom, then, is always about the possibilities of the self, understood within the confines of relationships with others. Most noted within existentialism for his disputes with Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel Marcel was a gifted essayist and playwright, specializing in matters of faith and morality. Nevertheless, his philosophy lets us feel our freedom within ourselves through the help of active participation and reflection. Just as secondary reflection must be active in order to participate with others, the exigent self’s reflexive reflection is rooted in an active, more developed sense of availability to others (see 3). Regardless of his point of departure, Marcel throughout his life balked at the designation of his philosophy as, “Theistic existentialism.” He argued that, though theism was consistent with his existentialism, it was not an essential characteristic of it. Communion with others can give new meaning to experiences that otherwise would have been closed to the self. He converted to Catholicism in 1929 and his philosophy was later described as “Christian Existentialism” (most famously in Jean-Paul Sartre's “Existentialism is a … The person who sees herself as autonomous within herself has a freedom based on ill-fated egocentrism. , For many years, Marcel hosted a weekly philosophy discussion group through which he met and influenced important younger French philosophers like Jean Wahl, Paul RicÅur, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Paul Sartre. ", Another related major thread in Marcel was the struggle to protect one's subjectivity from annihilation by modern materialism and a technologically driven society. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gabriel_Marcel&oldid=967494278, 20th-century French dramatists and playwrights, Converts to Roman Catholicism from atheism or agnosticism, Members of the AcadÃ©mie des sciences morales et politiques, Pages using infobox philosopher with unknown parameters, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 July 2020, at 15:33. Existentialism being one of the models of philosophy advocates for a life of commitment which gives focus and sense of direction to one’s life. Marcel was the son of an agnostic, and was himself an atheist until his conversion to Catholicism in 1929. He converted to Catholicism in 1929 and his philosophy was later described as “Christian Existentialism” (most famously in Jean-Paul Sartre's “Existentialism is a Humanism”) a term he initially endorsed but later repudiated. The result is a type of freedom-by-degrees in which all people are free, since to be free is to be self-governing, but not all people experience freedom that can lead them out of objectification. The unavailable person is characterized by an absorption with her self, whether with her own successes and accomplishments or her own problems. Faith and Reality,Metaphysical Journal,Man Against Mass Society,Being and Having - An Existentialist Diary,Philosophical Fragments 1909-1914, etc. Gabriel Marcel, an only child, was born in Paris in 1889, and his mother died when he was only four. Its question time ! Marcel was not a “dogmatic pacifist,” but experiences in World War I as a non-combatant solidified to Marcel the, “Desolate aspect that it [war] became an object of indignation, a horror without equal,” (AE 20) and contributed to a life-long fascination with death. He wrote many other books, such as Mystery of Being: 1. Not only is such a person separated from his own being as a result, he is distanced from the true mystery of being. For Marcel, the human subject cannot exist in the technological world, instead being replaced by a human object. To be unavailable is to be preoccupied with the self as an object, to be self-centered in such a way as to exclude the possibility of engaging with others as subjects (BH 74, 78). The opaque person ceased to let his presence pass into the world, and so has blocked the experiences of others to help inform and shape his own. All people become a master of defining their individual selves by either their possessions or by their professions. By this time his father (a lapsed Catholic) was an agnostic, and his aunt was nominally a liberal Protestant. However, the phenomenology of Marcelian freedom is characterized by his insistence that freedom is something to be experienced, and the self is fully free when it is submerged in the possibilities of the self and the needs of others. Marcel is generally considered a “Christian existentialist” due to his Catholicism and the influence of Søren Kierkegaard on his philosophy. Self-love, self-satisfaction, complacency, or even self-anger are attitudes which can paralyze one’s existential progress and mitigate against the creative impulse. 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