If you have not read jean-paul sartre's play NO EXIT you should pick up a copy and check it out.  It is his existential thought vented through a ficticious selection of well thought out characters.  The plot line is solid and being sartre, full of real world meaning and philosophy.  The setting is 3 seemingly normal people who find themselves in hell-in this case a locked room with 3 couches and pretty much nothing else.  I dont want to ruin the play for those of you who havnt read it yet, so if you are one of those people, please read NO MORE until you have read the play. 

 

The topic which i would like feedback on is (obviously) not the ficticious "hell" this play is centered on, nor the characters and their deeds that landed them there, but the notion of "Hell is other people" and the real world relation of this quote/ideal.  I loved the line when i first read it, and the more so because i had never read much in this area except the occasional shakespearean epic and liked the play immensely.  Regardless if you like it or not, the idea that any consciousness outside of ourselves, namely the ominous "other", is the basis for our fear of many things is intriguing.  From sartre's philosophy (esp. Being and Nothingness) the "other" is greatly covered: from "the look" of the other and how it leaves us naked in the dark, to how we take the look of the other as being a basis for existence, ect. Relating directly to the vain girl in the play, she has no mirror and freaks out at not being able to see her own appearance.  The other girl in the room offers to be her mirror for her, but that freaks her out even more.  She cannot bear the fact that she would have to see herself through someone else's eyes and not her own (as a mirror most closely resembles).  In fact, almost all of the issues in the room have to deal with the fear of seeing yourself through someone else's eyes and the fear of how the "other" actually percieves you, especially if it differs from the thought you have of yourself (which, his point being, that it infinitely will since just being "outside" of ourselves irrevocably changes the view). So back to sartre's premise earlier stated, that hell is other people.  Do you find that to be the case in your life? Even if youre not an existentialist its hard to disagree with.  At most you can say that you dont mind the look of the other, or blatently lie and say they only have a good view of you (dont we wish).  But when you get down past superficiallity to the core of you vs. the other, the fact that you have no control of how the other views you unnerves most of us, and employing "bad faith" can only get you so far.  I find the notion of "hell is other people" to be innovative at the least, and a great starting point from which reality takes off.  LMK what you think on the subject, i find the "others" views on this helpful to my own understanding of reality and personal philosophy.  ~rookie~

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