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John Paul Sartre Paper

Jean-Paul Sartre says “man is nothing else but what he makes of himself” (762). This existentialist view depicts the idea that one is not based on the essence of a soul, but rather, based on decisions made throughout life. Sartre also believes that every man is responsible for all men. One may choose his marriage partner, however, in choosing to marry, one chooses monogamy. Decisions that individuals make will collectively create a set of principles and beliefs for all of man.
Many people believe that a person's decisions are a reflection of his soul and personality. However, it is more likely that the conclusion a person reaches is due to the influence of different ideas, as well as the circumstances surrounding the choices. One does not have an innate “essence”, but instead, the choices that a person makes constantly shape his character, which in turn creates his essence.
Decision-making is based on many different conditions and controlling factors that exist at the time of conflict. People take into consideration the thoughts and opinions of others, hindering the idea of an individual's essence. If an essence really existed, another person's thoughts would not affect someone else's. Instead, a person makes choices from birth and the different decisions that one chooses form a pattern and creates one's character.
Sartre also says, “Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life” (769). This exemplifies the point that man is the product of his actions and has complete control over his own life. The soul and personality that are given to a person do not limit him in his actions; the judgments that he makes depict the type of person that he is. Therefore the essence does not create the man, the man creates his essence.

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