Free Critical Thinking About The Passionate And Nihilist People In Simone De Beauvoir’s “The Ethics Of Ambiguity”
Upon birth, all children exist in a world with pre-set values and authorities that determine what is right and wrong. However, their minds do not perceive such notions and throughout childhood, an individual exhibits personal freedom by taking actions without fear of repercussions. However, once children reach what Beauvoir refers to as the crisis of adolescence, they have to realize their responsibilities as existing beings. At this point, inauthentic attitudes emerge as people seek to relate to concepts of freedom, responsibility, and oppression with reference to objectivity and subjectivity. On that note, objectivity encourages one to consider other people in their actions and subjectivity supports the opposite; the resulting attitudes include the passionate and nihilistic humans.
A nihilist is rebellious and tends to reject ideologies that people consider standard grounds for morality. Consequently, all sets of value become meaningless to the cynic who believes them as not only baseless but also unfeasible. One can safely argue that nihilistic people are those who become pessimistic about the nature of those around them and will opt for seclusion or destruction. Through seclusion, one achieves freedom by not having to care for the well-being of other people or the possibility of their families shunning them for their life choices. Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” provides a good illustration where the lead character, for fear of the community rejecting her, decides to live a lonely life. Consequently, when she commits murder, none of her neighbors think to suspect her of the act even when there is a foul smell emitting from her home, after all, she has always been peculiar. Hence, nihilism allows one to defy cultural norms without fear of repercussions, the people in Faulkner’s narration found out about the murder on the day of the proprietor’s funeral.
A passionate person does not care for anything other than what he or she wants, and will employ the concept of subjectivity where they end up neglecting or exploiting others. Hence, because of their passion, such persons will choose to possess the entity of their personal value at any cost. For this reason, the passionate man achieves freedom by gaining their desires without the interference of other people. In other words, although they do not care for other peoples’ views and expectations, such persons expect their wishes to take priority in every sense of the word. In Greek Mythology, there is the story of King Midas whose love for gold was renowned in all of Athens. Accordingly, the man wished for the golden touch so that he could turn everything he touches into precious gold. Such is the desire of the passionate people based on Beauvoir’s inauthentic attitudes, where the people use any methods to fulfill their needs. While making his wish, Midas did not care for his family or subjects because if his hand could turn anything to gold, that means he could turn people to the precious stone as well. Later he turns his daughter into a gold statue and realizes the golden touch is a curse. If Midas’ myth is anything to go by, then one can safely argue that the passionate attitude leads to later regrets.
Beauvoir, Simone De. The Ethics Of Ambiguity. New York: Citadel, 2000. Print.
Craft, Charlotte. King Midas and the Golden Touch. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Print.
Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily and Other Stories: A Rose for Emily; The Hound; Turn About; That Evening Sun; Dry September; Delta Autumn; Barn Burning; An Odor of Verbena. New York: Random House , 2012. Print.
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