Who is Gabriel Marcel?June 25, 2021
French existentialist philosopher who lived between 1889-1973. He is a Christian existentialist.
Opposing idealism, which he believed to identify the real with the rational, that is, with essences or values, to transform things into pure objects, and to deny existence on the grounds that it was contradictory, Marcel emphasized the importance of belief and, like Heidegger, tried to reveal the ontological weight of human experience.
He is also known as the first French phenomenologist. On the other hand, he entered the literature as a Christian existentialist. Besides being a philosopher, he is a playwright, critic and composer. Among such centers of interest as Catholicism, phenomenology, and Kierkegaard, he had the opportunity to philosophize some “affective” terms; such as “devotion” and “devotion”.
Marcel and Existentialism
Marcel’s philosophy is based on concepts such as secret, problem, possession. Marcel “Who am I?” asks the question and in response, “I am the body.” says. But this does not mean that he reduces the self to the body, he simply does not separate the body from the self, as he rejects Descartes’ dualism. Because the body is the form that carries me and enables me to communicate with others. That is, I exist for others through my body and I exist with my body. Marcel does not refer to “the other” in a negative sense like Sartre. Although, when Sartre said “Hell is other people”, he did not mean to distance himself from people, to reject sociality, when he was designating the other as the area that surrounds and watches me outside of me, determining the limits of my freedom.
On a more positive side, Marcel attributes our existence entirely to the existence of others, other selves, and the me in contact with them. Arguing that belief in God is purely personal, Marcel thinks that God is the most valuable “you” with whom he is connected, apart from himself. We can reach God by introspection, and this experience is purely individual, not shared, not proven. Because God cannot be grasped by the mind. Man realizes secrets and problems with introspection. Secrets are understood with intuition, problems are understood with reason. The person who finds himself through introspection, who finds the most mysterious truth, namely his self, then discovers God and the world. “The concrete self exists only in relation to a truth that transcends itself.”
“Like Plato’s myth of recollection (anamnesis), Marcel’s doctrine of mystery is a recovery that results from the learning of a privileged and lost state of unmediated presence: when we learn to think by moving away from what we have learned to think, we reconnect with what we have lost and thus become more present. the next step of thinking brings us closer to it.”
Here, what Marcel means by thinking is not thinking in the traditional sense, but an intuitive understanding that leads to a kind of mystery. This is only possible through introspection, or more precisely, when a person turns to himself.
His Christianity is a Christian humanism. ‘ “My most private and unwavering conviction – which, if it is against accepted doctrines, is most against orthodoxy – is this: God does not want to be loved at all by us, in the presence of his servants, but to be glorified and exalted by his servants, whatever he may say about most religious and educated people. He wants this to be the starting point. This is why many religious books are intolerable to me. This God, who leans on his servants and is somehow jealous of what he has created, is only an idol in my eyes. And until the birth of a new religion, I declare that I will not be sincere when I write anything that contradicts what I am writing now.” (Etre et Avoir)’
In Marcel’s philosophy, “love” and “loyalty” have an important place in my relationship with others.
“I have seen that I am with others in the world that has demands on me: I react to others and take responsibilities with or for them. That is, far from my own being, the ground of my certainty in cognition and the motif of consistency in my will is the existence of another, which gives me my basic notion of existence, and the affirmation of my own existence as long as I believe in and act upon the existence of others; similarly, it is a sincere response to another who will faithfully initiate and continue the creation of my own being. Reflecting on this essence of moral existence leads to a metaphysics of Being.” … “Marcel will evaluate Nietzsche’s discourse, underlining its depth: ‘Man is the only being who can make promises’, make himself dependent on things, and determine his future.
Confronting, taking responsibility, evaluating are the main actions of personal existence. Worry and anxiety is something that dries the soul and hinders every sincere attempt. “If I decide to live in faith, hope, and compassion, nurturing patience and humility in deep devotion to God, I am living for a purpose I believe exists and for which I am willing to lose everything else: I affirm something above what I have and the risk I take. is my life.” What he understands by faith is something that a person lives within himself. Because