chapter  V
Gravediggers at Work
WithHelmut Kuhn
Pages 15

The Existentialist’s emphasis on the concrete individual animated by passionate concern rescues from forgetfulness an important truth about man. The Existentialists form a much more ruthless demolition squad. The Existentialist’s emphasis on the concrete individual animated by passionate concern rescues from forgetfulness an important truth about man. Ontology, the theory of being as a constructive principle, requires an existential supplement: the idea of life reaching its consummation in an act of vision. The human counterpart to non-Being or Nothingness, the existential mode of apprehending it, is a counterfeit contemplation—contemplation emptied of its original plenitude of meaning. The Existentialist motif, passion as the fundamental trait of the concrete individual, similarly combines an important insight with a fatal omission. The Existentialist’s message is not devoid of truth, and the particular element of truth which he conveys is very much in tune with the stark and obtrusive facts of time which, as Jaspers judges, is out of touch with Being.