Ross School - Senior Projects 2011
Mentor: Ken Sacks
Domain(s): Cultural History, English
Title: Existance – The Self, The Other, and Me.
Existence, The Self, The Other, and Me is a series of essays on human existence highlighting the process by which one forms their self. The first essay, The Self, explores two great philosopherÕs ideas on the formation of and authentic self: Jean-Paul Sartre, and Soren Kierkegaard. The second essay, The Other, explores the formation of an authentic self when the Other is introduced. Using SartreÕs philosophical text, Being and Nothingness, The Other analyses SartreÕs great play, No Exit. The last of the three essays, labeled, Me details my journey through existence these past seven months and explains my philosophy on existentialism.
I began my project in the spring of junior year with the idea to enter the field of existentialism due to my growing interest in philosophy and other studies of the mind. When I was assigned Sacks as my mentor, I went to him with my idea of creating some form of writing on philosophical studies and research. He gave me the idea of writing essays because essays would allow me to section out my ideas at the same time as I use each essay to play off of one another. Seeing that this would be great practice for writing in college, I chose to take him up on the idea of writing essays. After this, Sacks assigned me some literature to read over the summer. I was assigned literature by Jean Paul Sartre, Camus and Soren Kierkegaard. In addition to extensive reading, Sacks gave me the task of summarizing everything that I read so that when I began the writing process of my project I would have my summaries to refer to since there would be a large period of time between reading and writing.
When I returned to school in the fall, senior projectÕs conclusion was becoming much more realistic. With blog entries due and the entire writing and editing phase of my project ahead of me, I began to fear that I would never finish my project. With encouragement from Sacks, I came up with a game plan and format for my essays. I would write three essays explaining existentialism through the eyes of philosophers. The first, titled the Self would outline the process of forming an authentic Self through the eyes of both Sartre, and Kierkegaard. The second, labeled The Other, would highlight the effect of others on the formation of ones self and how the Other can impede the formation of oneÕs self in an authentic way. The third, would be a personal essay labeled Me, highlighting my process and journey through Existentialism.
After outlining my essays, I began to write. After many failed attempts at writing on my own, Sacks guided me in the right direction with a specific structure upon which I would build my first two essays. I went on to complete and edit my research based essays at a progressively increasing pace as a learned more about the art of writing philosophical essays.
My third and final essay was the most enjoyable to write. I was able to express myself in a more poetic way that is closer to the reality of my personality. Rather than having a structure I had to follow, I was allowed to tap into my artistic self and let the work flow on to the page. In no time I had completed all three of my essays and was ready to present the incredible journey I undertook for the past 8 months.
Kierkegaard, S¿ren, Howard V. Hong, and Edna H. Hong. The Sickness Unto Death: a Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1980. Print.
Sartre, Jean-Paul, and Lloyd Alexander. Nausea. New York: New Directions, 1964. Print.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness; an Essay in Phenomenological Ontology. New York: Citadel, 1964. Print.
Sartre, Jean-Paul, and Wade Baskin. Essays in Existentialism. New York, NY: Citadel, 1993. Print.
Stanford University. "Existentialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 20 Sept. 2010. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/>.
Taylor, Mark C. Journeys to Selfhood, Hegel & Kierkegaard. Berkeley: University of California, 1980. Print.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. No Exit, (Huis Clos) a Play in One Act, & The Flies (Les Mouches) a Play in Three Acts,. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1975. Print.
Sacks, Kenneth. "Re: Question." Message to the author. 07 Dec. 2010. E-mail.
The Temper Trap. "Sweet Disposition." Sweet Disposition. Jim Abbiss, 2008. MP3.
Mathers, Marshal. "Lose Yourself." Eminem. Marshal Mathers & Luis Resto. MP3.
He was supposed to view my work and critique it but failed to respond to me. It was not an issue as I had plenty of help from my mentor and mother.