I’ve been reading Simone De Beuvoir’s The Blood of Others. It’s a grating read. It cuts to the pain of an ethical quandary that I feel should grate at us all – are we responsible for everything? Or should we just take care of ourselves? It goes to the heart of existentialist angst – the French variety.
In it, the main character, Jean, quotes Dostoyevsky:
“Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being.”
Jean adds: “We’re all responsible. But ‘all’ means each of us. I’ve always felt that, even when I was a kid; my eyes are sufficient for this boulevard to exist…I see everything taking place, as if everything that happens, happens through me.”
And so, in classic existentialist form (always, already) he sums up the philosophical basis of our purpose on this planet. But Helene his clinging girlfriend wants more from him. She responds: