Re-reading the Greats: Jean Paul Sartre, Pepe Escobar, et. al.

I’ve been reading Pepe Escobar’s articles for over 30 years–since the time I would read re-prints of his “Asia Times” articles in The Japan Times–my daily reading when I lived in Japan. These days, I mostly catch his work at a number of excellent global websites.

Pepe (if I may call him that, respectfully) was first-rate decades ago; his light is undiminished now. There are, however, 2 items in this article on Jean Paul Sartre that I’d like to consider here:

1) “His last great passion was for the creative anarchy of 1968, the half-centenary of which will be celebrated in the coming year. At the time, he remarked: ‘If one rereads all my books, one will realize that I have not changed profoundly, and that I have always remained an anarchist.’ and–

2) “Critique of Dialectical Reason remains a stinging tour de force, and even with its many flaws (for which its ambition is a mitigating factor) is a must read for all of us who still (naively) believe — against all evidence offered by the intractability of geopolitics — that reason may be a force for good in the world.”

Surely there’s a basic contradiction here. How does one reconcile “anarchy” with “reason”? Reason is orderly, logical, analytical. Anarchy may be “fun” (for some), “creative” (for some), but it is essentially anti-rationalist. Neither Sartre nor Pepe E. seem able to reconcile these 2 very different energies.

And, perhaps that is one of the greatest problems we face now as a species! Just how do we reconcile opposites?

Another great writer/thinker (from the 19th Century) was Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He defined “poetry” as “the reconcilement of opposites.”

Re-reading, re-examining the greats may help us through the labyrinth of our confused and confusing Zeitgeist.

In an age of Hollow Men and existential angst, re-read Sartre –
by Pepe Escobar

Sartre (left) and Jean-Luc Godard, one of the leaders of French “nouvelle vague” cinema movement, address journalists in February 1971, in Paris. Photo: AFP


Gary Corseri
{p}Gary Corseri has posted and published articles, fiction, poetry and dramas at Common Dreams, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice and hundreds of other venues internationally. His dramas have appeared on Atlanta-PBS and elsewhere.He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library.{/p} {p}His books include the novels, A Fine Excess: An Australian Odyssey and Holy Grail, Holy Grail: Quest East, Quest West{/p}

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