My understanding is that Jean Paul Sartre, the rejector of Nobel Prize for literature in 1964, pretty much invented a public role for unaffiliated individuals devoting their intellect in service of society. Such public intellectuals’ job is to contribute fresh and innovative ideas to help solve complex problems that have defied solutions for long. However, it is not enough to pour out ideas from ivory towers whether from academia or the media, removed from the street world.

1218917 Jean-Paul Sartre with Michele Vian, during a protest against the murder of Pierre Overney, 1972 (b/w photo); Private Collection; ( Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (1905-1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic); Photo © AGIP.

Beginning with this introductory essay, I will be posting a daily blog at my corner of the blogosphere. Here you may find some nuggets culled from a lifetime of observing this world of phenomena.

Acting on his belief, Sartre protested against France’s colonial rule over Algeria and its brutal war to suppress the Muslim population. He walked the streets of Paris carrying his placard. His works of fiction, along with a few other writers, held aloft the ideal that life by itself is meaningless, and nature has no agenda but to exist and evolve, given the physical conditions. It is up to individuals to put meaning into their lives by devoting themselves to a cause greater than themselves. This was the essence of the post World War II philosophy called existentialism.

In American life, it has always been axiomatic, something self-evident, to act on the assumption that you as an individual have power to influence your world.

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