“Existentialism is each a philosophy and a temper,” says Hazel Barnes by means of opening the tv sequence Self-Encounter: A Research in Existentialism. “As a temper, I believe let’s imagine that it’s the temper of the 20 th century — or, a minimum of, of these folks within the twentieth century who’re discontent with issues as they’re. It expresses the sensation that, someway or different, all of these techniques — whether or not they be social, psychological, or scientific — which have tried to outline and clarify and decide man, have someway missed the residing particular person particular person.”
Existentialism was on the rise in 1961, when Barnes spoke these phrases, and the following six a long time have arguably executed little to assuage its discontent. By the point of Self-Encounter‘s broadcast in ’61, Barnes was already well-known in philosophical circles for her English translation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. When she took on that job, with what she later described as “three years of badly taught highschool French and one yearlong course in faculty, and a naked minimal of background in philosophy,” she couldn’t have recognized that it will set her on the highway to changing into probably the most well-known popularizer of existentialism in America.
5 years after the publication of Barnes’ Sartre translation, alongside got here the chance to host a ten-part sequence on Nationwide Public Academic Tv (a predecessor of PBS) explaining Sartre’s thought in addition to that of different writers like Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Richard Wright, between dramatizations of scenes drawn from existentialist literature. Self-Encounter was as soon as “considered fully misplaced, the unique tapes having been reported recorded over,” writes Nick Nielsen. However after the sequence’ surprising rediscovery in 2017, all of its episodes steadily made their option to the online. You may watch all ten of them straight via in the practically five-hour video on the high of the submit, or view them one-by-one on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.
“Self Encounter was produced in 1961 and first broadcast in 1962,” Nielsen writes. “I can not assist however word that Route 66 aired from 1960 to 1964, The Outer Limits aired from 1963 to 1965, Rawhide aired from 1959 to 1965, and Perry Mason aired from 1957 to 1966″ — to not point out The Twilight Zone, from 1959 to 1964. “It could be tough to call one other tv milieu of comparable depth. Our psychological picture of this era of American historical past as being certainly one of stifling conformity is belied by these darkish views on human nature.” And as for the social, psychological, scientific, and naturally technological techniques in impact in the present day, the existentialists would certainly take a dim view of their potential to liberate us from conformity — or another side of the human situation.
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Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His initiatives embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the e book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Fb, or on Instagram.