Sartre’s Spirit World

Culture Death Duty Ethics Freedom Humor Philosophy World

Wry Catcher’s question whether the notion of spirit world addiction reminded me of Jean Paul Sartre’s Les Jeux Sont Faits, which is particularly interesting to Mormons because Sartre’s description of the afterlife happens to coincide with commonly held notions of the spirit world.

Les Jeux Sont Faits is a wonderful drama by Jean Paul Sartre about two lovers who were destined for each other but fate failed to connect them. Meeting as spirits, the lovers file a customer complaint and the “system” affords them a second shot at life.

I won’t spoil the plot but you can imagine how irritated their murderers will be at the victims’ return.

The drama includes wonderful cameos of smokers, philanderers, and conspirators in the afterlife. It’s a great play that introduces you to the existentialist take on the human condition.

The English translation, The Chips Are Down, appears to be out of print but if you can get your hands on an old copy in your local library or on the Internet, it’s worth your while whether you are a faithful or cultural Mormon.

2 thoughts on “Sartre’s Spirit World

  1. I had to click on the link to wry’s post to understand what you were referring to Hellmut.

    Now I get it.

    I haven’t read that book/play but it sounds interesting. And it sounds like quintessential (sp) Sartre.

    I think addiction is an incredibly sad and horrible thing that tears apart people and their families. I believe that addiction is a disease, like high blood pressure or thyroid problems. It’s more complicated than that, because there are some choices involved. But there are choices involved in treating high blood pressure and thyroid problems as well.

    I think a great deal changed in our culture when we started thinking about addiction as an illness instead of a moral failing. About something we can control – or that someone could stop “if they just wanted to”.

    I don’t know what purpose such (IMO) cruel statements to that family at the funeral would serve. Moral superiority?

    Suicide is always tragic. If nothing else, sad for those who are left behind, left wondering how to move forward.

    This would also be a great example of LDS doctrinal debates. Another reason to have some of this “doctrine” be reviewed and go through a process to update, clarify and dispel. To repudiate these kinds of doctrines that are actually quite hurtful and hard for some members to understand.

  2. Thanks, Aerin!

    I remember that during the seventies, the notion that Mormonism dispelled with the magical aspects of religion was quite popular among the members.

    I think that is one reason why people find it attractive to imagine that a personality does not really change with death.

    On the other hand, there are many people who deal with death by taking solace that the deceased no longer suffer.

    Since ‘the’ Mormon view of constant personalities contradicts the end of suffering, there is a price for a greater degree of realism.

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