Getting back to a place with a large library meant that I could get my hands on some favourite books that I hadn?t been able to access for a long time. One of the first books that I borrowed until my own books are unpacked from storage is a slim volume by Sarte sometimes entitled ?Existentialism and Human Emotions? sometimes ?Existentialism and Humanism?. I have missed this manuscript and was really sorry that I didn?t take a copy to Viet Nam as it is small enough to carry in a back pocket if necessary.

In it Sarte is defending existentialism against its detractors and this was delivered as a lecture at the Club Maintenant. He says much in this speech but a couple of things have always impressed.

?Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism.? and ??man is responsible for what he is. Thus existentialism?s first move is to make every man aware of what he is and to make the full responsibility of his existence rest on him.?

Tough stuff in an age where most people try to pass responsibility onto anybody but themselves. To quote the immortal words of Bart Simpson, ?I didn?t do it!?