Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Simone de Beauvoir: "... And Truth Rewarded Me."

Charlie Phillips - Grave Stone of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

Henri Cartier-Bresson – Simone de Beauvoir (Paris, 1945)
From the writings of the bold, brilliant Simone de Beauvoir --

“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.” (The Blood of Others, 1946)

“In spite of so many stubborn lies, at every moment, at every opportunity, the truth comes to light, the truth of life and death, of my solitude and my bond with the world, of my freedom and my servitude, of the insignificance and the sovereign importance of each man and all men ... It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our life that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for acting.” (Ethics of Ambiguity, 1947)

“The present enshrines the past—and in the past all history has been made by men.” (The Second Sex, 1949)

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” (The Second Sex, 1949)

“It was said that I refused to grant any value to the maternal instinct and to love. This was not so. I simply asked that women should experience them truthfully and freely, whereas they often use them as excuses and take refuge in them, only to find themselves imprisoned in that refuge when those emotions have dried up in their hearts. I was accused of preaching sexual promiscuity; but at no point did I ever advise anyone to sleep with just anyone at just any time; my opinion on this subject is that all choices, agreements and refusals should be made independently of institutions, conventions and motives of self-aggrandizement; if the reasons for it are not of the same order as the act itself, then the only result can be lies, distortions and mutilations.” (Force of Circumstances Vol. III, 1963)

“Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it. Psychiatrists have told me that they give The Second Sex to their women patients to read, and not merely to intellectual women but to lower-middle-class women, to office workers and women working in factories. 'Your book was a great help to me. Your book saved me,' are the words I have read in letters from women of all ages and all walks of life. If my book has helped women, it is because it expressed them, and they in their turn gave it its truth ...” (Force of Circumstances Vol. III, 1963)

“Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.” (The Coming of Age, 1970)

“I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth — and truth rewarded me.” (All Said and Done, 1972)

"In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation." (Quoted in Bisexual Characters in Film: From Anaïs to Zee, 1997)

In the early 1950s, the philosopher Simone de Beauvoir visited the writer Nelson Algren in Chicago. During that visit, Algren's friend, the photographer Art Shay, took some candid photos of de Beauvoir.
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See Also

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