Consider the following passage, from Jean-Paul Sartre's 1960 existentialist blockbuster "The Critique of Dialectical Reason":<quoted text>
Sartre was smarter than all of us, eventually he would not be drawn on the subject of god, he considered it beneath him, like talking at length about used q-tips.
"But it should be noted that this regulatory totalisation realises my immanence in the group in the quasi-transcendence of the totalising third party; for the latter, as the creator of objectives or organiser of means, stands in a tense and contradictory relation of transcendence-immanence, so that my integration, though real in the here and now which define me, remains somewhere incomplete, in the here and now which characterise the regulatory third party. We see here the re-emergence of an element of alterity proper to the statute of the group, but which here is still formal: the third party is certainly the same, the praxis is certainly common everywhere; but a shifting dislocation makes it totalising when I am the totalised means of the group, and conversely."
There are a number of valid responses to these arguments. One might be: They sure don't make public intellectuals like they used to. Another might be: I'm not sure Sartre's arguments constitute more than a footnote to his work in "L'être et le Néant." A third might be: What was he on?
It's a good question. When he wrote the "Critique," Sartre, a lifelong caffeine fiend and serious drinker, was also frying his brains on corydrane, a form of amphetamine mixed with, of all things, aspirin. The philosopher was using corydrane on a daily basis, first to cut through the fug of the barbiturates he was taking to help him sleepand he was having trouble sleeping not least because of all the corydrane he was putting awaybut also to keep him at his desk, churning out the "Critique." "To put it briefly," he told Simone de Beauvoir some time later, "in philosophy, writing consisted of analysing my ideas; and a tube of corydrane meant 'these ideas will be analysed in the next two days.' " Or, as the Ramones used to put it, Gabba Gabba Hey.
We hear a lot these days about drug abuse, but there is also such a thing as drug usea utilitarian attitude to our body chemistry in which drugs are simply aids to productivity. That's how Sartre treated them, and Marcus Boon argues that "several of Sartre's works show the influence of speed," including "The Idiot of the Family," his incomplete and close to definitively unreadable five-volume study of Flaubert, and "Saint Genet," which, Boon relates, "began as a 50-page preface to Genet's writings, and ended up an 800-page book." Sartre was therefore a recognizable type of speed freak, the type dedicated to obsessive, unfinishable, and, to the neutral observer, pointless toilthe sort who, several hours after taking the drug, can usually be found sitting on the floor, grinding his teeth and alphabetizing his CDs by the name of the sound engineer.
I read that Sartre liked shrooms too and that he would talk to his delusions--little crabs that crawled on his legs and slept on his bed--and that he missed his dear little friends when his delusions stopped.
Oh yeah, that Sartre was sooooooooooo smart......