[ilds] heraldic universe and other animals

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 10:45:37 PDT 2011

On 28/06/11 8:19 AM, allysonk at mweb.co.za wrote:
 > So did paul eluard who was a surrealist.

Miller uses Eluard as his first example in "An Open Letter to 
Surrealists Everywhere."  As for Sartre, could one say he was until he 
wasn't?  Sartre (in my limited reading) promoted existentialism as a 
humanist philosophy, which I think led to a debate with Heidegger and 
most certainly with Althusser.  Though he certainly supported the 
Communist Party, he also rejected authority and power as well as the 
anti-humanist branches of Marxism and Communism.

My recollection is that Sartre and Heidegger clashed over the notion of 
reason and selfhood in the Enlightenment sense of being self-conscious 
creatures with the capacity for reason and free will.  An Althusser 
might argue that social being determines the self or subject (via Marx 
though some would disagree).  Hence, for the anti-humanists, reason and 
choice are determined by the material conditions (or in some folks' 
sense, Base determines Superstructure).  Sartre (IMO) didn't like that 
component of Marxism or Communism and still sought a self-determining 
subject with some pre-social ontology and who could be convinced by 
reason rather than compelled by power or authority, and I don't think 
such a subject is so very far off from Durrell's "solopsistic" 
tendencies, though Durrell was clearly anti-Marxist while Sartre was not.

Unless I'm mistaken, for some of these reasons, Sartre later used the 
term anarchist, though he'd used it to self-describe at several points 
during his career.

Many of the Surrealists self-identified as Communists, and those 
politics were part of Breton's lead.


More information about the ILDS mailing list