... For we mean that man first exists, that is, that man first of all is the being who hurls himself toward a future and who is conscious of imagining himself as being in the future. Man is at the start a plan which is aware of itself, rather than a patch of moss, a piece of garbage, or a cauliflower; nothing exists prior to this plan; there is nothing in heaven; man will be what he will have planned to be. Not what he will want to be....
French philosopher, novelist, playwright, critic, and political activist. Sartre was born in Paris and earned his doctorate in philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure. While serving as a provincial schoolmaster, he produced a flood of philosophical essays and seminal works, such as the novel Nausea (1938) and the short story collection The Wall (1939), which embodied the philosophy of radical freedom Sartre called existentialism. Described by the New York Times as a rebel of a thousand causes, a modern Don Quixote, Sartre was a major force in the intellectual life of post–World War II Europe, and existentialism influenced generations of artists and thinkers. Steadfastly independent, Sartre refused the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964. His major works include the plays The Flies (1943) and No Exit (1944), as well as the essays Being and Nothingness (1943) and Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960). See also sartre.org.