Contemporary Buddhism 13 (1):99-112 (2012)
|Abstract||The central character in Sartre's 1938 novel La Nausée, Antoine Roquentin, has lost his sense of things, and now the world appears to him as utterly unstable. Roquentin suffers from what he calls ?nausea,? a condition caused by an ontological intuition that the self, as well as the world through which that ?self? moves, lacks a substantial nature. The novel portrays Sartre's own philosophical account of the self in La transcendence de l'égo. Here Sartre argues that Husserl's account of consciousness is not radical enough; the ?I? or ego is a pseudo-source of activity (and Sartre thus draws very close to a particularly Buddhist account of personal identity). My essay questions Roquentin's response to his ontological insight: why is this the occasion for ?nausea?? Why doesn't Roquentin (as King Milinda famously does) celebrate and embrace his ?non-self?? I argue that Sartre's depiction of Roquentin's ailment, and the unsatisfactory solution he provides, misunderstands both the aggregate nature of things as well as authentically rendered consciousness-only (vijñaptim?tra)|
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