Skye Cleary on Existentialism and Authenticity
God is dead, as Nietzsche’s madman memorably reminded us. So what are we going to do about it? If there is no powerful force out there to guide us and give meaning to our lives, how are we supposed to live? Do we have to come up with meaning and purpose ourselves? Apparently so, and how to pull it off was a major question addressed by the existentialist movement. Skye Cleary turns to Simone de Beauvoir, in particular, for thoughts on how to construct an authentic life. Her recent book is How to Be Authentic: Simone de Beauvoir and the Quest for Fulfillment.
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Skye Cleary received a Ph.D. and an MBA from Macquarie University. She is an author and philosopher and also teaches at Columbia University and the City College of New York. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Aeon, The Times Literary Supplement, TED-Ed, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets. She won the 2017 New Philosopher Writers’ Award and was a 2021 MacDowell Fellow.
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