FROM:A play by John Paul Sartre titled
For Sartre, hell is not
a lake of brimstone, a perpetual fire, nor a place where the devil and
his torturers forever hound their victims. To Sartre, hell is other people.
There are four characters in the play. The opening scene begins with a
valet ushering a man named Garcin into a room. There are three sofas, a
mantelpiece and an immovable massive bronze ornament on the mantelpiece.
As with other countless
rooms in this hell hotel,
there are no mirrors, no windows, nothing breakable. A light burns continuously.
Garcin is left alone
by the valet and expects torturers with red hot tongs to move in. However,
succession, two women
are escorted to the room by the valet. One is named Inez and the other
Estelle. With their arrival,
the room is considered fully occupied.
Within a matter of hours,
the past of all three begins to come out. Garcin was a deserter, untrue
cruel to his wife.
Inez was a lesbian, and Estelle murdered her illegitimate baby. These
are some of
the kinds of individuals
who people hell. The recognition begins to slowly dawn upon them
room is their eternal
abode, and Inez says, "We're in hell. And no one else will come here.
We'll stay in
this room together, the
three of US, forever and ever. " They perceptively recognize that they
be each others' torturers.
Their personalities so strongly conflict, their despisement for each other
so great, their attempt
at dominance of each other is so acute, that they at the outset make a
to keep silent and thus
reduce the torture of their hell. The pact is short lived. They cannot
refrain from verbally
clawing at each other.
Sartre's hell is really
a parable of life. The world is the room of the evils of hell and the peoples
the room are the citizens
of hell. There is no exit for there are no doors and no windows. The
Biblical hell is the
one place where every hope is gone and one may not hope for there is no
But for Sartre, human
life is hopeless. We got here without being asked, acquired names
we did not
choose, parents we did
not pick, and environments we cannot escape. We may try to get out.
We may attempt to forget our desperation through ambition and work, through
alcohol or drugs, or by kicking
aside the restraint of
parents, society, and sex. The harder you try, the closer the walls of
move in. You try
to climb out, over, under or through, but there are no doors and there
are no windows.
No Exit. That,
ladies and gentlemen, is life.
You are the seventh baby
born into a "dysfunctional" family and your hole is filthy and the rats
on you when no other
food is available. Your father is absent and your mother is insensitive.
are other babies in your
room, and you will grow up in a condemned tenement, an overcrowded street
filled with gang and
drug activity, attend a school offering a second-rate education, and work
jobs without security
for the rest of your life. No exit for the baby in that crib.
You are a young child
in Somalia. The rain has not come. There is no crop to harvest.
stomach is distended
from eating grass and barks of the few remaining trees. There are
others just like you.
You are a Chinese youth
on a rusty boat leaving the only home you have ever known. Your boat
overcrowded and filthy.
There is not enough food and diseases run freely through the crowd.
You've given your life's
savings to be on this boat, and if you make it, you will spend the
years trying to earn
enough to pay off the contract you have signed with these hoodlums.
You are a young U.S. soldier
plucked from the comfort of your home and taken to some strangely
named place where the
last face you look at is aiming down a gun barrel. For both of you,
You are a 25-year-old
junkie who consumes more drugs than food. You are so numbed by needles,
weakened by chemicals,
and emaciated by hepatitis, that if an overdose doesn't get you, you may
drown in your own vomit.
You contracted AIDS years ago and the clock is ticking toward your
death. No exit.
You are a working man
or woman. Every day you put the fifth bolt on the left rim of an
instrument. You commute
for an hour to get home then drown the monotony by watching five
hours of television.
You turn the lights out and start all over again except on the next day,
instruments you put the
bolts on will be red instead of blue and there will be different programs
TV. No Exit.
You are retired and in
your "golden years." The company you poured your life into went bankrupt
and the pension funds
are gone. Your house is losing value every year, your health is poor
Social Security won't
cover your monthly bills. The children you raised don't want to help.
You are a student not
sure whether you are being educated or manipulated by a system that can't
seem to make men think
right regardless of how many facts are taught or debates are held. No exit.
Count them. Count the
billions of men, women, boys and girls. Count the hopeless poverty and
of their lives. No exit.
Bred, born, burned out and then buried. No exit in life. No exit in death.
That is the story of
this age. In natural thinking, this is the conclusion. No exit.
BUT THE GOSPEL IS NOT
ACCORDING TO JEAN PAUL SARTRE. The gospel is not according
to the despair of this
age. One man entered history, not by accident, but as the only man to ever
truly "choose" to be
born. That man entered from outside the room, something no one else ever
did. He entered with
faith, not fear; with hope, not despair. He was a carpenter. And he made
door in the room. He
said, "I am the door. If anyone exits after me, he will get out."
Having made the door,
he himself went out of the room and "made a way for us to escape from the
evil world in which we
live." He entered the room. He left the room. He made an exit for us. What
a difference from the
room of hopelessness to the room of life!
Are you in the room of
no exit? There is a door. It will do you no good to stand there and say,
won't go through the
door because there may be others. There may be a Muslim door, Hindu door,
a Buddhist door. " It
will not do you any good to close your eyes and say, "I do not believe
door exists. " The door
is not dependent on your belief. The door is always there.
The point is that you,
if you want to get out, must go through the door that is open. Waiting
if there are any other
doors will not get you out now. Nor will it gain you anything if
you insist on
staying with the people
who are still looking for other doors or have their eyes closed.
Go through the exit--Jesus
Christ. And once you are out, stay out. Spend your time and devotion
following the One who
got you out instead of useless debating on whether or not there was
Find the hope and purpose
in life that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. You can know this
Christ, this door, by
talking to Him. Ask Him to forgive your sins and become controller of your
life, then accept the
fact that He does. He is the way, the truth, the life-