Philosophy and “The Good Place”: Hell Is Other People

It’s been a while since I watched Season One of The Good Place. I also put the whole series aside for a while. If others have mentioned this elsewhere or in the film, I offer my apologies.

I had been considering re-watching Season One today when I reflected upon themes in the show. It occurred to me that the philosophical notion not mentioned in Season One was at play.

That phrase?

Hell is other people.

In No Exit, which I confess to have read only once about 20 years ago, the characters in the play come to realize, like those in The Good Place Season One, that there is no torturer, no excruciating pain, in eternal damnation. Instead, Hell is other people.

In The Good Place, people grate on each other’s nerves, cause a ruckus and more. This is, for lack of a better term, crazy-making. Being put in the same environment with just the wrong sorts of people is Hell in itself.

There’s been a lot of philosophy talk surrounding The Good Place, but so far I haven’t seen anyone make this connection. Were I to teach Existentialism (which I’m not), I would most certainly make the connection to students because the concept Hell is other people is often misunderstood.


Author: Jennifer Lawson

Philosopher. That is all.

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