Jean-Paul that is inevitable and faces every human

Jean-Paul Sartre’s
conception of an existentialist philosophy focuses on the radical notion of
freedom; freedom that is inevitable and faces every human being. In the absence
of any fixed human nature, external standards, everyone is accountable for the choices
and decisions they make. However, with such profound freedom, Sartre recognizes
that it is too much for people to always handle. Based on his radical views,
one common response that he argues is that humans use their freedom to deny the
existence of freedom. This belief of his introduces his notion of “Bad Faith”.
This paper will consider the concept of Bad
Faith according to Sartre in relation to Simone de Beauvoir’s and
Heidegger’s account of fallenness. It will also consider the roles culture, institutionalization
and social practices have fostered bad faith in us and how we cannot live our
lives without living in bad faith. Finally this paper will highlight the
illusion that although through Sartre’s existential lens-“I am (humans are)
condemned to be free”, following his notion, it seems that good faith is an
illusion and bad faith is an inescapable consequence of the human condition

             The term
Bad Faith coined by Sartre is not as literal as it sound- then it wouldn’t
be a sartrean term. When Sartre uses the phrase Bad Faith, it refers to any sort of self-deception that denies or
tries to reduce the existence of human freedom. Furthermore, even in an
individual’s endeavor to act in good faith, it becomes paradoxical that it also
appears to be classed as an act of bad faith.

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            According
to Sartre’s account, Bad Faith occurs
when someone tries to rationalize his/her existence or actions through
cultural  values, desires, social roles,
religion, science, communal practices and not limited to other belief system
that  inflicts meaning or coherence on an
individual’s daily living (Sartre & Priest 2001). So what does this
imply?  Does this mean that we are born
into bad faith due to norms and values that have been there before our time? Or
choosing to conform to these practices keeps us in bad faith? 

                        In
addition to my prior exposition on Sartre’s Bad Faith,   it is important to know that this notion is
a fundamental predisposition of human conscious existence. To be in bad faith
is to rely on our biological  functions
that habitually defines the brain; to act and think in socially, culturally and
linguistically prescribed ways; “Bad faith is a social disease rather than an
individual failing, in Sartre’s view, and is an ongoing condition rather than a
sporadic activity” (Webber 2010). Living in Bad Faith according to Sartre shows
the disconnected default between a being and its lack of not wanting to
acknowledge different possibilities and not coming to recognition with its
existence. Bad Faith does not only arise from this disconnection but also from
the annihilation of consciousness. The negative power of free consciousness by
which we experience being, we are constrained to continuously making conscious
choices. It is in this contradiction that we see how one’s subjectivity limits
one’s freedom within a multiple or unlimited variation of possibilities. This
ontology work of Sartre is similar to Heidegger’s notion of “inauthenticity”
and “fallenness”. These terms similarly explain the aspect of human’s
existence, a pre reflective denial to approach living life in its purest and
most attainable form through distractions.

            For
Heidegger, Dasein may exist in either one or two modes- inauthentic or
authentic, or it is modally undistinguished. 
Dasein is continually oriented towards its own potential among which are
the possibilities of authentic and inauthentic existence (good and bad faith).
If  Dasein’s everyday living is based on
the standards and beliefs and prejudices of the society, this means Dasein has
failed to distinguish itself from the masses; therefore Dasein is living in an
inauthentic existence also known as Bad Faith. 
Heidegger emphasizes on the lack of Dasein trying to attain its ownmost
(what makes Dasein individual) as a result of distractions.  Heidegger called some of these distractions
“idle talk”, “curiosity” and “ambiguity”.

                        According
to Heidegger, Dasein has a tendency to allow itself to become lost in present
concerns. This leads to the alienation from itself and actions. This leads to
Dasein being swept along by momentary circumstances. Idle talk to Heidegger
makes up the most of Dasein’s conversation in daily encounter. The context of
“idle talk” to Heidegger is not just in reference to “talk” but also in other
physical form of communication that does not reveal Dasein’s possibility.
Dasein’s fallenness (similar to living in bad faith) which Heidegger
subcategorized into three compartments calls our attention to the conformity
and the “other” that influences and prevails in everyday behavior. “Curiosity”,
another one of Heidegger’s subcategories, drives Dasein to seek out temporal
pursuits that are not beneficial to its project of becoming, but they do serve
as a distraction from the present and from having to deal essentially with
Dasein’s choices and possibilities. Heidegger explains “ambiguity” to be the
genuine thought of understanding and grasping things in everyday being, whereas
basically not or it is not the way it was thought (Heidegger 1972).  Idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity constitute
the fallen state of Dasein. This is how Dasein is in the world, initially and
for the most part, Dasein is falling prey. In this state Dasein is not being
itself by not recognizing its possibilities. That, for Heidegger, Dasein is
living in what Sartre calls Bad Faith.

      Simone de Beauvoir’s philosophical
explanation is closely related to that of Sartre’s, however still a little
different. In, Ethics of Ambiguity, Beauvoir operates within a sartrean ontological framework,
but the difference can be seen in her assertion that the trap of bad faith is
not inevitable. According to both Sartre and Beauvoir, projects of bad faith
fundamentally aim at fleeing our freedom. We pursue it in order to appease
anxiety in the face of freedom and to avoid the metaphysical risks involved in
what Sartre describes as making ourselves a lack of being, or exercising
transcendence (Acampora 2002). By “lack of being” Sartre would consider
it the state or condition in
which people cannot transcend their “situation” in order to realize what they
must be (self-conscious humans) and what they are not (social roles). The concept of “situation” by Sartre is best analyzed in
being and nothingness where he famously said that:

“There
is freedom only in a situation, and there is a situation only through
freedom… There can be a free for-itself only as engaged in a resisting world.
Outside of this engagement the notions of freedom, of determination, of
necessity lose all meaning” – Sartre 1943

 Beauvoir just like others emphasizes the idea
of self-conception and  laid huge
emphasis on culture-
saying cultural identity
provides an individual with a clear prototype with which to engage the
processes necessary to construct a clear “personal identity” and, by
extension,  keep them living in the
shadow of “the other”. People’s views are constructed in form of interdependent
/independent structures. Because meanings are derived from culture; people
sometimes find the need to be associated or recognized with a group or a belief
system.  This conception of “The Other”
(society, value, conformity …etc.), Beauvoir says, is a constituent part of
self-consciousness.

             Beauvoir just like others emphasizes the idea
of self-conception and  laid huge emphasis
on culture-
saying cultural identity
provides an individual with a clear prototype with which to engage the
processes necessary to construct a clear “personal identity” and, by
extension,  keep them living in the
shadow of “the other”. People’s views are constructed in form of interdependent
/independent structures. Because meanings are derived from culture; people
sometimes find the need to be associated or recognized with a group or a belief
system.  This conception of “The Other”
(society, value, conformity …etc.), Beauvoir says, is a constituent part of
self-consciousness.

                        Because
the society is based on a rigid value system that we are suited to following,
we are bond to live in accordance with the traditions and norm. These norms and
conformity is hard to divert from because our perceptions have been pre-created
and are shaped by these already made standards. Before the birth of a new life
it seems that some aspects of this unborn child have been predetermined based
on the surroundings. When the newborn is born, he/she starts to live in his/her
facticity; this facticity defines this new life. As the child grows, the child
is raised according to the culture of the people. The social interaction in
school is formed, the “accepted behavior” is shaped at home, the child beliefs
are groomed by the religious institution and as the child develops, he/she
conforms. With all these making up the child’s facticity, it would be unreal to
say that the child can completely avoid Bad
Faith. This does not lessen the freedom of the child but with growth and
time, the child is exposed to his/her freedom of choice and also a subjective
mind.

            As
a result of societal values and culture, the inevitable consequence is to adopt
bad faith, while at the same time recognizing our every choice. Although
adopting bad faith ultimately denies our freedom according to Sartre, but
consistently acknowledging other options also defines human’s will and freedom.
Therefore, although unavoidable, rather than viewing Bad Faith as a negative consequence of freedom, it can be
considered as an essential and necessary concept, with regard to the human
condition. Much of human society is built around the concept of bad faith, and
it possesses social and cultural norms and roles which individuals adopt or
adhere to in order to successfully function on a daily basis.

                        Furthermore,
without bad faith humans will forever be living in an uncertain world, due to
the ambiguous concept proposed by Sartre, enduring a permanent state of anxiety,
which over a period of time would become exhausting and debilitating. The
notion of good faith is unavailing due to the fact that it is impossible to
give as coherent account of good faith. Pursuing good faith is like running
around in circle and not getting anywhere. When we try to pursue good faith, it
leads to playing the game of good faith which puts one in the position of bad
faith. It seems that our society and our responsibilities that comes with
social roles keeps us tied in Bad Faith. 
In effect, Bad Faith enables humans to deal with what can be coped with
at that particular point in time, until a time arises when they can face other
possibilities or an alternative interpretation of reality and act upon that
instead-this is considered bad faith too (so we will forever be living in bad
faith). Ultimately, as a being for-itself, human consists of intentional
consciousness that has the capacity to choose; as such, it would be
contradictory for there to be objective rules or laws governing freedom, such
as the radical Bad Faith. Therefore,
humans choose bad faith out of an act of necessity in order to survive human
existence and social nature.