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60069Re: Not naughty faith but wrong faith

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  • Mary
    Jul 16, 2013
      eduard,

      We've apparently come to an impasse of mutual failure, mine to explain and yours to understand my explanation. This of course reflects on me and not on Sartre's ability to explain his own concept throughout his text for anyone willing to struggle with it. Before this discussion I didn't understand how consciousness founds itself or why bad faith is the condition of most of humanity or Sartre's existential psychoanalysis. This paragraph from "Being and Nothingness, Immediate Structure Of The For-Itself" makes sense to me, because it unites being in-itself with being for-itself while maintaining their separateness. This was his stated goal in the introduction and shows how bad faith is the concept which best illustrates the paradox of choice.

      ~We indicated earlier that we can be nothing without playing at being. "If I am a cafe waiter," we said, "this can be only in the mode of *not being* one." And that is true. If I could *be* a cafe waiter, I should suddenly constitute myself as a contingent block of identity. And that I am not. This contingent being in-itself always escapes me. But in order that I may freely give a meaning to the obligations which my state involves, then in one sense at the heart of the for-itself, as a perpetually evanescent totality, being in-itself must be given as the evanescent contingency of my *situation.* This is the result of the fact that while I must *play at being* a cafe waiter in order to be one, still it would be in vain for me to play at being a diplomat or a sailor, for I would not be one. This inapprehensible *fact* of my condition, this impalpable difference which distinguishes this drama of realization from drama pure and simple is what causes the for-itself, while choosing the *meaning* of its situation and while constituting itself as the foundation of itself in situation, *not to choose* its position. This part of my condition is what causes me to apprehend myself simultaneously as totally responsible for my being—inasmuch as I am its foundation—and yet as totally unjustifiable. Without facticity consciousness could choose its attachments to the world in the same way as the souls in Platos' Republic choose their condition. I could determine myself to "be born a worker" or to "be born a bourgeois." But on the other hand facticity can not constitute me as *being* a bourgeois or *being* a worker. It is not even strictly speaking a *resistance* of fact since it is only by recovering it in the substructure of the *pre-refective cogito* that I confer on it its meaning and its resistance. Facticity is only one indication which I give myself of the being to which I must reunite myself in order to be what I am.~

      Bad faith means to me an incorrect belief about my being. If I am to shape my existence and give it my own meaning and values and to realize my possibilities, I must differentiate between my being in-itself and my being for-itself so that I can live authentically. The subtle and paradoxical intricacy between realization and choice is indeed what makes bad faith a difficult concept. I make myself something only because I am not that something —is a liberating realization. My choice is then free.

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      >
      > Mary just does not understand the difficulty here.
      >
      > “Their being what they are not and their not being what they are”.”
      >
      > That doesn’t answer the question of what it is of which they are paralysed and thus unable to choose. One can’t choose ... “being what they are not and not being what they are. At most it would be considered a realisation. It’s not a choice.
      >
      > But my main objection is the almost arbitrary way of identifying “bad faith”. Mary repeats the material I previously provided, but she is not looking at it closely to see how easily Sartre’s idea of bad faith [as presented] breaks down.
      >
      > Firstly, I doubt that Sartre would have ignored a waiter who was acting non-chalantly. He wanted an example, and this particular waiter served [so to speak]. Because the waiter seemed [to Sartre] to act too waiter-esque, Sartre brands him with label of bad faith. But that is an assumption on the part of Sartre. Sartre could have bypassed the assessment of the waiter’s behaviour and simply said ... “there is a person of bad faith”. It would have as much validity. To some other observer, the waiter might be seen as acting naturally. So bad faith for the waiter is really a matter of assumptions which may be baseless. And even there it is weak considering that perhaps the waiter views his “playing” of waiter is something that should be done in that fashion. It may have absolutely nothing to do with being paralysed with an inability to choose ... sorry, inability to realise.
      >
      > But the worst of it is Sartre’s statement that ... “The good speaker is the one who plays at speaking because he cannot be speaking. This literally means that, like the café waiter, the speaker is not his condition or social categorization, but is a speaker consumed by bad faith”.
      >
      > This is particularly senseless. Sartre doesn’t even get into such assumptions that the speaker is being a bit too speaker-esque. The speaker is said to be “consumed” by bad faith simply because he/she is a good speaker. Like I said before, that would likely cover the 350,000 ministers in the US alone.
      >
      > Mary has not been able to explain bad faith. So far it appears to be something that is evidenced by someone being a bit too precise or eager in their job, or simply because they happen to be good at their job. I can appreciate that there may be such a thing as bad faith, but that’s not it.
      >
      > It is interesting to note Sartre’s statement, "I am never any one of my attitudes, any one of my actions". So although Sartre feels free to label others with bad faith because of “their” attitudes, he would object if someone were to say “he” had bad faith because he happens to be a bit too “author-esque”.
      >
      > eduard
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