Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Fixed nature

Expand Messages
  • Mary
    We reject labels which identify us as essentially one particular thing. I am not my job, so whichever occupation I choose or find myself in and regardless of
    Message 1 of 171 , Jul 20, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      We reject labels which identify us as essentially one particular thing. I am not my job, so whichever occupation I choose or find myself in and regardless of the education and training it requires, I am still not that position/role/job in-itself. It is this idea of having a fixed nature, a something in-itself, which Sartre opposes. We are being for-itself and either struggle or recoil at the thought of having the freedom of not having an identity (an in-itself) so we find ourselves in the 'project' or condition of bad faith. Sartre thinks our nature is to desire a fixed nature. But this is further complicated by the fact that others tend to label us as having a fixed nature.

      If I say you, eduard, are essentially a positivist or a reductionist or whatever, you reject this because you feel you are not that. If I say you are an electrical engineer, you're more likely to say this is true, but are you really only or strictly what your job entails? Aren't you first eduard, a human being who thinks and does many things besides his job? Aren't your ideas and ways of being constantly changing? To say that you perform your job/role as an electrical engineer means you are not strictly that block of identity. Even if you were to change careers, you wouldn't strictly be that new identity either. You would be free to be more than just that. Sartre means that all jobs are equal only in the sense that we still would not be identified strictly with what we do.

      To say I am not *that* means I am not merely a being in-itself. But it's more complicated, because if there weren't some facticity about being human, we wouldn't be able to negate it and be a being for-itself. We would merely be this block of identity. This is really what Sartre uses bad faith to explain—the relationship between being in-itself and for-itself.

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      >
      > Mary,
      >
      > I think that part of the difficulty may be that we are dealing with 1930’s thought. The way I see it, Sartre is describing psychology as to mental functioning and associated behaviour. But in the 1930’s there was very little in the way of realising that we actually used our brains to think, so Sartre and others had to resort to labels and phraseology which might suffice.
      >
      > But since such phraseology is disconnected from reality, it easily leads to convoluted statements such as, "If I am a cafe waiter, this can be only in the mode of *not being* one." That statement makes no sense, and I can well appreciate the need for 800 pages of reading to obtain some kind of understanding. I don’t believe that such a statement would be made by anyone today in the 21st century.
      >
      > I read the paragraph at least 4 times now and still cannot make any sense of it. For example, “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”. I think that what Sartre is saying is that a “diplomat” is a position that requires substantial training and something to which you are assigned. You can’t just walk into the Ministry of State building and start acting like a diplomat as one might act as a waiter when walking into a restaurant. But if that is the case, then Sartre weakens his argument for mauvais foi, since the diplomat could equally confuse himself with his role.
      >
      > I agree with your understanding of bad faith. I asked at the office, what was the meaning of “mauvais foi”. It comes down to misrepresenting yourself to others, as for example to have a hidden agenda. Sartre seems to be using the term as misrepresenting yourself to yourself. In regard to the question of whether it is possible to misrepresent yourself to yourself, I should think that it is entirely possible. There is nothing in the rule book of brain thinking that one has to be entirely logical and transparent.
      >
      > I think the example of the waiter is put in the wrong sense which compounds the difficulty. The waiter is said to be too precise and therefore he/she has mauvais foi. But it really should be expressed the other way around, as waiters who have mauvais foi tend to act in too precise a manner. Not all waiters who act precisely have mauvais foi. Neither do all beau parleurs.
      >
      > eduard
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Mary
      > Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:54 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Not naughty faith but wrong faith
      >
      > 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 beingâ€"inasmuch as I am its foundationâ€"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 â€"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.
      > >
      > > â€Å"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 ... â€Å"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 â€Å"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 ... â€Å"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 â€Å"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 ... â€Å"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 â€Å"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 â€Å"their” attitudes, he would object if someone were to say â€Å"he” had bad faith because he happens to be a bit too â€Å"author-esque”.
      > >
      > > eduard
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
      >
      > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • daveylee40
      It seems to me that we are limited to the qualities and capacities of humanness as supplied by the natural state of being human. Other than that, I personally
      Message 171 of 171 , Aug 25, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        It seems to me that we are limited to the qualities and capacities of humanness as supplied by the natural state of being human. Other than that, I personally cannot conceive of a fixed nature or essence.

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
        >
        > No congratulations from Sartre unless I understand how I am being in-itself and being for-itself. Since I'm sufficiently satisfied with my grasp of Sartre's Bad Faith, I'm now going to spend some time with how Sartre explains what he considers the 'correct' view of in-itself for being human. What for Sartre is fixed as human essence other than existence, nothing, and freedom?
        >
        > Mary
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@> wrote:
        >
        > > Sartre could encounter the waiter whilst serving the table and ask "what are
        > > you??"
        > >
        > > "I'm a waiter"
        > >
        > > "Aha ... and obvious case of mauvais foi". "But, what are you besides a
        > > waiter??"
        > >
        > > "I'm a father of a family"
        > >
        > > "Still mauvais foi ... a sad case". "I mean, underneath, besides these
        > > particular roles??"
        > >
        > > "Of course, I am a human being".
        > >
        > > "Congratulations".
        > >
        > > eduard
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: Mary
        > > Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:28 AM
        > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: [existlist] Fixed nature
        > >
        > > We reject labels which identify us as essentially one particular thing. I am
        > > not my job, so whichever occupation I choose or find myself in and
        > > regardless of the education and training it requires, I am still not that
        > > position/role/job in-itself. It is this idea of having a fixed nature, a
        > > something in-itself, which Sartre opposes. We are being for-itself and
        > > either struggle or recoil at the thought of having the freedom of not having
        > > an identity (an in-itself) so we find ourselves in the 'project' or
        > > condition of bad faith. Sartre thinks our nature is to desire a fixed
        > > nature. But this is further complicated by the fact that others tend to
        > > label us as having a fixed nature.
        > >
        > > If I say you, eduard, are essentially a positivist or a reductionist or
        > > whatever, you reject this because you feel you are not that. If I say you
        > > are an electrical engineer, you're more likely to say this is true, but are
        > > you really only or strictly what your job entails? Aren't you first eduard,
        > > a human being who thinks and does many things besides his job? Aren't your
        > > ideas and ways of being constantly changing? To say that you perform your
        > > job/role as an electrical engineer means you are not strictly that block of
        > > identity. Even if you were to change careers, you wouldn't strictly be that
        > > new identity either. You would be free to be more than just that. Sartre
        > > means that all jobs are equal only in the sense that we still would not be
        > > identified strictly with what we do.
        > >
        > > To say I am not *that* means I am not merely a being in-itself. But it's
        > > more complicated, because if there weren't some facticity about being human,
        > > we wouldn't be able to negate it and be a being for-itself. We would merely
        > > be this block of identity. This is really what Sartre uses bad faith to
        > > explainâ€"the relationship between being in-itself and for-itself.
        > >
        > > Mary
        > >
        > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Mary,
        > > >
        > > > I think that part of the difficulty may be that we are dealing with
        > > > 1930’s thought. The way I see it, Sartre is describing psychology as to
        > > > mental functioning and associated behaviour. But in the 1930’s there
        > > > was very little in the way of realising that we actually used our brains
        > > > to think, so Sartre and others had to resort to labels and phraseology
        > > > which might suffice.
        > > >
        > > > But since such phraseology is disconnected from reality, it easily leads
        > > > to convoluted statements such as, "If I am a cafe waiter, this can be only
        > > > in the mode of *not being* one." That statement makes no sense, and I
        > > > can well appreciate the need for 800 pages of reading to obtain some kind
        > > > of understanding. I don’t believe that such a statement would be made
        > > > by anyone today in the 21st century.
        > > >
        > > > I read the paragraph at least 4 times now and still cannot make any sense
        > > > of it. For example, â€Å"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”. I think that what Sartre is saying is that a â€Å"diplomat” is a
        > > > position that requires substantial training and something to which you are
        > > > assigned. You can’t just walk into the Ministry of State building and
        > > > start acting like a diplomat as one might act as a waiter when walking
        > > > into a restaurant. But if that is the case, then Sartre weakens his
        > > > argument for mauvais foi, since the diplomat could equally confuse himself
        > > > with his role.
        > > >
        > > > I agree with your understanding of bad faith. I asked at the office, what
        > > > was the meaning of â€Å"mauvais foi”. It comes down to misrepresenting
        > > > yourself to others, as for example to have a hidden agenda. Sartre seems
        > > > to be using the term as misrepresenting yourself to yourself. In regard
        > > > to the question of whether it is possible to misrepresent yourself to
        > > > yourself, I should think that it is entirely possible. There is nothing
        > > > in the rule book of brain thinking that one has to be entirely logical and
        > > > transparent.
        > > >
        > > > I think the example of the waiter is put in the wrong sense which
        > > > compounds the difficulty. The waiter is said to be too precise and
        > > > therefore he/she has mauvais foi. But it really should be expressed the
        > > > other way around, as waiters who have mauvais foi tend to act in too
        > > > precise a manner. Not all waiters who act precisely have mauvais foi.
        > > > Neither do all beau parleurs.
        > > >
        > > > eduard
        > >
        >
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.