Sartre on Freedom

6 June 2016

Jean-Paul Sartre was a contemporary philosopher who gave his view on freedom and how it inflicted so much doom and dread to our being as Being-in-this-world. Apparently, Sartre’s position argued his philosophy on freedom as having so much negative impact on the Dasein (the Being-thrown-into-the-world). He had a very pessimistic consideration about freedom.

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Freedom, according to Sartre, is the comprehension that the characterization of “me” is the collection of all reflections and mental deliberations, state of affairs, judgments, and actions both precedent and current (2007). Sartre regards such as a negation for the reason that while freedom identifies who I am, nothing that is implied by that freedom could be held by me at this present time. While the past is that which made me this person that I am right now, the future is that which will define me later on (Sartre, 2003). In effect, there is nothing that I can do to define myself at this present time for the only time that I come to define myself is through the past and by the future.

The nothingness which envelops my present Being defines the truest essence of freedom such that I don’t have hold on my Being though I am pronounce to be free. The composition of my Being is the integration of the past and the future and not by my present circumstance. Past and future are both unattainable through the present time (Sartre, 2007). Hence, my Being, in terms of my present condition, is nothing for the reason that all the things that would define me are either on the realm of the past or on the realm of the future – such that I cannot have any hold of it as of now (present).

 In addition, freedom gives the Dasein a great suffering in a sense that its Being is thrown into this world without giving any sign of guideline or whatsoever. The Dasein is responsible for himself and nothing to blame for its mishaps and follies but himself alone. For this reason, the Dasein experiences anguish. Anguish is the feeling when one recognizes that he is wholly free to weave for his own Being and for his own life (Sartre, 2007).

Such exercise of freedom resulted in the feeling of anguish mainly because the Dasein realizes that because he is entirely free nothing defines him and nothing and no one has attempted to define him so the Dasein himself would go and make his own Being by living his life the way he chooses to do so (Sartre, 2003). Having a choice implies freedom and this how the Dasein has able to fashion his Being though he cannot know it at present but only after the present ceased. Nevertheless, the Dasein can change or make up his Being if sees it unfit for his own convenience and he does it by appealing to his future Being.

However, anguish operates in the Dasein in such a way that it feels frightened. It experience fear for the reason that he is thrown into this world without any direction to follow or without any responsibility to accomplish but to make his own Being and be able to define himself at the end of his life (for it is the only time when the Dasein can define himself completely) (Sartre, 2007). For this reason, as how Sartre puts it, man has learned to create God for his own benefit though such persona is a mere illusion.

Man wants to have something which he could transfer the burden of being absolutely free. He invented God and fooled himself that such persona is the very entity which gives him commands and which tells him how he ought to live. In freedom, man discovers the nothingness of his Being which resulted to his feeling of anguish – for he is left alone to define himself but such remains inaccessible in the present.

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