No Direction… (continuation) to Bad Faith

I ended my last post by saying that mammals, in their nature, nurture their young until the parents feel the child, or young, is ready to take responsibility for their own survival. So, when exactly are human beings ready to take responsibility for their own lives? At the age of twelve? Fourteen? Sixteen? Twenty? Is there even a definitive age where human beings ‘let go’ of their young, and let them assume the responsibility of their own lives?

It seems as though, for humans at least, it is not a question of survival, as it is with ‘unsophisticated mammals’, but rather a question of sustainability.

We are raised, and conditioned, to sustain ourselves in the system in which we find ourselves thrust into. It is not as though we were asked, before being born, whether or not we wanted to live in this world, with these ways of living. Rather we are born without any preconception of what we are being born into, and because of this we do not question the system, we sit back and go for a ride.

The system in which we find ourselves was set up to facilitate our lives, in order to give us an ‘easy’ and a ‘good’ life. What does it mean to have a ‘good life’ exactly? Can anyone describe it for me? Because I have yet to find the answer. For me, good is to be content, pleased, happy, and to have a positive relation to, in this case, life. Do we all stand in a positive relation to our own lives? No, quite simply, if it is possible to point to negatives, un-pleasantries, and sad things in the world, it becomes quite clear that our lives are not all ‘good lives’, even though most of us would disagree. Human beings are blind to the negativity that which they hold in their heart, they do not see the hatred, discomfort, and anger that is right in their own lives. When questioned about whether or not we live a ‘good life’, we quickly say that, “Yes” we are content with the way our lives are. We sit here in our comfortable lives, seemingly content, without despair over our lives. Yet, the reality of life is different, Sartre would call this bad faith, we are lying to ourselves about being content. How can we be content with our lives, when we see millions of people whom are, unhappy, displeased with the way the their lives are. This is not a dream, it is a reality. I am not trying to judge people, but rather trying to shed light on peoples displeasure’s with the world.We are not only happy people, we have a side that is unhappy as well, which is our despair.

We can see then that we live in two states, one of which is our ‘happy’ and comfortable, and another in which we are evidently the opposite. The latter is the despair of wanting to be oneself. How can we be ourselves when for the first twelve, fourteen,…twenty years of our lives, we are conditioned to be, closely, like everyone else? These conditioning years, as I will call them, is the catalyst for our despair and lack of being oneself. We are shown how-to-be, we are told what being human really is, and because of this when we attempt to become ourselves. This can be the most complicated task we will ever attempt to accomplish.

I feel as though some people might be reading this and saying, “what a pessimist, he describes life as this empty shell waiting to be filled up with content. And, then goes on to say that our whole lives are conditioned to be a certain way, because of this we can never be ourselves, and we can only ever ‘attempt’ to become ourselves.” But, this is not everything, it is not as though despair, and conditioning are the end(s) to our lives, but rather, the realization of this should be our enlightenment.

It is the task of becoming ourselves was set before us, it was put there for us to take hold of, and to give us the opportunity to fashion our lives for ourselves. It should be made clear that, in fashioning our lives, because the way in which we live our lives, can and will affect others around us. We should be sure to make choices that do not impede on other peoples freedoms, and their individuality. This is where the negativity that I spoke of earlier manifests itself. The negativity is actualized when people wish to force their views, methods, and lives onto other people. For example, colonization, although on the surface it seems a positive way to extend a society, and also a way to develop other parts of the world, it actually impedes on other peoples freedoms and ways of living without giving them, the people being colonized, a way to actualize their freedom and individuality!

This, becoming, then, should be a task that we undertake in a positive way and in an individual way, and in doing so we should keep in mind that we share this world, this existence, with other free beings that are trying to do the same as we are. If we loose sight of this, we become greedy, we become selfish, and we become hostile, because we feel then that our freedom is being impeded on. If you have ever felt, put down, subjugated, or oppressed, then you should know that it is not a pleasant feeling. Then why do people do it? Is it that they (the oppressor), do not understand the impact of what they are doing? No! They are very aware of what they are doing, but they, either subconsciously or consciously (argue with a psychoanalyst about it) neglect the truth of what they are doing, they are acting in bad faith.

I would like to tie this back to the main topic of this post, and my previous one, which is, having no direction in our lives.

It seems as though we do understand ourselves as in a state of becoming, but it is how to become that is the problem for us to grasp. And because of this we really have no idea what to do, and so our moral values do not apply to each other,because we are, each one of us, subjective beings, with our own morals, and ways of seeing the world. It is precisely because of this subjectivity that our negative aspects actualize themselves in the world. We each think we have the “answer”, but this is very much far from the truth. (Although paradoxical) The truth is that their is no truth for how to become ourselves. Becoming ourselves is a mystery to ourselves, and to others, this is why we lack direction.

I generalized by ideas as the two posts progressed, and in case some feel lost as to where the connection is, here we go. The orignal question posed in the first, of these two posts was “Why do (some) teenagers lack, motivation and direction?”. This lack of direction stays with us throughout our whole lives, we never really know where we are going in this life. But for teenagers it is still quite new for them as they have only recently been given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. Life is very demanding of them at the stage of progression that they are in, which makes their position be much more complicated than another, who is further biologically advanced.

– Possibly, more might be written on this matter. I imagine their will be, so please comment, criticize, as to help me refine some topics, ideas, etc.

– Check my reference page for information on the book that includes Sartre’s paper on “Bad Faith”.

~ by Peter on November 19, 2009.

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