Some sort of reaction paper for my college freshman Existential Sociology class. In terms of coherent thought it's garbage, but it's interesting to see me experimenting with 'thinking out loud on the page'.
So, as I understand it, my existence is defined by and is constituted as the interaction of the pour soi and the en soi, my consciousness and my physical world. From the en soi, I receive physical pain and physical pleasure, monetary wealth, and fear. My consciousness reciprocates with the declaration of my Freedom to negate my situation and my en soi in favor of one more conducive to...what? What purpose does my negating serve?
Perhaps simply my furthered existence. I negate now in order to facilitate negation in the future. Perhaps the purpose lies in the top echelon of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “Self-Actualization,” a concept so relative to each of us that almost no general conclusions may be drawn from it, but it remains as one theoretical goal of the human race. Perhaps there is no purpose in my constant exercise of my Freedom. Perhaps my biology has created in my tangle of neurons one place that presents an abhorrent vacuum to the world around me. Can we accept a helplessness in regards to our Freedom? It’s tough to consider ourselves cursed by nature with pour soi, but since we have no freedom to choose Freedom, since this great responsibility of negation has been thrust upon our species, many would be tempted to “resign themselves to Freedom,” which is totally against the point; the point is that we take our Freedom willingly and exercise it as is our right. But it also represent a responsibility that many humans would find too burdensome. What happens to a human consciousness when it decides that Anguish is too great a price to pay for Freedom? That consciousness turns itself over to the en soi to be acted upon instead. But is there not another possibility?
It is conceivable that a weak consciousness would decide to accept Freedom, but only exercise it begrudgingly. This consciousness would negate its en soi and replace it with the concepts of its forward-thinking pour soi, but since a negative attitude has been donned, the choices about what to negate would be poor and its solutions would turn out to be worse than their predecessors. This consciousness would continue this pattern of Being-in-Itselfish Being-for-Itself without Anguish (because it wouldn’t care what it negated as long as the conditions of Freedom were being exercised) and without Regret (because if it didn’t care about the Future, it won’t care about the past). What then would this consciousness attain? Certainly not Self-Actualization, for all this Freedom has been against its will. This consciousness would be acting either on biological instinct or on the orders of a philosopher. If this scenario is even possible, it represents a potential damper to a person’s life quest. What does this mean in regards to Sartre’s theories. I have no idea.