The faith of bad faith

This quote is a perfect example of existentialist theory, as first coined by Sartre. The quote begins by addressing the subjective reality that individuals find themselves caught in when they are dealing with bad faith. When individuals are caught in the web of bad faith, they end up creating a false reality in which they are forced to live. The quote is essentially describing the genesis of bad faith, and how individuals become ensnarled in bad faith. Because it is a somewhat unnatural human thing to take ones self out of a place of freedom, it bears analyzing why a person would end up in such a state. The reality that a person lives in when they are in a state of bad faith is completely different from what they are in when they are in good faith. This speaks to the context of the matter, as a person is forced to live, work, and make decisions within the context of his or her own thought. When the quote says, Bad faith does not hold the norms and criteria of truth as they are accepted by the critical thought of good faith, (Sartre) it speaks to the fact that a persons entire system of values, morals, and all of their decision making processes can be flipped upside down then they are in bad faith. Things that they previously accepted as being real and being normal are no longer that way, and truth becomes a subjective matter that is dependent on the societal norms that a person may find himself in.

The quote states, What it decides first, in fact, is the nature of truth. With bad faith a truth appears, a method of thinking , a type of being which is like that of objects the ontological characteristic of the world of bad faith with which the subject suddenly surrounds himself is this that here being is what it is not, and is not what it is (Sartre). This is an interesting portion of Sartres work that tells the story of how thinking can become totally twisted around for a person who finds himself in a state of bad faith. Complete opposites suddenly switch places, which can cause a person to accept things that they would not accept in any other state. In this sense, this is speaking to the fact that people are willing to let all of their freedoms go without a fight, and they are willing to tie themselves to a type of life and reality that is not something they would naturally accept. All of a persons natural facilities that might have normally fought off such an existence are now comfortable, since the mind has tricked the person into believing that life is normal when in a state of bad faith. This is how it begins, and this portion of the quote describes why it is so difficult for people to break out of a state of bad faith. When people get stuck, they have a difficult time finding their way out of a bad faith state, and they perpetuate the cycle. None of this would be possible without the mind tricking the person into thinking that what they are experiencing is normal, and what they are not experiencing is abnormal. The flip side of this is that a person does not reach out and seek other experiences or a state of good faith, since they do not believe that such a state would be normal. The actions that they are not taking are deemed to be odd and unfamiliar, even though human beings are naturally supposed to live in a state of freedom. Because of societal conventions or something of the like, individuals find themselves suppressing the natural desires to reach out for something new and something better.

An interesting portion of this quote states, Consequently a peculiar type of evidence appears non-persuasive evidence. Bad faith apprehends evidence but it is resigned in advance to not being fulfilled by this evidence, to not being persuaded and transformed into good faith (Sartre). What is interesting about this is that it speaks to the minds ability to suppress information that might make it uncomfortable and change the way individuals are currently interacting. There is almost evidence that a person will encounter that will tell that person that he or she needs to be doing something different. In bad faith, a person is not allowing himself to listen to this evidence. The quote indicates that the evidence does not really have a chance to succeed, as individuals do not give it that chance. How this contributes to the overall quote is quite simple. It is an indication that bad faith forces a person to act differently than is normal. Human beings typically take all items of knowledge into account, and they make the best decision from that information. In good faith, a person will take a bit of knowledge and use it to his or her best ability. That is what makes the knowledge persuasive, in that it moves individuals to make certain considerations, even if they do not eventually choose to act on those considerations. In bad faith, the consideration is not even there, which gives the evidence no chance of convincing a person to change his or her state of mind. This also helps to contribute to the perpetual nature of bad faith, as little can be done to help a person out of such a state.

The quote mentions, Thus bad faith in its primitive project and in its coming into the world decides on the exact nature of its requirements. It stands forth in the firm resolution not to demand too much, to count itself satisfied when it is barely persuaded, to force itself in decisions to adhere to uncertain truths (Sartre). This speaks directly to the fact that bad faith is a state of complacency. Though a person may have something better out there, bad faith pushes them into a place where they make few demands. Instead, they settle for little uncertain truths, as long as those truths are somewhat comfortable. When those truths begin to get tricky or require something out of individuals, they are no longer considered. The quote also indicates that people have to force themselves to make decisions in bad faith. The indication there is that bad faith is not a natural state, which supports the view of the quote at large. Bad faith is something that the human being does not inherently possess, so every action must be forced by society or some other environmental factor around a person. In the absence of these factors, a person would act naturally and seek to avoid a state of bad faith, but that is not the case when a person enters into the perpetual state of bad faith.

One thing that is interesting and worth noting in terms of the bad faith discussion is the quote about how to get out of a bad faith state. Sartre states, One puts oneself in bad faith as one goes to sleep and one is in bad faith as one dreams. Once this mode of being has been realized it is as difficult to get out of it as to wake oneself up (Sartre). This indicates that bad faith is something that is incredibly difficult to break down at its core. Instead of being able to snap out of it by changing ones actions, bad faith is something that holds people down and impacts the ability to change. When a person is in bad faith, everything about them says that bad faith is normal, and that normal is not normal. It is a bizarre world where everything is upside down. What one can read into this portion of the quote, as well, is that individuals are creatures of habit. In a philosophical sense, individuals are bound to the actions that they are used to. Not only do individuals need to keep up these actions in order to stay on an even keel they are also happy with these actions, so the mind does not feel the urge to change. If someone is going to change a mindset of this nature, they need to have some impetus. The repeating nature of this bad faith state shuts down the facilities that would normally tell a person to change his or her ways.

When Sartre says, Bad faith is a type of being in the world, like waking or dreaming, which by itself tends to perpetuate itself, although its structure is of the metastable type (Sartre), he is talking about the cycle that has been discussed earlier in the quote. Essentially, this is his way of summing things up in a form that is easy to understand for everyone involved. Bad faith is a cycle in the purest sense, and it is one of those cycles that puts a person in such a stable position that they do not ever break out of it. This is why the state has become so very common in the world, and it is why individuals rarely realize they have stepped into it.


Post a Comment