Sartre-Concept of Freedom

Sartre-Concept of Freedom

Sartre has put a lots of effort in describing freedom. He said, ‘Man is condemned to be free.’ This existentialist view of individual freedom and the succeeding choice is described by elucidating the theory of ‘being-in-itself’ & ‘being-for-others’. For the extremists of freedom, he has also put forward the need of Responsibility. Freedom is a challenge in itself. And so, with freedom comes responsibility. Freedom is the existence of human, humans do not have inherent essence but they have inherent freedom. Freedom is innate, one cannot avoid this. There may be possibilities of external limitations of freedom(explained later), but internally we could always feel to be free.

For Sartre, freedom has no source. It has originated from itself. The being-in-itself reflects the independent nature of freedom. The freedom of human being lies in the choices he make, and the choices are absolute. The way a person looks after his past life and hope for future is determined by his choices.

Concept of Being, Being-in-itself, Being- for-itself

The problem of being was started by Heidegger. And this problem of Being is most important phenomenological problem. According to Sartre, being is a ground upon which object reveals itself. Being is existence. He says consciousness comes to man through its existence. Hence, Existence precedes essence.

Being-in-itself is an objects which are just there. Example- chair, table, fan, etc. They are fixed. They are neither active nor passive. They may or may not have consciousness. They don’t have choice and freedom. Also, they aren’t aware of their self.

Being-for-itself knows itself completely but still it’s incomplete. It is flexible, moving and dynamic. It is derived from nothingness. It describes humans consciousness. In this, man describes its own essences by the choices he make. Irrespective of the past and facticity (facts describing a person) humans can decide their future. Indeed, certain facts can’t be changed but future is always in our hands. The Question of ‘Who am I?’ is also hidden in the choices a humans make. By the choices, a human can make itself completely. The choices of human is its lived experiences.

Sartre says the quality of being-in-itself and being-for-itself is combined in human beings. Being-in-itself is human body, the physicality, the destructible parts. And Being-for-itself is consciousness. Being-for-itself has more importance than being-in-itself.

The Nature of consciousness

Sartre got inspired by Husserl in defining consciousness. According to him, the consciousness should always be about something. It is always independent of an object.

Choice is freedom

Everyone make choices consciously or unconsciously. Man enjoys freedom through the choices he make in his life. Man is nothing else than what he makes of himself. We aren’t being-in-itself, we aren’t fixed but, we are being-for-itself and absolutely free.

Misconceptions of freedom

The biggest misconceptions is Man is free to do anything. But this couldn’t be taken negatively. It is because Sartre talks about authentic choices. He says it doesn’t matter what we do, but how we do. The authentic life is to accept the inescapability of freedom and accept the responsibility attached to it.

Surrendering of freedom

When there is a conflict between responsibility and the choices to make, then we often have to surrender our freedom and follow up with the responsibility. While facing conflicts, we have to analyze the consequences well and take decisions accordingly.

There may be many more points which Sartre has explained in his concepts of freedom. But, I tried my best to cover the most important and relevant points for studies & considerations. Any recommendations to reproduce this article in a best way is acceptable. Kindly make effort to analyse the concepts by own and continue making choices to live your freedom.

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