If a voice speaks to me, it is still I myself who must decide whether the voice is or is not that of an angel. There is nothing to show that I am Abraham: nevertheless I also am obliged at every instant to perform actions which are examples. No doubt these practices hardened into institutions and freedom was compromised once more in bureaucratic machinery. The first is a purely logical construction that reveals nothing about the world, while the second does. Beyond the point at which the possibilities under consideration cease to affect my action, I ought to disinterest myself. That is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free.
We shall briefly indicate how these later writings extend and transform his project of existential phenomenology. I do not know where the Russian revolution will lead. The lack of coincidence of the for-itself with itself is at the heart of what it is to be a for-itself. We cannot blame our parents or teachers or friends for their influence. I think it was made sufficiently clear to you in the case of that student who came to see me, that to whatever ethical system he might appeal, the Kantian or any other, he could find no sort of guidance whatever; he was obliged to invent the law for himself.
Thus, you see, the second objection is at once true and false. The essence of something is its meaning, its intended purpose. What is the status of this reality? And this raises the question of freedom, a necessary condition for ascribing responsibility and the heart of his philosophy. Indeed, maintained that only this account does justice to the fundamental dignity and value of human life. Each suspended his or her personal interests for the sake of the common goal. Just as the being of the phenomenon transcends the phenomenon of being, consciousness also transcends it. In life, a man commits himself, draws his own portrait and there is nothing but that portrait.
This may enable us to understand what is meant by such terms — perhaps a little grandiloquent — as anguish, abandonment and despair. And, when we say that man is responsible for himself, we do not mean that he is responsible only for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men. An individual is therefore fully responsible for his imaginations's activity. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. Clearly, the anguish with which we are concerned here is not one that could lead to quietism or inaction. The agent's defining his being as an in-itself is the result of the way in which he represents himself to himself. If so, Fascism will then be the truth of man, and so much the worse for us.
In contrast with the in-itself, the for-itself is mainly characterised by a lack of identity with itself. Yet another line of criticism came from those who saw existentialism as licensing the most heinous crimes in the name of free existential choice. We are simply here, and it is up to us to define ourselves. Praxis is dialectical in the Hegelian sense that it surpasses and subsumes its other, the practico-inert. Every theory which begins with man, outside of this moment of self-attainment, is a theory which thereby suppresses the truth, for outside of the Cartesian cogito, all objects are no more than probable, and any doctrine of probabilities which is not attached to a truth will crumble into nothing. This desire is universal, and it can take on one of three forms. Thus we have neither behind us, nor before us in a luminous realm of values, any means of justification or excuse.
Whenever one wills anything, there are always these elements of probability. Throughout the Thirties and Forties, Sartre also had an abundant literary output with such novels as Nausea and plays like Intimacy The wall , The flies, Huis Clos, Les Mains Sales. The absence of petrol, in humans, is what makes morality possible. In fact, his entire career could be summarized in these words that carry an ethical as well as a critical message. This is the sense Sartre now gives to the notion of the 'singular universal'.
Thus the man who discovers himself directly in the cogito also discovers all the others, and discovers them as the condition of his own existence. This characterisation is particularly apt for Sartre's work, in that his phenomenological analyses do not serve a deeper ontological purpose as they do for Heidegger who distanced himself from any existential labelling. Its method involves an analysis of all the empirical behaviour of the subject, aimed at grasping the nature of this unity. This 'I' is the correlate of the unity that I impose upon the pre-reflective states of consciousness through my reflection upon them. .
No doubt this thought may seem comfortless to one who has not made a success of his life. But which is the harder road? That is, he is thrown into this world, not of his own making, and is condemned to determine what he will be. However this gives little help since he still would have to decide whether he owed more love to his mother or to his country. Sartre presents the in-itself as existing without justification independently of the for-itself, and thus constituting an absolute 'plenitude'. The ability to accept ourselves for what we arewithout exaggerationis the key, since the chief value of human life is fidelity to our selves, sincerity in the most profound sense.