Jean Pauls Sartre (1905 - 1980)
Truth and Existence (fragment)
Wait a minute, there's a snag somewhere; something disagreeable.
Why, now, should it be disagreeable?...Ah,I see; it's
life without a break. (Jean Paul Sartre - huis clos)
If there is such a mode of common being as inauthenticity,
then all of History is inauthentic and action in History results
in inauthenticity; authenticity reverts to individualism.
Conversely, if the nature of man in to be realized at the
end of Hitory, inauthenticity must be willed for itself as
the very condition of historical struggle. Any doctrine of
conversion runs the real risk of being an a-historicism. Any
octrine of historicitiy runs the reak risk of being an amoralism.
To be or to historialize ourselves? If it is to be,
History us unessential. But History itself, it it has a meaning,
makes itself in order that man may be (progress, dialectics,
etc...). History's adventurer historializes himeself for
History (in order that the historical process may come
about through him, in order to be a historical agent). Thus
the goal is indifferent. Anotehr aspect of the inessentialisty
of the goal: destoni. Spengler. Man historializes himself
within the perspective of the acceptance of a destiny; he
historializes himself either by accepting that the historical
process is what it must be and by vooperating with it - or
by accepting that his historical position is futile (tragic
position) .In any case the objective falls outside the human
will. Historical pleasure is posited for itself. To enjoy
destiny. On the other hand, if the goal is essential, History
is only as means; it is inessential-essential. For example,
for Marz it will be prehistory. We must then reject all historical
complacency while knowing that we cannot enjoy Being.
for this Being itself, it is conceived in the inauthentic
(hapiness or the harmonious society), because it is first
of all posited by needs (hunger, revolt against slavery, etc.)
Man must seek Being, but through historialization. Hist lost
is historialization thowards Being. Being is the idea.
Lived experience (le vécu), the domain of ethics,
this is History for Being.
Authenticity must be sought in historialization. Then end
of History is the myth which perpetually postpones this end.
consider that the unknowable and the unverifiable fall outside
of man: this is positivism. Man is a being without relationship
to what he cannot know. Man is defined by what he can know.
The antithesis: to define man by mystery - then mystical position.
At night all cows are gray. Reject the notion of mystery.
Reject the fact that man defines himself solely through forms
of knowledge and ignorance which are only the absence of possible
forms of knowledge. Certainly questioning comes into thye
universe through man. But as soon as the world is illuminated
through the general category of questioning, questions bein
to form. In a universe in question, to know if the
planets are inhabited is an objective question. Man is the
being through whom questions come into the workld; but man
also is the bing to whom questions come into the world that
concern him and that he cannot resolve. Thus man defines himself
in relationship to this igonarnce.
he defines what he is and what he seeks in terms of it.
only kind of unconditioned existence: Hegel´+s absolute-
subject. Then In-itself collapses if it does not become For-itself.
Unfortunately there are consciousnesses and there is being-in-itself.
What remains of this absolute-subject for the individual consciousness?
First of all, that it is and absolute subject. Because
it is first of all for-itself. But it is only (absolute) for-itself.
And the In-itself will never be In-itself for itself but In-itself
for a consciousness that is not it. Then knowledge appears.
THe In-itself-For-itelsef is a pure type of being.
Thus cinscousness is not knowledge but existence (see beng
The doubling of Being is necessary to Being.
Besides, this doubling results in the modification opf its
presence-to-itself. The absolute-subject is nonsubstantial.
But in relation to the In-itself of which it is consciousness,
consciousness cannot be that of which it is conscious. The
latter is tied to being only insofar as it exists for anabsolute
subject. Thus the known being is a hybrid and incomplete being.
It is a being for itself which does not attain undonditioned
being. It is a being for itself which does not attain unconditioned
being and which becomes being for one absolute subject. The
subject is absolute but is nothing but the consciousness of
th In-itself; the In-itself is something but it can only be
maintained in its being through the absolute-subject which
it is not. Thus to know, is to draw Being from the night of
Being without bing able to lead it to the translucency ofd
the For-itself. In spite of everything, to know is to confer
a dimension of being onto Being: luminosity.
Truth is therefore a certain
dimansion that ocmes to Being through consciousness, Truth
is the being-as-it-is of a being for an absolute-subject.
At the level of the cogito it becomes useless to speak of
truth because we have only bing (existence). The essence of
truth is the "there is" [il y a] of "there
is being." The love of truth is the love of Being and
the love of Being's function making Being present [présentification
de l'Etre]. Seeking truth would not be so fascinating if it
were only a question of determining what Being is totallly
without any relationship to me. Nor would this be the case,
if truth were creation. But truth is Being as it is, to the
extent that I confert on it a new dimension of being. Being
is the night. To be illuminated already means to be something
else. In illuminating, the absolute-subject goes right up
to the point at which it would justify its existence by reconvering
the In-itself and by making it an In-itself and FOr-itself.
But it is stopped by Nothing, the insurmontable limit of not-being.
Yet it has a relationship of being with the I -itself since
it exists in order that there may be an In-itself. The revelation
of the In-itself as pure event, happening to the In-itself
as a new virtual dimension of being of the In-itself, whis
is the absolute subject. Thus truth is an absolute event whose
appearance coincide with the upsurge of humanñ-reality
begins as a history of Being and it is a history of Being,
since it is prograssive disclosure of Being. Truth desappears
with man. Being then sinks back into timeless night. Thus
truth is the temporalizaion of Being such as it is insofar
as the absolute-subject confers on it a progressive unveiling
as a new dimension of being. It goes without saying that truth
is total because the absolute-subject is totalizing. By its
appearance in Being it makes there be a totality of Being.
This concrete totality of Being is Truth, since it is what
is revealed. Thus truth is not a logical and universal organization
of abstract "truth": is is the totality of Being
to the extent that it is manifested as a there is in the historialization
of himan reality. Yet truth cannot be for just a single absolut-subject.
If I comminicate a revealed manifestation, I communicate it
with my revealing behavios, with the outline and selection
that I performed on it; with contours. In this case,
what is given to the otehr is an in-itself-for-itself. If
I say the table is round, I communicate to the other an already
unveiled and already cut-out object in the totality of objects,
exactly as if I handed him a penholder (already worked wood).
At tyhis moment, the In-itself appears to the newcomer as
For-itself, as subjectivity. It is In-itself and it also what
a subjectivity reveals of the In-itself (I judge my companion
by what he shows me of his landscape.) At the same time the
For-itself becomes In-itself: by transcending the vision and
the statement towards my own ends, I make an object of them
on my path and a a truth preceisely in the sense that the
truth is the objectivity of the subjective: Galileo's insight
[la vue] becomes lay.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science