Sartre-Concept of 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.

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.

The journey of ‘Self’ in Various stages of Consciousness

Have you ever wondered how many stages our consciousness or self passes through? If you will say; you don’t have any idea or you know somewhat. Then, here I clear all for you.

Consciousness

Our consciousness passes through four stages and i.e., ‘Jagrat’ or when you are a knower, ‘Svapna’ when you turn into a dreamer, ‘Susupti’ when you know nothing of yourself, and ‘Turiya’ is a blissful state, the ultimate destination of self. It’s possible for us to travel through the three stages stated above, and we are doing it regularly. I will tell you how? But, one thing you should keep in mind that you cannot be in three stages simultaneously, you need to travel one at a time.

Level of consciousness

Suppose you buy an ice-cream and this is because ice-cream is your favourite and you love eating it. Conclusively, you are eating an ice-cream because it’s your choice and you are doing by your free-will. In short, nobody has interfered with you. Now you went to your friend and tease him by saying that you had an expensive ice-cream. This is your ahankaar, the attitude, the arrogance about your doings or karmas.

The soul which knows its presence and doings are said to be in waking state or Jagrat. This Atman or Jiva is also known as ‘Vishwa’ or doer or gross body.

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Now suppose I am your friend whom you lured with an ice-cream. I had a dream that I am eating that costly ice-cream described by you. This is my personal world & my personal experience; even you aren’t aware of the fact that I am having an ice-cream. Of course, it’s not reality but somehow I am satisfactorily enjoying my own state, my own consciousness as a dreamer. Actually one would see the unaccomplished tasks or Vasnas in a dream state. This is called a Tejas or subtle body.

Deep sleep

The next level of consciousness is susupti. From a long day’s work, you often fall in such a deep sleep that you don’t even realise that you were sleeping. This stage is a night of dreamless sleep. You don’t have any dream you are in the third state of consciousness. This is also called as deep sleep or causal body.

The fourth stage of consciousness is a little hard to understand. This is called the meditative stage. It is the sleepless sleep. It is also called caturiya, chaturtha. It is pure consciousness. In this state, any experience is indescribable and infinite. In this state, the knowledge, the knower and the known becomes one. A person reach a liberated state.

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Advaita Philosophy describes the four states of consciousness.

Hindu philosophy believes in four stages of consciousness, it’s our journey towards an ultimate destination- the liberation. We could also say it’s our journey from known to unknown. It’s the revelation of ultimate truth. And we should always seek such truth.

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