On being in bad faith

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I got a lot of reading done today on the train on the way to work, which was good. However, I am still slightly confused by bad faith.

Over the last week I have been in contact with a lot of humanity, engaging in a lot of very human behaviour. Some of it nice, and some of it just plain annoying. I have been trying to interpret it from the point of view of the text, struggling to identify when it is bad faith.

According to Sartre bad faith is lying to your self, and attempting to flee from yourself. Sometimes its obvious. For example, if someone is a complete tosser but they think they are cool then obviously it is bad faith because they’re deluding themselves. (Or perhaps not, maybe they have different standards for what makes a complete tosser than I do.) Other times it is harder. For example, if I know that I am sometimes not a nice person could also be in bad faith if I try to improve my behaviour, because I am fleeing from myself. Does that mean that if you want to escape bad faith all improvement is out of the question? Perhaps you could get around it by saying that the past self was not nice, but you can make the present and future self different. Or, perhaps the lesson to be learnt is that no matter what you do, you can’t avoid bad faith. 

Not a lot of sewing has been done though, I’m afraid. Some hand piecing on the train, and one block when I got home on the sewing machine. I am getting better at guestimating the quarter-inch seam, but still have a long way to go. I don’t think my block is entirely square. The good news is I have found a place where I can get a new foot pedal from. Hopefully I will be able to get out and get one at the weekend, in between looking at houses.

117 Coxcomb

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2 responses »

  1. Perhaps the idea is that you can only make genuine change once you truly comprehend yourself, and what you’re starting with. Or perhaps Sartre is just another one of those arseholes who excuses his bad behaviour as just being true to himself.

    • I’m not sure. I think from what I have read since that what he is saying is that bad faith is part of human nature, and that we might be able to escape it, but not by any of the ideas that human beings have used so far.

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