Bad Faith versus Radical Freedom
Bad Faith —
1) We always have a choice, to guide our lives to our chosen goods. 2) Though this freedom may be limited, it can never be eliminated. 3) We choose in anguish, knowing there will be consequences. 4) To then claim that we have no choice, that we are forced by circumstances into one particular action, is to assume the role of an object in the world, at the mercy of circumstance, a being-in-itself.
“Human reality is what it is not, and it is not what it is.” Human Existence reaches, it does not rest. Being the void that sits behind our perceptions, we are only defined negatively — like God — “we are not our history, we are not our occupation, we are not our body, we are not our thoughts” — and in this negative we begin to sketch the outlines of ourselves — and our choices are our shadows or our footprints in the sand.
I read the Iliad yesterday. Oh Achilles. Oh Hector. Oh Patroclus. Born to die. But that is not us. We are not our deaths. We are our lives. We are our living.
Bad Faith is the the free decision to deny ourselves our inescapable freedom. We choose to lie to ourselves. I am a white male, with responsibilities, and these responsibilities mean I have no choice. That is the lie — we always have a choice. Whatever you do, you have chosen to do. I’ve chosen law school — for a myriad of reasons – I know why I’m here — to alleviate risk, to learn how the world works, to gain the opportunity to have a seat at the table. The choice was freely made — The choice to become more than I was. To learn more and to be more. To reach. To gain wealth and the love of beautiful women.
Now the expected rewards have been snatched away, from me as from so many others. This is not a problem or a crisis. The present is omnipresent and everpresent. I am me, RIGHT NOW. I must CHOOSE NOW. I have CHOSEN TO STAY IN LAW SCHOOL — to try at least — so as to put this feather in my cap and wear it with me for the rest of my life — so as not to quit, since it’s smart to quit, but it’s also smart to quit at the RIGHT TIME, not the WRONG TIME.
I may die, and therefore have wasted my final year of life. But that is always the way of it. HAVE A GOOD RUN. If I die tomorrow, make sure you can say YOU’VE HAD A GOOD RUN. Spring has sprung. Next Year in Jerusalem. We were SLAVES but now WE’RE FREE. We were slaves but now we’re free. We are the Choosers. We are not our Choices. But We make our Choices. We do not serve our Choices, Our Choices Serve Us. We were someone else’s Choices once, and we will Choose later, Choose to create life or not. We are the Chosen, and We are the Choosers. This year we are slaves. Next year may we be Free.