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II. Bad Faith: 

II. Bad Faith Philosophy 157 G. J. Mattey ©2002

Nihilating Possibility: 

Nihilating Possibility The nature of conscious being is to be conscious of the nothingness of its being There is more to this than envisioning a négatité Consciousness nihilates what is a possibility for another human reality The slave or prisoner’s possibility is nihilated, and the master or jailer nihilate The master, jailer, “man of resentment” live the Not, and the ironist expresses it more subtly There are many kinds of nihilation, so focus will be on one kind: bad faith

Bad Faith and Lying: 

Bad Faith and Lying Is to show bad faith to lie to one’s self? Bad faith is a lie, and lying is a negative attitude But lying implies possession of the truth Consciousness is mobilized in service of the lie The inner structure of consciousness is not touched

The Other: 

The Other Lying is a phenomenon based in the relation between myself and the Other The Other can take the lie for truth Lying affirms that my consciousness is hidden from that of the Other “It utilizes for its own profit the ontological duality of myself and myself in the eyes of the Other”

Lying to One’s Self: 

Lying to One’s Self Bad faith cannot be based on the duality of myself vs. how I am for others—I cannot be hidden from myself My consciousness is unitary Bad faith is not inflicted from the outside, but comes from one’s self To lie to myself, I must know the truth that I am trying to conceal

The Translucency of Consciousness: 

The Translucency of Consciousness “The being of consciousness is the consciousness of being” If I am in bad faith, I am conscious of being in bad faith But this would mean that I am in good faith with respect to being in bad faith, which annuls the bad faith So bad faith is “evanescent,” and the psychic structure is “metastable,” prone to sudden changes Nonetheless, it can be a durable form, and a normal lifestyle for many people

The Divided Psyche: 

The Divided Psyche The concrete fact of lying must be interpreted, because it cannot be traced to its source Freud’s “ego” is detached from the unconscious “id” I (the ego) only receives passively the products of the id The activity of the id is only understood probabilistically The Other in the form of the analyst, or myself simulating an analyst-Other, is needed to unite the divided psyche

The Psychoanalytic Account of Bad Faith: 

The Psychoanalytic Account of Bad Faith There is a lie without a liar The source of the lie is the id, but it is not a conscious, intentional being So the inter-subjective Other lies at the heart of subjective being But this is belied by the resistance to the truth about to be revealed in analysis

What Resists Analysis?: 

What Resists Analysis? It is not the ego which resists: it only reasons probabilistically like the analyst Otherwise, it is in bad faith, which is not then explained psychoanalytically It is not the id, either, as it aims at revealing itself It can only be the censor, but then it must know what it is repressing and understand it as something to be repressed So the censor is conscious of itself It is in bad faith: being conscious of an instinct so as not to be conscious of it

Further Criticisms of Psychoanalysis: 

Further Criticisms of Psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis merely uses metaphor to solve the problem verbally The double action of attraction (id) and repulsion (ego) is localized in the censor The repressed drive can disguise itself only if is conscious, of being repressed for what it is, and of its project of disguise The unity of the conscious and unconscious is achieved through magic And “repression” can be explained by distraction, a form of bad faith

A Woman in Bad Faith: 

A Woman in Bad Faith A woman is undecided about her relationship with her companion: she is in anguish She refuses to interpret any of his actions as expressive of desire, but instead sees them as directed toward her personality He holds her hand, and she turns the conversation to lofty subjects Her hand becomes an inert thing

Maintaining Bad Faith: 

Maintaining Bad Faith The woman has reduced the companion’s actions to being-in-itself (facticity) She permits herself to enjoy his desire, but as not being what it is (transcendence) She realizes herself as not being her own body, which she treats as being-in-itself “It is a certain art of forming contradictory concepts which unite in themselves both an idea and the negation of that idea” Bad faith attempts to preserve their difference in their identity, by abrupt shifts

Facticity and Transcendence: 

Facticity and Transcendence Love is popularly viewed as facticity and transcendence As facticity, it is sensuality and egoism As transcendence, it is spiritual “I am too great for myself” “He has become what he was” Paradoxical expressions show how we slide from facticity to transcendence and back

Other Instruments of Bad Faith: 

Other Instruments of Bad Faith Another basic instrument of bad faith is the relation of being-for-myself and being-for-others Also, being-in-the-midst-of-the-world (inert) and being-in-the-world (active) Further, past, present and future (“temporal ekstases”) All have the same structure: being what is not, and not being what is


Sincerity Sincerity is the antithesis of bad faith It is a demand to be for one’s self rather only what one is This implies that the principle of identity does not hold for humans: we can be for ourselves what we are not To be sincere, we would have to make ourselves what we are

The Waiter: 

The Waiter A waiter in the café overdoes his role, which looks to us like a game He presents himself mechanically He is playing at being a waiter in a café He plays with his condition in order to realize it, to become what he is Society has many precautions to imprison a man in what he is He is not the representation of what he is to be He is a waiter in the mode of being what he is not

I am Not What I Am: 

I am Not What I Am I am a waiter, not a politician or journalist But I am not a waiter in the sense of being-in-itself I make choices that keep me playing the role of waiter, but I could stop at any time I constitute myself as something beyond the role of a waiter Nor am I any of my attitudes or actions “On all sides I escape being and yet—I am”


Sadness Sadness is an consciousness that magically transforms a situation that is too urgent I am not my sadness: it comes and goes Sadness is not a being which is put on The being-in-itself of sadness regulates its meaning, but it does not constitute the sadness I can only become sad if I am not sad

The Being of Consciousness: 

The Being of Consciousness My consciousness is, in the sense that it is a being for another When I look at the other, I find absence I do not know how the other will act, so the other is not a being-in-itself for me The being-in-itself of the other consciousness disappears in freedom “Its being-in-itself ‘here and now’ is not-to-be”

The Impossibility of Sincerity: 

The Impossibility of Sincerity I am not an other to myself My consciousness of myself makes itself So it sustains being, but it is not being So one cannot be what one is And one cannot be sincere in this sense We constantly experience this embarrassing constraint When I try to be sincere, I constitute myself, thus making myself what I am not Sincerity is a phenomenon of bad faith

The Homosexual: 

The Homosexual A homosexual refuses to admit his homosexuality He attributes his actions to various contingencies He is right in the sense that he is free But he is in bad faith because he understands what he is not in the sense of not falling under a category

The Critic: 

The Critic The critic urges the homosexual to admit that he is homosexual He wishes to reduce the man to being-in-itself Yet he promises an escape to freedom and good will This is an example of Hegel’s master/slave dialectic


Courage? Suppose I generally behave in a cowardly way, so that I “am” a coward In sincerity, I can admit that I am a coward, but then I am reducing myself to being-in-itself In bad faith, I deny that I am a coward, but do so only by equivocating on “what I am not” At the same time, I am making myself what I am, which conflicts with my claim that I “am” not a coward In both cases, my action undercuts itself

Sincerity and Bad Faith: 

Sincerity and Bad Faith Sincerity is in bad faith, since it is a denial of the freedom that I know I am The failure of sincerity is required for the possibility of bad faith If sincerity were successful, I could be reduced to a mere being-in-itself In that case, my cowardliness would be one thing among others I would not be able to determine myself as courageous in the act of declaring it

Bad Faith and Belief: 

Bad Faith and Belief Bad faith is not a cynical lie or certainty Bad faith is a belief falling short of certainty How can I be persuaded without certainty? I am and am not persuaded, so bad faith is another “two-faced concept” If I recognized my bad faith for what it was, it would be a cynical lie (if believed to be bad) or good faith (if believed to be innocent) Bad faith must hide itself in bad faith

Non-Persuasive Evidence: 

Non-Persuasive Evidence Bad faith must take the world to be what it is not and not be what it is Bad faith resolves to require not too much evidence “This original project of bad faith is a decision in bad faith on the nature of faith” The decision is spontaneous, not voluntary The metastable nature of bad faith is projected onto the structure of being and evidence

Good Faith: 

Good Faith Good faith is simple faith: accepting as certain what is uncertain But one knows (or is non-thetically conscious) that what is accepted as certain is uncertain So belief undermines itself: it is “a being which questions its own being” The ideal of good faith is that of escaping this transcendence, taking refuge in being-in-itself Every belief in good faith is impossible, and this is what makes bad faith possible Bad faith takes refuge in “not-believing-what-one-believes”


Self-Recovery? Bad faith flees what it is This reveals a disintegration in the heart of being Good faith flees the disintegration toward the in-itself Good faith is not sustainable, because it is contrary to the nature of consciousness Perhaps the integrity of being can be restored through authenticity

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