A common trap that people fall into is what Sartre calls Bad Faith, a dominant theme of his work. Bad faith is a way of denying the fundamental nature of our freedom and responsibility, it is a way of making excuses for ourselves.
We accept something as true that really isn’t that convincing to us, but because it is convenient and easy for us to believe in.
Sartre talks about a hypothetical waiter, he does not like his job, he goes to work day after day and does not feel fulfilled, but when he thinks of applying to a different job or asks himself the difficult questions that would come along with that sort of life choice, he convinces himself that it’d be better to just to remain a waiter.
For Sartre, this is nonsense, it is Bad Faith. We are free individuals that can choose the meaning of our life. We convince ourselves that we actually don’t have a choice: we need the money, to pay the bills, feed our family, and so on. And that being unhappy at the current job is just how life is.
Sartre would say that it is entirely self-imposed, it is self-deception. It is something that people do to avoid making difficult life decisions, desperately trying to avoid temporary discomfort in the present moment, which comes from the ability to choose and be free, telling oneself excuses. We put ourselves in long-term agony, in an attempt to avoid short-term discomfort.
📚 Book recommendations
📺Watch The Full Video!🧠
Greatest Philosophers In History | Jean Paul Sartre
This video explores Sartre’s main ideas including: Nausea, the Absurdity of the World, Existence precedes Essence, Freedom, Bad Faith, The Look and Hell is Other People, among others.