In Sartre identifies 'authentic' consciousness as the For-itself. It is the capacity to interrogate, eliminate possibilities, and establish a judgement based on of what is i.e. by recognizing what one acknowledges also what is not. The For-itself stands generally outside of being, and as such it remains free. For Sartre, the For-itself is freedom. This freedom comes at the price of its being entirely, and permanently, separate from the In-itself, which occurs because consciousness reaches and acknowledges being merely as something external. The is thus never a thing or an object, but a , that is linked to action rather than to observation. All phenomena (including another For-itself) belong, as a mass, to the realm of the In-itself. Subjectivity as consciousness is, therefore, a nothingness. It is emptiness of the In-itself. Sartre states that the For-itself never "exists but only and that subjectivity is a consciousness ." In other words, for the For-itself to remain free it must also be ; it can never be an object, not even that of its own. As such, the For-itself is invariably , energy, activity. Although as action the For-itself manifests itself through the object, it is never simply that object but the force that shaped it. This definition of consciousness is maintained even after Sartre embraced Marxism. Sartre was very critical of the Marxist definition of subjectivity, which claimed that subjectivity is dependent on production.
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Roquentin's attempt to relate his story as the meaning of his life suffers from the absence of a certainty in language. While staring at a seat in a tramcar, Roquentin murmurs to himself: "it's a seat, as a sort of exorcism. But the word remains on my lips: it refuses to go and rest upon the thing ... Things are delivered from their names. They are there, grotesque, stubborn, huge, and it seems crazy to call them seats or to say anything whatever about them." These thoughts are continued in his visit to the public park, as are his reflections upon the absence of perceived relations between the words and the images of the things in themselves. Roquentin seizes upon these limitations through the use of words; the absence of the 'middle way' between non-existence and the abundance of things is identified as the absence of the naming, the identifying of action, the process of becoming free that Sartre formulates later in . These are the words which define , as distinct from simply . Words come as the writing of this history, my history, takes shape, and therewith the of my being as . For until I am able to define the process of this in the form of a story that I can relate and through which I can objectify my , I merely as empty consciousness.
Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty - FREEDOM KEYS
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One can find an answer to these questions in and in subsequent writings. In , Roquentin exemplifies the pure consciousness of the For-itself as active self-questioning of the self and its environment. He seems to be stumbling endlessly in a world he did not shape, did not fashion, and is merely observing. Roquentin conceives of himself as a prisoner of a world in which he is able to reflect his essence, but from which he remains separate. Sartre defines the world of free individuals as filled with obstacles and illusions, alien and terrifying. There is no sphere in which social, political and economic relations or conditions are 'excuses' for my failure to be free. History is my history, the one that I have written, or have yet to create, all "in respect of concrete circumstances." Freedom is that responsibility that I carry for my choices and my actions.