A la one of my favorite Frenchmen
(viva la France!)
after Camus, that is–
Sartre discussed the notion of “bad faith.”
What is bad faith?
We were born into a world that already had a bunch of givens:
how to behave
how to live
(though, ironically… not much of a manual for how to die).
It’s a given that relationships are monogamous–that one (and only one) person is out there who can make us happy.
It’s a given that we work a job and give ourselves to our owners in exchange for (the illusion of) security and creature comforts.
It’s a given that if we choose to be single, we will die unhappy and alone.
It’s a given that we have to suffer through mediocre relationships–because it feels safer to choose the devil we know than risk a paradise we may never find.
(Or, which may not even exist.)
The crux of bad faith is letting these and 100 other givens (and corresponding fears) run–and ruin–your life. Instead of your desires.
Fears of looking dumb, being an outcast, being judged as a know-it-all, not getting laid, losing our jobs, losing our relationships.
We make micro-decisions every day that are in bad faith.
By itself, no one act of bad faith is that damaging. But we don’t stop at one. We make one after another, until one day we wake up crying–or tired or stressed or depressed–wondering… how did I get here?
It’s not your fault, really.
You were born into bad faith.
The question becomes, though, what can we do about it?
What can I?
Once you get clear that your life is one lived in bad faith–
and once you’ve allowed yourself to truly feel the sum of this tragedy
(i.e., your whole life)
something new emerges:
The dual tragedy and miracle of life is that although life is, indeed, tragic…
the moment we finally take the helm
the corresponding liberation is so great,
the sunshine so bright,
that our sins are washed away.
Not by a God, mind you.
You don’t need God (or gods) for that.
But by you.
And then life becomes simultaneously amazing and challenging.
With all of this new-found freedom,
with no one to be accountable to but ourselves,
we got decisions to make!
Like a good RUSH song
(those who choose not to decide… still have made a choice)
we realize that no one truly does anything to us–
we have allowed almost everything that has happened to us.
Until we take that level of responsibility, our lives are like a six-pack and a bad country song.
Say it with me.
Life begins when we get real about how we’ve been full of shit.
Unti then, it’s all a bunch of givens.
This is all nice and pseudo-philosophical, you say.
And you’re right.
I’m writing about this. I should be leading the way.
So, I will.
How have I been in bad faith exactly?
My bad faith revolves around an idea that I’m “too much for this world.”
If I was to be how I want to be,
you’d all run.
I’d never get laid.
I’d have no friends…
Like a Dylan song,
“…and if my thought dreams
could be seen
they’d probably put my head
in a guillotine.”
It may take a few minutes of contemplation for you to agree, but some truths can’t be spoken aloud.
Misunderstandings would erupt, followed by chastisement and then banishment.
Civilized peoples would lose their collective shit.
Which is why we have to take our perversions where they can’t be seen.
Like we’re all hiding that we’re all hiding.
It’s kinda funny when you stop and think about it.
I’ve used this too muchness as an excuse not to take risks and be the fullest expression of myself. I’ve been in hiding for a very long time.
It’s been my convenient excuse.
What’s your convenient excuse?
What allows you to continue to be in bad faith with–and to–yourself?