How Jean-Paul Sartre’s Philosophy Can Empower You to Live the Life You Truly Want

The lat­est install­ment from The School of Life’s ani­mat­ed video series intro­duces us to Jean-Paul Sartre’s con­cept of bad faith, a con­cept inte­gral to his phi­los­o­phy, Exis­ten­tial­ism. As Mark Lin­sen­may­er, one of the founders of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast, explained on our site back in 2011, “bad faith” is a ten­den­cy we have to “dis­as­so­ci­ate our­selves from our actions,” or more com­mon­ly, to claim we have “more lim­it­ed choic­es [in life] than we actu­al­ly do.” He went on to say:

Bad faith is pos­si­ble because of the nature of the self… There is no pre­de­ter­mined ‘human nature’ or ‘true you,’ but instead you are some­thing built over time, by your own freely cho­sen actions, too often using the roles and char­ac­ter­is­tics oth­ers assign to you.

As is their wont, The School of Life takes Sartre’s notion of bad faith and applies it to every­day life, show­ing how it can help you cre­ate the life you want to live–from enter­ing into more sat­is­fy­ing rela­tion­ships, to get­ting out of dead-end jobs.

For any­one look­ing to get a fair­ly acces­si­ble intro­duc­tion to Sartre’s phi­los­o­phy, you might want to start with his 1946 lec­ture, Exis­ten­tial­ism is a Human­ism. And down below, in the Relat­eds sec­tion, we have more help­ful intro­duc­tions to Sartre’s lib­er­at­ing phi­los­o­phy.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jean-Paul Sartre Breaks Down the Bad Faith of Intel­lec­tu­als

Sartre, Hei­deg­ger, Niet­zsche: Doc­u­men­tary Presents Three Philoso­phers in Three Hours

Down­load Wal­ter Kaufmann’s Lec­tures on Niet­zsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre & Mod­ern Thought (1960)

140+ Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Simone de Beau­voir Explains “Why I’m a Fem­i­nist” in a Rare TV Inter­view (1975)

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  • Anthony H. says:

    Excel­lent notion from Sartre, one of my favorites but sad­ly I think a tough sell when it comes to gen­er­al accep­tance. Most­ly because we don’t want to know/accept that we are respon­si­ble for our own cir­cum­stances. After all, human beings have, for thou­sands of years, cre­at­ed any num­ber of myth­i­cal beings, super­nat­ur­al or nat­ur­al influ­ences and oth­er uni­ver­sal truths that are meant to account for those parts of our lives and soci­ety that we are unhap­py with. To accept the notion of bad faith requires we stop look­ing out­side our­selves for blame and respon­si­bil­i­ty for our lot and accept that we make mis­takes (fre­quent­ly) about what is best for us and or oth­ers and there­fore make poor deci­sions etc. But no, those bad deci­sions were in fact brought about by the uni­verse or some deity or anoth­er. Not peo­ple. Not me, not you. It’s eas­i­er that way.

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