Saturday, December 03, 2011

Existentialism: Digging Deep

....Continued from... Existentialism: A Perspective

In the ongoing discussion, before we understand the other aspects of existentialism, let us understand the first two most important and fundamental concepts... 

1. Facticity
Authenticity and inauthenticity


Facticity in simple terms means that all human beings are born with certain qualities and in certain conditions over which they have no control. For instance we do not choose our parents or family, we do not choose our nationality, we do not choose our religion, we do not choose our moral values, and we do not choose our socio economic conditions etc. And now that you are reading this post you have a past which is also a kind of facticity, something you cannot change but is a real part of your personality. Thus existentialism recognizes the presence of certain factors in life which one does not choose, but nonetheless has to accept.

Authenticity and Inautheticity


Although you are born in certain conditions and circumstances which you did not choose, it does not prevent you in any way from making choices based on your own values. It does not matter if your values happen to be the same values as that of your family or society; they are still your values. Thus the starting point that is your facticity does not prevent you from working upon your conditions and circumstances and living according to your values. This essentially includes a firm belief in free will and awareness of the fact that you alone are responsible for the consequences of your action. This explains authenticity in simple terms.

In authenticity

In authenticity means not having your own values, but to live according to the prevalent social norms, or someone else’s values like your parents, friends, colleagues etc. It includes a firm belief in determinism or fate. I am good or bad not because of my actions, but because of my genes, my inclinations, my intellectual makeup, influence of the society in which I live, my past actions, or some other factor for which I am not responsible. This mind set is considered as inauthentic. That is not to accept that I can choose to be otherwise, or live according to my values. Thus there is no free will and consequently no responsibility for my actions.

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