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     The word “authenticity” as we know comes
from the term “authentic”. Authentic is used to connote a strong sense of
actuality whereby something is of unquestionable source. When we say that
something is authentic, it is said to have the qualities it claims to have, or
what it’s presumed to be. However, the difference between authentic and
inauthentic is very different when authenticity is begin used as a qualifier or
a trait that is ascribed to humans. As a topic in philosophy, authenticity is
used as a characterization to depict a person that does not conform to the general standards or expectations but instead
he/she expresses who they by acting in accordance to their personal purpose,
responsibilities, principles, and identity.

         Heidegger notion of authenticity
focuses on the fundamental notion of “realization”. The realization of what it
is to be to be human and the extent to which we are “a relation of being” (Heidegger
1962, 12). Everyone is accountable for the choices and decisions made in respect
of any established human nature out of one’s control. This paper will consider
the concept of “authenticity” according
to Heidegger in relation to Simone de Beauvoir’s and Satre’s account of “Bad
Faith”. It will also consider the roles culture, institutionalization and
social practices have hindered us from being our most authentic self.

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The notion of Dasein (the
experience of being pertaining to humans) in Heidegger’s work portrays how
dasein is relational in terms of his project, what one is at a moment in time
and what one can work to be as time goes on through the realms of
possibilities.

   For Heidegger, Dasein may exist in either
one or two modes- inauthentic or authentic, or it is modally
undistinguished.  Dasein is continually
oriented towards its own potential among which are the possibilities of
authentic and inauthentic existence. If 
Dasein’s everyday living is based on the standards and beliefs and
prejudices of the society, this means Dasein has failed to distinguish itself
from the masses; therefore Dasein is living in an inauthentic existence similar
to  satre’s “bad faith”.  Heidegger emphasizes on the lack of Dasein
trying to attain its ownmost (what makes Dasein individual) as a result of
distractions.  Heidegger called some of these
distractions “idle talk”, “curiosity” and “ambiguity”.

            According
to Heidegger, Dasein has a tendency to allow itself to become lost in present
concerns. This leads to the alienation from itself and actions. This leads to
Dasein being swept along by momentary circumstances. “Idle talk” to Heidegger
makes up the most of Dasein’s conversation in daily encounter. The context of
“idle talk” to Heidegger is not just in reference to “talk” (literally) but
also in other physical form of communication that does not reveal Dasein’s
possibility. Dasein’s fallenness (similar to living in bad faith) which
Heidegger subcategorized into three compartments calls our attention to the
conformity and the “other” that influences and prevails in everyday behavior.
“Curiosity”, another one of Heidegger’s subcategories, drives Dasein to seek
out temporal pursuits that are not beneficial to its project of becoming, but
they do serve as a distraction from the present and from having to deal
essentially with Dasein’s choices and possibilities. Heidegger explains
“ambiguity” to be the genuine thought of understanding and grasping things in
everyday being (Heidegger 1972).  Idle
talk, curiosity and ambiguity constitute the fallen state of Dasein. This is
the state he categorized Dasein as being a “falling prey”. In this state Dasein
is not being itself by not recognizing its possibilities. That, for Heidegger
is inauthentic. Heidegger’s conception of authenticity is very similar to Sartre Bad
Faith, it refers to any sort of self-deception that denies or tries to
reduce the existence of human freedom. Furthermore, even in an individual’s
endeavor to act in good faith, it becomes paradoxical that it also appears to
be classed as an act of bad faith.

     
      According to Sartre’s account, Bad Faith (Inauthenticity) occurs when “someone tries to rationalize
his/her existence or actions through cultural 
values, desires, social roles, religion, science, communal practices and
not limited to other belief system that  inflicts
meaning or coherence on an individual’s daily living” (Sartre & Priest
2001). “Bad faith is a social disease rather than an individual failing, in
Sartre’s view, and is an ongoing condition rather than a sporadic activity”
(Webber 2010). According to Sartre, living inauthentically shows the
disconnected default between a being and its lack of not wanting to acknowledge
different possibilities and not coming to recognition with its existence. Bad
faith does not only arises from this disconnection but also from the
annihilation of consciousness. The destructive power of free consciousness constrains
beings from continuously making conscious choices. It is in this contradiction
that we see how one’s subjectivity limits one’s freedom within a multiple or
unlimited variation of possibilities. This ontology work of Sartre is similar
to Heidegger’s notion of “inauthenticity” and “fallenness”. These terms
similarly explain the aspect of human’s existence, a pre reflective denial to live
life in its wholesome and most attainable form through distractions.

      Closely related to Heidegger’s concept of
authenticity and Sartre’s bad faith, Simone de Beauvoir’s also laid down her
ideas in Ethics of Ambiguity. Beauvoir operates within a Sartrean ontological framework,
but the difference can be seen in her assertion that the trap of bad faith is
not inevitable. According to both Sartre and Beauvoir, projects of bad faith
fundamentally aim at

 

fleeing our freedom. We
pursue it in order to appease anxiety in the face of freedom and to avoid the
metaphysical risks involved in what Sartre describes as making ourselves a lack
of being, or exercising transcendence (Acampora 2002). By “lack of being” Sartre would consider it the state
or condition in which people
cannot transcend their “situation” in order to realize what they must be
(self-conscious humans) and what they are not
(social roles).
The concept of “situation” by Sartre is best analyzed in being and nothingness
where he famously said that:

“There
is freedom only in a situation, and there is a situation only through
freedom… There can be a free for-itself only as engaged in a resisting world.
Outside of this engagement the notions of freedom, of determination, of
necessity lose all meaning” – Sartre 1943

 Beauvoir just like others emphasizes the idea
of self-conception and  laid huge
emphasis on culture-
saying cultural identity
provides an individual with a clear prototype with which to engage the
processes necessary to construct a clear “personal identity” and, by
extension,  keep them living in the
shadow of “the other”. People’s views are constructed in form of interdependent
/independent structures. Because meanings are derived from culture; people
sometimes find the need to be associated or recognized with a group or a belief
system.  This conception of “The Other”
(society, value, conformity …etc.), Beauvoir says, is a constituent part of
self-consciousness.              

     Beauvoir
just like others emphasizes the idea of self-conception and  laid huge emphasis on culture- saying cultural identity provides an individual with a
clear prototype with which to engage the processes necessary to construct a
clear “personal identity” and, by extension, 
keep them living in the shadow of “the other”. People’s views are
constructed in form of interdependent /independent structures. Because meanings
are derived from culture; people sometimes find the need to be associated or
recognized with a group or a belief system. 
This conception of “The Other” (society, value, conformity …etc.),
Beauvoir says, is a constituent part of self-consciousness.

                        Because
the society is based on a rigid value system that we are suited to following,
we are bond to live in accordance with the traditions and norm. These norms and
conformity is hard to divert from because our perceptions have been pre-created
and are shaped by these already made standards. Before the birth of a new life
it seems that some aspects of this unborn child have been predetermined based
on the surroundings. When the newborn is born, he/she starts to live in his/her
facticity; this facticity defines this new life. As the child grows, the child
is raised according to the culture of the people. The social interaction in
school is formed, the “accepted behavior” is shaped at home, the child beliefs
are groomed by the religious institution and as the child develops, he/she
conforms. With all these making up the child’s facticity, it would be unreal to
say that the child can completely avoid Bad
Faith. This does not lessen the freedom of the child but with growth and
time, the child is exposed to his/her freedom of choice and also a subjective
mind.

            As
a result of societal values and culture, the inevitable consequence is to adopt
bad faith, while at the same time recognizing our every choice. Although
adopting bad faith ultimately denies our freedom according to Sartre, but
consistently acknowledging other options also defines human’s will and freedom.
Therefore, although unavoidable, rather than viewing Bad Faith as a negative consequence of freedom, it can be
considered as an essential and necessary concept, with regard to the human
condition. Much of human society is built around the concept of bad faith, and
it possesses social and cultural norms and roles which individuals adopt or
adhere to in order to successfully function on a daily basis.

 

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