سأصير يوماً طائراً ،
One day, I will be a bird,
وأَسُلُّ من عَدَمي وجودي .
and will snatch my being out of my nothingness.
كُلَّما احتَرقَ الجناحانِ اقتربتُ من الحقيقةِ ، وانبعثتُ من الرمادِ .
The more my wings burn, the more I near my truth and arise from the ashes.
Jean-Paul Sarte’s famous quote from Being and Nothingness doesn’t mean what most people think it means.
“Sartre’s point was never that other people make your life hell. He was trying to tinker with the philosophical concept of "being for others,” which holds that people function as mirrors of our psychological understanding of ourselves. Chad the giant douche has been a douche his entire life, but his douchiness is reflected by other people’s reactions to him. The more people he interacts with, the more of his faults he will be forced to recognize via their actions.“
Romantic Gothic deals with the tormented condition of a creature suspended between the extremes of faith and skepticism, beatitude and horror, being and nothingness, love and hate - and anguished by an indefinable guilt for some crime it cannot remember having committed.
– G. R. Thompson: from “Romanticism and the Gothic Tradition”
“From the very beginning, existentialism defined itself as a philosophy of ambiguity. It was by affirming the irreducible character of ambiguity that Kierkegaard opposed himself to Hegel, and it is by ambiguity that, in our own generation, Sartre, in Being and Nothingness, fundamentally defined man, that being whose being is not to be, that subjectivity which realizes itself only as a presence in the world, that engaged freedom, that surging of the for-oneself which is immediately given for others. But it is also claimed that existentialism is a philosophy of the absurd and of despair. It encloses man in a sterile anguish, in an empty subjectivity. It is incapable of furnishing him with any principle for making choices. Let him do as he pleases. In any case, the game is lost. Does not Sartre declare, in effect, that man is a “useless passion,” that he tries in vain to realize the synthesis of the for-oneself and the in-oneself, to make himself God? It is true. But it is also true that the most optimistic ethics have all begun by emphasizing the element of failure involved in the condition of man; without failure, no ethics; for a being who, from the very start, would be an exact co-incidence with himself, in a perfect plenitude, the notion of having-to-be would have no meaning. One does not offer an ethics to a God. It is impossible to propose any to man if one defines him as nature, as something given. The so-called psychological or empirical ethics manage to establish themselves only by introducing surreptitiously some flaw within the manthing which they have first defined.”
- Simone de Beauvoir, Part I : Ambiguity and Freedom
I am the self which I will be, in the mode of not being it. It is through my horror that I am carried toward the future, and the horror nihilates itself in that it constitutes the future as possible. Anguish is precisely my consciousness of being my own future, in the mode of not-being.
The emptiness I speak about is not the emptiness the mind imagines. It is not blank. Your body can continue expressing in a natural way. Intelligence is there. Emotions can come. Everything can play, but inside there is total serenity and peace. No planning, no strategising, no personal identity is there. Just the space of pure being. It is what we are, but we dream and believe we are not.