While slowly munching on slices of plants and dead animals, you’re sitting with your knees under strips of a chopped-up tree. Next to you, another creature whose genitals you sometimes touch is doing the same. This is right around the time when your part of the planet has rotated away from the energy of a faraway hydrogen and helium explosion. That is the ‘absurdity of diner,’ as Jean-Paul Sartre describes. 

Who is Jean-Paul Sartre?

Jean-Paul Sartre was an existentialist born in Paris in 1905. Sartre was a French philosopher and author and is still recognized for his philosophy of existence: existentialism. Sartre’s father passed away when he was merely a baby—known for his wandering eye and a considerably short length. Markedly he described himself as ugly.

jean-paul sartre french

l’être précède l’essence

l’être précède l’essence‘ or ‘being precedes essence’, is that who we are can’t be determent by one particular job or relationship. For example, it is essential to realize that as Sartre describes, our being is much more significant. According to Sartre, our being is: ‘All the things we are at present not, but could possibly become.’

Jean-Paul Sartre image

In 1964 the Noble Prize in Literature was awarded to Jean-Paul Sartre for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age. Chiefly he ultimately declined all official honors.

Famous work

Firstly Jean-Paul Sartre’s published his most notable work, included Nausea, in 1938. After that, he published Being and Nothingness in 1943. Lastly, Sartre published Existentialism and Humanism in 1946.

l’être et le néant

l’être et le néant” is French for ‘Being and nothingness’ and it is considered to be Jean-Paul Sartre’s magnum opus. In brief, in the introduction to Being and Nothingness, Sartre details his rejection of Immanuel Kant’s concept of the noumenon, which is a thing or being as it is in itself.

There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Thus arises Sartre’s radical hypothesis that a person is fundamentally free in everything he or she does. Here, Sartre clearly distinguishes the difference between existentialism (that I am) and essentialism (what I am).

jean-paul sartre book

La Nausée

Despite the absurdity of the world. Like many modernist novels, La Nausée, or nausea, is a town-novel, encapsulating the experience inside the town. Firstly, Radical strangeness lurking beneath. Therefore, the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is petrified at his existence.

He ruthlessly catalogs his every perception and sensation about the world and people around him in impressionistic diary form. Indeed, I personally think Jean-Paul Sartre writes beautifully. He describes the material world in incredible detail.

Mauvaise Foi – bad faith

‘Mauvaise Foi’ is French for ‘bad faith’. It is a philosophical concept originated by Jean-Paul Sartre. Bad faith is considered a sin for an existentialist. That is to say that people do not make decisions because they are scared of the consequences. Ordinarily, they are evading their responsibility by sheltering behind things such as faith. Sartre centralizes the freedom of choice.

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

As a person, you do not fancy your existence, but you can get relieved of the baggage that you are given. After all, your life purpose is not predetermined by religions, but you make all kinds of existential choices in your life. You cannot avoid that responsibility: ‘a man is doomed to freedom‘. 

The School of Life on Bad Faith

Uncomplicated Free will

A personage can indeed do whatever they truly desire. On the positive side, we could quit our job, we could live in the woods, or going on a journey to find out who we indeed are. On the negative side, that thought can be confronting as we realize that we waste our lives at our fault. We tend to accuse other people or events. We then typically suppress our insights.

To clarify, I embedded a French video below on purpose so you can hear the terminology as Jean-paul Sartre signified. Be sure to turn on auto-translate if you have a hard time following it.

What is Bad faith – Bad faith at Sartre

According to Sartre, it is an ‘immediate permanent threat to every project of the human being.’ For instance, it assists a human being to reject responsibility and artificially deny his freedom or delude himself about the concept of their freedom.

Sartre and the Waiter

The waiter

‘Être un néant’ or ‘Being a nothingness‘. Sartre describes this as a waiter in a restaurant who tells himself that he is ‘just a waiter.’ It is his lot in life. The waiter tells himself that he has no choice whatsoever. Satre concludes that this is not true because we are all free because he needs the money. He calls this phenomenon: Negative ecstasy


According to the Oxford Languages, existentialism is a philosophical theory. It shows the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible being.

If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company

Jean-Paul Sartre

Existentialism helps discover someone’s ‘own improvement’ through acts of ‘the will.’ In conclusion, I added five key existentialism figures if you want to learn more about the concepts of Jean-Paul Sartre’s ideology. Jean-Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Stirner, and Simone de Beauvoir.

Sartre’s Key Insights

Sartre’s key insights were ‘Angoisse,’ or Anguish of existence. If we tell ourselves things have to be specific, we are in bad faith. Freedom is usually being seen as having money. In other words, most people believe that they worry about money and shut their eyes any other way. We see society as a giant machine that we are part of and deny our freedom. But t\hings don’t have to be the way they are.

  1. Things are weirder than we think
  2. We are free
  3. No-one should live in bad faith (Mauvaise Foi)
  4. Everyone is free to dismantle capitalism
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