Sartre and the true self

2 min read


Insincerity (French: mauvaise foi) is a philosophical term used by the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre to describe the phenomenon of man adopting false values through conformity pressure and giving up his absolute freedom so that he no longer needs to ask himself the question of who he is. The French expression "mauvaise foi" literally means "bad faith" and can be translated as infidelity, disloyalty, dishonesty, even guile or insidiousness. We can conclude that Sartre meant by his term exactly what today is usually called self-deception.

Regarding the meme and to clarify first of all: are chickens dinosaurs? Not in a strict sense of the definition - birds are a separate group of animals, but they are descended from dinosaurs, and it is not too much of a twist of the facts to call them modern-day dinosaurs. There are many similarities between the two animal species, mainly related to bone structure and DNA. A trace of their original (not necessarily "true") form, chickens have thus retained throughout evolutionary history.

Of course, breaded chicken dinosaurs are not the appropriate self. However, by means of the meme and the thought of Sartre's mauvaise foi, we can state that despite all essential change, there is always a true self that is merely covered by external circumstances. After all, that's how we all feel. The art is to find the still tangible threads of the "true self", with wrong turns but without dead ends, in order to find out from them more and more about oneself and one's actual position in the world and society. With this realization, it also seems easier to find one's way in the world and society. Who does not know who he is, wanders around. The ancient Greeks also knew this, and the motto „Gnothi seauton“ translated as "Know thyself!" / "Know what you are.") is known to us as an oft-quoted inscription on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

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