PHILOSOPHY & FILM
PHILOSOPHY & FILM PHIL 3002
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PHILOSOPHY 3002 ProFessor Schu 39eider 39 xmj Mairet quotExistentialism is a Humanismquot TEN I Existentialism 281 I V reprinted with permission of rights 139 H I 39 fv holder Routledge via Copyright the de nitive statement of eiustenttahsm but is a brilliant 91 Clearance Center 1996 lecture which bears the stamp of the moment According to H Genesis and Kierkegaard it was not an angel that com manded Abraham to sacri ce his sonquot more important Jas pers is not a professed Catholic and the de nition of existen tialism and many of the arguments invite criticism Plainly this is not the alpha and omega of existentialism but it is giant thoughtprovoking and you can almost hear Sartre Sartre EXISTENTIALISM Marxism and Existentialism is the essay with which Sartre s Critique of Dialectical Reason begins Critique de la raison dialectique pr c d de Question de m thode was pub lished in 1960 and fteen years later the only part of it that had appeared in a complete English version was Search or a ace JeanPaul Sartre was born in Paris in 190 His Egg story quotThe Wallquot is one of the classics of existennahsm It is reprinted unabridged A brief analyst the following selections too is offered in Chapter One 39 39 SelfDeceptionquot is an important chapter of Sartres ma3or L n is also offered un i a Method translated by Hazel Barnes The rst of the three p m iff mfn hl Barnes but I have I chapters Marxism and Exrstentialism has been abridged hang her translation of mauvaire lot which she renders j39 here but the rst sentence of this selection comes from Sartre s Md Ritualsdfdeccpuonquot seems much more accurate to me 3 3 Preface and the last two sentences are the beginning of the second chapter In these pages Sartre embraces Marxism as quotthe one philosophy of our time which we cannot go beyond and he tries to de ne the relation of his own early existentialism to Marxism In a way this is the epitaph of existentialism Jaspers and 39 Heidegger had sought to dissociate themselves from existential ism as soon as Sartre made it world famous after World War II This is not the place to discuss Sartre39s Marxism which is at least as eccantric as Kierkegaard s Christianity But he no longer writes under the banner of existentialism nor does any other major gure In a sense then Marxism and Existen tialismquot marks the end of existentialism In another sense existentialism is a timeless tendency and the men whose writ ings are presented in this volume have something to say that remains worth studying and thinking about The days of Greek tragedy are over but reading Aeschylus Sophocles and Eurip ides is as important as ever Jaspers Heidegger and Sartre do not approximate the format of these poets but anyone who cares about humanity in the twentieth century can hardly ignore the writings collected here d this is also how Philip Mairet has translated the same phrase in the nal selection The price I have had to pay for this change and I think it was amply worth mrs that the contrast between selfdeceptionquot and quotgood faith 391s a bit 39 39 less neat and that the title of section III The Faith of Sell a39 Deceptionquot no longer sounds like a play on words That may quot 4 be just as well for Sartre39s thought here does not all depend on the words He himself is of course quite aware of and soon speaks of quotbeliefquot croyance instead of faith lei In view of the many paradoxes he offers it may well to call attention to this passage tOWard the end of sec tion l1 quotthere is a sincerity which bears on the past and which does not concern us here liere our concern is only with the sincerity which aims at itself in present im eneequot was Portrait of the Antisemitequot represents a slighth abridged version of the rst part of Re exion sur la question ve haExistentialhm is a Humanism is Mairet39s translation of Ssrtre39s famous lecture L extrtentialisme est un humanume 1946 unabridged It has been published in England as Existentialism and Humanism in the United States as Exh tentialism and in Germany with the title lst der Existen zlalismus cir Humanismus It has been widely mistaken for 280 c Izri39 rooms U3 tlng an ineffectual ripple of having their heads cram gt o tion which appears to them x t 39 nu 39sm is but a jus39 cation the futility of thes people 39 s justi e human sacri ce t pe ese secondhand antisemites e c without much cost 0 thmselves an aggressive persnal i One of my frien en cites the example of an old usin who came to d v with his family and about om y I 5 I39IA Jules in A e ng 39 y friend cant reemer ever hearing any 39g e so about Cousin Jul cit agreement bet Jules and his family They sten Ibly avoided talkig bout th English in front of u this precautio 33 e him a emblance of existenEe in e eyes of his r atives and at the same time gave them an Jecable feeli of tking part a sacred cerenony circumstances after E B usion to sally implies Simple Wind ey would certainly n ver have invented antisemi m if cocious antise39mitism quothey ar the ones who 39 sure the survv of 39mitis u But at was enough there v as a Existentialism 345 rr llll Ilzll We can now we o is afraid ot o the Jews of course gut of himself of his conscienn ht freedom of his instinc of his responsibilities 0 li of change of society nd the world of every n ex Jews He is a coward who does not wan to admit 39 murderer who rresses and urder without t 39g able to re 0 nevertheless does not dar to kill except in 39 a mob a u content who dares nsequenc r of his rebellion By dhering to antiseml39 m be is not nly adopting an opin on he is choosing hi elf a a y rson He is choosing the ermanence and the y o o o ir 39 quot o obeys his leaders and he acquire nothing to deserve e 39ven him as his birthright chses u that ood be ready out f reach e dare not look at it only a p etext elsewh e it will be the Negro the ye ow race th Jew39s existcnc simply allo 39 to nip his an 39eties in the bud i persuadin his place has a ays been cut out in e worl he ha the right to occupy it Antisemitism in a word 1 f of an39s fate The antise is the man who wants to 39 ess stone furious torrent devastatin I 39 4 Existentialism is a Humanism My purpose here is to offer a defence of existentialism against several reproaches that have been laid against it First it has been reproached as an invitation to people to dwell in quietism of despair For if every way to a solution is barred one would have to regard any action in this world as entirely ineffective and one would arrive nally at a contemplative philosophy Moreover since contemplation is a luxury this would be only another bourgeois philosophy This is especially the reproach made by the Communists From another quarter we are reporached for having under lined all that is ignominious in the human situation for my 346 SARTRE depicting what is mean sordid or base to the neglect of cer tain things that possess charm and beauty and belong to the brighter side of human nature for example according to the Catholic critic Mlle Mereier we forget how an infant smiles Both from this side and from the other we are also reproached for leaving out of account the solidarity of man kind and considering man in isolation And this say the Communists is because we base our doctrine upon pure subjectivity upon the Cartesian quotI thinkquot which is the moment in which solitary man attains to himself a posmon from which it is impossible to regain solidarity with other men who exist outside of the self The ego cannot reach them through the cogi39to From the Christian side we are reproached as people who deny the reality and Seriousness of human affairs For since we ignore the commandments of God and all values pre scribed as eternal nothing remains but what is strictly volun tary Everyone can do what he likes and Will be incapable from such a point of view of condemning either the pomt of View or the action of anyone else It is to these various reproaches that I shall endeavor to reply today that is why I have entitled this brief exposition Existentialism is a Humanismquot Many may be surprised at the mention of humanism in this connection but we shall try to see in what sense we understand it In any case we can begin by saying that existentialismvin our sense of the word is a doctrine that does render human life possible a doctrine also which af rms that every truth and every action imply both an environment and a human subjectivity The essen tial charge laid against us is of course that of overemphasis upon the evil side of human life I have lately been told of a lady who whenever she lets slip a vulgar expression in a moment of nervousness excuses herself by exclaiming quotI believe I am becoming an existentialistquot So it appears that ugliness is being identi ed with existentialism That is why some people say39we are quotnaturalisticquot and if we are it is strange to see how much we scandalize and horrify them for no one seems to be much frightened or humiliated nowadays by what is properly called naturalism Those who can quite well keep down a novel by Zola such as La Terr are siek ened as soon as they read an existentialist novel Those who appeal to the wisdom of the people which is a sad wisdom nd ours sadder still And yet what could be more dis Ll Existentialism 347 illusioncd than such sayings as quotCharity begins at homequot or Promote a rogue and he39ll sue you for damage knock him down and he ll do you homagequot12 We all know how many common sayings can be quoted to this effect and they all mean much the same that you must not oppose the powers thathe that you must not ght against superior force must not meddle in matters that are above your station Or that any action not in accordance with some tradition is mere romanticism or that any undertaking which has not the support of proven experience is foredoomed to frustra tion and that since experience has shown men to be in variably inclined to evil there must be rm rules to restrain them otherwise we shall have anarchy It is however the people who are forever mouthing these dismal proverbs and whenever they are told of some more or less repul sive action say How like human nature it is these very people always harping upon realism who complain that exis tentialism is too gloomy a view of things Indeed their ex cessive protests make me suspect that what is annoying them is not so much our pessimism but much more likely our optimism For at bottom what is alarming in the doc trine that I am about to try to explain to you is is it not that it confronts man with a possibility of choice To verify this let us review the whole question upon the strictly phil osophic level What then is this that we call existentialism ost of those who are making use of this word would be highly confused if required to explain its meaning For since it has become fashionable people cheerfully declare that this musician or that painter is existentialist A columnist in Clart s signs himself The Existentialist and indeed the word is now so loosely applied to so many things that it no longer means anything at all It would appear that for the lack of any novel doctrine such as that of surrealism all those who are eager to join in the latest scandal or movement now seize upon this philosophy in which however they can find nothing to their purpose For in truth this is of all teachings the least scandalous and the most austere it is intended strictly for technicians and philosophers All the same it can easily be de ned The question is only complicated because there are two kinds of existentialists There are on the one hand the Christians amongst whom I shall name Jaspers and Gabriel Marcel both professed Catholics and on the other the 348 sun th existential atheists amongst whom we must place Heidegger as well as the French existentialists and myself What they have in common is simply the fact that they believe that existence comes before essence or if you will that we must begin from the subjective What exactly do we mean by that If one considers an article of manufacture as for ex ample a book or a paperknife one sees that it has been made by an artisan who had a conception of it and he has paid attention equally to the conception of a paperknife and to the pre existent technique of production which is a part of that conception and is at bottom a formula Thus the paperknife is at the same time an article producible in a certain manner and one which on the other hand serves a de nite purpose for one cannot suppose that a man would produce a paperknife without knowing what it was for Let us say then of the paperknife that its essence that is to say the sum of the formulae and the qualities which made its production and its de nition possible precedes its existence The presence of suchandsuch a paperknife or k is thus determined before my eyes Here then we are viewing the world from a technical standpoint and we can say that production precedes existence When we think of God as the creator we are thinking of him most of the time as a supernal artisan Whatever doc trine we may be considering whether it be a doctrine like that of Descartes or of Leibnitz himself we always imply that the will follows more or less from the understanding or at least accompanies it so that when God creates he knows precisely what he is creating Thus the conception of man in the mind of God is comparable to that of the paperknife in the mind of the artisan God makes man according to a procedure and a conception exactly as the artisan manu factures a paperknife following a de nition and a formula Thus each individual man is the realization of a certain con ception which dwells in the divine understanding In the philosophic atheism of the eighteenth century the notion of God is suppressed but not for all that 39the idea that essence is prior to existence something of that idea we still nd everywhere in Diderot in Voltaire and even in Kent Man possesses a human nature that quothuman naturequot 39which is the conception of human being is found in every man which means that each man is a particular example of a universal conception the conception of Man In Kant this Existentialism 349 universality goes so far that the wild man of the woods man in the state of nature and the bourgeois are all contained in the same de nition and have the same fundamental qualities Hercagain the essence of man prcccdcs that historic exist ence which we confront in experience Atheistic existentialism of which I am a representative declurcs with greater consistency that if God does not exist there is at least one being whOse existence comes before its essence a being which exists before it can be de ned by any conception of it That being is man or as Heidegger has it the human reality What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence We mean that man rst of all exists encounters himself surges up in the world and de nes himself afterwards If man as the cxistentialist sees him is not de nable it is because to begin with he is noth ing He will not be anything until later and then he will be what he makes of himself Thus there is no human nature because there is no God to have a conception of it Man simply is Not that he is simply what he conceives himself to be but he is what he wills and as he conceives himself after already existing as he wills to be after that leap to wards existencc Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself That is the rst principle of existentialism And this is what people call its quotsubjectivityquot using 39the word as a reproach against us But what do we mean to say by this but that man is of a greater dignity than a stone or a table For we mean to say that man primarily exists that man is before all else something which propels itself towards a future and is aware that it is doing so Man is indeed a project which possesses a subjective life instead of being a kind of moss or a fungus or a cauli ower Before thatpro jection of the self nothing exists not even in the heaven of intelligence man will only attain existence when he is what he purposes to be Not however what he may wish to be For what we usually understand by wishing or willing is a conscious decision taken much more often than not after we have made ourselves what we are I may wish to join a party to write a book or to marry but in such a case what 39 is usually called my will is probably a manifestation of a prior and more spontaneous decision If however it is true that existence is prior to essence man is responsible for what he is Thus the rst effect of existentialism is that it puts every man in possession of himself as he is and places the W i 350 SARTRI entire responsibility for his existence squarely upon his own shoulders And when we say that man is responsible for him self we do not mean that he is responsible only for his own individuality but that he is responsibletor all men The word quotsubjectivismquot is to be understood in two senses and our adversaries play upon only one of them ubiectIVism means on the one hand the freedom of the indmdual sub ject and on the other that man cannot pass beyond human subjectivity It is the latter which is the deeper meaning of existentialism When we say that man chooses himself we do mean that every one of us must choose himself but by that we also mean that in choosing for himself he chooses for all men For in effect of all the actions a man may take in order to create himself as he wills to be there is not one which is not creative at the same time of an image of than such as he believes he ought to be To choose between this or that is at the same time to af rm the value of that which is chosen for 39we are unable ever to choose the worse What we choose is always the better and nothing can bebetter for us unless it is better for all If moreoever eitistence precedes essence and we will to exist at the same time as we fashion our image that image is valid for all and forthe entire epoch in which we find ourselves Our responsibility is thus much greater than we had supposed for it concerns mankind as a whole If I am a worker for instance I may choose to join a Christian rather than a Communist trade 39 union And if by that membership I choose to signify that resignation is after all the attitude that best becomes a man that man39s kingdom is not upon this earth I do not commit myself alone to that view Resignation is my will for everyone and my action is in consequence a commitment on behalf of all mankind Or if to take a more personal case I decide to marry and to have children even though this decision proceeds simply from my situation from my pas sion or my desire I am thereby committing not only myself but humanity as a whole to the practice of monogamy I am thus responsible for myself and for all men and I am creat ing a certain image of man as I would have him to be In I fashioning myself I fashion man This may enable us to understand what is meant by such terms perhaps a little grandiloquent as anguish aban donment and despair As you will soon see it is very Simple First what do we mean by anguish The existentialist E il lllillid39nl 35 frankly states thatman is in anguish His meaning is as follows When a man commits himself to anything fully realizing that he is not only choosing what he will be but is thereby at the same time a legislator deciding for the whole of mankind in such a moment a man cannot escape from the sense of complete and profund responsibility There are many indeed who show no such anxiety But we af rm that they are merely disguising their anguish or are in ight from it Certainly many people think that in what they are doing they commit no one but themselves to anything and if you ask them What would happen if everyone did so they shrug their shoulders and reply quotEveryone does not do soquot But in truth one ought always to ask oneself what would happen if everyone did as one is doing nor can one escape from that disturbing thought except by a kind of which it denies By its very disguise his anguish reveals it self This is the anguish that Kierkegaard called the an guish of Abrahamquot You know the story An angel com manded Abraham to sacri ce his son and obedience was obligatory if it really was an angel who had appeared and said quotThou Abraham shalt sacri ce thy son But anyone in such a case would wonder rstvwhether it was indeed an angel and secondly whether I am really Abraham Where are the proofs A certain mad woman who suffered from hallucinations said that people were telephoning to her and giving her orders The doctor asked But who is it that speaks to you She replied He says it is Godquot And what indeed could prove to her that it was God If an angel appears to me what is the proof that it is an angel or if I hear voices who can prove that they proceed from heaven and not from hell or from my own subconsciousness or 39 some pathological condition Who can prove that they are really addressed to me Who then can prove that I am the proper person to im pose by my own choice my conception of man upon man kind I shall never nd any proof whatever there will be no sign to convince me of it If a voice speaks to me it is still I myself who must decide whether the voice is or is not that of an angel If I regard a certain course of action as good it is only I who choose to say that it is good and not 352 SARTRE bad There is nothing to show that I am Abraham neverthe less I also am obliged at every instant to perform actions which are examples Everything happens to every man as though the whole human race had its eyes xed upon what he is doing and regulated its conduct accordingly So every man ought tosay Am I really a man who has the right to act in such a manner that humanity regulates itself by what I doquot If a man does not say that he is dissembling his anguish Clearly the anguish with which we are concerned here is not one that could lead to quietism or inaction It is anguish pure and simple of the kind well known to all those who have borne responsibilities When for instance a military leader takes upon himself the responsibility for an attack and sends a number of men to their death he chooses to do it and at bottom he alone chooses No doubt he acts under a higher command but its orders which are more general require interpretation by him and upon that in terpretation depends the life of ten fourteen or twenty men In making the decision he cannot but feel a certain anguish All leaders know that anguish It does not prevent their acting on the contrary it is the very condition of their ac tion for the action presupposes that there is a plurality f possibilities and in choosing one of these they realize that it has value only because it is chosen Now it is anguish of tiat kind which existentialism describes and moreover as we shall see makes explicit through direct responsibility to wards other men who are concerned Far from being a screen which could separate us from action it is a condi tion of action itself And when we speak of quotabandonmentquot a favorite word of Heidegger Ave only mean to say that God does not exist and that it is necessary to draw the consequences of his absence right to the end The existentialist is strongly 0p posed to a certain type of secular moralism which seeks to suppress God at the least possible expense Towards 1880 when the French professors endeavored to formulate a secu lar morality they said something like this God is a useless and costly hypothesis so we will do without it However if we are to have morality a society and a lawabiding world it is essential that certain values should be taken seriously they must have an d prlan existence ascribed to them It must be considered obligatory a 39priori to be honest not to lie not to beat one39s wife to bring up children and so forth E i llllilid39ln 353 so we are going to do a little work on this subject which 39 enable us to show that these values exist all the same in scribed in an intelligible heaven although of course there in no God In other words and this is I believe the purport of all that we in France call radicalism nothing will be changed if God does not exist we shall rediscover the same norms of honesty progress and humanity and we shall have disposed of God as an outof date hypothesis which will die awayquietly of itself The existentialist on the contrary nds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist for there disappears with Him all possibility of nding values in an intelligible heaven There can no longer be any good a priori since there is no in nite and perfect consciousness to think it it is nowhere Written that quotthe goodquot exists that one must be honest or must not lie since we are now upon the plane where there are only men Dostoevsky once wrote quotIf God did not exist everything would be permittedquot and that for existentialism is the starting point Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist and man is in con sequence forlorn for he cannot nd anything to depend upon either within or outside himself He discovers forthwith that he is Without excuse For if indeed existence precedes essence one will never be able to explain one s action by reference to a givan and specific human nature in other words there is no determinism man is free man is freedom Nor on the other hand if God does not exist are we pro Vided with any values or commands that could legitimize our behavior Thus we have neither behind us nor before us in a luminous realm of values any means of justi cation or excuse We are left alone without excuse That is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free Con demned because he did not create himself yet is neverthe less at liberty and from the moment that he is thrown into this world he is responsible for everything he does The exis tentialist does not believe in the power of passion He will never regard a grand passion as a destructive torrent upon which a man is swept into certain actions as by fate and which therefore is an excuse for them He thinks that man is responsible for his passion Neither will an existentiali st that a man can nd help through some sign being vouchsafed upon earth for his orientation for he thinks that the man himself interprets the sign as he chooses He thinks that every man without any support or help whatever is Q 354 SARTRF condemned atevery instant to invent man As Ponge has written in a very fine article Man is the future of manquot That is exactly true Only if one took this to mean that the future is laid up in Heaven that God knows what it is it would be false for then it would no longer even be a future If however it means that whatever man may now appear to there is a future to be fashioned a virgin future that awaits him then it is a true saying But in the present one is fo en As an example by which you may the better understand this state of abandonment I will refer to the case of a pupil of mine who sought me out in the following circumstances His father was quarrelling with his mother and was also in clined to be a collaborator his elder brother had been killed in the German offensive of 1940 and this young man with a sentiment somewhat primitive but generous burned to avenge him His mother was living alone with him deeply af icted by the semi treason of his father and by the death of her eldest son and her one consolation was in this young man But he at this moment had the choice between going to England to join the Free French Forces or of stay ing near his mother and helping her to live He fully realized that this woman lived only for him and that his disappear ance or perhaps his death would plunge her into despair He also realized that concretely and in fact every action he performed on his mother s behalf would be sure of effect in the sense of aiding her to live whereas anything he did in order to go and ght would be an ambiguous action which might vanish like water into sand and serve no purpose For instance to set out for England he would have to wait inde nitely in a Spanish camp on the way through Spain or on arriving in England or in Algiers he might be put into an of ce to ll up forms Consequently he found himself confronted by two very di 39erent modes of action the one concrete immediate but directed towards only one individ ual and the other an action addressed to an end in nitely greater 3 national collectivity but for that very reason am biguous and it might be frustrated on the way At the same time he was hesitating betWeen two kinds of morality on the one side the morality of sympathy of personal devotion and on the other side a morality of wider scope but of more debatable validity He had to choose between those two What could help him to choose Could the Christian doc Existcmi39alism 3 55 trine No Christian doctrine says Act with cha neighbour deny yourself for others choose thenv itylghizg irs hardest and so forth But which is the harder road To whom does one owe the more brotherly love the patriot or the mother7Which is the more useful aim the general one of ghting39in and for the whole community or the precise aim of helping one particular person to live Who can give an answer to that d prion No one Nor is it given in any ethical scripture The Kantian ethic says Never regard another as a means but always as an end Very well if I remain with my mother I shall be regarding her as the end and not as a means but by the same token I am in danger of treatin as means those who are ghting on my behalf and the con3 33 Iis also true that if I go to the aid of the combatants I momcreas 2211 nthem as the end at the risk of treating my If values are uncertain if they are still too abs termine the particular concrete case under wagging nothing remains but to trust in our instincts That what this young man tried to do and when I saw him he said lathe end it is feeling that counts the direction in which it is really pushing me is the one I ought to choose If39I feel that I love my mother enough to sacri ce every thing else for her my will to be avenged all my longings for action and adventure then I stay with her If on the contrary I feel that my love for her is not enough I go But how one estimate the strength of a feeling The value of his feeling for his mother was determined precisely by the factthat he was standing by her I may say that I love a certain friend enough39to sacri ce such or such a sum of money for him but I cannot prove that unless I have done it Iquot may say I love my mother enough to remain with her if actually I have remained with her I can only estimate the strength of this affection if I have performed an action by whichit is de ned and rati ed But if I then appeal to this affection to justify my action I nd myself drawn into a vicious circle Moreover as Gide has very well said a sen39 39 is playacting and one which is vital are two tlitilglgintthii lma hardly distinguishable one from another To decide that I love my mother by staying beside her and to play a comedy the upshot of which is that I do so these are nearly the same thing In other words feeling is formed by the deeds 356 SARTRE that one does therefore I Cannot consult it as a guide to action And that is to say that I can neither seek within my self for an authentic impulse to action nor can I expect from some ethic formulae that will enable me to act You may say that the youth did at least go to a professor to ask for advice But if you seek counsel from a priest for example you have selected that priest and at bottom you already knew more or less what he would advise In other words to choose an adviser is nevertheless to commit oneself by that choice If you are a Christian you will say Consult a priest but there are collaborationists priests who are resisters and priests who wait for the tide to turn which will you choose Had this young man chosen a priest of the resistance or one of the collaboration he would have decided beforehand the kind of advice he was to receive Similarly in coming to me he knew what advice I should give him and I had but one reply to make You are free therefore choose that is to say invent No rule of general morality can show you what you ought to do no signs are vouchsafed in this world The Cath olics will reply Oh but they arequot Very well still it is I myself in every case who have to interpret the signs While I was imprisoned I made the acquaintance of a somewhat remarkable man a Jesuit who had become a member of that order in the following manner In his life he had suffered a succession of rather severe setbacks His father had died 39when he was a child leaving him in poverty and he had been awarded a free scholarship in a religious institution where he had been made continually to feel that he was ac cepted for charity39s sake and in consequence he had been denied several of those distinctions and honours which gratify children Later about the age of eighteen he came to grief in a sentimental affair and nally at twentytwo this was a tri e in itself but it was the last drop that over owed hls cup he failed in his military examination This young man then could regard himself as a total failure it was a sign but a sign of what He might have taken refuge in bitterness or despair But he took it very cleverly for him as a sign that he was not intended for secular successes and that only the attainments of religion those of sanctity and of faith were accessible to him He interpreted his rec ord as a message from God and became a member of the Order Who can doubt but that this decision as to the mean ing of the sign was his and his alone One could have drawn I 5i39ii39t39nlinliwii 357 quite different conclusions from such a series of reverses for example that he had better become a carpenter or a rev lutionary For the decipherment of the sign however he hears the entire responsibility That is what quotabandonmentquot implies that we ourselves decide Our being And with this abandonment goes angmsh u As for deSpair39 the meaning of this expression is ex sum of the probabilities which render our action quot ghcnebverone Wills anything there are always these 522th Whpro ability lfl am counting upon a visit from a friend u o may be coming by train or by tram l presuppose that thi ambwrll arrive at the appointed time or that the train will not de derailed I remain in the realm of possibilities but one oes not rely upon any possibilities beyond those that ini strictly concerned in one s action Beyond the point at w ch the possibilities under consideration cease to affect my action I ought to disinterest myself For there is no God If pEESiilgfil lfeTetut design lwhich can adapt the world and all 0 my w When Desca 39 yourself rather than the worldquot what herbiseaiiildwascziulalbif tom the same that we should act without hope lylari39usts to whom I have said this have answered Your action is limited obviously by your death but you can rel uplon the help of others That is you can count both upoiyi Ema thedothers are doing to help you elsewhere as in o 213 in Russm and upon what they will do later after y ur cath to take up your action and carry it forward to its you must rely upon this not to do so is immoral To this I reiom first that I shall always count upon my comradesin arms in the struggle in so far as they are committed as I am to a de nite common cause and in the unity of a 358 SARTRE foundational I do not know where the Russian revolution will lead I can admire it and take it as an example in so far as it is evident today that the proletariat plays a part in Russia which it has attained in no other nation But I cannot a inn that this will necessarily lead to the triumph of the proletariat I must con nc myself to what I can see Nor can I be sure that comradesinarms will take up my work after my death and carry it to the maximum perfection seeing that those men are free agents and will freely decide tomorrow what man is then to be Tomorrow after my death some men may decide to establish Fascism and the others may be 39 so cowardly or so slack as to let them do so If so Fascism will then be the truth of man and so much the worse for us In reality things will be such as men have decided they shall be Does that mean that I should abandon myself to quietisrn No First I ought to commit myself and then act my commitment according to the time honored formula that one need not hope in order to undertake one39s workquot Nor does this mean that I should not belong to a party but only that I should be without illusion and that I should do what I can For instance if I ask myself Will the social ideal as such ever become a reality I cannot tell I only know that whatever may be in my power to make it so I shall do be yond that I can count upon nothing Quietism is the attitude of people who say let others do 39 what I cannot doquot The doctrine I am presenting before you is precisely the opposite of this since it declares that there is no reality except in action It goes further indeed and adds Man is nothing else but what he purposes he exists only in so far as he realizes himself he is thereforenothing else but the sum of his actions nothing else but what his life isquot Hence we can well understand why some people are horri ed by our teaching For many have but one resource to sustain them in their misery and that is to think Cir cumstances have been against me I was worthy to be some thing much better than I have been I admit I have never had a great love or a great friendship but that is because I never met a man or a woman who were worthy of it if I have not written any very good books it is because I had not the leisure to do so or if I have had no children to whom I could devote myself it is because I did not nd the man I could have lived with So there remains39within me a wide range of abilities inclinations and potentialities unused but E39i39 Illili lll 359 perfectly viable which endow me with a worthiness that could never be inferred from the mere history of my actions But in reality and for the existentialist there is no love apart from the deeds of love no potentiality of love other than that which is manifested in loving there is no genius other than that which is expressed in works of art The genius of Proust is the totality of the works of Proust the genius of Racine is the series of his tragedies outside of which there is nothing Why should we attribute to Racine the capacity to write yet another tragedy when that is precisely what hedid not write In life a man commits himself draws his own por trait and there is nothing but that portrait No doubt this thought may seem comfortless to one who has not made a success of his life On the other hand it puts everyone in a position to understand that reality alone is reliable that dreams expectations and hopes serve to de ne a man only as deceptive dreams abortive hopes expectations unful lled that is to say they de ne him negatively not positively Nevertheless when one says quotYou are nothing else but what you livequot it does not imply that an artist is to be judged solely by his works of art for a thousand other things con tribute no less to his de nition as a man What we mean to say is that a man is no other than a series of undertakings that he is the sum the organization the set of relations that constitute these undertakings In the light of all this what people repmach us With is not after all our pessimism but the sternness of our op timism If people condemn our works of ction in which We describe characters that are base Weak cowardly and some times even frankly evil it is not only because those charac ters are base weak cowardly or evil For suppose that like Zola we showed that the behavior of these characters was caused by their heredity or by the action of their environ ment upon them or by determining factors psychic or or ganic People would be reassured they would say You see that is what we are like no one can do anything about itquot But the existentialist when he portrays a coward shoWs him as responsible for his cowardice He is not like that on ac count of a cowardly heart or lungs or cerebrum he has not become like that through his physiological organism he is like that because he has made himself into a coward by his actions There is no such thing as a cowardly temperament There are nervous temperaments there is what is called im 360 SARTRE poverished blood and there are also rich temperaments But the man whose blood is poor is not a coward for all that for what produces cowardice is the act of giving up or grvrng way and a temperament is not an action A coward rs de ned by the deed that he has done What people feel ob scurely and with horror is that the coward as we present hrm is guilty of being a coward What people would prefer would be to be born either a coward or a hero One of the charges mOst often laid against the Chemins de la Libert rs some thing like this quotBut after all these people being so base how can you make them into heroesquot That objection is really rather comic for it implies that people are born heroes and that is at bottom what such people39would like to think If you are born cowards you can be39qurte content you can do nothing about it and you Will be cowards all your lives whatever you do and if you are born heroeiyou can again be quite content you will be heroes all your lives eating and drinking heroically Whereas the exrstentralrst says that the coward makes himself cowardly the hero makes him self heroic and that there is always a possrbrhty for the coward to give up cowardice and for the hero to stop being a hero What counts is the total commitment and it is not by a particular case or particular action that you are committed altogether We have now I think dealt with a certain number 39of the reproaches against existentialisrn You have seen that it can not be regarded as a philosophy of quietism since it de nes man by his action nor as a pessimistic description of man for no doctrine is more optimistic the destiny of man rs placed within himself Nor is it an attempt to discourage man from action since it tells him that there is no hope except in his action and that the one thing which permits him to have life is the deed Upon this level therefore what we are con sidering is an ethic of action and selfcommrtment However we are still reproached upon these few data for con ning man within his individual subjectivity There again people badl misunderstand us 39 I I Ol39rrpoint of departure is indeed the subjectrvrty of the individual and that for strictly philosophic reasons It is not because we are bourgeois but because we seek to base our 39 39 39 tine teaching upon the truth and not upon a collection of theories full of hope but lacking real foundations And at the point of departure there cannot be any other truth than this zgt Existentialism 361 C I think thereore I am which is the absolute truth of con sciousness as it attains to itself Every theory which begins with man outside of this moment of selfattainment ll a theory which thereby suppresses the truth for outside of the Cartesian cogt39to all objects are no more than probable and any doctrine of probabilities which is not attached to a truth will crumble into nothing In order to de ne the probable one must possess the true Before there can be an truth whatever then there must be an absolute truth and there is such a truth which is simple easily attained and within the reach of everybody it consists in one r immediate sense or oue39s self In the second place this theory alone is compatible with the dignity of man it is the only one which does not make man into an object All kinds of materialism lead one to treat every man including oneself as an object that is as a set of prodetermined reactions in no ws di erent from the pat terns of qualities and phenomena which constitute a table or a chair or a stone Our aim is precisely to establish the human kingdom as a pattern of values in distinction from the ma terial world But the subjectivity which we thus postulate as the standard of truth is no narrowly individual subjectivism for as we have demonstrated it is not only one39s own self that one discovers in the cogilo but those of others too Con trary to the philosophy of Descartes contrary to that of Kant when we say quotI thinkquot we are attaining to ourselves in the presence of the other and we are just as certain of the other as we are of ourselves Thus the man who discovers himself directly in the cogito also discovers all the others and discovers them as the condition of his own existence He recognizes that he cannot be anything in the sense in which one says one is spiritual or that one is wicked or jealous un less others recognize him as such I cannot obtain any truth whatsoever about myself except through the mediation of an other The other is indispensable to my existence and equally so to any knowledge I can have of myself Under these con ditions the intimate discovery of myself is at the same time 39 the revelation of the other as a freedom which confronts mine and which cannot think or will without doing so either for or against me Thus at once we nd ourselves in a world which is let us say that of quotintersubjectivityquot It is in this world that man has to decide what he is and what others are Furthermore although it is impossible to nd in each and 362 SARTKE a universal essence that can be called human na 333 is nevertheless a human universality of condition It is not by chance that the thinkers of today are so much more ready to speak of the condition than of the nature of man By his condition they understand With more or less clarity all the limitations which 6 priori define mans funda mental simation in the universe His historical Situations are variable manmay be born a slave in a pagan somety or may be a feudal baron or a proletarian But what never vary are the necessities of being in the worldhof lining to labor 39 and to die there These limitations are neither SUbJCClIVC nor objective or rather there is both a subjective and an objec tive aspect of them Objective because we meet With them everywhere and they are everywhere recognizable and sub jective because they are lived and are nothing if man does not live them 4f that is to say he does not freely determine himself and his existence in relation to them And diverse though man39s purposes may be at least none of them is wholly foreign to me since every human purpose presents itself as an attempt either to surpass these limitations or to widen them or else to deny or to accommodate oneself them Consequently every purpose however indiVidual it may be is of uniVersal value Every purpose eVen that of a Chinese an Indian or a Negro can be understood by a Euro pean To say it can be understood means that the European of 1945 may be striving out of a certain Situation towards the same limitations in the same way and that he may recon eeive in himself the purpose of the Chinese of the lndiaii or the African In every purpose there is universality in this sense that every purpose is comprehensible to every man Not that this or that purpose de nes man for ever but that it may be entertained again and again There is always some way of understanding an idiot a child a primitive man or a foreigner if one has su icient information In this sense we may say that there is a human universality but it is notsome thing given it is being perpetually made i make this uni versality in choosing myself I also make it by understanding 39the purpose of any other man of whatever epoch absoluteness of the act of choice does not alter the relatiVity h a e OfVeJai39tctlI l Gigi the very heart and center of existentialtsm ll the absolute character of the free commitment by which every man realizes himself in realizing a type of humamty Existentialism 363 a commitment always understandable to no matter whom in no matter what epoch and its bearing upon the relativity of the cultural pattern which may result from such absolute commitment One must observe equally the relativity of Car tesianism and the absolute character of the Cartesian commit ment In this sense you may say if you like that every one of us makes the absolute by breathing by eating by sleeping or by behaving in any fashion whatsoever There is no differ ence between free being being as selfcommittal as exist encc choosing its essence and absolute being And there is no difference whatever between being as an absolute tem porarily localizcdthat is localized in history and univer sally intelligible being This does not completely refute the charge of subjectivism Indeed that objection appears in several other forms of which the rst is as follows People say to us quotThen it does not matter what you do3939 and they say this in various ways First they tax us with anarchy then they say quotYou Cannot judge others for there is no reason for preferring one pur pose to anotherquot nally they may say Everything being amerely voluntary in this choice of yours you give away with one hand what you pretend to gain with the otherquot These three are not very serious objections As to the rst to say that it does not matter what you choose is not correct In one sense choice is possible but what is not passible is not to choose I can always choose but I must know that if I do not choose that is still a choice This although it may appear merely formal is of great importance as a limit to fantasy and capricc For when l confront a real situation for exam pic that I am a sexual being able to have relations with a being of the other sex and able to have childrenl am obliged to choose my attitude to it and in every respect I bear the responsibility of the choice which in committing myself also commits the whole of humanity Even if my choice is determined by no a priori value whatever it can have nothing to do with caprice and if anyone thinks that this is only Gide s theory of the acts gramit over again he has failed to see the enormous difference between this theory and that of Gide Gide does not know what a situation is his act is one of pure capricc In our view on the contrary man nds himself in an organized situation in which he is him self involved his choice involves mankind in its entirety and he cannot avoid choosing Either he must remain single 364 SARTKE or he must marry without having children or he must marry and have children In any case and whichever he may choose it is impossible for him in respect of this situation not to take complete responsibility Douthess he chooses without reference to any preestablished values but it is unjust to tax him with caprice Rather let us say that the moral choice is comparable to the canstruction of a work of art But here I must at once digress to make it quite clear that we are not propounding an aesthetic morality for our ad versaries are disingenuous enough to reproach us even with that I mention the work of an only by way of comparison That being understood does anyone reproach an artist when he paints a picture for not following rules established a pri ari Does one ever ask what is the picture that he ought to paint As everyone knows there is no piede ned picture for him to make the artist applies himself to the composition of a picture and the picture that ought to be made is precisely that which he will have made As everyone knows there are no aesthetic values 2 priori but there are values which will appear in due course in the coherence of the picture in the relation between the will to create and the nished work No one can tell what the painting of tomorrow will be like one cannot judge a painting until it is done What has that to do with morality We are in the same creative situation We never speak of a work of artas irresponsible when we are discussing a canvas by Picasso we understand very well thatthe composition became what it is at the time when he was painting it and that his works are part and parcel of his entire life It is the same upon the plane of morality There is this in common betWeen art and morality that in both we have to do with creation and invention We cannot decide it prior what it is that should be done I think it was made suf ciently clear to you in the case of that student who came to see me that to whatever ethical system he might appeal the Kantian or any otherp he could 39 nd no sort of guidance whatever he was obliged to invent the law for himself Certainly we can not say that this man in choosing to remain with his mother that is in taking sentiment personal devotion and concrete charity as his moral foundations would be making an irre sponsible choice nor could we do so if he preferred the sacri ce of going away to England Man makes himself he is not found readymade he makes himself by the choice of his I Existentialism 365 mora ity and he cannot but choose a m 39 39 pressure of circumstances upon him Wgrtll ilynes h ignuog in relation to his commitments it is therefore absurd to roy prrlmclihus for igresponsibility in our choice it e secon place people sa to us Yo judge othersquot This is true in oney sense and fglg inuzhhihet It is true in this sense that whenever a man chooses his pur poise and his commitment in all clearness and in all sincerity w atevcr that purpose may be it is impossible for him it prefer another It is true in the sense that we do not believe 3813125635 Progress implies lamelioration but man is al ga esame facmg a situation which is always changing an ch0ice remains always a choice in the situation Th moral problem has not changed since the time when it was a chOice between slavery and antislavery from the time of the war of Secession for example until the present mo ment when one chooses between the MRP Mouvement Re puallicain fogulaire and the Communists 39 e can u ge nevertheless for as I have said on in View of others and in view of others one choose One can judge first and perhaps this is not a judgment of value but it is a logical judgment that in certain cases gnome is founded upon an error and in others upon the truth e can judge a man by saying that he deceives himself Since we have de ned the situation of man as one of free Vchoice without excuse and without help any manvwho takes refuge behind the excuse of his assions 39 some deterministic doctrine is a sflfdeceiiieizr Erie 1126 3 iect Butwhy should he not choose to deceive himselfquot I reply that it isnot for me to judge him morally but I de ne his selfdeception as an error Here one cannot avoid pro nouncmg a judgment of truth The self deception is evidently afalsehood because it is a dissimulation of man39s complete liberty of commitment Upon this same level I say that it is alsoa selfdeception if I choose to declare that certain values are incumbent upon me I am in contradiction with myself if I Will these values and at the same time say that they impose themselves upon me If anyone says to me quotAnd what if I Wish to deceive myself I answer quotThere is no reason why you should not but I declare that you are doing so and that the attitude of strict consistency alone is that of good faith Furthermore I can pronounce a moral judgment FOr I declare that freedom in respect of concrete circumstances 366 SARTRlI can have no other end and aim but itself and when once a man has seen that values depend upon himself in that state of fersakenness he can will only one thing and that is free dom as the foundation of all values That does not mean that he wills it in the abstract it simply means that the actions of men of good faith have as their ultimate signi cance the quest of freedom itself as such A man who belongs to some communist or revolutionary society wills certain concrete ends which imply the will to freedom but that freedom is willed in community We will freedom for freedom s sake in and through particular circumstances tn thus wrll ing freedom we discover that it depends entirely upon the freedom of others and that the freedom of others depends upon our own Obviously freedom as the de nition of a man does not depend upon others but as soon as there IS a com mitment I am obliged to will the liberty of others at the same time as my own I cannot make liberty my aim unless I make that of others equally my aim Consequently when I recognize as entirely authentic that man is a being whose ex istence precedes his essence and that he is a free bemg who cannot in any circumstances but will his freedom at the same time I realize that I cannot not will the freedom of others Thus in the name of that will to freedom which Is rmv plied in freedom itself I can form judgments upon those who seek to hide from themselves the wholly voluntary natureof their existence and its complete freedom Those who hide from this total freedom in a guise of solemnity or wrth de terministic excuses I shall call cowards Others who try to show that their existence is necessary when it is merely an accident of the appearance of the human race on earth I shall call scum But neither cowards nor scum can be rden ti ed except upon the plane of strict authenticity Thus al though the content of morality is variable a certain form of this morality is universal Kant declared that freedom is a will both to itself and to the freedom of others Agreed but he thinks that the formal and the universal suf ce for the Iv on the c0ntrary that constitution of a morality We think principles that aretoo abstract break down when we come to de ning action To take once againthe case of that student by what authority in the name of what golden rule of mo rality do you think he could have decrded tn perfect peace of mind either to abandon his mother or to remain with her There are no means of iudging The content is al Exislcnliulism 367 39 if ways concrete and therefore unpredictable it has always to he invented The one thing that counts is to know whether the invention is made in the name of freedom Let us for example examine the two following cases and you will see how far they are similar in spite of their differ ence Let us take The Mill on the Floss We nd here a certain young woman Maggie Tulliver who is an incama tion of the value of passion and is aware of it She is in love with a young man Stephen who is engaged to another an insigni cant young woman This Maggie Tulliver instead of hecdlessly seeking her own happiness chooses in the name of human solidarity to sacri ce herself and to give up the man she loves On the other hand La Sanscverina in Stendhal39s Chartreuse de Parme believing that it is passion which en dows man with his real value would have declared that a grand passion justi es its sacri ces and must be preferred to the banality of such conjugal love as would unite Stephen to the little goose he was engaged to marry It is the latter that she would have chosen to sacri ce in realizing her own hap piness and as Stendhal shows she would also sacri ce herself upon the plane of passion if life made that demand upon her Here we are facing two clearly opposed moralities but I claim that they are equivalent seeing that in both eases the overruling aim is freedom You can imagine two attitudes exactly similar in effect in that one girl might prefer in resignation to give up her lover while the other preferred In ful llment of sexual desire to ignore the prior engage ment of the man she loved and externally these two cases might appear the same as the two we have just cited while being in fact entirely different The attitude of La Sansev g en39na is much nearer to that of Maggie Tulliver than to one of careless greed Thus you see the second objection is at 7 once true and false One can choose anything but only if it is upon the plane of free commitment The third objection stated by saying You take with one hand what you give with the otherquot means at bottom your values are not serious since you choose them yourselvesquot To that I can only say that I am very sorry that it should be so but if I have excluded God the Father there must be somebody to invent values We have to take things as they are And moreover to say that we invent values means neither more nor less than this that there is no sense in life d priori Life is nothing until it is lived but it is yours to make sense 368 SA R39l39Rli of and the value of it is nothing else but the sense that you choose Therefore you can see that there is a possibility of creating a human community I have been reproached for suggesting tliatexistentialism is a form of humanism people ve said to me But you have written in your Naur e that the humanists are wrong you have even ridiculed a certain type of humanism why do you now go back upon thatquot In reality the word humanism hastwo very different meanings One may understand by humanism a theory which upholds man as the endinitself and as the supreme value Humanism in this sense appears for instance in Cocteau39s story Round the World iii 80 Hours in which one of the characters de clares because he is flying over mountains in an airplane Man is magni centlquot Thissignifies that although I person ally have not built airplanes I have the bene t of those par ticular inventions and that I personally being a man can consider myself responsible for and honored by achieve ments that are peculiar to some men It is to assume that we can ascribe value to man according to the most distinguished deeds of certain men That kind of humanism is absurd for only the dog or the horse would be in a position to pro nounce a general judgment upon man and declare that he is magni cent which they have never been such fools as to do at least not as far as I know But neither is it admissible that a man should pronounce judgment upon Man Existen 39 tialism dispenses with any iudgment of this sort an existent tialist will never take man as the end since man is still to be determined And we have no right to believe that human ity is something to which we could set up a cult after the manner ofAAuguste Comte The cult of humanity ends in Comtian humanism shutin upon itself and this must be said in Fascism We do not want a humanism like that But there is another sense of the word of which the fun damental meaning is this Man is all the time outside of himself it is in projecting and losing himself beyond him self that he makes man to exist and on the other hand it is by pursuing transcendent aims that he himself is able to exist Since man is thus selfsurpassing and can grasp ob jects only in relation to his selfsurpassing he is himself the heart and center of his transcendence There is no other unl verse except the human universe the universe of human sub jectivity This relation of transcendence as constitutive of man not in the sense that God is transcendent but in the I Existentialism 369 sense of selfsurpassing with subjectivi in such a that man is not shut up in himself but tfytvnriver presentsiellr human universe it is this that we call existential human ism This is humanism because we remind man that there is no legislator but himself that he himselfythus abandoned must deCIde for himself also because we show that it is not by turning back upon himself but always by seeking beyond himself an aim which is one of liberation or of some partic ular realization that man can realize himself as truly human You can see from these few re ections that nothingcould bemore unjust than the objections people raise against us Existentialism is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position Its inten tion is not in the least that of plunging men into despair nd if by despair one means as the Christians do any at titude of unbelief the despair of the existentialists is some thing different Existentialism is not atheist in the sense that it would exhaust itself in demonstrations of the nonexistence of God It declares rather that even if God existed that would make no difference from its point of view Not that we believe God does exist but we think that the real prob lem is not that of His existence what man needs is to nd himself again and to understand that nothing can save him fromhimself not even a valid proof of the existence of God 39In this senseexistentialism is optimistic It is a doctrine of ac tion and 391 is only by sel deception by confusing their own Sagan With ours that Christians can describe us as without o idcr Marxism the one pliilosoph of our ti e mi 0 beyond and I ho a the ideology f cXistencc and its co 39 393 to be an encla e I If philosophy is to be simu neously a ization of know edge a method a regula e Idea an offensive gt and ents rotten societies if this particulr an or of a group of men becomes the cultu 298 SARTRE LI quot 39 In no mg to do with politics g dont know he said quotThey arrest everybody sn 1 think the way they 0 He lowered his u s rambler When quotThis morning messed it up Tuesday because they 39 of people to hide him to an b 39 Mol s go get fteen 0 left his cousin39s an e fat man said I ll th but it ll cost you O plenty if you r making monkeys out of us bu d v r i an to owe an mg e lb 39 39 39 they gm him so I go I s m histas place hut In the cemeteryquot Yes What a ol Of courle they went by there urc to happen They found him in and they got himquot 39 the hero these grim falangistas their men in uniform running among the gIaVCS39 it esistibl n half an 39 gt ac alone I thought he had te me The others must have the nature of that being implying a hat we have examined V we ean at present also write 39 He sai v court I recognized Gareta the baker the ed luck you have I didn t think IId se 0 ey sentenced me to deathquot I said and the quotThey arrested me at two o clockquot Garcia said Existentialism 299 in air men There were plenty I J lLEllLalwl cL ht Clearance Barnes quotSelfDeception quot rerpinted wLLll yeLmibaiuu u Routledge via Copyrlg Center 1996 ll 300 sures their very subjectivity establish their human personality as a perpetual negation This is the meaning and function of what Scheler calls the man of resentmentquot in reality the Not But there exist more subtle behaviours the de scription of which will lead us further into the inwardness of consciousness Irony is one of these In irony a man annihilt lates what he posits within one and the same act he leads us to believe in order not to be believed he a irms to deny and denies to affirm he creates a positive object but it has no being other than its nothingness Thus attitudes of negation toward the self permit us to raise a new question What are we to say is the nature of man who has the possibil ity of denying himself But it is out of the question to dis cuss the attitude of selfnegationquot in its universality The kinds of behaviour which can be ranked under this heading are too diverse we risk retaining only the abstract form of them It is best to choose and to examine one determined attitude which isessential to human reality and which in such that consciousness instead of directing its negation out ward turns it toward itself This attitude it seems to me is selfdeception mauvaise foi Frequently this is identi ed with falsehood We say in differently of a person that he shows signs of self deception or that he lies to himself We shall willingly grant that self deception is a lie to oneself on condition that We distinguish the lie to oneself from lying in general Lying is a negative attitude We will agree to that But this negation does not bear on consciousness itself it aims only at the transcend ent The essence of the lie implies in fact that the liar ac tually is in complete possession of the truth which he is hiding A man does not lie about what he is ignorant of he does not lie when he spreads an error of which he himself is the dupe he does not lie when he is mistaken The ideal description of the liar would be a cynical consciousness af rming truth within himself denying it in his words and denying that negation as such Now this doubly negative at titude rests on the transcendent the fact expressed is tran scendent since it does not exist and the original negation rests on a truth that is on a particular type of transcend ence As for the inner negation which I effect correlatively with the af rmation for myself of the truth this rests on words that is on an event in the world Furthermore the inner disposition of the liar is positive it could be the r 253203 control over all attitudes As for his aunted 39n This is true llinsgwthe I d never want to deceive ydul ear i 39 all this of co 39 O urse is usf tidinzgnn gatlifn but also it is dot recognized hsetlgbllg IS payed imitated 39 39 39 It Elli39aracter which he plays in the e39yiztslfifthe Intention 0f lransceisdcharacter precisely because he does not exist is n ent Thus the he does not put into play the inne moved from consciousness The lie then do 39 ggc ilistontological foundation and the explafdatrilghsrwhigl out Chanetctce tilt negation in general requires are valid with the icIlemg ten cIe case of 39deceit Of course we have described M is mm oubtless it happens often enough that the persuades lie or lessthe Victim of his lie that be half of the a atruisellf of it But these common popular form ime d e aso degenerate aspects of it they re rese t rme iaries between falsehood and sclf de ti p 1 is a behaviour of transcendence cap on39 The he cans cal twin a normal phenomenon of what Heidegger CXistence of thsem It presupposes my existence the of a Sf i mi 5li eilquot mquot quot quot 3 quot 1quot I V us holding that the liar must make the farriijiesctmhfdlttliiigullitg 1 by nature as hidden f 39 mm the other it utilize 39 profit the ontological duality of myself and s mlfu39s own 39 eyes of others myse m the The situation can not b e the same for selfdec 39 39 this as we have said is indeed a lie to oneself Toeg li r t 39 32 SARTREUH h f h ltd t I Very Pram u d b E39I39J39Ientialism 303 c anges every 39ng is t e act t at in se eception i is 39 0 5811 t on b it from myself that I am hiding the truth Thus the duality of quot 3 39 39 g belongs to the kmd Of Psyche the deceiver and the deceived does not exist here Self quot deception on the contrary implies in essence the unity of 39 a single consciousness This does not mean that it can not be conditioned by the quotMUreinquot like all other phenomena of human reality but the quotMitsein can call forth self deception only by presenting itself as a situation which self We h deception permits surpassing selfdeception does not come can nett er reject nor c from outsideto human reality One does not undergo his 39 To escape from these d 2333eniosilfdfcepuon39 selfdeception one is not infected with it it is not a state cow39s 0 the unconscious In the ps phe g adly haye re But consciousness affects itself with selfdeception There Pfelallon for example they use the hp yc hoapalyucal 1 51quot must be an original intention and a project of selfdeception 9 CCIV d as a line of demarcation withygm cm of a censor this project implies a comprehension of selfdeception as moms such and a prere ective apprehension of consciousness3 as sheeting itself with selfdeception It quotfollows rst that the one to whom the lie is told and the one who lies are one and the same person which means that I must know in my capacity as deceiver the truth which is hidden from me in my capacity as the one deceived Better yet I must know the truth very exactly in order to conceal it more carefully and this not at two different moments which at a pinch would allow us to reestablish a semblance of duality but in the unitary structure of a single project How then can the lie subsist if the duality which conditions it is suppressed To this dif culty is added another which is derived from the total translucency of consciousness That which affects itself with selfdeception must be conscious of its self deception since the being of consciousness is consciousness of 39 being It appears then that I must be in good faith at least to the extent that I am conscious of my self deception But then this Whole psychic system is annihilatedi We must agree in fact that if I deliberately and cynically attempt to lie to myself I fail completely in this undertaking the lie falls back and collapses under my regard it is ruined from lugt zig isclehiitstgry make up reality It is ne39 39 oes not exist for ilself It sim l 39 like this table which is neither true nor falsf3 inl issliagg r I of t 39 fellas insteggretatton takes them not for appearanclles fiftnnfgtt Vim yf c acts Fear forgetting dreams exist really b oncretc facts of consciousness in the same way pitilessly constitutes itself well within my project as its very condition We have here an evanescent phenomenon which r exists only in and through its own differentiation To be sure these phenomena are frequent and we shall see that there is in fact an quotevanescencequot in selfdeception lt is iquot evident that it vacillates continually between good faith and cynicism Even though the existence of self deception is he 3 go Ipslychic whole into two I am the ego but I am old no prtvrleged position in relation to my 304 SARTRE 39 us 3 che I am my own psychic phenomena in sgoi eftgblish them in their conscious reality For x ample Iam the impulse to steal this or that book frombt is 39 bookstall I am an integral part of the impulse I 39 ring it to light and I determine myself hand in hand wrth it to commit the theft But I am not those psychic facts in so far as I receive them passively and am obliged to resort to 39 hypotheses about their origin and their true meaning Just as the scholar makes conjectures about the nature and is scnce of an external phenomenon Thistheft for exairipii which I interpret as an immediate impulse determihiteh by the rarity the interest or the price of the 39volume w if I am going to steal it is in truth a process derived from se a punishment which is attached more or less directly to an Oedipus complex The impulse toward the theft containsbla truth which can be reached only by more or less probabe hypotheses The criterion of this truth will be the num of conscious psychic facts which it explains from a gifhre pragmatic point of view it will also the success of mi psychiatric cure which it allows Finally the discovery 0 I truth will necessitate the cooperation of the psychoanalyst who appears as the mediator between my uncomciriinus drives and my conscious life The other appears as be g able to effect the synthesis between the unconscious thesis and the conscious antithesis I can know myself only throulgh the mediation of the other which means that I stand in re tion to my id in the position of the other If I39have a lit a knowledge of psychoanalysis I can under Circumstanlgest particularly favorable try to psychoanalyu myself d tif this attempt can succeed only if I distrust every kibn o intuition only if I apply to my case from without a stgct schemes and rules already learned As for the results whe er they are obtained by my efforts alone or With the c00peratto of a technician they will never have the certainty Vlth intuition confers they will possess simply the always in creasing probability of scienti c hypotheses The hypotlgsis of the Oedipus complex like the atomicfheory is not 1 but an quotexperimental ideaquot as Pierce said it is not to 39 uished from the totality of experiences which it al iiomvf39lsnio be realized and the results which it enables us to foresee Thus psychoanalysis substitutes for the notion of selfdeception the idea of a lie Without a ilal i it allows me to understand how it is possible for me to be lied to Without Existentialism 305 lying to myself since it places me in the same relation to myself that the other has in respect to me it replaces the duality of the deceiver and the deceived the essential con dition of the lie by that of the id and the quotegoquot It in troduces into my subjectivity the deepest intersubiective structure of the Mirrein Can this explanation satisfy us Considered more closely the psychoanalytic theory is not as simple as it rst appears It is not accurate to hold that the id is presented as a thing in relation to the hypothesis of the psychoanalyst for a thing is indifferent to the con jectures which we make concerning it while the quotidquot on the contrary is sensitive to them when we approach the truth Freud in fact reports resistance when at the end of the rst period the doctor is approaching the truth This resistance is objective behaviour apprehended from without the patient shows de ance refuses to speak gives fantastic accounts of his cams sometimes even takes himself completely away from the psychoanalytic cure It is a fair question to ask what part of himself can thus resist It can not be the Ego envisaged as a psychic totality of the facts of consciousness this could not suspect that the psychiatrist is approaching the end since its relation to the meaning39of its own reactions is exactly like that of the psychiatrist himself At the Very most it is possible for the ego to appreciate objectively the degree of probability in the hypotheses set forth as a witness of the psychoanalysis might be able to do according to the number of subjective facts which they explain Furthermore this probability would appear to the ego to border on certainty which he could not take offence at since most of the time it is he who by a con scious decision is in pursuit of the psychoanalytic therapy Are we to say that the patient is disturbed by the daily revelations which the psychoanalyst makes to him and that he seeks to re move himself at the same time pretending in his own eyes to wish to continue the cure In this case it is no longer possible to resort to the unconscious to explain selfdeception it is there in full consciousness with all its contradictions But this resistance for him it is secret and deep it comes from afar it has its roots in the very thing which the psycho39 analyst is trying to make clear Furthermore it is equally impossible to explain the resist analyst wishes to bring to light The complex as such is rather the collaborator of the psychoanalyst since it aims at 306 SARTRE expressing itself in clear consciousness since it plays tricks on the censor and seeks to elude it The only level on which we can locate the refusal of the subject is that of the censor It alone can comprehend the questions or the revelations of the psychoanalyst as approaching more or less near to the real drives which it strives to repress quotit alone because It alone knows what it is repressing If we reject the language and the materialistic mythology of psychoanalysis we perceive that the censor in order to apply its activity with discernment must know what it is repressing In fact if We abandon all the metaphors repre senting the repression as the impact of blind forces we are compelled to admit that the censor must choose and in or der to choose must be aware of so doing How could it happen otherwise that the39censor allows lawful sexual impulses to pass through that it permits needs hunger thirst sleep to be expressed in clear consciousness And how are We to ex plain that it can relax its surveillance that it can even be deceived by the disguises of the instinct But it 18 not aumcient that it discern the condemned drives it mustalso apprehend them as to be repressed which implies in it at the very least an awareness of its activity In a word how could the censor discern the impulses needing to be re pressed without being conscious of discerning them39hHow can we conceive of a knowledge which is ignorant of itself To know is to know that one knows said Alain Let us say rather all knowing is consciousness of knowing Thus the resistance of the patient implies on the level of the censor an awareness of the thing repressed as sucha comprehen sion of the end toward which the questions of the psycho analyst are leading and an act of synthetic connection by which it compares the truth of the repressed complex to the psychoanalytic hypothesis which aims at it These van ous operations in their turn imply that the censor is con scious of itself But what type of selfconsciousness can the censor have It must be the consciousness of being conscious of the drive to be repressed but precisely in order not to be conscious of it What does this mean if not that the censor is in selfdeception Psychoanalysis has not gained anything for us srnce in order to overcome selfdeception it has established betwaen the unconscious and consciousness an autonomous con sciousness in self deception The effort to establish a venta Existentialism 307 ble duality and even 39a trinity Es Ich Ueberich expressing themselves through the censor has resnltcd in a merely ver bal terminology The very essence of thc re exive idea of hiding something from oneself implies the unity of one and the same psychic mechanism and consequently a double activity in the heart of unity tending on the one hand to maintain and locate the thing to be concealed and on the other hand to repress and disguise it Each of the two aspects of this activity is complementary to the other that is it implies the other in its being By separating consciousness from the unconscious by means of the ccnsor psychoanaly sis has not succeeded in dissociating the two phases of the act since the libido is a blind conatus toward conscious expression and since the conscious phenomenon is a passive faked result Psychoanalysis has merely localized this dou ble activity of repulsion and attraction on the level of the censor Furthermore the problem still remains of accounting for the unity of the total phenomenon the repression of the drive which disguises itself and quotpassesquot in symbolic form to establish comprehensible connections among its different phases How can the repressed drive disguise it self if it does not include I the consciousness of being repressed 2 the consciousness of having been pushed back because it is what it is 3 a project of disguise No mechanistic theory of condensation or of transference can explain these modi cations by which the drive itself is affected for the description of the process of disguise im plies a veiled appeal to nality And similarly how are we to account for the pleasure or the anguish which accompanies the symbolic and conscious satisfaction of the drive if con sciousness does not include beyond the censor an obscure comprehension of the end to be attained as simultaneously desired and forbidden By rejecting the conscious unity of the psyche Freud is obliged to imply everywhere a magic unity linking distant phenomena across obstacles just as sympathetic magic unites the spellbound person and the waximage fashioned in his likeness The unconscious drive Trieb through magic is endowed with the character rc pressedquot or quotcondemnedquot which completely pervades it colors it and magically provokes its symbolism Similarly the conscious phenomenon is entirely colored by its symbolic meaning although it can not apprehend this meaning by it self in clear consciousness 39 308 SARTRE Aside from its inferiority in principle the explanation by magic does not avoid the coexistence on the level of the unconscious on that of the censor and on that of conscious ness of two contradictory complementary structures which reciprocally imply and destroy each other Proponents of the theory have hypostasized and rei ed selfdeception they have not escaped it That is what has inspired a Vien nese psychiatrist Steckel to depart from the psychoanalyti cal tradition and to write in La femme frigide quotEvery time that I have been able to carry my investigations far enough I have established that the cm of the psychosis was con scious In39 addition the cases which he reports in his work bear witness to a pathological selfdeception which the Freu dian doctrine can not account for There is the question for example of women whom a marital in delity has made frigid that is they succeed in hiding from themselves not complexes deeply sunk in halfphysiological darkness but acts of conduct which are objectively discoverable which they can not fail to record at the moment when they perform them Frequently in fact the husband reveals to Steckel that his wife has given objective signs of pleasure but the woman when questioned will ercely deny them Here we nd a pattern of detachment Admissions which Steckel was ableto draw out inform us that these pathologically frigid women apply themselves to detaching themselves in advance from the pleasure which they dread many for example at the time of the sexual act turn their thoughts away toward their daily occupations make up their household accounts Will anyone speak of an unconscious here Yet if the frigid woman thus detaches her consciousness from the pleasure which she experiences it is by no means cynically and in full agreement with herself it is in order to prove to herself that she is frigid We have in fact to deal with a phenomenon of selfdeception since the efforts taken in order not to be 39 present to the experienced pleasure imply the recognition that the pleasure is experienced they imply it in order to deny it But we are no longer on the ground of psychoanaly sis Thus on the one hand the explanation by means of the unconscious due to the fact that it breaks the psychic unity can not account for the facts which at rst sight it appeared to explain And on the other hand there exists an in nity of types of behaviour in Selfdeception which explicitly reject this kind of explanation because their essence implies that i Existentialism 309 they can appear only in the translucency of consciousness We nd that the problem which we had attempted to resolve 39 is still untouched I PATTERNS OF SELFDECEPTION If we wish to get out of this dif culty we should examine more closely the patterns of selfdeception and attempt a desenption of them This description will permit us perhaps to x more exactly the conditions for the possibility of self deception that is to reply to the question we raised at the outset quotWhat must be the nature of man if he is to be capa blc of selfdeceptionquot Take the example of a woman who has consented to go Out With a particular man for the rst time She knows very well the intentions which the man who is speaking to her Cherishcs regarding her She knows also that it will be necessary sooner or later for her to make a decision But she does not want to realize the urgency she concerns herself only with what is respectful and discreet in the attitude of her com panion She does not apprehend this conduct as an attempt to achieve what we call the rst approachquot that is she does not want to see the possibilities of temporal develop 39 ment which his conduct presents She restricts this behav iourto what is39in the present she does not wish to read in the phrases which he addresses to her anything other than their explicit meaning If he says to her I nd you so at tractivel she disarms this phrase of its sexual background she attaches to the conversation and to the behaviour of the speaker the immediate meanings which she imagines as ob ective qualities The man who is speaking to her appears to her sincere and respectful as the table is round or square as the wall coloring is blue or gray The qualities thus at tached to the person she is listening to are in this way xed in a permanence like that of things which is no other than the protection of the strict present of the qualities into the temporal ux This is because she does not quite know what she wants She is profoundly aware of the desire which she inspires but the desire cruel and naked would humiliate and horrify her Yet she would nd no charm in a respect which would be only respect In order to satisfy her there must he afeeling which is addressed wholly to her personality that is to her full freedom and which would be a rccbgnition of her freedom But at the same time this feeling must be 310 SARTRE wholly desire that is it must address itself to her body 39as object This time then she refuses to apprehend the desire for what it is she does not even give it a name she recog nizes it only to the extent that it transcends itself toward admiration esteem respect and that it is wholly absorbed in the more re ned forms which it produces to the extent of no longer guring anymore as a sort of warmth and density But then suppose he takes her hand This act of her com panion risks changing the situation by calling for an im mediate decision To leave the hand there is to consent in herself to irt to engage herself To withdraw it 13 to break the troubled and unstable harmony which gives the hour its charm The aim is to postpone the moment of decr sion as long as possible We know what happens next the young woman leaves her hand there but she does not notice that she is leaving it She does not notice because it happens by chance that she is at this moment all intellect She draws her companion up to the most lofty regions of sentimental speculation she speaks of life of her life she shows herself in her essential aspect a personality a consciousness 39And during this time the divorce of the body from the soul is accomplished the hand rests inert between the warmhands of her companion neither consenting nor resisting a thin go shall say that this woman is in self deception But we see immediately that she uses various procedures in order to maintain herself in this selfdeception She has disarmed the actions of her companion by reducing them to being only what they are that is to existing in the mode of the tnit t Self But she permits herself to enjoy his desire to the eit tent that she will apprehend it as not being what it is Will recognize its transcendence Finally while sensing pro foundly the presence of her own body to the degree of be ing disturbed perhaps she realizes herself as not being her own a passive object to which events can happen but which can neither provoke them nor avoid them because all its possibilities are outside of it What unity do we nd in these various aspects of selfdeception It is a certain art of form ing contradictory concepts 39which unite in themselves both an idea and the negation of that idea The basic concept which is thus engendered utilizes the double property of the human being who is at once a facticit y and a transcendence dy and she contemplates it as though from above as Existentialism 31 139 These two aspects of human reality are in truth and ought to be capable of a valid coordination But selfdeception does not wish either to coordinate them or to surmount them in a synthesis Self deception seeks to af rm their identity while preserving their39di erences It must af rm facticity as being transcendence and transcendence as being facticity in such a way that in the instantwhen a person apprehends the one he can nd himself abruptly faced with the other We can nd the prototype of formulae of sclf dcceptionin certain famous expressions which have been rightly conceived to produce their whole effect in a spirit of selfdeception Take for example the title of a work by Jacques Chardonne Love Is Much More than Love We see here how unity is established between present love in its facticity quotthe con tact of two skinsquot sensuality egoism Proust39s mechanism of jealousy Adler39s battle of the sexes etc and love as tran cccndence Mauriac s quotriver of requot the longing for the in nite Plato s eras Lawrence39s deep cosmic intuition etc Here we leave facticity to nd ourselves suddenly beyond the present and the factual condition of man beyond the psy chological in the heart of metaphysics On the other hand the title of a play by Sarmcnt I Am Tao Great for Myselfo which also presents characters in selfdeception throws us rst into full transcendence in order suddenly to imprison us within the narrow limits of our factual essence We will dis cover this structure again in the famous phrase He has become what he wasquot or in its no less fanmus opposite Eter nity at last changes each man into himself 7 it is well under stood that thesc various formulae have only the appearance of selfdeception they have been conceived in this para doxical form explicitly to shock the mind and discounte nance it by an enigma But it is precisely this appearance which is of concern to us What counts here is that the for mulae do not constitute new solidly structured ideas on the contrary they are formed so as to remain in perpetual dis integration and so that one may slide at any time from nat uralistic present to transcendence and vice versa We can see the use which selfdeception can make of these judg ments which all aim at establishing that I am not what I am 39 if I were not what I am i could for example seriously con sider an adverse criticism which someone makes of me ques tion myself scrupulously and perhaps be compelled to rec ognize the truth in it But thanks to transcendence i am not 312 sxarars subject to all that I am I do not even have to discuss the justice of the reproach As Suzanne says to Figaro To prove that I am right would be to recognize that I can be wrong 1 am on a plane where no reproach can touch me since what I really am is my transcendence I ee from myself I escape myself I leave my tattered garment in the hands of the fault nder But the ambiguity necessary for selfdecep tion comes from the fact that I al rm here that I am my transcendence in the mode of being of a thing It is only thus in fact that I can feel that I escape all reproachcs It is in the sense that our young woman puri w the desire of anything humiliating by being willing to consider it only as pure transcendence which she avoids even naming But in versely I am too great for myself while showing our tran scendence changed into facticity is the source of an in nity of excuses for our failures or our weaknesses Similarly the young coquette maintains transcendence to the extent that the respect the esteem manifested by the actions of her ad mirer are already on the plane of the transcendent But she arrests this transcendence she glues it down with all the facticity of the present respect is nothing other than re spect it is an arrested surpassing which no longer surpasses itself toward anything But although this metastable concept of transcendence facticityquot is one of the most basic instruments of selfdecep tion it is not the only one of its kind We can equally well use another kind of duplicity derived from human reality which we will express roughly by saying that its beingfor itself implies complementarily39a beingforothers Upon any one of my activities it is always possible to converge two re gards mine audithat of another The activity will not pre sent exactly the same structure in each case But as we shall see later as each regard perceiVes it there is not between theso two aspects of my being any difference of appearance in being as if I were to my self the truth of myself and as if the other possessed only a deformed image of me The equal dignity of being possessed by my beingiforanother and by my being formyself permits a perpetually disintegrating synthesis and a perpetual game of evasion from the for itself to the for others and from the forothers to the foritself We have seen also the use which our young lady made of our being inthemidstoftheworld that is of our inert pres ence as a passiveobject among other objects in order to h Existentialism 313 re 39eve herself suddenly from the functions of h 39 39 er bein theworld thatis from the being which causes there to a world by proiecting itself beyond the world toward its own posSibilities Let us note nally the confusing syntheses is not what it is But what exactly is ne in order of disintegration to be abmceive evenfgrpt atnehctoggxt istence in order for them to be able to appear for an instant to consciousness even in a prooess of evanescence A quick examination of the idea of sincerity the antithesis of selfde ception Will be very instructive in this connection Actually sincerity presents itself as a demand and consequently is not a state Now what is the ideal to be attained in this case It quotnecessary that a man be or himself only what he is But is this not precisely the de nition of the initself or you prefer the principle of identity To posit as an ideal the being of things is this not to assert by the same stroke that this being does not belong to human reality and that the pnncrple of identity far from being a universal axiom universally apphed is only a synthetic principle enjoying a merely regional universality Thus in order that the con be necessarily what it is but in ust be 39 no What does this mean able m be What n n man is what he is selfdeception is for ever im 39 I o bl candour ceases to be his ideal and becomes instgafiuhi ing But is man what he is And more generally how can Q4 314 SARTRE he be what he is when he exists as consciousness of being If I a 39 candour or sincerity is a universal value it is evident that r the maxim One must be what one isquot does not serve uniquely as a regulating principle for judgements and con cepts by which I express what I am It posits not merely an ideal of knowing but an ideal of being it proposes for us an absolute39cquivalence of being with itself as a prototype of being In this sense it is necessary that we make ourselves what we are But what are We then if we have the constant obligation to make ourselves what we are if our mode of being is having the obligation to be what we are I Let us consider this waiter in the cafe His movement is quick and forward a little too precise a little too rapid He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick He bends forward a little too eagerly his voice his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the cw tomer Finally there he returns trying to imitate in his walk the in exible stiffness of some kind of automaton while car rying his tray with the recklessness of a tightropewalker by putting it in a perpetually unstable perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually reestablishes by a light 7 movement of the arm and hand All his behaviour seems to us a game He applies himself to chaining his movements as if they were mechanisms the one regulating the other his ges tures and even his voice seem to be mechanisms he givm himself the quickness and pitiless rapidity of things He playing he is amusing himself But what is be playing We need not watch long before we can explain it he is playing at being a waiter in a caf There is nothing there to surprise us The game is a kind of marking out and investigation The child plays with his body in order to explore it to take itquot yentory of it the waiter in the cafe plays with his condition in order to realize it This obligation is not different from that which is imposed on all tradesmen Their condition is quotwholly one of ceremony The public demands of them that they realize it as a ceremony there is the dance of the grocer of the tailor of the auctioneer by which they en deavour to persuade their clientele that they are nothing but e5and the rights of my position a grocer an auctioneer a tailor A grocer who dreams is of holce to get up each morning at i fensive to the buyer because such a grocer is not wholly 5M even thought grocer Politeness demands that he limit himself to his function Cl that I sustain as a grocer just as the soldier at attention makes 011 every side into a soldierthing with a direct regard which does not b yo ld my condi xed at ten paces nson a man in y in perpetual f cgpe from It that he 39 car that he might es msxcondmou might break away and suddenly elude n a parallel situation from within the waiter in the cafe a caf waiter in the sense that this pot going etc He kno 39 39 t0 the tips the It U ght t0 belon t B t al these g 0 a union etc 00 nceptiti all these Judgements refer to the transcendeln It 13 a ma er of abstract possibilities of rights and duties n h it allow the right s a representationquot for others and for myself he only in represenlarian But if I I am separated from a caf waiter 1 on b 39 as the actor is Harnl n e be only et by mechani as if it were not my free ve o clock or to remain in thmeant getting red As if from the very is role 39in eyustence I did not transcend tias if I did not constitute myself as one on Yet there IS no doubt that I am in a 316 SARTRE sense a cafe waiter otherwise could I not just as well call myself a diplomat or a reporter But if I am one this can not be in the mode of being initself I am a waiter in the mode of being what I am not Furthermore we are dealing with more than mere social conditions I am never any one of my altitudes any one of my actions The good speaker is the one who plays at speak ing because he can not be speaking The attentive pupil who wishes to be attentive his eyes riveted on the teacher his ears open wide so exhausts himself in playing the at tentive role that he ends up by no longer hearing anything Perpetually absent to my body to my acts I am despite my self that quotdivine absencequot of which Valery speaks I can not say either that I am here or that I am not here in the sense that we say that box of matches is on the tablequot this would be to confuse my quotbeingintheworldquot with a beinginthe midstoftheworldquot Nor that I am standing nor that I am seated this would be to confuse my body with the idiosyn cratic totality of which it is only one of the structures On all sides I escape being and yet I am But take a mode of being which concerns only myself I am sad One might think that surely I am the sadness in the mode of being what I am What is the sadness however if not the intentional unity which comes to reassemble and ani mate the totality of my conduct It is the meaning of this dull look with which I view the world of my bowed shoul ders of my lowered head of the listlessness in my whole body But at the very moment when I adopt each of these attitudes do I not know that39I shall not be able to hold on to it Let a stranger suddenly appear and I will lift up my head I will assume a lively cheerfulness What will remain of my sadness except that I o39bligingly promise it an appoint ment for later after the departure of the visitor Moreover not this sadness itself a conduct Is it not consciousness which affects itself with sadness as a magical recourse again a situation too urgent And in this case even should w not say that being sad means rst to make oneself sad Tha v gtquoti39 39 a 39 Existentialism 317 quot which I give myself as 39I can give this book to my friend I do not possess the property of a ecting myself with being If I make myself sad I must continue to make myself sad from beginning to end I can not treat my sadness as an im pulse nally aChievcd and put it on le without recreating it nor can I carry it in the manner of an inert body which continues its movement after the initial shock there is no inertia in consciousness If I make myself sad it is because I am not sad the being of the sadness escapes me by and in the very act by which I affect myself with it The being initself of sadness perpetually haunts my consciousness of being sad but it is as a value which I can not realize it stands as a regulative meaning of my sadness not as its 39 39 constitutive modality Someone may say that my consciousness at least is what ever may be the object or the state of which it makes itself consciousness But how do we distinguish my consciousness of being sad from sadness Is it not alone It is true39in a way that my consciousness is if one means by this that for another it is a part of the totality of being on which judge meats can be brought to bear But it should be noted as Husserl clearly understood that my consciousness appears originally to the other as an absence It is the object always present as the meaning of all my attitudes and all my con duct and always absent for it gives itself to the intuition of another as a perpetual question still better as a perpetual freedom When Pierre looks at me I know of course that he is looking at me 39His eyes things in the world are xed on my body a thing in the world that is the objective fact of which I can say it is But it is also a fact in the world g The meaning of this look is not a fact in the world and this is what makes me uncomfortable Although I make smiles promises threats nothing can get hold of the approbation the free judgement which I seek I know that it is always beyond I sense it in my very attitude which is no longer like that of the worker toward the things he uses as instruments My reactions to the extent that I project my Ielf toward the other are no longer for myself but are 318 SARTRE causes itself to be provoked from without which its aim mediation with the transcendent Thus the objective fact of the beinginitself of the consciousness of another is posued in order to disappear in negativity and in freedom con sciousness of another is as not being its beinginitself of now and of quotherequot is not to be To be conscious of another means to be conscious of what one is not Furthermore the being of my own consciousness does not appear to me as the consciousness of another It eXists because it makes itself since its being is conscmusness of being But that means that making sustains being con sciousness has to be its own being it is never sustained 39by being it sustains being in the heart of subjectiVity which means once again that it is inhabited by being but that it is not being consciousness is not what it is I Under these conditions what can be the Signi cance of the ideal of sincerity except an attempt impossible to achieve of which the very meaning is in contradiction with the smicture of my consciousness To be sincerehwe SE39IId 15 to be what one is That supposes that I am not originally what I am But here naturally Kant39s You ought therefore you can is implicitly understood I can become Sincere this is what my duty and my e ort to achieve sincerity imply But we de nitely establish that the original structure of quotnot being one isquot renders 1m ossible in advance all movement 2133 being in itself or I 39being whatone isquot And this 1m possibiiity is not hidden from consciousnesspon the con trary it is the very stuff of consciousness it is the en barrassing constraint which we constantly experience it ll our very incapacity to recognize ourseives to constitute ourselves as being what we are It is this necessity which means that as soon as weposit ourselves as a certain being quot1 t 1 by a legitimate judgement based on inner experience or correctly deduced from a priori or empirical premises by t to that very position we surpass this being and that no ward another being but toward emptiness toward nothing How then can we blame another for not being Sincere or re joice in our own sincerity since this sincerity appears to us at the same time to be impossible How can we in conversa tion in confession in introspection even attempt sincerity since the effort will by its very nature be doom and since at the very time when we announce it we have ed to failure we Existentialism 3 l 9 E prejudicative comprehension of its futility In introspec tion I try to determine exactly what I am to make up my mind to be my true self without delay even though it means consequently to put myself searching for ways to change my self But what does this mean if not that I am constituting myself as a thing Shall I determine the ensemble of pur poses rand motivations which have pushed me to do this or that action But this is already to postulate a causal de terminism which constitutes the ow of my states of con sciousness as a succession of physical states Shall I uncover in myself quotdrivesquot even though it be to af rm them in shame But is this not deliberately to forget that these drives realize themselves with my agreement that they are not forces of nature but that I lead them their ef cacy by a perpetually renewed decision concerning their value Shall I pass judgement on my character on my nature Is this not to veil from myself at that moment what I know only too well that I thus judge a past to which by de nition my present is not subject The proof of this is that the same man who in sincerity posits that he is what in actuality he was is indignant against the reproach of another and tries to disarm it by asserting that he can no longer be what he was We are readily astonished and upset when thepenalties of the court affect a man39who in his new freedom is no longer the guilty person he was But at the same time we require of this man that he recognize himself as being this guilty one What then is sincerity except precisely a phenomenon of self deception Have we not shownindeed that in self deception human reality is constituted as a being which is what it is not and which is not what it is let us take an example A homosexual frequently has an intolerable feeling of guilt and his whole existence is determined in relation to this feeling One will readily fore see that he is in selfdeception In fact it frequently hap pens that this man while recognizing his homosexual in clination while avowing each and every particular misdeed which he has committed refuses with all his strength to 39consider himself quota pederastquot His case is always dif ferent peculiar there enters into it something of a game of chanCe of bad luck the mistakes are all in the past they are explained by a certain conception of the beautiful which women can not satisfy we should see in them the results of a restless search rather than the manifestations of a deeply 322 SARTR39E evil he clings to himself he is what he is But by the same stroke he escapes from that thing since it is he who con templates it since it depends on him to maintain it under his glance or to let it collapse in an in nity of particular acts IIe derives a merit from his sincerity and the deserVing man is not the evil man as he is evil but as he is beyond his evilness At the same time the evil is disarmed since it is nothing save on the plane of determinism and since in cori fessing it I posit my freedom in respect to it my future is virgin everything is allowed to me Thus the essential struc ture of sincerity does not differ from that of selfdeception since the sincere man constitutes himself as what he is in order not to be it This explains the truth recognized by all that one can fall into selfdeception through being sincere As Valery pointed out this is the case with Stendhal Total constant sincerity as a constant effort to adhere to oneself is by nature a constant effort to dissociate oneself from oneself A person frees himself from himself by the very act by which he makes himself an object for himself To draw up a perpetual inventory of what one is means constantly to redeny oneself and to take refuge in a sphere where one is no longer anything but a pure free regard The goal of39self deception as we said is to put oneself out of reach it is an escape Now we see that we must use the same terms to de ne sincbrity What does this mean In the nal analysis the goal of sincerity and the goal of selfdeception are not so different To be sure there is a sincerity which bears on the past and which does not concern us here I am sincere if I confess having had this pleasure or that intention We shall see that if this sincerity is possible it is because in his lapse in the past the being of man is constituted as a beinginitself But here our concern is only with the sincerity which aims at itself in present imma nence What is its goal To bring me toconfess to myself what I am in order that I may nally coincide With my being in a word to cause myself to be in the mode of th initself what I am in the mode of not being what I am Its assumption is that fundamentally I am already in the mode of the initself what I have to be Thus we nd at the base of sincerity a continual game of mirror and reflection a perpetual passage from the being which is what it 18i0 the being which is not what it is and inversely from the being which is not what it is to the being which is what it is And Existenliu sm 323 what is the goal of selfdeception To cause me to be what 39I am in the mode of not being what one isquot or not to be what I am in the mode of being what one isquot We nd here the same playing with minors In fact in order for me to have an intention of sincerity I must at the outset simul taneously be and not39 be what I am Sinccrity does not assign to me a mode of being or a panicular quality but in relation to that quality it aims at making me pass from one mode of being to another mode of being This second mode of being the ideal of sincerity I am prevented by nature from attain ing and at the very moment when I struggle to attain it I have a vague prejudicative comprehension that I shall not attain it But all the same in order for me to be able to conceive an intention in selfdeception I must have such a nature that within my being I escape from my beinng I were sad or cowardly in the way in which this inkwell is an inkwell the possibility of selfdeception could not even be conceived Not only should I be unable to escape from my being I could not even imagine that I could escape from it But if selfdeception is possible by virtue of a simple project it is because so far as my being is concerned there is no difference between being and nonvbeing if I am cut off from my project Selfdeception is possible only because sincerity is con scious of missing its goal inevitably due to its very nature I can try to apprehend myself as quotnot being cow ardlyquot when I am so only on condition that the quotbeing cowardly is itself quotin questionquot at the very moment when it exists on condition that it is itself one question that at the very moment when I wish to apprehend it it escapes me on all sides and annihilates itself The condition under which I can attempt an effort in selfdeception is that in one sense I am not this coward39which I do not wish to be But if I were not cowardly in the simple mode of notbeingwhatoneis not I would be in good faithquot by declaring that I am not cowardly Thus this inapprehensible coward is evanescent in order for me not to be cowardly I must in some way also be cowardly That does not mean that I must be a little cowardly in the sense that a littlequot signi es to a certain degree cowardly and not cowardly to a certain degreequot No I must at once both be and not be totally and in all aspects a coward Thus in this case selfdeception requires that I should not be what I am that is that there be an impondera 324 SARTRE ble difference separating being from nonbeing in the mode of being of human reality But selfdeception is not re stricted to denying the qualities which I possess to not see ing the being which I am It attempts also to constitute my self as being what I am not It apprehends me positively as courageous when I am not so And that ispossible once again only if I am what I am not that is if nonbeing in me does not have being even by virtue of nonbeing Of course necessarily I am not courageous otherwise self dc ception would not be selfdeception But in addition my effort in selfdeception must include the ontological compre hension that even in my usual being what I am I am not it really and that there is no such differencebetween the being of beingsadquot for example which I am in the mode of not being what I am and the quotnonbeingquot of notbeing cou rageous which I wish to hide from myself Moreover it is particularly requisite that the very negation of being should be itself the object of a perpetual annihilation that the very meaning of nonbeingquot be perpetually in question in human reality If I were not courageous in the way in which this inkwell is not a table that is if I were isolated in my cowardice propped rmly against it incapable of putting it in relation to its opposite if I were not capable of determin ing myself as cowardly that is to deny courage to myself and thereby to escape my cowardice in the very moment that I poait it if it were not on principle Impossible forme to coincide with my notbeingmurageous as well as With my beingcourageous then any project of selfdeception would be prohibited me Thus in order for selfdeception to be pos sible sincerity itself must be in selfdeception The condi tion of the possibility for selfdeception is that human real ity in its most immediate being in the inner structure of the prere ective cogito must be what it is not and not be what it is m 1111 quotmmquot or sentencesnor We have indicated for the moment only those conditions which render selfdeception conceivable the structures of being which permit us to form concepts of selfdeception We can not restrict Ourselves to these considerations we have not yet distinguished selfdeception from falsehood The twofaced concepts which we have described would with out a doubt be utilized by a liar to discountenanee his ques Exi slenlialism 3 25 tioner although their twofaced quality being established on the being of man and not on some empirical circumstance can and ought to be evident to all The true problem of self dcception stems evidently from the fact that selfdeception is faith It can not be either a cynical lie or certainty if certainty is the intuitive possession of the object But if we take belief as meaning the adherence of being to its object when the object is not given or is given indistinctly then selfdeception is belief and the essential problem of self deception is a problem of belief How can we believe by selfdeception in the concepts which we forge expressly to persuade ourselves We must note in fact that the project of selfdeception must be itself in selfdeception I am not only in selfdeception at the end of my effort when I have constructed my twofaced concepts and when I have per suaded myself In truth I have not persuaded myself to the extent that I could be so persuaded I have always been so And at the very moment when I was disposed to put my self in self deception I of necessity was in self deception with respect to this same disposition For me to have rep resented it to myself as selfdeception would have been cynicism to believe it sincerely innocent would have been in good faith The decision to be in self deception does not dare to speak its name it believes itself and does not believe itself in selfdeception it believes itself and does not believe itself in good faith It is this which from the upsurge of self deception determines the later attitude and as it were the Weltanschauung of self deception Selfdeception does not hold the norms and criteria of truth as they are accepted by the critical thought of good faith What it decides rst in fact is the nature of truth With self deception a truth appears a method of thinking a type of being which is like that of objects the ontological characteristic of the world of selfdeception with which the subject suddenly surrounds himself is that here being is what it is not and is not what it is Consequently a peculiar type of evidence appears nonpersuasive evidence Self deception ap 39 prehcnds evidence but it is resigned in advance to not being ful lled by this evidence toinot being persuaded and trans formed into good faith It makes itself humble and modest it is not ignorant it says that faith is decision and that after each intuition it must decide and will what it is Thus self deception in its primitive project and in its coming into the 326 SARTRE world decides on the exact nature of its requirements It stands forth in the rm resolution not to demand too much to count itself satis ed when it is barely persuaded to force itself in decisions to adhere to uncertain truths This original project of selfdeception is a decision in selfdeception on the nature of faith Let us understand clearly that there is no question of a re ective voluntary decision but of a spontaneous determi nation of our being One puts oneself in selfdeception as one goes to sleep and one is in selfdeception as one dreams Once mode of being has been realized it is as dif cult to get out of it as to wake oneself up self deception is a type of be ing in the world like waking or dreaming which by itself tends to perpetuate itself although its structure is of the metastable type But selfdeception is conscious of its struc ture and it has taken precautions by deciding that the meta stable structure is the structure of being and that nonpersua lion is the structure of all convictions It follows that if self deception is faith and if it includes in its original project its own negation it determines itself to be not quite convinced in order to convince itself that I am what I am not then to start with a faith which wishes itself to be not quite con vinced must be possible What are the conditions for the possibility of such a faith I believe that my friend Pierre feels friendship for me I believe it in good faith I believe it but I do not have for it any self evident intuition for the nature of the object does not lend itself to intuition I believe it that is I allow myself to give in to all impulses to trust it I decide to be lieve in it and to maintain myself in this decision I con duct myself nally as if I were certain of it the Whole in the synthetic unity of one and the same attitude This which I de ne as good faith is what Hegel would call the im mediate It is simple faith Hegel would demonstrate at once that the immediate calls for mediation and that belief by becoming beIief for itself passes to the state of non belief If I believe that my friend Pierre likes me that means that his friendship appears to me as the meaning of all his acts Belief is a particular consciousness of the mean ing of Pierre39s acts But if I know that I believe the belief appears to me as pure subjective determination without ex ternal correlative This is what makes the very word quotto believequot a term utilized inditferently to indicate the un wavering rmness of belief My God I believe in youquot l 39 J39Q I Existentialism 327 5quot and its character as disarmed and strictly subjective quotIs Pierre my friend I do not know I believe soquot But the nature of consciousness is such that in it the mediate and the immediate are one and the same being To believe is to know that one believes and to know that one believes is no longer to believe Thus to believe is not to believe any longer because that is only to believe this in the unity of one and the same nonthetic consciousness of self To be sure we have here forced the description of the phenomenon by designating it with the word to know nonthetic conscious ness is not to know But it is in its very translucency at the origin of all knowing Thus the nonthetic consciousness of believing is destructive of belief But at the same time the very law of the prere ective cogito implies that the being of believing ought to be the consciousness of believing Thus belief is a being which questions its own being which can realize itself only in its destruction which can manifest itself to itself only by denying itself It is a being for which to be is to appear and to appear is to deny itself To be lieve is not to believe We see the reason for it the being of consciousness is to exist by itself then to make itself be and thereby to pass beyond itself In this sense consciousness is perpetually escaping itself belief becomes nonbelief the immediate becomes mediation the absolute becomes relative and the relative becomes absolute The ideal of good faith to believe what one believes is like that of sincerity to be what one is an ideal of beinginitself Every belief is a belief that falls short one never wholly believes what one believes Consequently the primitive project of sclfdeception is only the utilization of this selfdestruction through the fact of consciousness If every belief in good faith is an impossible belief then there is a place for every impossible belief My inability to believe that I am courageous will not discourage me since every belief involves not quite believing I shall de ne this impossible belief as my belief To be sure I shall not be able to hide from myself that I believe in order not to believe and that I do not believe in order to believe But the subtle total annihilation of self deception by itself can not surprise me it exists at the basis of all faith What is it then At the moment when I wish to believe myself courageous I know that I am a coward And this certainly would come to destroy my belief But rst I am not any more courageous than cowardly if we are to understand this 328 SARTRE in the mode of being of the initself In the second place I do not know that I am courageous such a view of myself can b accompanied only by belief for it surpasses pure re ec e certitude In the third place it is very true that selfdc option does not succeed in believing what it wishes to believe But it39 is precisely as the acceptance of not be lieving what it believes that it is selfdeception Good faith wishes to ee the quotnotbelievingwhat onesbelievesquot by nd ing refuge in being Selfdeception ees being by taking refuge in quotnotbelievingwhatone believes It has disarmed all beliefs in advance those which it would like to take hold of and by the same stroke the others those which it wishes to ee In Willing this self destruction of belief from which science escapes by searching for evidence it ruins the beliefs which are opposed to it which reveal themselves as being only belief Thus we can better understand the original phenomenon of selfdeception 39 In selfdeception there is no cynical lie nor knowing preparation for deceitful concepts But the rst act of self deception is to ee what it can not ee to ee what it is The very project of ight reveals to self deception an inner disin tegration in the heart of being and it is this disintegration which it wishes to be In truth the two immediate attitudes which we can take in the face of our being are conditioned by the very nature of this being and its immediate relation with the initself Good faith seeks to ee the inner disinte gration of my being in the direction of the initself which it should be and is not Selfdeception seeks to ee the initself by means of the inner disintegration of my being But it denies this very disintegration as it denies that it is itself selfdeception Selfdeception seeks by means of quotnotbeing whatoneisquot to escape from the initself which I am not in the mode of being what one is not It denies itself as selfdecep tion and aims at the initself which I am not in the mode of notbeingwhatoneisnotquot 10 If selfdeception is possible it is because it is an immediate permanent threat to every project of the human being it is because consciousness con ceals in its being a permanent risk of selfdeception The origin of this risk is that the nature of consciousness simul taneously is to be what it is not and not to be what it is In the light of these remarks we can new approach the onto logical study of consciousness not as the totality of the hu man being but as the instantaneous nucleus of this being Existentialism 329 c Antnemi39 C If a man attributes all or 39 art of his own or the 39 foray lElie presence f Jewish elements in thgogi39letgl I proposes emedyin this sta f 391 dep vmg the Jews of som of 39 839 N 0 mm y 39 39 their rights or b 39 one A 39 y expel or 10 n nating them he 13 In said to hold antisemi opin This w d opinion giv us food for thOugh It is sion that is coming n embittered It sugests that zI thus reassu ing and givin kinds f tiiegymmlua ng the39m39 I e pernnssible tas ide opinio 35131 Olga In the name a de m atic 39titutions in the name 39 an reach his antiJewish c we evte v 39 seariiltigltlitnii0 h an 5168116 since the evoltion to seeing each objecf L ytica fplnt that gt as if it were a whole which diVided ll ltO lls compon parts we no can c1aractersas if they were u an I x I Lb H if 0 B 9 1 3 839 ws in e us a strictly lawyers 39 39A 39 ob e situation determming a certain curren o of the history of the i I riftin nite m Joae l Val I n 3 wringr 9 WATCHING A FILM WATCH US ANTONIONI S THE PASSENGER William Arrowsmith EDITORS39 NOTE In his now standard essay Film us Educatorquot l969 Professor Arrow smith concludes by suggestinga d39auntingmission for the lilmanaker The lilmma 39crquot 0 says39 alone has the opportunity in conjunction with the other mass media to reshape and reinvigorate the culture The novelist has lost his chance the pools and dramatists no longer have one The educators have for the most part renounced education And that means that the great task of education in our times tho creation of a humane culture in its apparent absence or defeat rests with the maker of filmsquot The essay which follows like those by Professors Alpcrs and Condit was initially presented as a lecture in the Spring 1978 series Visual EnVironments and the Human Situationquot sponsored by the University of Southcm California Center for the Humanities This is a film Antonioni observed to an interviewer about someone who is following his destiny a man39 watching reality as re ported in the same way that I am watching him andquot this to the interviewer in the same way that you are pursuing me You could go back and find another camera watching me and another one watching the other camera It39s surrealistic isn39t itquot The surrealistic quality is of course deliberate technique sustained with fastidious control everywhere in the film in narrative theme dialogue and composition Realities fold into one another disparate geographies unpredictably intersect revealing the character as the personal continuity that links these otherwise dislocated landscapes People literally fade and dissolve melting into each other then re emerge come into focus Past and present overlap at times almost indis tinguishably as in the flashback via the tape Overvoice in the opening scenes in the desert hotel or in the temporal linking in the flashback crosscutting between Locke39s London house at Lansdowne Crescent and therwedd39ing in the rococo church in Munich The shaping is schematic the effect often ironic Locke following a white horsedrawn bridal cab which might be a funeral cab down a wrongway street enters a cemetery to come upon a wedding which in turn intersects with the death fallen white petals burning boughs of his own London marriage The past lives the characters becoming either present or future just as the future keeps opening up into the past The destiny Locke is following is another man s yet he can finally make it his only because he is not the other man But the destiny he adopts lies through that borrowed identity Lui c39est moi Locke must lose himself as much of himself as he can con sciously lose before finally coming on a self that is however inchoate 175 t76 HUMANITIES tN SOCIETY finally his Locke is a self dissolving and then forming It is in part the same with the others They are interchangeable quotAre you still looking for Lockequot Rachel s lover asks her She tries to kiss him to kiss away the question reassuringly as though he were not Locke or were Locke who knows Then she does kiss him but as though he were himself but also Locke In the dim fantasyworld of Caudi39s neoCothic Palacio Cucll the girl disappearing says quotPeople disappear every dayquot Yes Locke replies quotevery time they leave the room On the moviola Rachel and Knight watch the African witch doctor filmed by Locke turn the tables on his interviewer by reversing the camera turning it on Locke We then see Locke making the witch doctor39s and the director39s point by abrupt ly moving from between the curtains off the frame literally dissolving from view Knight at the moviola telling Rachel of his vain search for Locke in Barcelona makes the point again He disappearedquot Or we see the same events reported by different media by different ob servers for different audiences The camera itself makes autonomous assertions from the point of View of no identifiable observer as though to declare thc presence of an unseen watcher a camera eye tquot that sees what those observed do not and so provides us with another dimen sion it is this unknown observer who shows us Locke in medium shot by his sandburied Landrover then on his knees in frustration and finally as though to give that medium shot the wideanglcd perspective and the infinity of the desert follows the direction toward which Locke kneels on and on panning over the pinkish desert The same camera follows the black beetles crawling up the lightcord in Locke39s bedroom or the pic ture hanging over the bed in the Hotel de la Gloria Nothing is quite what it seems to be or rather nothing is ever all it might be What the director gives us is the process of becoming an iridescent and intermit tent reality which defines itself by dissolving and then reforming acquiring shape and texture even solidity according to a complex cine matic poetry of the unfolding world of the quotgivenquot Closely observed with real detachment the alltoosolid world of routine vision dissolves in order to reveal itself in new and unsuspected ways as though we had never seen it before We see the object but through the lookingglass liv ing by a different logic in a surreal dimension Beneath the hatched out lines as the perspective shifts detaching itself from cliches of narrative and character the real object begins to emerge from the blur in the indi vidual and idiosyncratic we begin to glimpse the generic Thcaim is that of any classically ambitious art the disclosure of the full reality of things by a radical fusion of foreground and quotbackgroundquot here and quottherequot time and the timeless We see with parted eyc When everything seems double Past and present fuse distances collapse into a single radical place the limited individual reveals the species passion I Q WATCHING A FILM WA39I CII US ANTONIONI S THE PASSENGER l 77 for transcendence even thc bounds bctwccn life and death body and soul are dissolved before our eyes The purpose of this scrupulous doubling by the dislocated cye lies I think not in Antonioni39s penchant for surrealism or l iruntlcllian reflec tions but in a lifelong obsession with transcendence Not transcendence in a strict philosophical sense but simply as the cgo s passage beyond the limits of the self hence a merging with or dying into the greater world that lies beyond the ego in a religious sense what Dante meant by Ira sumanor In The Passengerquot abch all in the final shot the director39s long meditation on transcendence converges this is a film whose controlling idea here treated as theme rather than metaphor or symptom of modern malaiscis precisely transcendence there also for the first time the idea of transcendence is essentially religious whereas in the earlier films its manifestations are mostly secular As for the obsession with quotalienationquot which critics so persistently ascribe to Antonioni it is i believe simply another essentially negative aspect of the preoccupation with transcendence for it is the frustrated passion for transcendence that produces the symptoms of alienation But whether secular or reli gions the idea declares itself in a radical putliosthat pathos of the self which lnmgers to escape the limits of the body and burns a hole in our being without ever achieving its real end true othernessquotZ in La unite and L auuenlura for instance it is this pathos of self we everywhere feel just as we observe its consequences in individual behavior that tics perate effort to escape interior solitude portrayed as a kind of dcathin life by means of compulsive eroticism The black swimming pool shim mcring in the darkness in La nalte litres the eyes of those who would like to drown in its depths to obliterate the pain of consciousness later we see the beautiful erotic bubble of Roberto39s car moving slowly through the rain with its two lovers oblivious to every other thing sealed in it as in each other In Ifaumenlum we are shown the young paintcr39s compul sch gallery of nudes nudes without background or cnvironing reality nudes without landscape so like the director39s ecstatic closeup of two lovers embracing nothing but hair lips hands intlistinguishably min glcd with no background but a fringe of meadow grass and then in contrast the wideangled immensity of sea and sky which it is the very purpose of the closeup and com ulsive Eros to blot out In If grida we get transcendence as Aldo s final vision the blurred smokefilled fields of his burning world fusing with the features of lrma into which be literally lits falling across lralnsccntlinglhc lust barrier separating him from her in Eclipse the theme is stated by the images of imprisoned feelings faces and forms viewed from behind bars struggling to escape in lied Desert the statement of the theme is overtly suicidal transcen 178 39 HUMANITIES IN SOCIETY dence as a seadeath into that pool of being revealed as a boundless intensely vital sheet of blue sea and sky in Giuliana39s fantasy every thing everyone was singingquot In Zabriskie Paint we get transcendence as a potofantasy thc annihilation of the self implied in thc whirling copulating couples and trios at the bottom of Death Valley all aliena tion from nature and the other overcome And in BlowUp it is vividly expressed by the carnival mummers the ragging students and the psy chedelic Carnaby39crowd of modern London39s commedia defl39arte with their almost overpowering invitation to Thomas to forget what he has seen in the park death violence transiencew and so to abandon his pre carious new individual identity acquired in that encounter But there is another form of transcendence and it too is a crucial 39 theme in almost every film If men transcend themselves by dying intoquot others into a larger identity which promises to annul the pathos of self there is also a Faustian or perhaps Icarian kian of transcendence the desire to sprout wings or fins to transcend mortality by technological 39 escape into another worldquot or at least a world beyond this world Transcendenee as a quasi divinity of technical power In L39avoentura we see an incandescence on the faces of those watching the televised lift off of the rockets from Cape Kennedy In the photographer s studio in Blow Up are two centrally placed photographs of a parachutist and a frog man men changing adopting transcending themselves We watch the amateur rocketeers in La none and feel the exhilaration of reaching out for the moon we share the intoxication of free flight in Eclipse as the plane clears the troubled ground of Rome and lifts off for Verona or in Mark39s takeoff from the confining world of Los Angelcs in Zabn skie Paint But free flight isnowhere more beautifully portrayed than in The Passenger itself in the image of Locke liberated at last he supposes from the prison of the past and the self leaning out of the cage of the cable car moving over Barcelona harbor waggling his wings like a gull as he glides over that sheet of intensely transcendentally blue water The Same itleaLteehnological power as quasi divinity as rclcase from the earth and human bondageunderlies the film39s concerns with cars and the obsessionquotwith escape symbolized by these prosthetic machines whose breakdowns at key points in the film trigger the essential decisions of Locke39s life Relentlessly the film cuts him off from his machines his luggage his moral paraphernalia leaving him at last alone and naked to meet his death Technological escape is in turn linked to Antonioni39s primitivist theme Painfully conscious of his own sterility and lost vitality the quotcivilizedquot Westerner tries to revive himself by returning to his African origins to the primitive or past creature in himself even the animal Examples are the African sequence in EclipSe Giovanni at thenight club I WATCHING A FILM WATCH US AN39I39ONIONI39S 39I39HE PASSENGER HS in La none or the girl at the summer parl in the tlunulerstonn embracing the flanks of a stone satyr the obsession ith aphrodisiacs in 1nd Desert the ptcrodaclylairplanc in Zrzfn39iskie Point the nostalgia for the sea and the past in L 39a ournorm In The Passenger Locke39s very pres ence in Africae his personal need to make contact with the rebels fight ing in the desert tells us indirectly as does the witch doctor directly more about Locke than about the elusive rebels But Locke39s means of making contact that bluc39Landrover with its invasive roar in the lestrt silence so reminiscent of the blue Winnebago at the overlook in anris kie Paint the tape recorder and camera the intIla protocol of factual questions which prohibit meaningful response all these are the instruments of the transcendental Faustian Vc know him by his instruments and his reliance upon them It is with Locke much as it is with Thomas in BlowUp Only when he abanrlonshis prosthetic dc vices or when they abandon him is he capable of a different way of seeing and by implication a different form of transcendence l have already glanced at the failure of the Faustian devices at both beginning and end of the film the stallcd Lanrlrovcr tnel mezzo dc cmnmin counterpointh by the useless Avis car with its punctured oilpan Thcsc Faustian devices fail precisely so that we may witness an unincdiated encounter with a very different reality a reality from which every shred of social and cultural privilege has been stripped away At the close of BlowUp Thomas learns to see at last a kind of seeing in which his camera has hitherto impeded him he must do without his camera 500 at last with his own unaided eyes before at the very end picking up his camera again So too with Locke who confronts death as a contempo rary unaccommodated manquot You can learn most about a man the film implies by looking at his luggage not his personal history so the film chops away at Locke s luggage leaving him finally nothing but himself divested of camera recorder books car his dark glasses and finally even his passenger He is finally nothing but that self which because he feared it did not exist made it possible for him to usurp another man s identity which he then feels compelled to live Compelled to live all the way quotfor better or worsequot Better With the money which liberatcs him in the cable cur ovrer the blue Barcelona water for quotworsequot as he moves down his road back toward Africa to his fateful erotic encounters with the mysteriously coded ladies Daisy Marina Lucy of Robertson s appointment book He watches his own borrowed identity unfold and then at the end by significant active pos session become his own For it stands to reason that there has to be a self before it can be transcended But this transcendence depends Upon our seeing it upon our involvement at least intellectually in this unfolding 39 destiny which is by our participation ours also We watch 1 am saying 180 HUMANlTlES IN SOClETt39 different events as through different cameras at different angles all watching each other We see first a man living on borrowed papersaan existential Mattia Pascalbecome himself then the same man fulfilling the identity he has borrowed transcend himself Lui c esl moi we see it happen Then because we see it happenifwe see it if wefeel it we see our own fate enacted Divestcd of everything revealed as just this tran scendent something that floats slowly across the bars of its self and cell and out into the wider world and the infinity of worlds stretching beyond we feel it as though it had happened to us You hypocrite lec teur mon semblable man fr re Here in The Passenger all of Antonioni39s transcendental themes con verge And here for the first time the director confronts the religious matrix of these themes They are perhaps hinted at but nothing more in earlier films in shots of empty churches whose emptiness is tacitly offered as a gloss upon the rituals of Eros being enacted in Red Desert for instance a glancing shot of the Ravenna baptistery from the window in the hotel where Corrado seduces Ciuliana or in Eclipse the epiphany of the Mass of Money in the basilica architecture of the Roman Stock Exchange The point is important Everywhere in Antonioni s work Eros is represented as crippled or ill because in the modern world it is required to bear the burden of all the other failed institutions of human culture family passe and religion but above all religion And for obviou reasons Eros is unequal to the task The very strain and effort tend to deform Eros But for Antonioni as I would argue from the persistent juxtapositions of the erotic and the religious in earlier films the hunger which underlies this Eros is metaphysical Sexual love insofar as it aims at transcendence at the lover39s instinct to eclipse himself and so fulfill and complete himself is clearly metaphysical The finite craves what it does not have the infinite the incomplete yearns for its completion Every one will have his own text for this truth but it is not a truth which can be evaded when dealingwith a body of work like Antonioni39s whose cen tral idea is the radical need of the imprisoned self to escape its prison by communion with a larger life The aim of everybody in Antonioni is pre cisely this Narcosis and somnambulism participation myslique primi tivism Faustian aspiration to leave the world behind sexual Bros and now in this film the religious hunger for the infinite they are all aspects of the metaphysical passion for transcendence In this theme Antonioni39s whole vocabulary of image barriers gratings39grills glass partitions reveals itsdecpest purposethe evocation of a world in which the perception of isolation and incompleteness of separation and soli tude is linked in the most direct causal way to the passion39for surpassing those barriers to the yearning of the limited for the unlimited Here is I WATCHING A FILM WATCH US ANTONlONl S I39IIE PASSENGER 18 my text for this theme a part of Aristophanes39 great speech on Eros in Plato s Symposium Aristophanes is trying to explain why it is that lovch crave each other so desperately We were originally he says united crea tures then we became divided like halves of a tally So when any lover is fortunate enough to meet his other half they are both intoxicated with affection friendship and love so intoxicated that they cannot let each other out of sight for a single instant It is such reunions as these that impel lovers to spend their lives together although they may be hard put to it to say what they really want with one another and indeed the purely sexual pleasures of their friendship could hardly account for the huge delight they take in each other39s company The fact is that both their souls are longing for a something else allo ia something to which they can neither of them give a name and of which they can only give an inkling in cryptic sayings and prophetic riddles Suppose now that Hephaestus said to them quotTell me my dear creatures what do you really want with one another How would you like to he rolled into one so you would never be parted againquot We may be sure that no lover would dream of refusing such an offer And so all this todo is a relic of that original state of ours when we were whole and now when we are longing we are longing for that primeval wholeness Alla ti Something else a something an X to which neither of them can give a name It is this alla ti this discontented craving for a lost wholeness that The Passenger everywhere shows ds and which is revealed to us at peak power in the final shot Where the poetry is there one finds the poet Whether The Passenger is ultimately a religious film is not I think the real question but the Passion of Locke must i think be understood in a way at least as religious andor metaphysical as its formal expression And that Passion is portrayed in the stunning Sequence of pure transcendence in the final seven minutes of the film a literal passage of the soul or psyche or whatever we choose to call it the word hardly matters through the bars of its cell the prison of the body or the self into a larger world beyond then world upon world in language of such intense kinetic visual wordless purity that it is quite impossible to believe the director is no more than aesthetically involved The whole lilm seems in fact to have been made explicitly for this word less finale everything 039 a in an 39 39 39 a quot 39 even vision of what Dante called trasumunar the process whcreby the human transcends itself into a larger life and which as39 Dante himself declared is quite beyond the power of language to express Trasurmmar significar per verba nan st portal perd l esemplo bastt a cut expen enza grazla serba That passing beyond humanity may not be put into words therefore let the example suffice any for whom grace reserves that experience 182 HUMANITIES lN SOCIETY In image after image but also in the narrative device of a journey and an unfolding destiny the film declares Locke to c at some subpurposive but gropingly tangible level a transcendental man ln the life which he borrows from Robertson and learns by living to make his own he is shown to have the secular counterpart or perhaps residue of a religious vocation l suppose the point will be resisted yet it seems to me that the religious accountof Locke39s odyssey is forced home with a clogged insistence which for Antonioni always so fastidiously elliptical has all the marks of thematic urgency i do not mean that The Passenger is a religious film or that the director has renounced his old secular detachment For whatever reason he has shaped his film in such a way that the viewer is required to come to terms with an account of human destiny and behavior which is both contemporary and secular but which is also informed by another account of a manifestly spiritual nature it would be a critical mistake i believe to insist on the primacy of either one of these two accounts to reduce the religious to the secular or to treat the secular as though it were a mere gloss on the quotdeeperquot religious account What matters here i think is the continuity of the transcendental impulse in both accounts the way in which foreground and background apparently discontinuous intersect at a still deeper level At least twice thescript alludes to the difficulty of shaking old habits habits which persist beneath and beyond all our efforts to adopt a new identity or remake ourselves Smoking for instance at the most trivial level At a far deeper level the whole world of genetic and cultural inheritance including the disposition to violence and aggression As the old man in the Umbraculo says to Locke Other people look at children and they imagine a new world But mc when I Watch them I just see the same old tragedies about to begin all over again They can39t escape from us The children cannot escape because they are biologically bound in the genes they inherit the immense human past shapes them and lives them The world of thc foreground now the present and contemporary has the appeal of freedom of infinityabout it But the body that hungch for freedom is a finite thing bound by its past by limits of nature and culture by its own generic habits by its instincts But also by its cultural conditioning the social habits created by the physical environment and the habitat buildings roads language gardens billboards customs even articles of personal use everything that is luggage Locke as we have seen is a quotdisappearingquot man his deepest purpose is to dissolve and he dissolves by doing away with everything in the environment which has hitherto defined him all those persons objects relations and habits which compose the artifact called quotLockequot inwardly he feels hollow an I 19 WATCHING A FILM WATCH US ANTONIONl S THE PASSENGER l83 emptiness like the desert to which he feels drawn emptiness to emptiness There in the desert he dissolves and becomes Robertson Stripped of the accidental he can discover the necessary and essentier thc life stirring like the breath of wind in the dead Robertson39s room in the expectant void of the desert Like Locke the dissolving man who disappears toward the desert Antonioni39s characters dcclarc thcir psychic reality by their tendency to insert themselves into an apposite geography a landscape like them selves Likc Locke they reveal their interior world by the journeys they take Lidia in La nolte reveals herself by the apparently aimless but unconsciously purposive walk she takes through Milan Destiny in this sense is destination You move toward what you are becoming as Locke moves constantly toward the desert or as Aldo is drawn steadily towards the great waste expanse of the Po Delta whose receding horizon expresses the appeal of that Platonic allo ti figured in his obsessive love for lrma In this sense the journey is potentially dramatic cxpressing both what the travcllcr now is but also the man he is becoming the man appear ing The quotpassengerquot ltal passagero a wnyfarer or traveller one who passes through hence a transient declares his own immediate psychic state by thc landscape he seeks but he also declares something new about himself in being drawn to a place which is himself but also quototherquot and more than himselfthc tally of his own incomplete nature Locke in the desert of Chad is clearly on a symbolic journey Like Dante39s pilgrim he is He mezzo dc Vitamin a man in crisis trapped in a dying marriage and a professional success which prevents him from changing and growing The quotmissionquot of this caged man is an encounter with unknown and elusive rebels fighting for freedom against an oppres sive government This encounter he thinks will give him at least as a professional observer a firsthand personal relation to reality The rebels in this sense are Locke To Robertson be de ll t s that it is men not land scape which interest him But his actions asso often in Antonioni belie his words Locke39s Landrovcr roars into the frame the desert we sec before and after the transient intruder so sharply contrasted with the image of the majestic Bedouin floating silently by on his camel at home in the desert and where the road gchs out digs in Then we see Locke enraged and frustrated frustration in every gesture the whole impasse of his life declared as he throws up his arms and shouts I don t carequot Then a medium shot and we see him sink down on his knees his arms stretched out before him forehead touching the ground and his body extended away from the Landrover toward the desert stretching beyond the right hand of the frame it is this reaching out which we now see Locke reaching toward the desert and the desert reaching out for itself as the camera pans right Torn from context Locke39s gesture might 184 HUMANITIES lN SOCIETY express no more than defeat But it is actually helplessness and resigna tion even despair We know this by an implicit appeal to artistic and cultural convention for Locke s position is a ritualized and woven tionalized gesture what we see is an unmistakable salaam Very slowly following Locke39s extended arms the camera pans and pans on and on over the interminable vastness of apricotcolored sand forcing us to see this wideangled infinity to feel it Later again back in Locke39s bedroom in the hotel the camera will make the same kind of point in a small detail that image of black beetles crawling slowly up the electric cord on the expanse of the whitewashed wall As the wall diminishes the beetles so the immensity of the desert dwarfs the kneeling Locke giving us a sense of his insignificance even humiliation The Landrover bogged down Locke is suddenly helpless and humbled Not consciously of course But posture and gesture express helplessness and impotence the assertively panning camera tells us of the potency implied by Locke s impotence We see Locke s human limits in action defined against an unlimited background that vast pinkish void that is so mysteriously there and so quototherquot to Locke Later Locke will consciously know his own limitations even his insignificance We see him his Avis car now broken down sitting on the curb with a white wall broken by a green blinded window behind him We see him gropc in the street then pick up something place it against the white wall and squash it then the red blood and juices of a cochineal bug no flower staining the white desert of the wall The first image the salaam in the desertis an act of unconscious religious homage performed by Locke The subsequent and corresponding image of the coehineal bug shows us Locke acting 39 in full visual awareness The abrupt violence with which he squashes the insect with the palm of his hand tells us that he sees resents but accepts his fate accepts even its transience and insignificance that pale pinkish stain of blood 39staining the white expanse of the wall accepts even the extinction which his own hand angrily enacts All this without a word But it is this acceptance and nonverbal decision which gives us the sense of a sacrifice of Locke as a knowing even willing sacrificial victim The life may be grudgingly given but it is given Obedient to his unfolding fate for his decision to accept39it fully means that it is his not Robertson39s Locke freely chooses to risk his life to sacrifice himself Later outside his window on the bullring oval of the plaza of Osuna we hear among other noises the sound of a muted trumpet saluting the death of the sacrificial victim v Structurally the film is functionally shaped to reveal just this slow gropingly purposive quasireligious aspiration on Locke s part to tran scend himself Everything converges in the final shot Like the exploding house at the end of Zabriskie Point or the fablelikecoda of Red Desert I 69 WATCHlNC A FILM WATCH US ANTONIONI S TIIE PASSENGER l85 Ciuliana39s comment on the birds or the great montagesequence of Eclipse the final shot of The Passenger is an unmistakable quotepiphanyquot it binds together all the various strands of the ilm in a single comprehensive image which is in turn a wholly new statement of the theme at a higher level Look back from the vantage point of this shot and the film39s structure immediately reveals itself We begin with a formal prologue which states the main themes and their terms the inner and outer geographies the idea of a quest Locke39s dissolving identity the desert as a condition and a spiritual place The long central narrative of Locke39s discovery of himself in Robertson39s identity is completed with the breakdown of the Avis car which so clearly corresponds to the stalled Landrover with which the main narrative begins At first seeing these structural units tend to be obscured by the narrative itself by NicholsonLocke39s tentative progress and the seemingly random impmvisations and changes of plan to which the quotquestquot is subject But beneath the carefully stressed toand fro pacing of the plot and Locke39s vacillations the progress of this secular pilgrimage lies steadily in a single main direction peaking constantly toward the transcendence of the close Locke vacillatcs because the director wants to avoid any suggestion of conscious striving or compulsive purposivencss at the conscious level this dissolving man simply does not know where he is going His destiny like his destination is shown forming at a far deeper level than that of words or willing or conscious decision Hence the film s scrupulous reliance upon the visuals which express this subvcrbal process and the intentional banality of the script This deeper subverbal level is the semireligious domain of what the Greeks called the daimnn that inward divinity or evolving fate that underlies the hero39s passion for fulfillment and becoming Locke dissolves in order to come on this prior and deeper self a discovery which would be impeded by mere words and wilfullness 39 The self that can say 391 want thisor want that The self that Willshc is a feeble creature He has to come to terms in the end With the obstinate the tougher self who does not speak Who never talks who cannot argue The willing self can contrive the disaster Of this unwilling partnership hut can only flourish ln submission to the rule of the stronger partner Only by disappearing from view can Locke discover this stronger self and appear at last in his own right only to disappear at a higher level In this sense Robertson is Locke s alter ego if at first he feels only the exhilaration of a new identity Locke comes first as a matter of necessity l8 HUMANITIES 1N SOCIETY but later of choice to bend himself to the responsibilities imposed by his adopted identity By so doing by responsibility Locke finally becomes himself no longer wholly Robertson but the person implicit in the old Locke and the borrowed persona of Robertson i never knew himquot says Rachel truly when she is asked to quotidentifyquot him Whoever he is he is no longer either the Locke or the Robertson he once was He has literally transcended himself initially it is his attenuated sense of identity that makes it possible for Locke to melt so easily into Robertson But even in this negative form we are meant to feel his capacity for transcendence it is this capacity which draws him to the desert itself defined as a waiting breathing expectan cy it is the dcsertorsometliing in the desert if merely a void waiting to be filled that triggers his adoption of Robertson39s identity When Locke discovers Robertson39s body face down on the bed we see the clothes on the wall rustle But We become aware of the rustling only because the camera shows us Locke leaving the frame in the abandoned vacancy which his departure forces us to look at we see the clothes on the wall begin to stir A barely perceptible breath What is it Locke goes to the window opens the shutter and looks out At what Desert immensity and now on the soundtrack the sound of a flute then in the foreground a herd of goats scattering giving the desert expanse a sense of scale and explaining the sound of the flute a goalherd Locke returns to the room and looks up a fan slowly revolving The camera pans down the electric cord to reveal Locke in Robertson39s shirt Locke in transformation Why does Locke go to the window and look out Becausr there is a tangible affinity between the clothes stirring on the wall the Sense of somelhlng living breathingj floating and the shuttered window and the immensity of the desert beyond The fan39s motion perceived only later is the cause that lures Locke to the window and the shot of the desert and it is the fan s turning which indicates the passage of time in Locke39s metamorphosis But the39crucial element in the sequence is the evocation of the desert as an image of infinity a breathing void of transcendence as a place quotThe desertquot says Robertson later glossing this shot is beautiful it39s the immobility a kind of waiting an eternal suspensionquot The language is reminiscent of Heidegger or perhaps Pavese the idea of a place usually a clearing in which the numinous presence of the absent god lives on a living suspension quiescent waiting At the end of Pavese s Dialogues with Leueo the narrator says of the abandoned places around him quotWhat else could people have looked for in a place like this if not an encounter with the gods Who can say why they stopped here 39But in every deserted place an emptines an expectation remainsquot But the clearest statement of Locke39s quasireligious vocation is the I WATClllNC A FILM WATCH US ANTONIONI S THE PASSENGER it odd secular sacrament performed with the agents of the Chadian rebels in front of the high altarpicce of the roeoeo church in Munich it is by a kind of selfrevealing serendipity that Locke comes here following a bridal coach then entering the church by the churchyard door having passed through a graveyard embowered in leaves and flowers He enters the church as Locke vouldaby the side door He is pursuing his own past we infer but that past and its memories are cultural as well as personal There in the church we see him selfexcluded by an iron grille from the wedding in progress and the wedding itself is cunningly intertwined with intricately crosscut scenes of Loekc s London home and marriage past and present combining as though both were simultaneous or took place in some timeless present The ceremony over we see Locke meditating in the pews immersed in memories and then interrupted by the Chadians The sacrament is enacted before the altar we are forced to see the exchange of money as somehow related to that altar as an ironic sacrament of its own Again and again the camera shows us the gleaming gold of the altar cross and the gilded frames of the painted Stations of the Cross flanking the altarpiece Then the affair transacted the camera pans slowly down the whole altar What is revealed is a formal Gloria the ascent of a saint in ecstasy surrounded by clouds and angels everything carved in the intricate rollwork and voluted leaf or shell forms of the German rocoeo Then as though to reveal the Cloria as part of the enclosing context the camera shows us the whole churclia continuous tissue of sculptured and painted architecture it is at this point that Locke opens the envelope the Chadians gave him and says in quiet astonishment quotChristquot then as though suddenly aware of his surroundings he makes a ge39sture of embarrassed apology quotChristquot in shudderquotes 39 Here unmistakably I think the terms of Locke39s semiconscious par ticipation in a shadowsacrament are presented From this point on we become aware of Locke s progress as a passion of sorts a passage through the Stations of the Cross and even of a rcligiousquot missionquot which informs his later quotdecisionquot to complete Robertson39s unfinished business This religious mission never becomes quite overt but it nonc theless inflects the rest of the film making us aware of an older ghostly meaning surviving in the secular Gloria so clearly echoing the formal Gloria in the Munich church which closes the film The Girl has her own personal reasons she believes in him she loves him for urging Locke to keep Robertson39s appointment in Osuna quotHe believed in something That s what you wanted isn39t itquot But her personal reasons are wholly compatible with the quasisacramental analogy The something in which Robertson and later Locke believed is i suggest simply Plato39s transcendental alto ti the ultimate object of the hunger l88 HUMANITIES IN SOCIETY for meaning and a redeeming purpose in a world which offers no satisfactory available form It may be that Antonioni39s purpose is to offer a covertly religious account of human aspiration or at least of Locke39s behavior here but it seems to me more likely that he means to suggest the 39 continuity of the passion for transcendence in an age in which creeds no longer enlist that passion lt survives not as formal religious behavior like the saint39s ecstacy but as the impulse which once found adequate expression in that ecstasy and which persists now as existential or cultural quotvocationquot The one habit men cannot without ceasing to be men kick is the habit of meaning they can no more rid themselves of that habit than they can kick the habit of evolving and adapting Divest a man of everything so that he arrives at a hotel without luggage neither religious nor physical and he will inevitably display the thing or quality that makes him man above all that naked passion for transcending himself for evolving The book which Locke was reading when Robertson died the book which helpicks up on leaving his room and which we see among his possessions when they are opened by Rachel is entitled The Soul of the Ape Prehistoric man anthropologists tell us evolved into himself qua man when his arboreal apelike ancestors descended from the trees and adapted themselves to the great trcelcss savannuhs of central Africa Sheltered and caged in his green Edenic habitat the ipreliuman forest I apes had no need to change or evolve But when the Miocene forests39 shrank in the great Pleistocene drought they had to adapt or die The branch that became man was the adaptive evolving ape who left his native trees and made himself human in the vast empty quot ands of the central African plateau and the South African veldt it is an aspect of this tale of human adaptation that Locke is appropriately and pointedly reading For beneath the tale of the selfeffacing and personally evolving Locke lies an elliptically stated but quite unmistak able analogy with the story of the evolution of the species The imagery of Locke39s emerging persona is in fact a complex of three discrete but mutually supporting and overlapping strands the personal the reli gious and the 39 g39 39 ml common 39 is change In personal terms Locke is a man in obvious crisis at a clear point of quotpassagequot in midlife and career frustration a man changing religious ly he is the secular pilgrim passing39through the upward stations of his cross ascending toward a new vocation and an unknown destination anthropologically he is emerging and ascending man leaving the shelter of his trecd life at once paradise and prison for the exposure of open country and the dangers of the void The anthropological metaphor is perhaps more glancingly stated than the religious but it is more urgent and pervasive its first overt articulation is the title of the N I VATCHINU n l39ILM wank c dumb y rnr r1ssrmrn tot book The Soul of the Ape by Eugene Mantis ave see Locke pick up There is of course no knowing literary reference here to the contents of the Marais book the title functions as a visual introduction to the images which will in Antonioni39s usual way define and develop the operative metaphor fully It is simply the idea of a transcendental ape not an easy notion to convey in visual images which is the immediate point just as later in the final shot it will be the idea of the soul or psyche itself in the sequence at Barcelona for instance we see Knight pursuing Locke who disappears behind a group of bird cages stacked on the sidewalk the last shot of the sequence shows us a caged monkey being lifted across the frame and disappearing in the same direction as Locke But the metaphor is actively engaged in the director39s studied portrayal of Europe London Munich and Barcelona as the arboreal habitat bird cage or monkey cage which Locke leaves for that treeless expanse of Africa or African Spain where by transcendence tor mutation he at last becomes himself Everywhere in fact the film presents an elaborate image account of the European present as a green bowera bower which is everywhere con trasted with Locke s desert geography Hence the film39s severely inflected polarities Europe vs Africa city Vs country present vs past green verticals vs ochre or orange horizontals Faustian vs quotprimitivequot manmade colors vs quieter quotearthquot colors etc In human terms it is as we would expect with Antonioni the woman the Girl Maria Schneider who as a finer filter of realityquot incarnates the sense of the world as an arbor When we first see Maria Schneider her pleasantly simian lea tures nicely adjusted to the arbor imagery of her habitat she is sitting in the court of the Bloomsbury Centre reading she leans back and we see her head framed by the green leaves of the plants behind her and the floral traccry of her blouse Visually she is in her elementquot But she is also adaptable Like Vittoria in Eclipse she has the knack of mobility and balance she too constantly corrects for excessive light or shade for too many trees or too much open space If boskiness is her natural element she is also at home in open country as here in the great open court of the Centre where she still can touch the leaves When she and Locke vecr off the road in the desert mesquite of southern Spain she looks at the wide expanse of desert mountains and blue sky and says simply lt s beautifulquot in one of the film s most beautiful and functional sequences we see the Girl contrasted and then paired with Locke in natural coinplcmcnlarity She asks him quotWhat are you running away fromquot Locke replies Turn your back to the front seatquot Then we see her standing looking back her arms outspread among the branches and leaves of the trees overhead at home now in her element as he was at home in free flight his arms outspread like wings over the 190 HUMANITIES IN SOCIETY blue water Then we see her from the front of the car and the road and the trees but above all the trees disappearing behind the carthe silent 39 visual answer to Locke39s question For Locke is literally running toward the desert homing for the parched almost African country of southern Spain He moves as in this sequence away from the leaves leaving the green bowered world behind him This is surely why in one of the more violent cuts in the film we see through the blazing gasoline crackle of green leaves burning no autumn leaves these the figure of Locke He has deliberate ly pruned away every green leaf and bough39he could reach bringing pro tests from his neighbor over the wall and from Rachel who comes rushing out in her nightgown crying quotAre you crazy Locke is burning 39 green leaves because he is symbolically stripping away the shelter of his London arbor the leaves are burnt with a kind of violent glee that reveals his detcstation of the green cage in which he perceives himself as living Hence I infer the obsessive boskiness laid on with a schematicaL ly heavy hand of Locke s house in Lansdowne Crescent with its hedge of encircling green and its blossoming flowers placed so carefully beside the steps where he mounts and the glimpse of greenery into which he dis appears In its excessive vegetation Lansdowne Crescent clearly inter A sects with the florid rococo Munich church all bridal flowers and leafy scrolls even in the curving iron grille which excludes Locke Depending on where one stands in relation to them these bowered worlds are 39 variously paradise the security of the protecting leafiness against the glare of reality or prison in which the feelings are penned in and change is prevented The wedding expresses both something vernal and something imprisoning the green Cemu tlichkeft of German or Western middle class life with its effort to screen out reality and to protect its inhabitants from the spectacle of change and immensity opening up around them Even death those prettified gravestones with their floral carvings and symbols of easy resurrection seems adapted to the uses of snuggery to thelsense of the world as man39s natural nest What the direc tor gives us is in fact a bower image of the Ptolemaie universe with its heady illusion of Central Man and its cozy certainties The idea is not a new one for Antonioni In his famous statement after the Cannes show ing ofL avventum he remarked that modern man is troubled and no longer possesses the exuberant confidence of Renaissanceman who unlike us inhabited a Ptolemaic universe Modern man lives scientifi cally and technologically in the present but morally in the past burdened by the baggage of old habits Man who has today no fear of the scienti fic unknown is afraid of the moral unknownquot And so unquestionably it is here The film visually presents the Ptolemaic universe as a green bower designed to protect its inhabitants from the reality that lies out WATCIIINC A FILM WATCH US ANTONIONI39S THE PASSENGER side the framequotthe world now this unexplored exploding perhaps unknowable postCopernican univche with its immensity its incredible velocity of change its incalculable violence Toward that unknown world beyond the Western frame toward the blinding light of a new reality Locke a man in adaptation a man evolvingis drawn from his arboreal past Europe in this perspectivevbecomes a bird cage a continent of bird cage cities or a quothuman 200quot l have already mentioned the bird cages stacked on the sidewalk of Barcelona itself a lovely bird cage of a city Again and again Antonioni portrays these European cities as contrived Ptolemaic bird cages designed to protect their inhabitants from change comforting them with the illusion of stability But the paradisal cage can never quite shut out the reality outside The desert keeps intruding like the desert violence we see erupting beside a sidewalk cafe in Barcelona masked by the playing fountains or the appearance of the secret violence out of the black hole of the locker in the Munich airport 1 violence which Europe exports to Africa as Faustian equipment and which returns to Europe as moral and political violence In Munich Antonioni juxtaposes two incongruous architectures the functional modern geometries of the Munich airport with its blazing primary chromatics contrasted with the green vernal pretence of the rococo church on the quotdeadquot suburban street In London Lansdownc Square the fashionable pretence of English middleclass life is sharply contrasted with the square of the Bloomsbury Centreall bird cage cubi cles where Locke first Secs the Girl reading no doubt a book on archi tecture She has been drawn there I suppose by the architect39s effort to create an apartment complex which is not like Lansdowne Crescent a regression into the past or at the opposite extreme a purely functional and geometrically dead modernity In both of these complexes the purpose is contrast an 39 g quot an Lquot 39 y designed to elucidate the tension between past and present natural and mammade organic and functional In Barcelona the commentary is also architectural both glancing and comprehensive Thus the two Caudi buildings shown pick up and enhance the thematic image first presented in the Umbraculo Latticed light a slatted roof curving upwards formed like the top of an ornate bird cage but a bird cage open to the world like the Bloomsbury Centre but less functional where Locke39 waits for his mysterious appointment There for the first time in his career Locke really interviews an old man without camera without recorder who begins his life story with its vista of time and space Once a long ways from here and its children repeating the old human tragedy They can t escape from us i The bird cage image is amplified in the first Caudi building the 191 192 HUMANITIES IN SOCIETY Palacio Guell That we are meant to view this structure as a cage a superbly habitable cage no doubt but still a cage is indicated by the bird cage hanging over the head of the correspondingly sleeping L USIO dian The interior is dark good for hitting inquot the Girl observes and we see what she means At the top of the domed room a dim light is admitted through starlike holes as the camera moves down the wall repeating the camera movement down the Gloria of the rocoeo church we see the slotted lateral windows diffusing a dim cathedrallike light On every side with every shift of the camera a richly embowered tex ture vine leaves and tendrils in stone and wood ornamental brickwork lacy designs of obvious Moorish inspiration But most noticeable in Antonioni39s portrayal if not in Caudi39s design isthe neoCothic quality of the ensemble the religious gloom the overpowering sense of the medieval past so tangible in the dark enclosing textures in the organ and the paintings and the sleeping custodian It is a bird cage building an image of a drowsing world almost a dead one And it is presumably the feeling of being stifled of claustrophobic enclosure by the past that triggers Locke s departure for another building also by Caudi more suited to his psychic needs Typically we are not told why he leaves the motivation is clliptieally stated by the fact of departure and by sequence by the implicit contrast of the two buildings Just as Locke moves steadi ly toward the desert so in Barcelona he moves from building to building in the typically self defining mode of the Antonioni character to inscrt himself in an external world which accords withand thereby reveals his inner world In Caudi s famous Casa Mila where they now go the feel of the bird cage abruptly vanishes For it is open space not enclosing interiors and cubicles that Locke wants Hence when we first see him and the Girl they are already on the roof obviously at home in that fantasy landscape whose monochrome tiles and strange sculptured ab stractions vividly recall the expanse of the desert and its winderoded shapes Compare for instance Caudi39s fantastically sculptured chim neys and ventilators with the photographs of the desert odd buttes and stony outcroppings hanging over the reception desk of Locke39s hotel in Chad and affinity is apparent indeed it is thought that Caudi39s structures were directly inspired by the landscape of Chad during the architect s visits to Africa Even in the monochrome tiles Antonioni subtly evokes the desert we saw those triangles of tile white or ochre like these earlier on the reception desk of the Chad hotel But the building itself matters because it represents unlike the Blooms bury Centre in London an effort in an apartment complex to relocate man in nature not man over nature and center stage as in the39 Ptolemaic conception an effort to restore the lost balance between organic and functional public and personal free space and privacy l WATCHING A FILM VATCII US ANTONIONI S THE I SSEr39CEIl This is why the camera shows us the whole facade of Casa hlilaaa lingering shot which makes it possible to rccognizc the serpentine movement of the chamfercd floorslabs and the intricately organic iron scrollwork tentlrils of scawced it seems woven around and between the cavelike openings of balconies and windows creating a remarkable chiaroscuro effect Man and god light and dark natural forms merging with functional purpose curve and line endlessly interwoven aspects of privacy and peace a world designed to permit shelter and security the bower feelings but also open to the larger world the other world of nature and society Everywhere the design insists that the eye should follow and accept the forms derived from desert and sea and all that this implies of vistas of time and space Foreground and background in formal balance the transient confronted by the permanent in a way that does not mock the transient or deny permanence by prettifying it or screening it out The building is often cited as among Caudi39s more spectacular secular designs but evidence exists that the whole structure was originally meant39to be surmounted by a colossal statue of the Virgin which would tower over the foreground wilderness of the sculp tured abstractions into which the architect has transformed ventilators and chimneys Here raised above this world which combines desert ab stractions with the elotheslincs of reality the idea amplified by a domestic argument taking place on a balcony below desert and sea Caudi intended to place the divinity to whom the whole building was to have been dedicated and in whose absence from it we have an image of the desert as glimpsed by Robertson beautiful immobile waiting As Locke and the Girl move southwards down the Costa dcl Sol the desert and the sea loom larger The trees thin out and the parched land scape opens up We do not see the sea but we keep hearing it always louder The more the landscape opens up the more compulsive become the human efforts to contrive a screen or bower against it At a sidewalk cafe we glimpse Locke and the Girl seated at a table A beautiful iron grille separates them from us interwoven with the straight bars of the 39 grillwork are curves of iron crescents tendrils One tcndril comes down 39 around Locke s head from the right another loops the Girl39s head on the left holding them for a brief moment bound together in the tension of line and curve Behind Locke are stacked cases of empty bottles7 their emptiness glancingly reflecting his beyond them we see a man who sits staring at the white light coming from the edge of the frame on the soundtrack the sound of the sea beating on the shore Their privacy the image suggests is relative to the world that lies beyond them their privacy looks outward toward what it excludes us and the seated man and the seated man also looks outward toward the world beyond the frame toward the white light and the sound of the sea In earlier films 193 g 194 ltUMANtTtES IN SOCIETY 39 the malaise of Eros is rooted in the compulsive privacy with which the lovers seal themselves off Eros blots out the cnvironing world in the obsessive intimacy of the quotcloseupquot Here on the contrary Eros is por trayed as healthy its necessary inwardness is like the privacy of Casa Mila intensified because it exists in relation to a larger world It sees and hears the world beyond theframethat white light and the sound of the sea In the compulsively Moorish restaurant 41H flowers and filigree where the police find Locke39s ear the coziness of the locale increases in proportion to the bleakness of the world it attempts to exclude From behind still another grille we see Locke and the Girl cmbowered in almost aggressive floweriness We see Locke gazing out towards the blue of the sea in the distance whose beating on the shore we can bear but is he perhaps looking at the woman in the red bathing suit in the fore ground about to sunbathe When the Girl asks him what he is thinking about he smiles and says truthfully Nothing And we know he has been looking at the sea at the expectant nothingness that it like the desert represents Still another image constantly invoked of transcen dence of the void The embowering of the restaurant is designed in the obsessive clutter of the foreground to occlude the sea just as on its street side it is obviously meant to screen out the manmade desert outside jangling and intrusive When Locke and the Girl gooutsidc to meet the policeman we see the restaurant39s exterior for the first time its fake Moorish crcnelations the long row of thickly inlergrown cedar or arborvitae clearly planted as a screening hedge Against what Against what the director now shows us and which we see again later when the Girl returns from the station and what he has no artistic need to reveal unless his purpose is precisely to indicate what it is that the restaurant39s arbor work excludes an image of the coastal highway a broad band of ugly cement the parched yellow mountains to the left strectliglits over head a clutter of dreary buildings and two motorcycles roaring away The dirt and ugliness in short of the quotrealquot world in Locke39s parable of the blind man at the close of the film Steadin south The sound of the sea grows louder When Locke reaches Plaza dcll39 lglcsia we are shown part of the buildings In are he and the Girl enter the frame The director is pointing our attention to the site A Clutter of functional modern buildings geometrical and soulleSs apparently abandoned the grass pricking up between the cement slabs the church itself nothing but a godbox Of trees and shrubbery hardly a sign only the glaring sun a white light beating down on the white buildings a few people In the stillness we can beanjust off the frame as it were the sound of the sea on the shore quotNo one herequot says Locke to the Girl echoing Claudia39s Non c39c nessunoquot in the abandoned develop ment town in L avvenlum V WATCHING A FILM WATCH US ANTONlONl39S THE PASSENGER quot95 We do not see the Sea because the director is saving the sight of it thc sea as visible nothingness an immensity like death and here associated with death for the final shot We are meant to hear it instead grow ing ominously closer as the surf sounds become more insistent With the sea sound comes an image the imagealways associated with it both chromatically and as a real physical event The image is that of the execution of the rebel Chadian by government troops according to Antonioni it is the shot of an actual not a simulated execution And it is once seen directly unforgettable as upsetting to Rachel and Knight watching it on the moviola as it must have been to Locke and Antonioni when he shot it We see the condemned man standing in a pinkish shirt his hands ticd before a group of stacked barrels the barrels are light blue at top and bottom in the middle 1 band of pink which matches both the condemned man39s shirt and the desert The execution itself is pointedly set on the shores of Lake ChadChad is landlocked and the blue water is not the Mediterranean We see the soldiers of the firing squad then a shot of blue water and surf The shots ring out we watch the victim sag and shudder under the impact of the bullets then convulsivcly raise his bound hands that wing motion and trembling of escape and 39tl39ien a shot of the a nothing but theblue sea The sequence so immediate and so pointed declares and even creates the link between death and sea and the association is firmed by the related chromatics and sounds An execution a death violence light pink and blue pink desert blue sea the sound of the surfimages of death and transcendence of death as transcendence An image too of a sacrifict etlilist39 bound hands lifting as though in prayer a passion it is the sound linked to this whole kinesthctic cluster that we hear now in the beating of the surf and which converges again with sea and sky in the coda at Osuna A related point It is the film39s emphasis upon pure transcendence on Locke39s desire to move beyond himself to evolve beyond himself even to become his owninternal void at a redeeming level that makes the love story here so simple and natural Because his real aspirations lie else where Locke is not tempted like Sandro or Anna in L39avuentura or the erotic sleepwalkcrs of La notlc or Aldo in II grido to lose himself in Eros to make of love a consuming all Because they have other purposes Locke and the Girl are not subject to the obsessive eroticism of the human zooquot in their lives Eros is simply one of several ends not the ultimate end initself Locke and the Girl like each other They are lovers l and by conventional standards strangers though the banality of the conversation between them is offset by the deeper visual intimacy39far deeper we assume than the bond between Locke and Rachel or between Rachel and her lover We know of their intimacy we Visually infer 196 HUMANITIES IN SOClli t Y it because the grilles and enclosures looping and linking them exclude us We see them in their hotel room from outside two small figures on the balcony their intimacy intensified by the sheer expanse of the wall Only once precisely to resolve doubts l think does the narrative camera intervene to show them at a tactfully discrete distance down the corridor lying on a bed comfortably side by side together Because they 39 accept transienee the passing moment and what it brings they have no designs on eternity no need of that compulsive Eros which elsewhere in Antonioni39s work occludes the background and feeds compulsiver on its dread of what has been excluded Their love is fragile casual provi sional affectionate natural uncaged They recognize each other as transients as peregrine as much at home in reality both foreground and background as it is possible to be Their paradise is a provisional bower daily built to suit the needs of the site the time and themselves They hear the sea they see the sky lf Locke emerges as something more than a passenger on Robertson s identity it is in large part because of what has happened between him and the Girl Not because love makes the world less ugly but because it makes the void habitable and the ugliness endur able As Robertson observes men do live with manifest dignity as that Bedouin passing by on his camel so cxprcssively declares in the desert in the final shot everything converges lt is quite impossible to do this sequence as brilliant artistically as it is technically anything like critical justice Stripped of his luggage and reduced to essentials shielded from the blinding white light only by his greentinted glasses all that is left him of the green world of his European past Locke checks into the modest Hotel de la Gloria There he finds the Girl has preceded him As though blind already or accepting the blindness of his own fable he asks her now half removed from himas she is physically bythe adjoining rooms they share what she can see from the window Ve see her framed in the glass of the wardrobe as she tells him details of ordi nary lifc And dust It39s very dustyquot His eyes are shut as shr sits down touching his face carrcssing his closed eyes as though to screen them from the savage light outside Locke tells her his parable of the blind man who recovered his sight At first elated like Locke in the elation of Robertson s identity and the loss of his own he was slowly overwhelmed by the ugliness around him then locked himself into the darkness and three years later killed himself Clearly Locke39s story is about himselfa becoming that might be unless prevented by another but also about the embowered world he has left In that world too the curtains are drawn against the naked white light beating down the intolerable reality The denizens of that green world are those who have by long habit blinded themselves who have systematically screened out the light and inured themselves to living in darkness Unlike the Girl also a native of that VATClllNC A FllM WATCH US ANTONIONI39S THE PASSENGER l97 world they never leave it fcaring everything that would be revealed the dirt the ugliness if they left the organized pretence of their bowers Humankind as Antonioni39s favorite poet wrote cannot bear very much reality Blindness and sight A classicist may perhaps be forgiven for seeing here more than a casual resemblance to the story of that Oedipus who when he badeyes could not see and came to see like Tircsias only when his blindness made it possible I think for instance of the Tircsiaslike figures of the film s two old men the old man with the cane in the Umbraculo who reminds Locke of the recurrently enacted human trage dy or the old man with the dog in the plaza at Osuna watching the recurrent tragedy Or the figure of the blind man guided by a girl who acts as his eyes And of course the whole controlling metaphorical structure of sight and blindness in the Greek play and here However that may be it is both optics and perception which Anto nioni has in mind throughout the film but above all at the close just before the final encounter withdeath quotNow at last I see things with a certain lueiditvquot says the dying Tommaso in La unite sedated with morphine only when dying does he at last come alive and see with waking vision what as a Sleepwalker drugged with work and his career he could not see Again in BlowUp the photographer Thomas can only begin to see with human eyes that reality which his optics and profes sionalized routine perception have hidden from him and this break through occurs only after his encounter in the park with death and transience the wind soughing the trees the barely visible trace of a human body in the damp grass of the park at dawn So with Locke here At dusk the sky reddens the sun is setting Locke tells the Girl to leave We see her dress blowing in the tiny breeze like the clothes hung on the wall in Robertson39s room something stirring moving in the air As she leaves Locke opens the window onto the plaza recalling the identical action in Robertson39s room when Locke discovers the dead body We look out on the plaza a man passing Then the camera shOWS us Locke and the bed and that Small picture hanging above the bed The camera pans up the picture and we sec water a stream vegetation trees rising on the left a hill or cliff and at the top a building a monastery I be lieveand then clouds and sky An ascent from the stream and trees to the building and the bare hill beyond the hill clouds and sky Locke takes a cigarette and lies down on the bed his eyes open looking out the window On the bed beside him his discarded dark glasses Off now off for good in the adjoining room the Girl seated on a chair huddles into herself All we can see now all we will see of Locke from now on are his feet and legs and trunk lying right side up on the bed Then we see feet and legs turn over we see the body face down recalling Robertson 5 l98 HUMANITIES IN SOCIETY earlier on the salmonpink blanket of the bed where Locke found him T en from outside we see and hear the slow patient detailing of the life of the plaza An old man appearing with smncthing what from a door the learnerdriver car the Girl looking back apprehensiver at the barred window the plaza itself with its looping Moorish wall and through an open arch an ogive of blue the blue sky beyond the walled enclosure then the boy in the red shirt as the murderers39 Citroen drives up the two men moving toward the camera a girl running Time is narrated in discrete apparently disconnected events Only tiie vantage point seems to be fixed unchanging the camera behind the barred window seeing steadily taking in everything that unfolds before it Slowly we become aware that even this fixed point is also moving the eye slowly very slowly advancing while the right and left hand sides of the frame shrink arid then there is nothing but the bars and the world beyond them and thespaces between the bars slowly widening But at this point we hear the sputtering of a motorcycle followed by thedull pom of a pistol or is it a motor an d then a trumpet phrase a bullring fan fare in the distance and a car driving off And now the camera begins its long slow glide toward freedom floating out ever so gently rocking like a disembodied thing toward the open unimpeded world of the plaza Only two bars remain in the window a siren sounds and with something like a39 shudder l speak for myself the camera the eye the quotIquot or it whatever it might be that acts like this the psyche the soul could it be squeczes through the bars There it hesitates briefly as though looking for the way what way where then loops in a long double Curve around the plaza feeling outquot this new enclosure this larger social space of the plaza And now we see that the plaza itself is only a larger cell a new cage with its own barrier or Screen encircling it that Moorish wall through which as once through the bars of Locke39s room we can glimpse the larger world beyond in that ogive of blue sky that is the eye of the wall And now above the wall we see that larger space as a horizontal band of blue sky The camera that disem bodied floating X groping still but it seems more purposively now suddenly reaches the end of the wall and there sea and sky reveal them selves as a new dimension opening out toward infinity and final free dom a blue world suddenly revealed without bars or impediments now in which all the blues of sea and sky in the film converge in an image of absolute transcendence Then finally completing its circle it comes to rest on the immediate foreground on Rachel s car and the small bulk of the Hotel de la Gloria profiled against the bluewhite sky Now from39 outside excluded by the grilled window from which it just escaped the camera looks into the room and discloses the body of Locke But the body is no longer in the same position we last saw it in face 6 WATCHlNC A FILM WATCH Us ANTONIONI39S THE PASSENGER 199 downward on the bed the back turned to the light Now we see feet and legs are lying right side up and we infer that the body is face up as it must have been when Locke faced his murderer looking his own death 39 square in the face It is very elliptical this kind of tacit visual explanation but it is an ellipsis wholly characteristic of a director who fastidiously disdains the obvious and who insistently demands that the visuals not the script should carry the essentials of the story But in all of Antonioni39s work there is no more extreme or potent ellipsis than this For this is an ellipsis that contains Locke39s essential creation of himself To fulfill Robertson39s fate Locke has only to die And this he can do as we see him preparing to do it turning over on his stomach like the blind man in his own parable passively waiting for death to come and take him Up to this point Locke s fate is parallel to and superimposed on Robertson39s Up to now the narrative question has been Will Locke have the courage to fulfill the identity he has usurped He is a passenger on Robertson39s passport as the girl is a passenger on his destiny quotalong for the ride Locke became a passenger in part because he was sick of being an observer Robertson and Locke both die as strangers and transients quotpassengersquot in another country to which they come as nomads They both die like strangers in rented rooms Locke l am saying fulfills Robertson39s destiny and keeps Robertson39s appointments But he also lies his own Locke39s own death In dying he comes on himself becomes himself In Antonioni s ellipsis herethe turning over face upward to the light confronting death lies the single crucial defining individual act a decision to face death life reality with seeing eyes without spec tacles precisely as we saw in a parallel death and passion the Chadian victim face the firing squad This body in the bed is not that of Robert sonquot played by an actor simulating him in life and death nor is it any longer the body of Locke the old Locke The Girl says Yes she recognizes him and she is right this is the man he was while she knew him constantly becoming And Rachel too is right not merely ironic when she says Weeping I never knew himquot 1 spoke just now of a passion However secular or elliptical Locke 5 death is also a passionlowercasc to be sure and part of a gloria That passion and gloria are in turn the culmination and final revelation the epiphany of an unfolding destiny As we have seen Locke39s fate is one in which his own selfawareness and emergent quotlecisionquot glimpsed rightly at its visual and subverbal level far deeper than that of conscious willing arc implied He chooses to risk death and thereby freely participates in his own unfolding fate At the outset it was something in Locke the passion for transcendence l would say the generic human I quest for alla ti for meaning and a redeeming purpose that drew him to the desert in the first place There is in Locke we come to see an 200 HUMtNthliS IN SOCIETY interior void He is the desert to which he is drawn a man defined as a kind of void a hollow man But the film steadily ioflccts the idea of the desert This void world image by image is refined as a void in which there is a mysterious tremor and stirring an umnistakahlc expectancy it is a living void we think the air is dead and the clothes on the wall begin to tremble the black dots in the foreground reveal themselves as running goats we think the silence is absolute until it is broken by the sound of an insect buziing And Locke39s emptiness is shown scene by scene and image by image to be like this desert His hollowncss too begins to stir as one by one the collection of useless habits which define him and the defences which he still carries with him fall away His silence increases the prepared script of his past life and profe onal quotviewpointquot are discarded for a kind of rudimentary and daily improvised action He is the hollow man who because he is hollow is capable of becoming more than himself whose emptiness is the condition of his transcen dence Negative transcemlence as in the Eliot poem in order to arrive there To arrive where you are to get from where you are nut You must go by a way in which there is no cc in order to arrive at what you do not know You must go he a way which is the way of ignorance ln order to po s what you do not puss s You must go by the way of rlispossession In order to arrive at 39lttlt you are You must go through the way in which you are not And what you do not know is only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not it is moreover the hollow man who precisely because he is hollow 39an reveal the generic beneath the individual the genotype that precedes the phenotype Locke transcendent reveals as the habits and identity of the individual Locke fall away the generic human hunger for transcen dcnce and meaning We are Locke Hence the informing parallel with the pilgrim and saint vltose assumption is a literal elevation out ofand beyond himself in an ecstasy which means not joy hut transcendeimc into a larger life But also the parallel with evolving Pleistocene man who dies as the forest creature he used to be in order to adapt to the dangerous void in which a changing environment a changed world require him to live For that void is ours now that our world has changed we too must strip away the habits and shelters which still bind us to an Eden we have lost We must adapt or die even when adaptation means dying out of oneself lying into change I v WATCHING A FlLM WATCH US ANTONlONl S TIIE PASSENGER 2ll This transcendence is the revealed meaning of the final shot We see first the quotsoulquot separating from the body hotly and soul rivingquotjust as the camera quotawarenessquot squeezes with a final shudder through the bars of its cell out into the larger world of others the great areita of the plaza still another form of the void which lures Locke from the beginning the world of the collective life and the endlessly repeated human tragedy the constantly reborn violence And finally a third transcendence as quotitquot gropcs its way along the wall of the plaza as thouin looking for the blue it can see through the wall and above it amt finally breaking through into the expanse and freedom of blue sea and blue sky everything converging in a single image of achieved transeen deuce Down below the lights at dusk come on and we see over the door of the Hotel de la Gloria the stainedglass panel light upwred green llue in sign of in glory asserted The lights burn more brightly now the rightly modest image of the building profiled against a large sky and from within a din of voices men women and children An image an affirming image of the ordinary world at its ancient busine 39 of figuring and transfiguring itself We see an ordinary world profiled against a larger evening sky of darkening milky blue grow slowly gradually luminous But the light radiates from within not without And this ordinary white light generates a small panel of warm colors glowing above the door as a kind of supervening chromatic Gloria white becoming color just as the ordinary generates the extraorditmry or AIS hotly by virtue of some evolving aspiration out of its own discontent its feeling of being void and incomplete creates a spirit of its own a psyche even a sou The gloria born of this conviction of inward discontentthe feeling of incompleteness of a needy inner void which produces the hunger for 011039 ti is nowhere better expressed than by Leopardi in so many ways so close to Antonioni above all in his anguish of39solitude and his obsession with transienee and mortality and his lifetime preoccupation with that metaphysical tedium which ltalians call 1min Nnin is in some sense the most sublime of luunan emotions Not that l helievc the examination of this emotion yields the conseiptcnces which many philosophers have sought to derive from it And yet our inability to he 39ed by any earthly thing or even by the entire earth To imagine the nlle number of worlds and the infinite universe and feel that our minds and desires would still be greater than such a universe altt ays to accuse things of insufficiency and notliingness and to suffer the trait and the mid this seems to me the best proof of the grandeur and nobility afhumon nalim39 202 Hummus IN Socum39 N OTES l nluuinni Speaks wand Lianusquot An inh39n ilW by Romr Epslvin Film Cumnwm JulyAugusl 1975 T lung Shunuvk Um m39I I rmnl Now York IQTGL pp 03 H 350 fur xsl know unl l cmlnru Iilliuu luw nuliud hr puinl Luckv gtu nhwrw u pnsilinn likr 2 Muslim praying Sm hrr lypuu l lxrwpliw rm iow in Thr Nmr Yurkrr H April 1975 HZquot Ellwunl39s Wurlb in T S Eliot s Tlu39 Cm kluil Party I 2 say Eugcnv M HpL with nu iulrlemlizm h Hulwrl ArdrryN1w Yurk um Liuulou 1965 Mumis wux u Snulh Afrimn Vtmlnuhl rlu uullmr of My Fn vmls Ilw Bulumnx und TIquot Soul of Ilw WhilwAm Ho quotMI by suicidr in 39 Mfmnpzm fur illshuma Lu nullu Iwro m we nlinu Munim Vli u lhc out nf ho slainz n In lmnu nf hm millionuin fnlhvr nmliug annunn Brrwh39s Tht Slwpwalkwrx 39l lw director39s puinl is nut u lewing lew m thu COIIIK HIS ul39 Brnch slmok hul he use uf Ilu mk lu mtahlish lhv nnluphnr uf Ihl39 quotIupwul 1 quot at In purly und tn indimlc Un lvlzuhnwnl l39rmn them 1 he uhrl IL wwgliu mkingquot rnti in 7Fur llu sunw iMIul Mm mmpurv tho arm in Rm Drawn hvrr Curmdn is diwusxing his txlxdiliun In rgvnlinu vilh lho wormrs whmn hv laws In rvcrnik le mpl lxmi nhns arr uI inmuv of hp wvrkors uwr uhnw LIms Hm mulu39rzl 1mm M liu Hf Huir Ulud rl XIXH39K IMII ulxu lmnmn luingsmnptiml mddruinrd lhoir own inlvrnul mid mrnmpmuling to lhv unknnwn world In whth tho nrv bring T 3 oxpollml A East Colarquot in TIM Four Ouurlrrx 5 l39pnxirri i8 v n hIr39v Film as Art The class will be switching gears before we addressed philosophical topics within films as well as film techniques Now however we will be focusing on the philosophy offilm itself philosophical approaches to filmmaking Semiology We will omit the semiological readings as students in the past have found these to be too difficult however Gianetti uses the semiological approach throughout his book This essentially regards film as a sort of code and a successful interpretation of the film would involve reading these codes or signs and elucidating their meanings For example in Gianetti we have low angles and high angles that are used to convey degrees of r 39 g r or r in a similar vein color movement certain visual symbols sounds or musical motifs and so forth essentially signs of any sort can be used to represent a mood a theme or something that is in need of interpretation In everyday life we use both graphic and verbal signs think of the bathroom sign for instance it will normally have a graphic of a human figure with either trousers or a frock as a symbol for male or female then there will be the verbal sign the literal written word quotMenquot or quotWomenquot written usually above the sign typically in the center of the door but somewhat above eye level Art vs Entertainment In the 1930 s when both film and photography began coming into their own as art forms they had to be defended as art forms The prevailing attitude was that since there was a mechanical device the camera that did the recording of reality verbatim what was there left for the individual artist to do Then as now there was considerable overlap between film as art and film as entertainment so much so that the two modalities tended to fuse to a degree Why should be study experimentalfilm The basic idea is that since film is a popular medium it can be used for entertainment yet there are artistic aspects to most films so where does the art end or begin and where does the entertainment begin Many films fall in a continuum between the two poles For example we saw The Conformist which was made for both popular entertainment and art with there being a somewhat more emphasis on the art than on the entertainment A Streetcar Named Desire was in a similar vein with somewhat more emphasis given to the entertainment value than on the art although there was obviously artistic merit in the film However for the time we will consider experimental films to highlight the art aspect of film viewing and to minimize the entertainment aspect Art films in general are not intended for mass distribution As Youngblood stated Entertainment films are designed to m audience expectations art films are designed to challenge audience expectations Hollywood has become the prototypical symbol for Entertainment film it produces films designed to meet audience expectations Bazin said that Hollywood changed the model of art Hollywood made some very good movies despite the fact that the writers stars directors and other film people were all on staff A film may have been written by ten different people working in various parts of the script and with a revolving number ofactors How in such a medium can a director impart an individual stamp to a movie Bazin wondered how this assembly line form of moviemaking worked He thought that the quotgenius is in the system the term for this form of cinema is called Vertical Integration The studios controlled the making and the distribution of movies as well not allowing the quotminorsquot small studios to get any films shown at all The five quotmajorsquot effectively locked out all of the minor studios during the 1930s the quotGolden Age of American Cinema The system was outlawed as a monopoly in 1942 Males were prominent in films during the studio system primarily because they were the ones with the money and thus the studios catered to them Now it is largely kids who control the film industry Kids are stupid and thus they watch the same movies over and over again this has caused the entire film industry to change F 39 Film Art As A Creation of Freedom In the 1920s in Europe there was no studio system attempts were made to construct such systems but they never caught on and the 1920s were prior to the Golden Age of Hollywood Film Around this time Avant Garde art was in vogue Around 1911 art of all forms had become avantgarde impressionism in painting was changing the way that people thought about art and the avantgarde movement was often linked to revolutionary movements and film was thought to be the revolutionary art formquot the basic idea was not to reproduce reality but to expand the degree of freedom that was available to filmmakers Traditionally the notion of art was such that it was synonymous with craft doing something according to a set plan not an exercise in individual creativity The avantgarde movement was in complete opposition to this idea such that originality creativity and freedom were the hallmarks of the art form Art was seen as challenge Originality was seen as a means to freedom in avantgarde film It was destructive in the sense that it sought to tear down currently accepted norms and to produce new ideas about what film could be Art was seen as a creation of freedom 1 You needed freedom to create the art and 2 Art creates freedom thus allowing for the creation of more freedom This notion is in contrast to Sartre s ideas of freedom as it attaches freedom to cultural and collective freedom rather to individual freedom Thus revolutionary movements like Marxism were often tied to the avantgarde cinema The basic idea was that man needed freedom because man Egins as an animal but needs create freedom and continue to create it to remain in his current state This points to a political purpose Sartre viewed freedom as a means to act freedom without actions is not freedom But in avantgarde cinema freedom was viewed as a means of creating more freedom it was a means of breaking free from traditional forumulaic structures and free of the confines of the past Bertolucci was concerned that his film was merely adding images to the shadows on the wall of Plato s cave The mise en scene could be viewed as shadows on Plato s wall in film unlike in other arts it is easy to confuse reality with the projections of the film Experimental film is a means of going beyond what already exists and is such is a film for other filmmakers to allow them to break free of the traditional modes of filmmaking and expand the horizons of what it is possible for a film to be The Films 1 Rhythmus 21 Hans Richter began as a painter 1921 htt www outubecom watchvH7 hN43nf 0 The idea behind this short film seems to be an exploration of rhythm in a visual medium it seems to do this semisuccessfully but the real thing that I noticed about this short was the illusion of depth As the sizes of the geometrical shapes increase and decrease in size it is hard not to feel that they are moving towards or away from the viewer creating the illusion of depth so to me it seemed more like a study of simulated depth in threedimensions although the rhythmic pulsing of the shapes was successful enough in what Richter was attempting to create 2 Return of Reason Man Ray 1923 htt www outubecom watchvdNYh cV30E The Return of Reason as art I would say was more successful while Rhythmus 21 was quotobviouslyquot art the fact that there was nothing more than geometric shapes rectangles of varying sizes removed some of the uncertainty in what might be coming next The Return of Reason challenges the viewer more since you see what are more or less everyday objects in a sort of novel manner When the woman s breasts are shown for example you are not immediately aware of what you are seeing because of the contourlinelooking shadows on her torso The pulsing blobs at the very beginning of the film seem to cause you to expect something different and seem to evoke a feeling of expectation as your mind seeks to find a pattern in the chaos Then the rotating shadow mass appears and the first thing that I thought was quotUFOquot the nails displaced this idea only to have it return when the fairground rides were being introduced later filmed in the nighttime to make it look more disorienting We see the outlines and some movement taken with what seems to be a handheld camera which further gives the film the idea of dynamism motion and expectancy a sort of dramatic tension even without the aid of narrative The mind seeing objects at random seeks a context and tries to provide one as the images are shuttling past I have heard that epileptics should not be put in a situation where they can see bright or flashing lights I can kind of see why since the film almost seems to put even a nonepileptic individual into an altered state of consciousness The attempt to quotplacequot things rapidly in the real world is of primary importance here and to see the constantly shifting symbols in need of placement keeps the mind active even as the flickering seems to lull you into a sort of hypnotic trance of sorts These images create a mood of foreboding they seem like they could easily be used as a background in a movie intro e7en used something similar to set a mood for the upcoming horror that ensued 3 Anemic Cinema Marcel Duchamp 1926 htt www outubecom watchvXmNTf8kXCc In this film it was hard not to expect the theme song from The Twilight Zone to start echoing the spirals seem to attempt to lull you into a trance at once I remember hearing of a similar device used to induce trances The spirals at first move clockwise followed by a counterclockwise rotation of the worddisc forcing you to attempt to read the words flowing in a seemingly unnatural direction Unlike the previous film however there seems to be a relief from the chaos the spirals seem somehow calming and nonthreatening possibly for lack of sharp edges that were often in Ray s short The movements were slower and more constant as well yet the alternate moving in clockwise and counterclockwise fashion kept an active principle of discord going it also felt like it was speaking of balance Honestly Hegel s notion came to me clockwise motion thesis counterclockwise motion antithesis followed possibly by a mental synthesis on the part of the viewer I am not sure if the verbal and visual images activate different parts of the brain requiring more neurological connections to me made than with images alone but it seemed to be trying to get you to think in two different modalities thus requiring a cerebral synthesis that was put into the film by the viewer rather than one that was present in the film itself making the viewer an essential artist in the film s creative process 4 Ballet Mecanigue Fernand Leger 1924 htt www outubecom watchvl bboH9 le The Ballet Mecanique seemed to illustrate its purpose quite well On the face of it it was a study in mechanization various gears and so forth in a repetitive seemingly inexorable in nature balanced out by the smile ofa young woman or was it a man in drag The smile although human was repetitive and thus to a degree mechanistic as well and the pointed shape of the lipstick seemed to give a dagger s edge to the smile lessening the natural beauty of a human being and demoting it slightly to the role of a cog yet the smile and expression on the eyes were still there so the organic feeling of humanity was not forgotten even as we return back to the gears and pistons Actually I have seen these techniques used before to great effect in a movie Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang the mechanized visuals gave a feeling of cold heartless machines as opposed to the soft organic humanity of the people oppressed by them It made me wonder if the smiling woman was a robot like Maria or if she was a controller laughing at us or not The film as quotpurequot art was lacking possibly because I already had a context in mind when saw the images Existentialism One of the primary claims of existentialism is that existence comes before essence That is to say there is no preexisting plan or idea that a human being is made from The ground of being is in a human being s existence Since all people are ultimately free they can choose what to do with their lives As they so choose their essence is created It does not preexist life on earth but is created via the acts with which we habitually engage in as we live our lives That is to say we must begin with the subjective ManWoman is free to choose what he or she will become At the onset of human life the human creature has no essence ts essence is determined by its freedom to choose what she or he wants to become When Runa was born she had no essence no plan was used in her construction By choices that she made as she was growing up she defined her essence through her subjectivity and she acquired this essence later in life Thus Existentialism places a great deal of responsibility on the individual for their lives and by extension responsible for and to other people Thus one of the primary results of Existentialist belief is that man has placed upon his shoulders the burden if selfcreation it is his fate and he cannot escape from it However in choosing what he or she wishes to become it is also a choice to choose this for all humankind man has a vision of himself as he ought to be and he tries to bring this view into reality by making it part of his essence As he wills the better for himself it cannot be so that he wills any different for other human beings Note This is the weakest point in the essay As a human being fashions himself so he wills to fashion all men in a similar vein his responsibility to his freedom is thus all the more greater than the critics of Existentialism have assumed To an existentialist man is in anguish This means that the second a person realizes that when he commits to something to anything at all he is making a choice and for all of humanity and cannot escape form the terrible responsibility that follows such a commitment Although some do not seem to feel this it could be said that they are in retreat from this anguish and suffer from it nonetheless Thus at every instant an existentialist is bound to choose actions which would serve as examples for all mankind that he would will everyone else to choose Note This is curiously similar to Kant s Categorical Imperative and Sartre himself did not do this unless we consider addiction to benzadrine what he would have willed for everyone This anguish does not allow quietism or repose but insists upon action action which you would will all others to take as well Sartre did take stands against racism in his life so to an extent he did walk the talk A common theme in existentialism is the idea of abandonment This is the idea that god does not exist but also the consequences of such a realization For example if you realize that god does not exist then you realize that all of the morals and values that were based on religion are also baseless Keeping in mind the ideas that existence precedes essence man initially has no essence nor does he have any ultimate mind god to depend on to provide any values for him That is to say there is nothing in the inside ofman nor on the outside to give him sustenance He is and remains however abundantlyfree condemned to be free Man did not create his existence yet he is free and his freedom implies the anguish of responsibility due to that freedom So when you are forced into a situation where you must choose one option over another you must choose There is no guide for you to look to in such a circumstance This is abandonment and it means that each decision that we make causes us to define our essence and realize that we are utterly and monstroust free Existentialists also speak of despair This means that when we choose we choose what is within our capabilities to choose as well as what is feasible in any given circumstance One acts without hope or trust but instead uses the raw materials of feasibility and capability from which to decide upon an action To act without hope means to use your freedom to choose and choose for yourself what you would will for all men yet you should not expect that everyone else would do the same or with any conviction of your ultimate success you merely act based in accordance with your ability and circumstances This does not allow you to rest in quietism or repose since merely thinking of something does not make it a reality you must choose an action and this action ads to your essence No doubt there were a lot of wellwishers to the Jews and Gypsies in Nazi Germany but as long their good intentions were unmanifest by any sort of action this did not change their essence In such a circumstance you could chose to join the resistance or you could choose to take action by hiding some marked person but you would do so without any ultimate faith that you will be successful or that others will follow your example Yet you are still doomed to commit this free action and suffer the anguish of your responsibility The accusation of ultimate subjectivity has often been leveled against existentialism However the critics have misunderstood the meaning of subjectivity While your essence and your freedom are born from s not imply a random group of inclinations W igt N 39 earth Thus all men share the conditions of the world and they react to it similarly No purpose is valueless without some degree of universality in the human scheme The Christians tend to charge the existentialists with assigning to all behavior the nature of being voluntary since they are free to choose from their subjective inclinations anything at all there is no basis for values of morality of any kind But when an existentialist says he is condemned to be free condemned to choose as said previously what he chooses for himself he chooses for all humanity Whatever a man or woman chooses she chooses with full responsibility her life takes on an aura similar to that of a work of art the choosing is intentional and does not share the nature of caprice A similar critique involves the lack of ability to judge others since there are no eternal standards An existentialist however can judge a man based upon whether he is deceiving himself or not If he chooses the lesser of two evils based upon a knowledge of the conditions with a whole heart then there is little to judge since he could have done little else Yet if someone acts out of bad faith or selfdeception you may well judge this man as acting inauthentically Another criticism is that the existentialists take values away then reinstate them only they emanate from the subjective consciousness of the individual rather than the mind of god To this it could be replied that since there is no god then man is simply forced to do so yet there can be human communities and commitments to them all the same and a similarity of values based upon the common conditions of humanity Laura Mulvey Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema The patriarchal society that we live in has influenced film norms Our society is maledominated and maleoriented This or referred to as phallocentrism What this means is that as a society we are dependent on and invested in the image of the powerless woman to give meaning to the world The significance of the woman in film in forming the male unconscious in film is twofold 1 She represents the castration threat by her absence of a dick and 2 She raises her child into the symbolic that is to say she turns her child into the symbol of her own desire to have a penis Having achieved these two goals she is more or less expendable as her function has been fulfilled A woman can exist only in relation to castration and cannot transcend it Men can now live out their fantasies by imposing these fantasies on the silent image of the woman tied to her place as bearer of meaning rather than the maker of meaning That is to say men live out their fantasies of women in the screen by projecting their ideas about women into the woman on film never forgetting her place of subservience which is how woman as a symbol gives meaning to their world Hollywood tended to reflect the dominant ideology at any given time however independent cinema allows ideological challenges to mainstream film allowing women to fight the prevailing cultural stereotypes of women While this will not change the cultural norms it does allow a countering voice Hollywood arose to prominence more than from anything else by its skilled manipulation of visual pleasure The erotic ideas of popular culture were coded into the nature of the visual experience of cinema Hollywood by playing on the obsessions of men was able to satisfy as well as reinforcing their ego a great many alienated men Scopophilia is when the act of looking itself brings about pleasure Freud believed that scopophilia involved objectifying others the Gazed and subjecting them to a controlling quotGazequot At its extreme he Gaze can result in the illicit pleasure of the peeping toms and film plays on this voyeuristic pleasure principle The people in the theatre repress their own exhibitionism and project their own desires onto the repressed desires of the performers The cinema allows you to vicariously live through others and forget your ego for a time by identifying with the characters on screen whilst overall reinforcing the ego In a sexist world pleasure in looking has been divided between male and female or active and passive Women possess tobeIooked atness as they are coded to appeal to the males who gaze at them women are displayed to be used as objects of fantasy for men s sexual appetites and fantasies The presence of the woman tends to work against the story line in a normal film as she freezes the flow of the action into moments of erotic contemplation She inspires feeling in the man in that sense she is important in all others she is of no consequence Siegfried Kracauer Basic Concept The basic demarcation of the two main prototypes of film are realist and formalist Lumiere is the prototype director for the realist films his films used photographic techniques to aid in storytelling He captured real life incidents in the film medium although usually he did not attempt to tell stories he merely presented the material Melies took over when Lumiere s popularity faded Melies manly took staged reality instead of actual reality as the topics for his films Lumiere did not think that film was art or could be used as art Melies thought otherwise Melies began to use techniques peculiar to the medium of film such as shooting things in reverse He however never thought beyond the metaphors of the theatre never moving his camera In Realism films go beyond photography in several ways They picture movement for example not merely movement of objects but movement through time through montage movement of the camera to alter perspective and so forth Also there is staging The filmmaker needs to stage the surroundings as well as the action In Formalism directors have often dispensed with realism altogether Dream sequences are often unrealistic to convey the dream atmosphere There are of course clashes between the two types of filmmaking since most film involves using techniques from both paradigms However occasionally the clash is more noticeable it does not fit in easily with the rest of the film However these are the exceptions by and large the two paradigms can be made to coexist to varying degrees within a single film Films may claim aesthetic sensibility id it obeys the basic properties of each s medium the German Expressionistic films went far in the direction of formalism These genres are considered llless cinematic than those which stress physical existence Why should this be the case Average films and not quotartquot films are more valid than art films because they are valid aesthetically The Establishing of Physical Existence Films differ from photographs in two areas when it comes to establishing physical existence 1 Films represent reality as it evolves in time and 2 they do so with the aid of cinematic techniques and devices Certain subjects in the external world exert a fascination on the film medium motion is the most obvious of these The Chase is a major example of motion used in cinema Dancing is another example Nascent motion motion that is stopped for a moment as a means of highlighting a scene only to have the motion continued later Closeups of inanimate objects tend to fascinate the camera as well The ability to focus in on certain objects forms one of the key differences between stage and screen Stage focuses on the actor whereas on screen you can focus on the environment as well Films without impressive backdrops are usually thought of as uncinematic The above are all referred to as recording functions Revealingfunctions on the other hand tend to reveal things unseen The small is one of these categories normally these things would go unnoticed but the camera can zoom in on them so that we can notice them this is often part of how the film is narrated The close up has as its main purpose not to show but to signify to denote the importance of They can also serve as disclosures of physical reality Big objects are also of importance long shots mountains panoramas of various kinds but transient objects are one of the camera s special loves The camera can capitalize on the transient nature of reality in a way that a painting can never do In many cases the camera can focus in on items that would normally be imperceptible such as the growth of plants The last group of things normally unseen are blind spots of the human mind those items that habit and prejudice stop us from noticing Unconventional complexes can be shown that are usually hidden the refuse and rejected can be focused on as well few people look at garbage cans but film can focus on them all the same The Seedy side of life in gangster films for example The familiar can also be highlighted in various ways that we do not usually notice because we consider it too mundane to normally be paid attention to Experiences which tend to overwhelm a person can be focused on as well war rape and so forth one experiencing such an issue will not often be able to give an objective account of what has occurred film can elucidate these experiences Rather than engaging in mindless sensationalism film can take an view something that inner turmoil would usually leave unexamined Films may also show special modes of reality as it appears in extremes Orgasm ecstasy exaltation sorrow and so forth may be examined Rudolf Arnheim Film and Reality Film may but need not produce artistic results There are still educated people who do not believe that film is an art form The basic reason for this is because they regard film as something that a machine does a camera captures reality exactly and thus this is not art However this is an erroneous assumption Film requires you to choose the position of an object which aspect of that object to show The auteur has to choose the llmost characteristic shot to convey his meaning to the viewer Film does not actually appear as in actuality the three dimensional perspective is flattened some and distance is distorted essentially it is very artificial Viewers should embrace this artificiality as art rather than expecting film to be an exact reproduction of reality People accepted silent film because they realized that film was an abstraction and not merely reproduction People can imagine sound or smell if they are given the appropriate visual clues The filmmaker needs to stress the particular abilities of the medium instead of trying new things that are not native to visual storytelling The lack of visual depth brings an element of unreality to the film yet the film artist takes advantage of this lack in order to remarkable affect Silence in particular allows the best use of this medium to take film to its full artistic potential Rudolf Arnheim The Complete Film The introduction of sound to film destroyed many of the forms that film artists had been using in order to make films more quotnaturalquot The art form was cut short just when it was getting mature and now color has done the same to black and white films Color has wider possibilities than BampW photography yet this will restrict many of the formal virtues of film If this technological development is taken to its natural conclusion we will see essentially a reproduction of the stage a three dimensional production with sound smell color and essentially they will replicate reality However the artistic tendency is to originate not merely to copy The idea of the complete film sound 3D visuals odors etc is the age old attraction of creating a reality for the complete illusion This need not destroy art in film however if silent and black and white films are allowed to exist side by side with these modern innovations However even if they existed alongside of silent film silent film would never be able to compete as a means of copying nature Therefore this complete film will supplant all of them Maya Deren The Creative Use of Reality The photographic medium is nearly transparent and inherently flexible Hans Richter and others originated an art form called the llanimated paintingquot which is an experimental art form which investigates motion in time of graphically animated abstract art However this like the silent films are not the beall and endall of the medium of film but rather two expressions of it The term quotimagequot is a derivative of quotimitationquot and film images are imitations of reality But it refers to a type of mental activity The objectivity of the camera in faithfully reproducing external reality gives the camera a sort of authority not present within painting or other forms of art The documentary is based on this authority It is this very authority that lends film to such artistic endeavors You may take for example the authority of the images that you are familiar with a city a landscape and whatnot which you accept as being accurately reproduced Within this reproduced reality you may then place a scripted scene and the faithfulness with which the camera has reproduced the backdrop lends authority to the fiction presented within the given context Film is both detached and intimate it does not care if you believe or not and this detachment can lead to a greater intimacy and immediacy It may be hard to take a monster in the theatre seriously but in film you will easily accept the monster as there since you have already been induced into a suspension of disbelief by the detachment of the camera Essentially the film operates as a sort of quotcontrolled accident where you appear to have snuck in and as in a documentary caught an unraveling scene of reality on tape the backdrop you know is natural and normal but the accident of catching the characters in their play lends verisimilitude to the entire procedure A couple kissing beneath a tree is accepted because of the reality of the tree and the landscape that surrounds them for example Unlike in painting where you recognize an abstract shape or color and associate it with an image in film the process is reversed the abstraction ofan idea produces an archetypal image Modern playwrights have invaded film and imposed a narrative structure onto it so that film has now become a means of narrative storytelling but it could be used in many other ways as well This has deprived the motion picture art of its creative tendencies Photography can be used in many ways to tell stories and to induce psychological interpretations of what is shown on film For example using slow motion in film tends to imply a sort of time microscope Slow motion is not merely speed however in life we associate a certain tempo with various activities which cannot be separated from the activity A man cannot hit a baseball in slow motion for example Similarly backwards motion implies the undoing of time Film has 39 39 39 39 and signs that allow the viewer to interpret what is occurring on the screen A negative photograph implies a reversal of values and so on Where does the filmmaker undertake the great creative activity then It is in the editing and putting together of these various pieces of film that gives rise to the sequential relationship that gives a new meaning to the objects according to their function The creative action then takes place in the time dimension Film is qualitatively different from what came before it Film must be explored and not have its legs cut off before it grows into a mature art form by the imposition of the theatrical metaphors onto the fledgling art form Jean Baudrillard The Precession of Simulacra A simulacra is a fake literally a lllikeness a copy of an original Originally meant to refer to a sculpture of a god it came to mean an inferior copy You can make a copy of someone or something and this copy can become more real to you than the real thing in other words quothyperrealquot the abstraction the use of thoughts to create a reality need not refer to anything real Reality has been replaced with symbols of various kinds and our experience as humans is a simulation of reality Think of how for example the media represents the quotnewsquot this news need not refer to any reality at all but is used to replace reality it provides a set of symbols and codes that people are trained to react to even though they may bear no resemblance to any reality llout there There is no longer any meaning in things llout there because these symbols are so mutable and flexible that any essential meaning is lost This changing set of meanings is referred to as the llPrecession of Simulacra The process of creating simulacra occurs in a fourfold series of steps 1 the appearance is a faithful copy of an original 2 the copy is denatured perverted it hints at a real reality beyond the corrupt sign 3 the absence of a profound reality where the simulacra appears to be a faithful copy but with no original symbols have become a way of referring to a reality which no longer exists 4 pure simulation here there is no relation to any reality at all where a consumer s life is so artificial that you react to the symbol completely without any reference to any external reality To use an example in the first Gulf War the image of war preceded the real war no war was declared as such by any leaders but the people were accustomed first to the idea of war and as society was convinced that it was coming the war appeared Andrew Sarris Notes on the Auteur Theory The Auteur theory of cinema says that it is the director which gives a film its distinctive quality The first premise of the theory is that the competence of the film s director is a critical criterion of value The second criteria is the distinguishable personality of the director The director needs to exhibit a certain continuity in style over a number of films American directors tend to stand out here because so many of their films are commissioned and need to depend on the director s personality rather than the merits of the literary material The third criteria has to do with internal meaning it is extrapolated from the tension between a director s personality and his material It is the vision of the world that a director projects and his attitude toward life as he embeds this philosophy within his films This could be the rhythm of a film the choice of mise en scene etc The three premises of the auteur theory may be visualized as three concentric circles the outer as technigue the middle as personal style and the inner as interior meaning The corresponding roles of the director would be technician stylist and auteur The auteur theory rests on the entire corpus of a director s output rather than single masterpieces although it is expected that a great director will make great films Maya Deren The Face ofthe Unconscious Deren s Meshes in interesting because on the face of it it seems to be the capturing of a dream in all of its ramifications on film In your standard Hollywood cinema the cinematographer is largely noticeable by his or her invisible style that is to say given certain conventions accepted by the audience the cinematographer is designed to disappear from the scene altogether In Deren s cinema much like in UFA s Weimar expressionistic cinema the photography is used to convey psychological states The camera seems to react to the protagonist s state of mind and physical actions as though it is alive In Der Golem we see buildings that seem to writhe and sway as though the background is alive another character in the play in a manner that Deren seems to emulate We see certain key symbols repeated over and over as motifs similar to Jung s notions of the archetypes in dreams these motifs are signs which may or may not have an explicit meaning but which nevertheless hold an emotional quotsignificancequot for whatever reason To interpret the dream is largely to interpret the significance of these symbols Yet a symbol may have many different layers of meaning and can be interpreted in a number of different ways Was the phone off of the hook meant to represent the sleeping state cut off from all others in a private world of dreams Was it meant to say that she was without aid or help in her nightmare scenario Was it a symbol of lack of communication or a hint that communication was possible if effort was put forth Ultimately it is not necessary to choose or settle upon ne interpretation as the multiple levels of understanding give a greater depth to the film itself and the multifaceted personality experiencing the dream We are left with a number of conundrums to puzzle over as well The protagonist begins to dream then wakes up does she wake up in the dream Her thoughts of suicide disturb her as one would well imagine yet she emerges from the dream only to find that the dream has altered her everyday reality Her waking self seems to be her dreaming self We are aware of the seemingly arbitrary division between waking and sleeping yet are left to ponder the nature of reality While we need not take the happenings literally we know that her dreaming selfaffects her walking reality and that her issues about her Self and her life do not end when sleep begins Rather the dream may simply be a time of even more intensive problem solving that than which occurs when we are awake Can we alter our dreams to affect our waking self No answer is given but the possibilities hunted at are legion The play of lights is important as is camera angles Shadow is not merely a lack of light nor is a repetitive act merely to be taken literally Repetition occurs a number of times in the film and is significant as are the shadows Could the woman s shadow be Jung s Shadow concept Or it is repressed sexuality as Freud would have us believe Can it be that she feels stalked by something in her dream something that she refuses to face in her everyday life What we have is an attempted model of the mind in cinema Other popular films such as Being John Malkovich have attempted to use such ideas with varying degrees of success A kind of rough mirroring takes place as we encounter and partially create the reality that we exist in Our ideas about reality affect our percepts to an unknown degree and we perceive at least in part what we place in the external world with our concepts Deren s film explores an interior landscape that we know often too little about and encourages us to explore further in terms that a narrative would be unable to Film as Art The class will be switching gears before we addressed philosophical topics within films as well as film techniques Now however we will be focusing on the philosophy offilm itself philosophical approaches to filmmaking Semiology We will omit the semiological readings as students in the past have found these to be too difficult however Gianetti uses the semiological approach throughout his book This essentially regards film as a sort of code and a successful interpretation of the film would involve reading these codes or signs and elucidating their meanings For example in Gianetti we have low angles and high angles that are used to convey degrees of r 39 g r or r in a similar vein color movement certain visual symbols sounds or musical motifs and so forth essentially signs of any sort can be used to represent a mood a theme or something that is in need of interpretation In everyday life we use both graphic and verbal signs think of the bathroom sign for instance it will normally have a graphic of a human figure with either trousers or a frock as a symbol for male or female then there will be the verbal sign the literal written word quotMenquot or quotWomenquot written usually above the sign typically in the center of the door but somewhat above eye level Art vs Entertainment In the 1930 s when both film and photography began coming into their own as art forms they had to be defended as art forms The prevailing attitude was that since there was a mechanical device the camera that did the recording of reality verbatim what was there left for the individual artist to do Then as now there was considerable overlap between film as art and film as entertainment so much so that the two modalities tended to fuse to a degree Why should be study experimentalfilm The basic idea is that since film is a popular medium it can be used for entertainment yet there are artistic aspects to most films so where does the art end or begin and where does the entertainment begin Many films fall in a continuum between the two poles For example we saw The Conformist which was made for both popular entertainment and art with there being a somewhat more emphasis on the art than on the entertainment A Streetcar Named Desire was in a similar vein with somewhat more emphasis given to the entertainment value than on the art although there was obviously artistic merit in the film However for the time we will consider experimental films to highlight the art aspect of film viewing and to minimize the entertainment aspect Art films in general are not intended for mass distribution As Youngblood stated Entertainment films are designed to m audience expectations art films are designed to challenge audience expectations Hollywood has become the prototypical symbol for Entertainment film it produces films designed to meet audience expectations Bazin said that Hollywood changed the model of art Hollywood made some very good movies despite the fact that the writers stars directors and other film people were all on staff A film may have been written by ten different people working in various parts of the script and with a revolving number ofactors How in such a medium can a director impart an individual stamp to a movie Bazin wondered how this assembly line form of moviemaking worked He thought that the quotgenius is in the system the term for this form of cinema is called Vertical Integration The studios controlled the making and the distribution of movies as well not allowing the quotminorsquot small studios to get any films shown at all The five quotmajorsquot effectively locked out all of the minor studios during the 1930s the quotGolden Age of American Cinema The system was outlawed as a monopoly in 1942 Males were prominent in films during the studio system primarily because they were the ones with the money and thus the studios catered to them Now it is largely kids who control the film industry Kids are stupid and thus they watch the same movies over and over again this has caused the entire film industry to change F 39 Film Art As A Creation of Freedom In the 1920s in Europe there was no studio system attempts were made to construct such systems but they never caught on and the 1920s were prior to the Golden Age of Hollywood Film Around this time Avant Garde art was in vogue Around 1911 art of all forms had become avantgarde impressionism in painting was changing the way that people thought about art and the avantgarde movement was often linked to revolutionary movements and film was thought to be the revolutionary art formquot the basic idea was not to reproduce reality but to expand the degree of freedom that was available to filmmakers Traditionally the notion of art was such that it was synonymous with craft doing something according to a set plan not an exercise in individual creativity The avantgarde movement was in complete opposition to this idea such that originality creativity and freedom were the hallmarks of the art form Art was seen as challenge Originality was seen as a means to freedom in avantgarde film It was destructive in the sense that it sought to tear down currently accepted norms and to produce new ideas about what film could be Art was seen as a creation of freedom 1 You needed freedom to create the art and 2 Art creates freedom thus allowing for the creation of more freedom This notion is in contrast to Sartre s ideas of freedom as it attaches freedom to cultural and collective freedom rather to individual freedom Thus revolutionary movements like Marxism were often tied to the avantgarde cinema The basic idea was that man needed freedom because man Egins as an animal but needs create freedom and continue to create it to remain in his current state This points to a political purpose Sartre viewed freedom as a means to act freedom without actions is not freedom But in avantgarde cinema freedom was viewed as a means of creating more freedom it was a means of breaking free from traditional forumulaic structures and free of the confines of the past Bertolucci was concerned that his film was merely adding images to the shadows on the wall of Plato s cave The mise en scene could be viewed as shadows on Plato s wall in film unlike in other arts it is easy to confuse reality with the projections of the film Experimental film is a means of going beyond what already exists and is such is a film for other filmmakers to allow them to break free of the traditional modes of filmmaking and expand the horizons of what it is possible for a film to be The Films 1 Rhythmus 21 Hans Richter began as a painter 1921 htt www outubecom watchvH7 hN43nf 0 The idea behind this short film seems to be an exploration of rhythm in a visual medium it seems to do this semisuccessfully but the real thing that I noticed about this short was the illusion of depth As the sizes of the geometrical shapes increase and decrease in size it is hard not to feel that they are moving towards or away from the viewer creating the illusion of depth so to me it seemed more like a study of simulated depth in threedimensions although the rhythmic pulsing of the shapes was successful enough in what Richter was attempting to create 2 Return of Reason Man Ray 1923 htt www outubecom watchvdNYh cV30E The Return of Reason as art I would say was more successful while Rhythmus 21 was quotobviouslyquot art the fact that there was nothing more than geometric shapes rectangles of varying sizes removed some of the uncertainty in what might be coming next The Return of Reason challenges the viewer more since you see what are more or less everyday objects in a sort of novel manner When the woman s breasts are shown for example you are not immediately aware of what you are seeing because of the contourlinelooking shadows on her torso The pulsing blobs at the very beginning of the film seem to cause you to expect something different and seem to evoke a feeling of expectation as your mind seeks to find a pattern in the chaos Then the rotating shadow mass appears and the first thing that I thought was quotUFOquot the nails displaced this idea only to have it return when the fairground rides were being introduced later filmed in the nighttime to make it look more disorienting We see the outlines and some movement taken with what seems to be a handheld camera which further gives the film the idea of dynamism motion and expectancy a sort of dramatic tension even without the aid of narrative The mind seeing objects at random seeks a context and tries to provide one as the images are shuttling past I have heard that epileptics should not be put in a situation where they can see bright or flashing lights I can kind of see why since the film almost seems to put even a nonepileptic individual into an altered state of consciousness The attempt to quotplacequot things rapidly in the real world is of primary importance here and to see the constantly shifting symbols in need of placement keeps the mind active even as the flickering seems to lull you into a sort of hypnotic trance of sorts These images create a mood of foreboding they seem like they could easily be used as a background in a movie intro e7en used something similar to set a mood for the upcoming horror that ensued 3 Anemic Cinema Marcel Duchamp 1926 htt www outubecom watchvXmNTf8kXCc In this film it was hard not to expect the theme song from The Twilight Zone to start echoing the spirals seem to attempt to lull you into a trance at once I remember hearing of a similar device used to induce trances The spirals at first move clockwise followed by a counterclockwise rotation of the worddisc forcing you to attempt to read the words flowing in a seemingly unnatural direction Unlike the previous film however there seems to be a relief from the chaos the spirals seem somehow calming and nonthreatening possibly for lack of sharp edges that were often in Ray s short The movements were slower and more constant as well yet the alternate moving in clockwise and counterclockwise fashion kept an active principle of discord going it also felt like it was speaking of balance Honestly Hegel s notion came to me clockwise motion thesis counterclockwise motion antithesis followed possibly by a mental synthesis on the part of the viewer I am not sure if the verbal and visual images activate different parts of the brain requiring more neurological connections to me made than with images alone but it seemed to be trying to get you to think in two different modalities thus requiring a cerebral synthesis that was put into the film by the viewer rather than one that was present in the film itself making the viewer an essential artist in the film s creative process 4 Ballet Mecanigue Fernand Leger 1924 htt www outubecom watchvl bboH9 le The Ballet Mecanique seemed to illustrate its purpose quite well On the face of it it was a study in mechanization various gears and so forth in a repetitive seemingly inexorable in nature balanced out by the smile ofa young woman or was it a man in drag The smile although human was repetitive and thus to a degree mechanistic as well and the pointed shape of the lipstick seemed to give a dagger s edge to the smile lessening the natural beauty of a human being and demoting it slightly to the role of a cog yet the smile and expression on the eyes were still there so the organic feeling of humanity was not forgotten even as we return back to the gears and pistons Actually I have seen these techniques used before to great effect in a movie Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang the mechanized visuals gave a feeling of cold heartless machines as opposed to the soft organic humanity of the people oppressed by them It made me wonder if the smiling woman was a robot like Maria or if she was a controller laughing at us or not The film as quotpurequot art was lacking possibly because I already had a context in mind when saw the images The Dead The Dead is a short film that consists entirely of a very rapid montage of scenes from some cemeteries and other seemineg random shots scattered throughout the film A goodly portion of it seems to be shot with negative film giving it a somewhat eerie otherworldly aspect People are present here as are scenes from nature but they are fleeting Maybe the notion here is that life itself is fleeting and all who are captured on this film are now dead or will eventually be dead a statement that is paradoxical in itself for having appeared in a film period makes them seem somewhat immortal in a sense There is a good use of dark and light possibly representing the poles of life and death the black shots tending to cause you to look for meaning and continuance with the light ones blazing forth in confusion keeping you guessing at to what is coming next as if you are riding on a rollercoaster I recall some similar techniques being used to frighten the viewers in The Blair Witch Project the idea I think is to confuse and alarm the viewer then allow them or their subconscious mind to take over and place meaning in lowkey or blank shots The mind seeks content to behold and lacking that attempts to fill any void any unknown with something anything Thus is fundamentally how we relate to death we seek meaning in the void we project our fears and hopes onto it trying to allay our anxiety and give meaning to our lives Yet in the film as soon as we see a blank shot we are thrust back into life in a seemingly never ending spiral that Gautama would have found quite unsettling The camera is shaky apparently handheld here seeming to reinforce the impermanence of the journey we never settle anywhere It is as though the cinematographer sees life as a continual confusing journey full of stress and uncertainty yet no sooner do we hope for rest before it continues anon It was almost like viewing a film whilst riding on a merrygoround
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