“…man first of all exists…and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing…until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself…”– Sartre
In Sartre’s existentialism, he had proposed that “Production precedes existence” and “Existence precedes essence”. Human is “self made” which one determines what it should be. This means that human’s existence is made of the product of one’s free choices that shapes its life.
Sartre also talked about anguish and despair in existentialism.
It is said that human are forced to choose what they should become and are responsible for their own self, “responsible for his cowardice”, “responsible for his passion”. That’s because there’s many possibility opened to human. Human have to create themselves. However, there’s no proof that any of the choices is right. Human are too “free” to choose how they should create themselves. Sartre described this situation as “the man himself interprets the sign as he chooses … every man, without any support or help whatever, is condemned at every instant to invent man.” This leads to human’s anguish.
Human are also in despair, which they feel hopeless, according to Sartre. Human are under the state of “abandonment” which they can only figure out things from probabilities. They also have to “invent” meaning and value to their lives. More than this, human have to choose/do actions without knowing what the results would be. Human could only figure out things from probabilities. It can’t be sure what would be better or worse. Even when thing has come to a result, there’s no authority to judge it as right or wrong. This makes human to feel hopeless to live a life that it could be confusing. For example, we never know which person to be our loved is the best, what job is the most suitable for us, what is the better way to do when you are deciding the live or death of a person…etc. We may say what is happening is better or worse than what other choices that could have been chosen when things come to an end, but sometimes we can’t be sure. Lacking of directions, human are in despair.
Somehow, you can see that human needs sense of security, which is a kind of humanity. This is obvious and can be shown in our daily life, such as our safety needs, property ownerships and our need in relationships. Why we need security could be brought back to how human lives in nature. It’s the fact that we are physically weaker than beasts and we need friends and shelters to protect ourselves. We also need partners to reproduce offsprings to ensure the continuity of our own species. Now, in this modern era, it is less physically demanding. We raise our sense of security with quality more than quantity. This brings to monogamy in our marriage in this modern era. We tend to have monogamy. We would make vows and sign contracts to promise and ensure that once we are married to our own partner, we would be loyal to each other. This shows how we gain security in relationship. Loyalty and trust are the keys. By counting on trust of one another, we feel more secure. Maybe this is one of the ways for human to keep themselves alive or feel better in “anguish” and “despair”, for the sake of species continuity. ( at least that’s what I know for now)