Facticity

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

William Shakespeare

A good look at the world, past, present or future shows how not only diverse we are as societies, cultures and groups but, how unique we are as individuals and how we respond to the world around us as our reality is constructed.

According to Jean Paul Sartre, one is thrown into the world as being put in a particular ethnicity, religion, nationality, social economic system and etc. Without any say in the matter, this he says is our facticity. It can be said to be the individual part, we are all born with, the quality or state of being who we are.

Facticity as a concept defined in his book “Being and Nothingness” he states, “one cannot choose their facticity, but can choose how to relate to the world around them.

This freedom is part of the human condition. We define our existence in life by determining our purpose in life. We make life our particular project and things have value in the firm of the project we, ourselves create.”

To say that one is only one’s past would be to ignore a significant and specific part of one’s reality (the present and the future), while saying that one’s past is only what one was, would entirely disassociate it from oneself .

A denial of one’s own concrete, perceived past and a realization to do something with one’s present and future constitutes an inauthentic lifestyle, one of smoke and mirror and the same goes for all other kinds of ones facticity.

Facticity also puts across the point that,one must not apologize for what they didn’t choose, can’t change in view of their facticity and others shouldn’t use facticity as a tool of oppression, hence issues like slavery, racism are truly inhumane and primitive.

In his book, Sartre gives an example of a man in prison, he says a prisoner has a choice. He can try to escape or  change his life according to the situation or commit suicide.

The fact that his locked up doesn’t restrict his freedom, rather his choice to believe, given his situation that he or she is Unfree, because the prisoner’s goals reside outside the prison ,its not the physical bars that torment him but, his unwillingness to meet his current goal with his current situation.

Freedom only truly exists in the context of one’s own project, your own ends and understanding of the world. “In fact I am nothing but a project of myself beyond a determined situation, and this project pre-outlines me in term of the concrete situation as in addition it illumines the situation in terms of my choice”, You are really what you feed yourself, rather than what you eat.

Each person is their own project, has their own situation. If one has more resources than another, that doesn’t make one more free. Both are free to create and construct their ends as such there is no superior or inferior life situation as there is no absolute to say who has the best meaning in life.

As such, there is no way to determine who has the most objective life, as it goes into the age old game of semantics. We are all radically free to create meaning and that’s all that matters to Sartre.

A central influence of facticity is existentialism, which purports that existence precedes essence, which means that the most important consideration for individuals is that they are individuals, sentient, conscious beings, rather than what labels, roles, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived box you want to put anyone in. One is their facticity but isn’t solely their facticity.

The actual life of the individuals is what constitutes what could be called their “true essence” instead of there being an arbitrarily popular label. Thus, human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life.

The notion that “bad things don’t happen to good people”; there is no such thing as a good person or a bad person; shit happens, and it may just as well happen to a “good” person as to a “bad” person.

A person can choose to act in a different way as respect to who they are and their facticity. Here we see that since humans can choose to be either cruel or good, they are, in fact, neither of these things essentially.

The idea of facticity gives us a healthy perspective of who we are, helps us understand and appreciate ourselves and others. Facticity shows us that as much as we don’t have the power to do everything or change everything, we do have the power to choice what influences, builds, hurts us and others, and how we related to the world and other people in it.

Embracing one’s facticity means taking pride in ourselves, being confidence in enough to accept the “beautiful mess” we all are. Accepting one’s lot and building the courage to face one’s reality and project.

Facticity as such it makes us have an unbiased and unprejudiced mindset that are directed to people not of our own and helps us understanding our past as it aids us to value and respect self and aids us to makes the best out of what the future and present throws at us.

“Anatomy is destiny.”

Sigmund Freud.

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