Bad Faith is that which you can refer to as self deception, this strange phenomenon of consciousness is a process which acts to intentionally deceive oneself from knowing the truth by believing such truth as not the truth, for example: lets say a woman finds out that her husband starts cheating on her, even though she knows it to be true she still doesn’t want to believe it, therefore, she starts telling stories to herself about how things are not the way they are in reality.
The reason why this is an interesting phenomenon is by looking at the typical structure of how deception works, in a typical dialogue of when lying // deception occurs we always have the deceiver and the deceived dichotomy.
The deceiver knows the truth that one is lying about, while the deceived doesn’t know the truth.
But, In the process of bad faith we get the two different poles or positions within ones own mind or consciousness at the same time, where one part of us is the deceiver who lies about the truth, but is also the deceived who accepts the lie as truth, and this is a very strange complex because it states that one and the same person knows the truth and doesn’t know the truth, this is a pure example of living within contradiction.
So with this said let us take a modern example of bad faith:
Lets say we have a man, his main source of worldly information is TV news channels and the newspaper, while in this state of receptive conformity, he is told that his country will be going into a 2nd lockdown, with this being the case, he completely agrees with the governments decision and does not doubt it, on the other hand, he knows what the country has gone through and its people, he see’s that the first lockdown caused many to loose their jobs, that the economy has been falling apart even since the first and that the cities have become ghost towns where many of the big stores are rapidly closing down.
His friends give him information about a book called COVID:19 The Great Reset written by a man called Klaus Schwab who is the founder of the World Economic Forum, his friends say to him: Look look! This book actually proposes a new historical separation between “the pre-pandemic era” and “the post-pandemic world”
His friend in hurried succession reads him this paragraph, saying:
“Radical changes of such consequence are coming that some pundits have referred to a ‘before coronavirus’ (BC) and ‘after coronavirus’ (AC) era. We will continue to be surprised by both the rapidity and unexpected nature of these changes – as they conflate with each other, they will provoke second-, third-, fourth- and more-order consequences, cascading effects and unforeseen outcomes. In so doing, they will shape a ‘new normal’ radically different from the one we will be progressively leaving behind. Many of our beliefs and assumptions about what the world could or should look like will be shattered in the process.”
Not only that but his friends state that European countries are looking into bringing in UBI (universal basic income), that many of the pandemic rules are contradictory, that countries are borrowing money because they are in so much debt, his friends with worried complexion say: “maybe this is all an agenda! The pandemic is real to a certain extent but the agenda of The Great Reset by the WEF is using this pandemic to forward an economic collapse so that they can bring in a new system which is not democratically chosen! What do you think?”
The man thinks, pauses, his mind is all over the place, he doesn’t know what to think but see’s that a lot of what his friends said is true with the given information, but, out of security and mental comfort he says: “You are all talking rubbish! The mainstream news would never lie about something like this!”
He shuts down the conversation instantly, and his friends leave the house in disappointment to sadly come to realise that his mindset is nothing but narrow, short tempered and conformist, even when he at least empirically knows the truth of what has become of our society…
In conclusion, this would be a modern example of Bad Faith, the man at least knows the truth about what has become of society, that this truth should at least make him sceptical about what is going on… but it doesn’t, he deceives himself, his own mind and consciousness.
Sartre claims that by acting in bad faith you deny your own freedom by using freedom, the man knows himself to be free but actively chooses not to acknowledge this truth just like how the man knows what is going on in society but deceives himself of this truth, the man denies his own freedom-of-thought by confining himself within the paradigm of conformist message, through TV and Newspaper, and does not allow himself to reply upon himself to do the research as his friends have. He has lost the ability to act freely just like how he has lost the ability to be open minded.
Sartre’s message through the psychological, philosophical idea of Bad Faith is this: you are free, and more free then you think. Many a time when people go through the process living life in bad faith they blame others or what they are doing for being the reason for their dissatisfaction in life, but truly, the reason is only themselves and their lack in acknowledging their freedom, as Sartre state: “existence precedes essence”
So, for the man to escape the bad faith he lives, it would be for him to explore outside the realm of conformity and to become a non-conformist, to stop deceiving himself of the empirical truth and to use it as a catalyst, as deep down, he knows the truth of his freedom.