We have to analyse the fundamental tenets of both Existence and Identity and evaluate them in the context of a genuine human life worth having as human beings.
The superiority of 'passionless' and 'self-centred' salvation seeking Buddha Idea not in Sartrean resolutions of common sense but in the ceaseless effort to get rid of the existential shocks as well as to guide the millions of the battling multitude in order to bear and to become enlightened. An attempt to prepare oneself in order to fear the shocks of miseries is valuable than simply recording the shocks with despair and monotony.
Definitions, classification and theories based on reason disclose useless passion and superfluous effort. At the worst they may disclose simply the absurdity of existence confronting the brute reality in the life} Though there is no reason to exist under the tiresome and crushing burden of despair and nothingness. It is impossible not to be exist.
The world is radically contingent, we cannot account for existence rationally. Sartre's approach to the depth of human existence is ridden with anxiety and despair, yet in his atheism and consequent materialism, he is less dogmatic. His phenomenological probe with the depth of human situations leads him to a bitter end. Human identity has sense and significance only in the context of involvements and involvements appeal to some valuation dynamics. So motive structuring the concept of identity is illogical.
Destiny of man is placed within himself. Man is no other than a series of undertakings that he is the slim, the organisations, the set of relations they all constitute these undertaking. But to us it seems that negative structuring of self necessitates a prior commitment to a valuational definition.
Man. 'can count' only up to what is in his 'power' and beyond that he can 'count' upon nothing.
This is a similar anxiety and admission of facts in Buddhism too but the way of approach is quite different and optimistic.
In the effective act of self knowledge lies the perfective act of consciousness, so the self conscious ego rises out of an 'impersonal substratum' where the reflection has not yet separated the consciousness of something into 'I' and an 'object'. We see some metaphysical leanings like that of F.H. Bradley's immediacy and existence. However Sartre is not serious about it. But it has a claim on us.
In my surroundings, I create situations freely and so I am responsible for it. I do not constitute the world but its meanings and existence for me. The essential facts which I know concerning my own body, come from the way in which others see it. Sartre's confusion of his ontological leanings and axiological admissions are evident.
However such admissions require choice and value dynamics above the situations. Perhaps existentialists are not conscious of it.
'Man is in deep 'anguish' i.e., in total and very deep responsibility. Man's forlornness implies that we ourselves choose our being. Forlornness and anguish go together as part of our actions. So existentialism establishes the human realm of our action. Existentialism establishes the human realm as an ensemble of values distinct from the material realm. A thinker found the distinct but interpreting each other in a human life worth having as human beings, values distinct from the material realm, are quite relevant For existentialist here is no universal essence in man except the 'necessity' for all to exist in this world to be at work. To be mortal and to be among people. Sense of 'togetherness' and the fact of 'we feeling' are derivatives. They stand for an 'escape' from responsibility. Like Sartre, Buddhism does not radically affirm or deny except to explain the situation. Sartre does not explain but simply records with his presumptions. Every 'interpersonal relationship' cannot eliminate estrangement and isolation of the subject. Buddhism has a clue to review this relationship but on a different dimension of discipline and experience. However man has to find out clue for a genuine, significant and knowable freedom.
The free man is always dynamic and creative. Non- free person is trying in bad faith to become something fixed by adopting. fixed principles, so they fall into 'mythical utopianism' while trying to become 'what they are not'. Man can transcend factuality in absolute freedom, man is 'always in the making'. So any cult of making as final is absurd. Existentialism is an attempt to save the whole being of man against its appropriation by the social, cultural and political milieu. Man can fulfil himself as man not in turning towards his own self but in seeking outside of himself as good which is just this liberation. Buddhism would find such a search fruitless and meaningless. Instead of our secondary movements by burning and feeling about existing suffering, it is better to take off in defence endeavours moved to get rid off it.
Freedom is interminable except by death. Sartre seems to be getting constant intimations of 'absolute freedom' . but only in a passionate reaction. Buddhism searches into a passionless depth of experience where death can never terminate freedom. To us it seems that persons are the salt of the earth. In Existentialism, man is dividing himself and outside he is not one but disparate in himself and society.
Sartre says that 'I am responsible for the whole meaning with which I live. My world-view out of my choosing becomes arbitrary and precarious'. Buddhism has nothing to comment here except holding man responsible squarely for what he is. However human identity is solely responsible for what it is and for what it becomes. Freedom has to express itself both by itself and from its various affiliations.
Sartre feels passionately that frustration is caused to Pour-soi, by other existents, by their looking at me, by making me their object, by their estimating me and by their taking away my freedom and autonomy. So the relation of self with others ends in frustration. The absurdity of existing exists where principles and actions fail. We feel that if absurdity of existence emerges from self and manufactured feeling, it will be not out of place to admit several affairs.
I am surrounded by things and human meaning which are unrealisable, because they have been passed, built and estimated without any reference to my projects, choice, decision and freedom. As I cannot ignore these meanings they try to depersonalise me and threaten the dignity and autonomy of my freedom. J. P. Sartre keeps analysing various causes of man's loneliness and frustration. Perhaps Sartre is referring to the dehumanising phase of the modem technological civilization which was in offing during his time. Heidegger finds that human identity is basically confined to a finitude, an unauthentic being there despite an existential elucidations. Man seems to be at bottomless abyss and colours it as nothingness. Man has to rise to the depth of genuine existence. But how, only Buddha is a genuine explanation for this situation.
Human freedom is linked with the inescapable anxiety. Man has to face the consequences of his own motives and feelings. Man has to face the predicament of his situations boldly. Buddha does not talk to escape but to face the consequences of absurdity. The poetic and weary remains of Heidegger move on the fusing of logical references which may be compared to Buddha's nirvanist experience. Factuality in absolute freedom is the source of his Uniqueness and freedom. Sartre would try to appropriate the objective uncertainty in passionate inwardness of the human subjectivity. Though destiny of man is placed within himself, man paradoxically is condemned and is placed within himself to fall back into nothingness and absurdity. Buddhism will rise to the occasion in order to conquer the discords and confusions in a qualitatively different dimensions of existence and sought to attain a different level of experience.
Death remains a negative and absurd fact. There is terror of death without any prospect of deliverance. "Existence" means being in the presence of death. Amidst the dread of senselessness and annihilation nothing remains any more of an ontology or religion; everything speaks only of the nothingness.
Despair as man's anxiety and the state of despondency is inescapable. Despite the sense of freedom at peril, doom of nothingness, forlornness and anguish, there is essentially no need to retreat or to brood over the affairs. However, Sartre's view of freedom eschews dramatic appeal due to the fact that finally it never comes up against any restriction. Moreover, his wide range talk about responsibility will be simply meaningless unless he presupposes some sanctions, norm or ideal. Presupposition of a norm and imposition of sanction go together. Logic of Existentialism is to be stretched further ahead and Buddhism will be significant.
An inexplicable riddle seems to haunt the Sartrean view of responsibility that the man has to acknowledge that he really is in freedom and responsibility. This way man will be working in good faith - one way. For Sartre man is seriously responsible for what he is, the other way he feels depersonalised due to being surrounded by the others - unrealisables. The development of his philosophy carries many contradictory assertions. Buddhism would endorse that responsibility and freedom must go together. We have to stretch this logic further and if we apply the Buddhistic four dimensional logic redeeming solution may come out as middle path.
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