Sartre - Hell is Other People

Reply Fri 8 Jan, 2016 08:34 am
In his play No Exit, Sartre contends that hell is other people. He says this because we perceive that someone is always watching, and that the Look or the Gaze is always upon us. In Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, he describes a situation where someone is peeping through a keyhole, watching someone else. The person watching feels no guilt for doing this at this point, and is absorbed in their observation, when they hear a floorboard creak behind them. Instantly, the thought rushes into their head that someone is watching them, and instead of perceiving the world subjectively, they perceive themselves as someone else would observe them, and feel guilty. The interesting thing about this to me is that no one actually needs to be present to cause this feeling. The floorboard could have creaked behind them without anyone there, and the moment the person hears it creak they would feel ashamed and embarrassed. Similarly, there could be a person there watching them that they don’t know is there, and they would continue peeping through the keyhole. This leads me to believe that hell isn’t other people at all, but it’s created in ourselves through how we would perceive someone else doing whatever we are doing, if that makes sense. The only reason that the Look has any effect on us is because of how we judge and treat others when they make mistakes or do something we think is wrong. This is also why I think that in order to be in True Faith, one must stop judging others and condescending when they mistakes, or he/she will perceive that others are judging and condescending us when we make a mistake, preventing us from achieving True Faith. I don’t know if these ideas are really that new or new at all, but hopefully it stimulates some conversation in the subject.
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Fil Albuquerque
Reply Fri 8 Jan, 2016 11:58 am
@AP Assignment,
Hell is great, people just need a better "digestive system"...
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Reply Fri 8 Jan, 2016 09:00 pm
@AP Assignment,
Maybe rather then hell being other people, hell is an exaggerated sensitivity to the opinions of others that makes us behave unauthentically (within Sartre's framework, that is).
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Reply Fri 8 Jan, 2016 09:35 pm
I admit not ever reading him.

I might or might not have agreed on anything.
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Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2016 06:57 pm
@AP Assignment,
Interesting take on this statement. I strongly agree with what you said but at the same time, I also believe that hell is other people. I think my reasoning for believing this is society. We live in a society that judges every single thing about a person. How can someone be confident when society is constantly telling them they are worthless and ugly? They perceive hell as other people because society is creating laws and casting judgement on them. They are told to stand out, yet when they do they are criticized for being different. The impact of others in society is what causing this embarrassed feeling in people. They fall and automatically assume that everyone around them will judge their actions. I do believe hell is other people just because of how society molds people to think and act.
Fil Albuquerque
Reply Tue 19 Jan, 2016 10:01 am
"Group pressure" exists for a reason...it didn't came out of thin air for no good purpose. Namely it ensures energy effiency in social tasking that increases productivity. Equally there must be colaterals but it seems true that if it endures as a natural norm then its because it pays...all this transcends individual subjective interests and personal considerations about the meaning of our own life and freedom of action. Those delusions serve another purpose but are in a different league with much less importance in the scale of things. Social pressure will always transcend individual non essential "wants" ! If it didn't society wouldn't naturally exist, period.
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Reply Thu 30 Jun, 2016 04:17 pm
I do believe hell is other people just because of how society molds people to think and act.
As one who enjoys solitude very much I was once tempted to agree. Eventually I came to see that some solitude is good but total solitude is hell. We are too much in God's image to live that way.
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