Forced to be Free, Condemned to be Free

Several philosophers have recognized the fact that Man is “forced to be free” or “condemned to be free” without asking just where this “forcing”, this “condemnation” comes from. We, for our part, point here to the >Perpetration of Existence committed by the parents, without which no one would be “condemned to be free” in this way.


Hartmann, Nicolai (1882–1950)

“The freedom of a human being does not consist in whether he wishes to act or not in a given situation; because omitting to act is also a form of action and may, if it is a matter of an omission not in accordance with what was right, redound upon the omitting individual as guilt. Rather, the individual is always forced to act. (…) He is forced to take a free decision. Or, to express the same notion in inverse terms: in being forced to take a decision he is free.” (Zur Grundlegung der Ontologie,)


Sartre (1905–1980)

In a “fading out” – decidedly reprehensible from a philosophical point of view – of all parental responsibility Sartre proposes the formulation that “Man, condemned to be free, bears the weight of the whole world on his shoulders: he is responsible, as a way of being, both for the world and for himself.” (Being and Nothingness) There never occurs either to Hartmann or to Sartre the idea of giving a critical turn to this notion they present of a “condemnation to freedom” and adopting an anthropofugal perspective.

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