December 31: the enemy of the phenomenological

Much of the writing of the so-called Existentialists, people like Sartre, Camus and De Beauvoir, is about trying to define or illustrate an authentic freedom rather than the self-deceiving freedoms we mostly enjoy, the mauvaise foi. These self-deceiving freedoms are the ideological lies that buttress our ego (the environmental; the social equality lies) and the habitual quotidian acts of mauvaise foi, as run through the mobile phone. the social networks, much screen world in general, the shopping; just so many things to keep real freedom away from us. In Covid times suddenly the existentialist preccupation with authentic freedom looks relevant. Our so-called freedoms are restricted under the various tiers; we are unable to go to the cafe, the pub, the cinema, to meet up for New Year’s eve. We are forced into ourselves, forced to confront truths about our existence. This is the departure point for any genuine attempt to live; the plague ; the absurd; the contingent; the moment when you really situate yourself in time and space. Covid might give us the chance to get back to ground zero. Although it may be foiled by that great opponent of the genuine, the authentic, the phenomenological, the existential: Netflix. Cheery New Year!

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