Monday, September 14, 2009
A person’s social nature or that which one manifests while dealing with other people is comprised, among other essentials, by one’s culture and history. As one lives over time, one acquires traditions, language, arts and the like which are drawn from the location in which one lives. These identifications, influenced by events in the past, are those that constitute the entire makeup of a person. They are the sum total of a person’s identity, which is what makes culture important to one’s social dealings since it is a means to recognize what kind of person one is. History is also significant because as mentioned, events in the past enrich one’s cultural identity. What kind of a person one is right now, as well as that whom one will become in the future, depends on the events that one underwent and that cultivated one in the process. A person with culture and history has a distinct identity as opposed to one lacking both.
Facticity, as may be identified in the masterpieces of philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, means everything concrete against whose background human freedom exists and is restricted. For instance, one’s culture and history—one’s traditions, language, context, events in life from birth to prospective death—are one’s facticity. One is limited by these identifications. Therefore, to transcend one’s facticity means to achieve freedom from such restrictions. This is difficult, given the human penchant for labeling in the interest of identification. In actuality, one has to be liberated from the marginalizing effects of one’s social traditions, linguistic affiliation, national identity, even perhaps death, in order to attain this transcendental freedom. Once facticity is overcome, say, a medicine is discovered to sustain life’s perpetuity, it is the only time when transcendent freedom is achieved.