Level 6


  • You must PASS the Class Struggle paper BEFORE being able to turn in the next papers.
  • If you do not pass, follow the Re-write criteria for redoing a paper.
  • See the rubric for Theory papers
  • See a Writing Consultant for further help.
  • Be careful of Plagiarism; there is NOT ever an excuse for plagiarizing.
  • This set of theories concerns an individual's free will in making choices which is the root of existence.

Dread and Angst

What is Sartre's Dread and Angst (Anguish)

Snoopy comic strip
  • Dread/angst are usually interchangeable in philosophy; however, angst is the German word for anxiety, or anxiousness.
  • Angst, though, is not anxiety as a psychological condition, but as an experience.
  • Let's not confuse angst with real psychology states of anxiety. Psychological anxiety usually flairs without a concomitant thought or action. Angst, though, occurs DUE TO thought, perhaps to TOO MUCH thinking.
  • Dread/Angst is not fear. If you fear spiders, and one crawls out in front of you, you would leap and shriek away from it. Dread/Angst builds and is not instantaneous.
  • Dread/Angst is when thoughts have a domino effect into an ever more terrifying thought.
  • Driving: When driving, you may have had the thought that simply turning the wheel could cause a horrific catastrophic accident, and your mind plays out the scenario to horrific levels. I do not refer to suicidal ideation, but to a normal state of the human mind to reach beyond its grasp.
  • Some people frighten themselves, late at night, with the thought of how large the universe is, how tiny and insignificant we may be, and that thought can be terrifying.
  • Dread/Angst sharply rises in us and we recoil, usually returning our focus to the physical world to avoid the next and next and next thought.
  • "Kierkegaard wrote in his pseudonymously published The Concept of Anxiety, a man standing at the edge of a cliff. When he glances over the edge, he is overcome with dread, not just because he is filled with fear at the thought of falling, but also because he is seized by a terrifying impulse deliberately to leap. 'He whose eye happens to look down into the yawning abyss becomes dizzy', Kierkegaard gnomically observed. That dizziness 'is just as much in his own eye as in the abyss.' For if 'he had not looked down', he would not have felt that dread. What grips that man, Kierkegaard suggests, is dread of the possibilities open to him; what he experiences 'is the dizziness of freedom'.
  • Sartre, too, sees what he calls 'anguish' as the condition of human freedom. Since nothing can determine our choice of life for us, neither can anything explain or justify what we are. There is no inherent meaning in the universe. Only we can create meaning" ("Sartre and the Anguish of Freedom")

Writing Dread

  • The Audience: Many times we can write about the dread an audience may feel inspired by the film.
  • The Characters: Or, we could write about how a character experiences dread.
  • IN film, a character's dread is often speculative on our part, as films do not usually let us inside a character's internal thoughts, in the way novels do.

Bad Faith

What is Bad Faith

  • One of Existentialism's concerns is how people do not live authentically
  • People who make decisions and choices do live authentic lives.
  • One way of avoiding decisions is to act (and think) in bad faith, which means to defer one's ability to think and act onto other outside agents.
  • "We could say that authenticity is fundamentally living this ontological truth of one's situation, namely, that one is never identical with one's current state but remains responsible for sustaining it. Thus, the claim "that's just the way I am" would constitute a form of self-deception or bad faith as would all forms of determinism, since both instances involve lying to oneself about the ontological fact of one's nonself-coincidence and the flight from concomitant responsibility for 'choosing' to remain that way." (Jean-Paul Sartre)
  • An good example in film is the bad guy/killer saying "It's nothing personal... (it's just business/ it's just my job)" before killing someone. The killer is disowning hisher agnecy (one's ability to choose and to act).
  • Another example is someone saying "I'm late (to class/ to work) because my alarm didn't go off." Their suggestion is that as a human they are unable to make decisions and act in the world, but a machine, such as a phone, can and does.
  • One trope in films is the post-date "Come up for a drink?" line. This is a self-deception on both characters part, each deluding themselves that the next act is literally only a drink, when what happens is they end up in bed together.

Writing about Bad Faith

  • Writing about Bad Faith concerns giving examples from the film when a character explains away behaviour or consequences as some other cause than themselves.


  • Do NOT use the above cited source.
  • Do not use encyclopedias or dictionaries.
  • Find a human named full article that discusses Dread or Bad Faith.