I like Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism, you are responsible for your own deeds and the door is wide open. It was, and is of course a bold thought, and he refined it later in life as I understood. But in a sense, he is right. If you have to do something and it will cost you your life if you don’t, you can choose death. You can walk away from a bad relation or job, just walk away. It is simple, it sounds simple but it is also, almost impossible. A great harm or bad relation feels often more secure than an unknown future or a known future you don’t want.
Sartre came up with many of his thoughts during the second world war in occupied France. He probably knows more about the ultimate sacrifice than we do, even if it is just through stories from close friends. Would you save someone else’s life if it meant your own death? It is a choice you have according to Sartre, there is no denying in that.
Another example, more relatable for most of us. Keeping a job you don’t like but the bill’s keep on coming and you and the people that rely on you need to eat and want a roof over their heads. There is no physical force, that I can think of, that keeps you from walking away from it all. And people do of course, and we tend to shame those people.
We feel responsible, have morals and values. You just don’t do that, but you could. And Sartre was right in this sense, and you might expect that your wife or husband can take responsibility for there own life if you suddenly disappear, but what about your kids or a sick mother that lives with you?
We have the ultimate freedom to go away or choose death, but is it honest to expect this from us?
The Haiku that inspired me was from Day 889
Behind no bars
leaning on the open door
and staring outside.
The picture that was the inspiration of this poem was of a chicken in its coop, but the door was also open, as always. Footnote: this particular chicken was eaten by an…well…a sort of eagle. We saw it all happen while sitting on our couch…poor thing…maybe it was her own choice…