You’d think that a game about a teenager going through an existential crisis would actually drive home Sartre’s point. But Sartre overlooks how much outside influences and ignorance actually affect our decisions. For example, Squall:
starts an introverted, cold and taciturn teenager who pushes away those who would otherwise be considered his friends.
Sartre understands that even though external circumstances may limit individuals, but it does not determine who we should be.
To Sartre, “existence precedes essence” means that a person is not built over a previously designed model or a precise purpose, because it is the human being who chooses to engage in such enterprise.
This limit is facticity, or
“all of the concrete details against the background of which human freedom exists and is limited”
But Squall is who he is. He really can’t act in any other way, because he knows no other way of life. Squall is a mercenary. This is what he knows. He’s not acting in “bad faith” when he chooses to act as the definition of a SeeD member. He doesn’t know he can act differently, so he acts accordingly to his facticity.
So then would this make him an object, a self-contained and fully realized Being of objects? No, he still has to make choices based on the randomness of life. He’s ignorant of the future and has to adapt, changing himself to the situation (i.e. the ballroom scene).
So he’s an undefined, non-determined being conscious of its own consciousness? Well, he’s fully aware of his own thoughts. And he attempts to define himself. But without knowledge of his predicament, can he? We see that Squall’s caught in a stable time loop.
He’s both, yet neither.
So far, Sartre’s philosophy is unraveling. This dichotomy between the In-Itself and For-Itself is poetic at best, possible fiction at worst. There’s really nothing to hold it together. Free will could be an illusion; we’re in danger of acting in bad faith if we think otherwise.
Obviously, “no man is an island”. Squall tries to be completely self-sufficient, but his surroundings affect who he is and his choices. Man doesn’t know how unfree he is. He is ignorant of how much everyone and everything around him influences himself. In order for Squall to recognize his true potential, others need to bring him out of his shell. So Sartre believes Rinoa and others are “making an object out of” Squall when they’re giving him options. I guess “Hell is other people” when one is ignorant of others.
Was Squall free in time compression? He was in a state of nothingness, alone. But nothingness is what Sartre believes is consciousness. So then, how can a man be free with nothing to act on it.
Once Squall rejects his loner status, does he paradoxically reject Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy as well?