Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre makes the shift from self to other.

Greg Artus writes in issue 145 of Philosophy Now: “Sartre’s famous illustration of the Look is his example of the jealous lover. Suppose I am a lover who, for whatever reason, is consumed with jealousy about my lover’s activities, and so I’m spying on her through a keyhole. I am completely immersed in what I’m doing. My attention is focussed entirely outside of myself on the task in hand, and I’m not thinking about me but about the object of my attention. I am entirely unreflective; I’m just doing. In this mode, I am what Sartre calls a body-for-itself – a physically embodied doer, immersed totally in its active engagement with the concrete world of activity, focussed only on the purposes to hand.

But then I notice that someone – some Other – is watching me as I spy on my lover. This Look of the Other snaps me out of my immersion and forces to me to see myself from the outside, so to speak. Under this withering Look of the Other, I am brought face to face with the fact of what I’m doing and how it must look to Others. Now I am no longer focussed outwardly on my task, but am focussed inwardly, on myself, viewing myself and my actions as another might view me. I am no longer focussed on my lover, but reflecting upon what I am doing and how it looks. Thus I become what Sartre calls a body-for-Others; an engaged body that is an object of scrutiny and evaluation by another body-for-itself-an Other who is engrossed in watching me as I watch my lover.” 

Oaks from seeds

Happy little oak trees: white gouache and white pencil on black paper, and black and grey ink and HB pencil on white.

Two little oak trees from acorns I kept from a visit to England last September.

Avocado from seed

Happy little avocado tree—two versions: black and grey ink and HB pencil on white, and white gouache and white pencil on black paper.

Another of my growing-stuff-from-fruit-I’ve-eaten experiments

Apple from seed

Happy little apple tree—two versions: white gouache and white pencil on black paper, and black and grey ink and HB pencil on white.

Lately I’ve been trying to grow plants from seeds I keep from supermarket fruit. This is one of the first that came alive. It blows me away that these things happen. It took six months to go from the seed to this plant, so you have time to get used to it. If it happened in six seconds, you would scream wow every time.