chapter  16
The authentic and the everyday. Camus
Pages 6

It is rather doubtful if judging is quite as free as Le Senne holds. There seems to be, in this attitude, that lack of cosmic piety with which Bertrand Russell taxes American pragmatists. What we choose, in the language of phenomenology, is surely whether or not we place ourselves in the scientific perspective; but once in it we are in the perspective which has the peculiarity of being nobody’s perspective, and in which we have the overwhelming impression of undergoing truth rather than inventing it, despite the mental effort involved in reaching it. If we set aside, however, as an open question whether or not truth is a value in the sense just discussed, we are on ground common to empiricists and phenomenologists in regarding the justification for any ‘original choice’ as being dependent on the person in question. There is no absolute value in anything, and ‘the passion consented to by man finds no external justification…. But that does not mean that it cannot…give itself reasons for being which it does not possess.’1 Simone de Beauvoir goes on to add that Sartre says man makes himself into a lack, in order that there may be being. She is on surer ground when she shows that there is really nothing arbitrary in natural choice and that where the lack is not the expression of a real need, we tend to be suspicious of it and to regard it as a pseudo-project. Authenticity may have no universal content, but it is not empty. The ‘parlour Socialist’ and ‘bourgeois intellectual’ are often looked on as not quite genuine participants in the working-class struggle.2