Quote from Sartre’s Nausea – Lost in the Eyes of the Other

“I no longer noticed that I existed, I no longer existed in myself, but in him; it was for him that I ate, for him that I breathed, each of my movements had its significance outside, there, just in front of me, in him; I no longer saw my hand writing letters on the paper, nor even the sentence I had written – but, behind, beyond the paper, I saw the Marquis, who had called for that gesture, and whose existence was prolonged and consolidated by that gesture.  I was only a means of making him live, he was my raison d’etre, he had freed me from myself. What am I going to do now?”

NB: Quote is from Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea (1938), featured image is Magritte’s ‘The Red Model’ (1934). Why this image? I feel this image is reinfused with meaning when placed alongside this quote in that there is a crucial sense of existentialist loss of objective sense of self without the affirmation by the Other. Self is equated, entwined with the objective world in such a Symbolic network, as represented through the morphed shoe/foot – the shoe as object existing only for the absent Other; that is, the wearer. In existentialism we face up to our reliance on the Other to the extent we are all of us ’empty’ without them; clothes without wearers.

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