From Cooper’s Existentialism: A Reconstruction:
‘In the end,’ writes Marcel, ‘there must be an absolute commitment’, and what
‘matters most’ is the ‘fidelity’ demanded by this commitment. This squares with his earlier rejection of commitment to principles as ‘idolatrous’, since the commitment now in view is to persons — to other people and to God. (Like Buber, Marcel thinks that fidelity to people is intelligible only through a similar relation to God. …)
Corresponding to this commitment to others is a further form of availability. Earlier, unavailability was understood intellectually, as a ‘hardening’ of a person’s descriptive and evaluative categories. What matters more to Marcel
is unavailability to other people. This is ‘rooted in alienation’ from them, an inability to allow them a ‘presence’ or ‘influx’ in one’s life. They are mere ‘cases’ or ‘objects’. ‘When I am with an unavailable person, I am conscious of being with someone for whom I do not exist.’ The last volumes of Proust’s novel depict, in Marcel’s opinion, a coterie of people chronically unavailable to each other, obsessively enclosed in their private worlds as Proust himself was in his cork-lined room.
The remedy for such unavailability is commitment: for it is only through this that others come to ‘have a hold’ on me. And it is through this ‘hold’, and the reciprocal one which I have on them, that our lives interpenetrate and we become truly ‘present’ to one another. But what are the constituents of this reciprocal commitment? In part, the mutual exercise of the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity. In charity or ‘generosity’, for instance, I must be pennanently ‘on call’ for the other person, in case he is in need. More interesting is the point made, in very Buberian terms, in this passage: ‘if I treat the Thou as a He [or any identity], I reduce the other to … nature: an animated object … If I treat the other as Thou, I treat him and apprehend him qua freedom … what is more, I help him … to be freed, I collaborate with his freedom.
Availability, then, is a reciprocal relation through which each party is committed not only to treating the other as a free person, but to enabling and ‘collaborating with’ his freedom. This has an important implication. A person can only realize himself’ qua freedom’ as a participant in such reciprocal relations. For, outside of them, he is without ‘collaborators’ to ‘help him … to be freed’. This is what Marcel emphasizes when he writes that in contrast to the ‘captive soul’, the one which is available to others ‘knows that … its freedom … does not belong to itself.
With remarks like these, it is clear that Marcel is in the territory not only of Buber, but of Sartre who, we know, also states that a person’s freedom
‘depends entirely upon the freedom of others’.
Existentialism was conceived in the years preceding the Second World War, when the public became a They, a mass of “people chronically unavailable to each other”.
When folks get woke or red-pilled, they lose availability.
That is how I experience politics.
That is why I hate ideologies: They kill the souls of past, present and future friends and turn them into body-snatched aliens.