Is that Allen Ginsberg/Irwin Allen Ginsberg on his badge?
Regarding his 'Hell Is Other People' badge:
"2) Hell is other people
No, this does not mean other people are the worst and you should hide yourself in a dark, lonely room so that you don't have to put up with them. The line comes from a 1944 existentialist play by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre called Huis Clos
, or No Exit
. In the play, three people are trapped in Hell — which is a single room — and ultimately, while confessing their sins to one another, end up falling into a bizarre love triangle.
The confinement of the characters extends beyond their physical holding room: they are trapped by the judgments of their cellmates. That's why one of the characters says, "Hell is other people" — because of how we are unable to escape the watchful gaze of everyone around us. "By there mere appearance of the Other," says Sartre in Being and Nothingness
, "I am put in the position of passing judgment on myself as on an object, for it is as an object that I appear to the Other."
Sartre offered a clarification
about his much misunderstood phrase:
"Hell is other people" has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because … when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves … we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves.
As Rugnetta explains: "Hell is other people because you are, in some sense, forever trapped within them, subject to their apprehension of you.""