As per Simone De Beauvoir, every human being at one point or another will necessary feel the ambiguity of his existence and in her terms, Nihilism, seriousness and adventurer are the three ways in which people respond to the ambiguity. Nihilism, in one hand is the attempt to resolve the ambiguity of the life and it allows a person to withdraw into his own self and from there he or she can observe the outside World, and in doing so all the significance is gone. Actually it is the general belief that there is no general meaning of life, and everything is pointless and no matter what is thought about or believed will not matter in the long run and as she has said, “But nihilism is unstable” (Beauvoir, 1970, 68).
However, she sees it as a vain attempt to avoid the general ambiguities of life and it is considered as an escape, and it is inauthentic too. She even terms the Nihilist as the humorist or the cynic which is in either way is a denial to the absurdity of life. Seriousness is another response to the ambiguous life. If we look at the general people we will see that they are brought up and conditioned in certain ways. A child begins his or her life with a general degree of seriousness, as he is born into a World which he can not change the way things are, and in the process of growing up only has to submit to the things that are. But the scenario changes as the child grows up and starts to understand the contradictions of the adults, initially his or her parents and later the World as a whole and in the process one day the child will realize his or her freedom.
One of the most important understandings of the time is to know that one day the child will grow up and he will have to take independent decisions, also in a way he has to contribute to the ways of the World. Men will never succeed in fully revealing the meaning of the World, and never fulfill our desire to impress our meaning on the World. De Beauvoir puts that life is ambiguous and people will never completely understand who they are or what they ought to do and in the ways her third response was the adventurer, who loves the general ambiguity of life and rejoices the process. Several historical figures like Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great can be named into the category. “The adventurer does not propose to be; he deliberately makes himself a lack of being; he aims expressly at existence; though engaged in his undertaking, he is at the same time detached from the goal” (Beauvoir,1970, 59).
In the process of discussion, she made a very important point. She linked our ambiguity with the idea of failure. We can never complete for meaning in either of the intentional expressions, and in the way we will never fully understand the meaning of the World, and finally will not be able to impress the World. To portray the complexity in which either the people avoid or accept the responsibilities of freedom, she chalked out the three sub-classes, the nihilist, the serious man and the adventurer. Actually, the point of delineating the different subclasses can be described in several folds and most importantly it is nothing but a way of distinguishing between the two types of unethical positions. The serious man refuses to experience the freedom, while the rest of the two completely misreads the meaning of freedom. Incidentally, in doing so, she established the common differences between ontological and ethical freedom. It is important to acknowledge our freedom, but we can not say that it is a sufficient condition for the general ethical action.
In a way, Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity can be termed as a secular humanism and it aims to reject both the ideas of God and humanity. Actually the ideas that she dealt with directly encourages the thinker to believe a utopian destiny, where the people are encouraged to sacrifice their present for a better future. By showing the future as an open and contingent aspect it aims to challenge the mystifications that aim to validate the general condition called time as the general ethical life of a person requires the definite preparation process of others. It is the belief of the writer that man has a limited amount of consciousness that belong to a specific nature, and it is also perceived by specific means or any other aspects so in many cases the consciousness does not become valid, and in many cases can be termed as deaf and dumb.
By dealing the characteristics of the three type one of the most important things that it does not avoid the general question of violence. She put violence as an assault on another one’s freedom, and said that it ultimately mark the failure to respect the general notion of humanity. Thus we can say that the discussion aims to provide us with an analysis of our existential and ethical situation in which the World has lived constantly for a long time, and aims to join the hard headed realism as violence is an unavoidable fact of the basic condition of human beings as per the general requirements. It is by the way one of the most unique theories that have come in the social context and still has relevance.