These things are, however, phenomenologically reduced to what they mean to the conscious subject.
Hence, Sartre refers to objects in the outside world as the transcendental field of conscious awareness—they are out there but as what they mean to subjects.
, which is that the human being is such that its being is an issue for itself.
More particularly, humans are directed to things primarily as far as these things concern their own being and its possibilities.
Hence it is “nothing” but contents of consciousness.12 Consequently, consciousness turns everything into “nothing”, nothing but meaning, which is the reason why Sartre equates consciousness with “nothingness” as opposed to “being”.
This does not mean that consciousness turns everything into its own interiority, its inside project.
This resembles in core Heidegger’s notion of a project as the projection of our “ownmost” possibilities, as described in (Heidegger 1962, 183ff, BN pp. Thus, one can say, it is by choosing our “ownmost” possibilities that we are free; however, our choices are not whimsical but embroil limits between options as framed by projects.
Sartre’s contention, that it is by choosing that we are free, does not mean that we choose to be free (p. This distinction is at the heart of Sartre’s phenomenology of freedom at the core of his monumental Sartre argues that freedom is not the product of choice, something we can choose to be or not to be, because it is rather a characteristic of what we are, as choosing conscious beings.
A crag, for instance, will manifest a profound resistance if I want to replace it, or else it can be a valuable aid if I want to climb upon it to look over the countryside (BN p. Although brute things can limit our freedom of action from the start, it is only because of freedom that these things manifest as limits or ends (BN 504).
This means, a subject is principally free to choose to determine its own limits and ends.