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Sartre, in his Existentialist book Being and Nothingness, divides the being (the existing realities) into two categories. One category is called being-in-itself (ĂȘtre-en-soi), and comprises inanimate things, like a rock. The second category is being-for-itself (ĂȘtre-pour-soi), and comprises beings that have feelings, human beings. A thing cannot feel unhappy about being a thing, it has no emotions; a rock is perfectly satisfied being a rock. A being must always therefore compare itself with the thing, and be envious of its ability to just be.

He also states that the being-in-itself is defined by being material, and being-for-itself is abstract. An example of something that is-for-itself is the conscious.

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