I have no need for good souls: an accomplice is what I wanted.

What did Jean-Paul Sartre mean by:

I have no need for good souls: an accomplice is what I wanted.


This quote suggests that the speaker doesn’t value people who are simply ‘good’ or virtuous in a conventional sense. Instead, they desire someone who is an ‘accomplice’, someone who is willing to engage with them in a deeper, more meaningful way, possibly even sharing in their transgressions or moral ambiguities. It implies a preference for complexity and authenticity over superficial goodness.

The term ‘accomplice’ is often used in a negative context, referring to someone who assists in committing a crime. However, in this quote, it could be interpreted as someone who is willing to challenge norms, question accepted morals, and engage in shared exploration of unconventional paths. This person is not merely good; they are real, complex, and capable of understanding and accepting the speaker’s nuances.

Applying this idea to the modern world or personal development, it might suggest that we should seek out relationships that challenge and stimulate us, rather than those that simply make us feel good about ourselves. It emphasizes the value of genuine connection, shared experiences, and mutual growth over mere moral righteousness.

In personal development, this could mean seeking mentors or friends who push us to question our beliefs, step out of our comfort zones, and confront our flaws, rather than those who merely affirm our existing views and behaviors. It could also mean acknowledging and integrating our own ‘dark side’ instead of striving to be perfectly ‘good’. This is often a key step in personal growth and self-acceptance.

In a broader societal context, this quote could be seen as a call to question and challenge prevailing norms and values, rather than simply accepting them as ‘good’. It encourages us to seek out those who are willing to engage in this difficult but potentially rewarding process with us – our ‘accomplices’ in the quest for deeper understanding and authentic living.

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