We are engaged in what happened then. We are the same ones who were involved in the action; the memory brings us back as acting and experiencing there and then. Without memory and the displacement it brings we would not be fully actualized as selves and as human beings, for good and for ill (71).
Jacek is very clearly stuck in a place in his mind where he believes that he was to blame for what really happened. He was there and he remembers it as such and so it is so. The other element that feeds this is his imagination. According to Sokolowski, memory and imagination are structurally very alike and it is easy for one to slip into the other. The question is whether or not Jacek sees his true self in that memory or if it is an imagined being of himself. This matters because if Jacek is not able to recognize himself in the past, then there is no morals associated with him. According to de Beauvoir, if an act is left behind, then it simply falls into the past and it becomes nothing but a mere stupid fact. In order to prevent this from happening, a person has to return to it in the mind and then justify it in terms of what the person is doing then in the present. Jacek must carry out the act of murder so as to relieve himself of what he feels he is to blame for in his past. In a sense, Jacek feels that he will achieve freedom if he can carry out the murder because he is embracing the past as he does it. This is why at the end of the film, while Jacek does feel regret for the murder, he also feels a sense of peace with the knowledge of his punishment.
Jacek's murderous act can be explained by looking at it with a humanistic psychological approach. While humanistic psychology does take environmental factors into account, it also focuses more on the individual and the individual's needs. Maslow, specifically, with his five levels of needs, explained needs as similar to instincts and they play a major part in behavior and what motivates behavior. That being said, some of the lower needs on the hierarchical chart are physiological, then security, and third, social. Jacek seems to be lacking in security and definitely in social needs. He has no place in society, no real relationships it appears, and his behavior is in direct opposition to the norms of society. Jacek is not even close to the fifth need, which is the most important and is called self-actualization. Maslow described the most important needs as knowing what you can be and then being that person. Maslow suggests that if certain needs are not met, one's motivation is directly linked to the person's need to satisfy them. The key to making sense of Jacek's actions is to understand what motivated him to act in such a way and what needs were not met that propelled the act.
Diagnosis: Antisocial Personality Disorder. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) has been described by the DSM-IV as being fundamentally connected with crime. It even goes as far as to use frequency of criminal acts as one of the criteria for considering someone for diagnosis as suffering from ASPD. It also discusses the lack of remorse someone with ASPD feels or shows when committing some type of violence against another person. The lack of remorse may come from the overall inability to empathize with the people whom they are interacting with.
Jacek has many of the symptoms associated with ASPD including: lack of conforming to laws -- evidence by repeatedly committing crimes; deceitfulness; impulsivity; irritability, anger, and the tendency to engage in physical fighting; disregard for the safety of others; persistent lack of responsibility; and a lack of feeling guilty about doing wrong. ASPD often goes along with schizophrenia, which Jacek may also be suffering from, as he exhibits: lack of motivation; beliefs that have no basis in reality; and disorganized behavior.
Course of Treatment: ASPD can be quite resistant to treatment, however, there are some effective types of treatment that can be utilized with Jacek. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, psychopharmacotherapy and other types of psychotherapy could potentially be used. Cognitive therapy would be my chosen course of therapy for Jacek because it doesn't have to appeal to emotional understanding about certain situations; it can simply work to help change a person's schema about certain situations. The patient's belief system can be worked on through cognitive therapy as well so that they can find goals to work towards in their lives. This would be especially beneficial for Jacek because he doesn't appear to have any goals for himself and tends to view his life as being rather meaningless. Cognitive therapy can also help teach a person what kinds of behavior are socially acceptable an what types are not. The therapy regime must be very strict for Jacek because of his violent tendencies.
Camus, Albert. (2002) Albert Camus and the philosophy of the absurd. Rodopi Bv
De Beauvoir, Simone. (2000) The ethics of ambiguity. Citadel.
Mahon, Joseph. (1997) Existentialism, feminism and Simone de Beauvoir. Palgrave MacMillan.