In Charles Manson's Testimony and Sartre's No Exit, Manson and Inez both argue that humans must decide for themselves what their actions will be and then take full responsibility for their choices in order to live authentically in an existential reality. This is done through the virtue of being honest with themselves, accepting the consequences of their actions, and not wasting time and energy on regret by living in the present moment. Evidently, it is only through developing such self-awareness and consciousness that one is able to find inner peace, freedom and progress.
Although their circumstances may be quite different, Charles Manson and Inez share a similar existentialist outlook on life. Throughout his testimony, Manson emphasizes the importance of being consistently honest with oneself. "I know that the only person I can judge is me. I judge what I have done and I judge what I do and I look and live with myself everyday. I am content with myself" (Manson). He believes that self-deception is the greatest corrupter in society, and not being able to think for oneself is what prevents us from living authentically. He finds solace in knowing that although he may have nothing, no one can ever take what he believes to be true. This knowledge gives him a sense of empowerment over those who judge him and, consequently, the only opinion he values is his own. Being honest with himself allows him to accept where he is and what has led him to it. "I am the beast. I am the biggest beast walking the face of the earth. I kill everything that moves. As a man, as a human, I take full responsibility for that. As a human, it won't be long, and God will ask you to take responsibility for it" (Manson). By accepting the consequences of his actions, Manson comes to terms with his fate and is liberated from the feelings of fear and helplessness. He also stresses the importance of living in the present moment when he says, "The truth is now; the truth is right here; the truth is this minute and this minute we exist" (Manson).