While a prisoner of war in 1940/1941 Sartre read Martin Heidegger's
Being and Time, an ontological investigation through the lens and
method of Husserlian phenomenology (Husserl was Heidegger's teacher).
Reading Being and Time initiated Sartre's own enquiry leading to the
publication in 1943 of Being and Nothingness whose subtitle is 'A
Phenomenological Essay on Ontology'. Sartre's essay is clearly
influenced by Heidegger though Sartre was profoundly skeptical of any
measure by which humanity could achieve a kind of personal state of
fulfillment comparable to the hypothetical Heideggerian re-encounter
with Being. In his much gloomier account in Being and Nothingness, man
is a creature haunted by a vision of "completion," what Sartre calls
the ens causa sui, and which religions identify as God. Born into the
material reality of one's body, in an all-too-material universe, one
finds oneself inserted into being (with a lower case "b").
Consciousness is in a state of cohabitation with its material body,
but has no objective reality; it is nothing ("no thing").
Consciousness has the ability to conceptualize possibilities, and to
make them appear, or to annihilate them.

CB: Conscious _is_ overwhelmingly  created by objective _social_
reality, by culture. This is fundamentally wrong. Individual human
consciousness is a thing, a socially made thing.

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