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Re: [Sartre] Sarte discussion group

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  • J. M. Johnson
    I have been reading posts to this group for sometime, but until now have not posted... Angela, I understand your hesitance in being able to even consider
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 7, 2003
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      I have been reading posts to this group for sometime, but until now have not posted...

      Angela, I understand your hesitance in being able to even consider existentialism, but I urge
      you as a religious person to try, if for no other reason than to (even psychologically)
      understand some of your fellow men. I say this only because I took the introductory
      Existentialism class (so many years ago), from a professor who was a devout Christian, a nun, in
      fact, who arrived for class every day in her habit and with her wooden cross lying upon her
      chest. And she had no problems discussing Nietszche, Sartre, or Kierkegaard...they were
      essentially all the same to her, and she taught each of them to us as though they were truth,
      with no bias, no personal agenda therein. Granted it takes a very special kind of person to be
      able to do that, but unless you're a right wing, closed-minded person (which I'm sure you're
      not, from the sound of it), you MUST at least ACCEPT other views, religious or otherwise, in
      order to justify your own system of beliefs, right? In other words, how can you preach your own
      ethics and morals, without fully coming to terms with that which you are preaching against?

      Just some thoughts...don't take them abrasively.

      JJ


      "Thundercloud, Angela" wrote:

      > Thanks Monte!
      > I have started looking into Kierkegaard, and what I am finding is
      > interesting.
      > Also, in response to your suggestion to try to see things from others'
      > perspectives, I would like to. I think I am trying to get over some kind of
      > personal mental block to understanding the perspective by finding out what
      > led others to this path.
      >
      > Maybe to ask a different question would be more easily answered:
      >
      > How did you become interested in existentialism? What makes you continue to
      > be a student of it, join this discussion group, etc.?
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Monte Morris [mailto:monteamorris@...]
      > Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 6:47 PM
      > To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [Sartre] Sarte discussion group
      >
      >
      > Angela,
      > It sounds like you are in quite a predicament. When I was studying
      > existentialism in college, I had a friend, who like you, was a devout
      > Christian, and he, too struggled with many of the readings. This is because
      > the professor chose books only by athiestic existentialists. Seeing that my
      > friend was having some trouble identifying with the philosophers, he opted
      > to include some of Kierkegaard`s work into the class. This worked, but it
      > didn`t turn out that my friend was not finding the class interesting. He was
      > a psychology major, and began to ask questions that related more to the
      > philosopher`s point of view rather than his own, in order to see how they
      > looked at the world and found meaning in it. As a psychologist, this was
      > extremely interesting to him, and is, I believe, one of the foundations of
      > philosophy--being able to see the other`s point of view and understand where
      > they are coming from. As a political science major, you may find some
      > interest in Sartre`s social causes and how his existentialism influenced why
      > he took up those causes. However, it would take someone with far more
      > knowledge of Sartre than I have to give you a good answer to that question.
      > I hope someone else on this list may be of more help to you. --Monte
      >
      > "Thundercloud, Angela" <athundercloud@...> wrote: Hello,
      >
      > I am a student attempting to finish an undergraduate degree with a double
      > major in political science and philosophy. This semester I am struggling to
      > pass an Existentialism class, which is why I subscribed to the group.
      >
      > I have enjoyed many of the posts on the discussion group, as they are more
      > interesting than my readings, and I thought I might ask for some help. I
      > find it difficult to be interested in reading the existentialist
      > philosophers because I am not asking the questions they are asking, and I am
      > not searching for the answers they seek.
      >
      > My beliefs are based on study of the bible, which has proven to me to be in
      > fact, the Word of God, as I have seen the principles work in my life to
      > bring the benefits the bible claims they will. So, it is difficult for me
      > to part with a system I have wrought tangible benefits from.
      >
      > The instructor for my Existentialism class has shared that when he first
      > read Camus and Sarte, he felt he had found something life-changing. I have
      > not similarly responded, and I would like to find at least a portion of the
      > passion he displays to apply to my studies.
      >
      > Are there any applications of the philosophy that you can see have brought
      > benefits to your life in a way that can be measured? Or do you have any
      > suggestions to me in understanding why these questions posed would affect me
      > in any way?
      >
      > If you'd like, I'll give you a brief overview of how I came to be in this
      > class, and a philosophy major at that... I am planning on going to law
      > school next year, so I became a poly sci major. The university I am
      > attending has an excellent Philosophy department and offers many classes on
      > political philosophy and law. I took so many philosophy classes, it seemed
      > wise to declare it as a major. I struggled through the additional
      > requirements in metaphysics, and I skipped the introductory level classes,
      > as I was already a junior, and I wanted to finish quickly. However, now I
      > feel as though I don't have any business in Existentialism, though I must
      > finish it to earn my degree. My professor is asking for journal entries, on
      > any course of discussion over the class readings, and I don't have the
      > heart, nor will it earn me the grade, to turn in pages and pages of
      > complaints of how boring and unprofitable I find it.
      >
      > I will appreciate any feedback.
      >
      > Thank you for your time,
      >
      > Angela Thundercloud
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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      >
      > --Monte Morris
      > Philosopher wannabe
      > Japan
      > "Needs to find a good quote"
      >
      >
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    • J. M. Johnson
      Dear Angela, You are grossly simplifying Kierkegaard...give me some time and I will respond. JJ ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 7, 2003
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        Dear Angela,

        You are grossly simplifying Kierkegaard...give me some time and I will respond.

        JJ

        "Thundercloud, Angela" wrote:

        > To Nikhilesh:
        >
        > Do you think there is anything that would give you reason to care, or to be
        > glad that you were born? Do you think at any point you will try to seek out
        > a reason to care?
        >
        > >From what I have been reading of Kierkegaard (forgive me if this is a
        > shallow gloss over), it seems there could be two separate routes which you
        > could take to appreciate life: pleasures or production/morality/ethical
        > living. You can either focus on enjoying all the pleasures life can offer,
        > or you can focus on what you wish to accomplish with your life by adhering
        > to a system of ethics.
        >
        > >From my Christian background, of course, both are to be part of a full life:
        > you acknowledge God and make your fellowship with Him your first priority,
        > and He grants you the desires of your heart, gives you daily benefits and
        > blessings, etc.
        >
        > Psalms 37:4 - Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the
        > desires of thine heart.
        >
        > However, from what I have been reading from Sartre, I think he would agree
        > with you. From my understanding, his perspective is pretty bleak--you are
        > only truly only "being" if you are somewhat pissed off at the powerlessness
        > of your existence, at which point, you reach a certain level of
        > understanding with the world. I still need to read more...
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: nikhilesh [mailto:thisislobo@...]
        > Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 11:06 PM
        > To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [Sartre] Sarte discussion group
        >
        >
        >
        > --- "Thundercloud, Angela" <athundercloud@...>
        > wrote:
        > > Livvi,
        > > My difficulty with existentialism is not the lack of
        > > a "god", but rather, as
        > > you stated: "existentialism can to most extents only
        > > ever be a belief system
        > > or a way of thinking and not proved..." Proof is
        > > what I am seeking. Some
        > > tangible benefits that demonstrate this is a
        > > profitable exercise of our
        > > intellects is what I desire.
        >
        > yeah, right.
        > Can you find tangible benefits of life and existence
        > of the human species? People are born, they muck
        > around for a few decades, and then they die. So what's
        > the tangible benefit...and even if all this happens
        > for the benefit of god (he/she/it gets a few kicks by
        > watching our existence.....parts of our world are
        > really amusing), whats the tangible benefit of my life
        > to ME? For all I care, i'd rather not have been born
        > so i'd not be bothered by concepts like tangible
        > benefits.
        > But I'm rambling and digressing....the point is - most
        > things don't have tangible benefits. If
        > existentialists get their their kicks thinking in a
        > certain way, so be it.
        >
        >
        >
        > =====
        >
        >
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