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Re: [Sartre] bad faith.

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  • Randy Zeitman
    ... How does existence imply emptiness or result in suffering? Existance is an assertion. It s not a thing, it s a claim. But claiming something doesn t at
    Message 1 of 29 , Sep 4, 2000
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      >
      >Hi Randy,
      >
      >I'd like to pick up this conversation on your statement, "To want is to
      >suffer." To exist is also to suffer, or so it would seem. Existing
      >implies a lack, an emptiness, a being-for-itself that is at the same
      >time not being. Sartre's philosophy is a philosophy of non-being.
      >Nothingness. This is inescapable on account of his opposition between
      >being-for-itself and being-in-itself.

      How does existence imply emptiness or result in suffering? Existance
      is an assertion. It's not a thing, it's a claim. But claiming
      something doesn't at all mean you require a result (suffering). Can
      you give an example of existance causing suffering in of itself?

      >
      >But how can this opposition be maintained? "Solipsism is perfect," you
      >said. I don't think it is. For Sartre, the other can only be my enemy.
      >To be seen by the other is to be annihilated by a freedom that is not my
      >own. This kind of freedom implies a denial of transcendence. It is
      >freedom in confinement, i.e., self-imprisonment.

      When I say "Solipsism is perfect" it doesn't mean it's
      flawless...the example and point is to show a meaning of the word
      perfect as 'fine just the way it is'. Clearly if you're claiming
      it's failing at something it's not something.

      There's a alot of truth to statements like 'the other can only be my
      enemy' and 'hell is other people' when you really get how much effort
      is spent (wasted as well) 'defending' yourself against other people.
      The very nature of existance (me, here) is to 'defend' myself against
      (you, there).

      But there's also the point of exaggeration. I agree with the
      statement 'my eyes do violence to the world' (perception is never
      completely accurate) but I certainly don't let it give me permission
      to, for example, steal because I'm so angry that the world really
      isn't the way I'd like it to be.

      >
      >Whether language can function as a Transcendence is uncertain. Perhaps
      >it can to the extent that all language implies a shared universe. But
      >as you said, "If there were a stadium of people and you said to them
      >'picture a dog' how many would picture the same thing? . . . . I feel
      >confident none would." So the place where we stand is very uncertain,
      >and any communication can only take place within the broader context of
      >miscommunication.

      I don't get this last part...communication only occurs within the
      context of miscommunication? When did miscommunication come to be? No
      communication is miscommunication?

      >
      >In this regard, it seems to me that the so-called "hermeneutical circle"
      >is a misnomer. Communication and miscommunication are not equally
      >balanced in this picture. In fact, miscommunication is primary. All
      >language issues out of silence, and all knowing begins with unknowing.
      >Old words are dead words -- words that have to be shattered before they
      >can be reconstructed or given (new) meaning.
      >
      >This is a model based on conflict. And I'm not sure that I want to
      >locate myself within this picture. What I meant by the phrase "this
      >kind of relativism" is precisely this: a relativism that takes itself
      >as absolute, being grounded in nothing beyond itself. I know that
      >history only moves forward -- we cannot go back to the sacramental
      >world-view of Aquinas and Co. and I'm not sure that I want to in any
      >case. But any philosophy that begins with the _cogito_, as Sartre's
      >does, is IMO headed down the wrong path. A lonely path, for sure.

      Being is a model based on conflict (as above). There's nothing lonely
      about the philosophy except the meanings you've attached to it. To
      want is to suffer. I don't see any reason there has to be a right
      path for a philosophy any more than a screwdriver is the wrong tool
      before you even thought to try turn a nut with it.

      Consistent with the philosophy "Wrong", "lonely", and similar claims
      are simply choices you've made and you have every freedom to not
      choose them.

      >
      >You asked the question "Why are you and I here chatting? . . . it's
      >clear I'm looking for approval . . . I want to prove to myself that 'I
      >get' my vision of existence." I'm not sure how to respond to this
      >comment. Anything I say might very well be seen as an indication that I
      >want the same thing. And of course, there's nothing I could say that
      >would demonstrate otherwise. How can I even know within myself that I
      >am not wanting this?

      Because it's not been previously distinguished. (How could you know
      what you've never observed or conceived?)

      >Perhaps the question doesn't matter. Do I have to
      >be aware of my motives? Why do I have to prove myself, can't I simply
      >be? Why do I have to find myself through argumentation?

      You don't have to do anything! But I'll certainly claim that if you
      want a philosophy to be more than a intellectual discussion it's
      pretty damn important to know the (human) machine it's being applied
      to!

      Can you be without proving yourself? Well let me ask you...wouldn't
      choosing to be without need for proof be the very criteria of proving
      that you exist?

      You're finding yourself through argumentation because you've made
      claims about what it means to exist and are measuring them against
      the standards of others. Otherwise everything you thought would be
      true by default to you which would not be the actions of a person who
      values continuing to exist. (For example, I recognize I exist and as
      such want to continue to exist. As such I make the claim that walking
      in traffic is a bad idea and I'll argue for it to anyone who would
      listen should I choose to involve myself in a discussion on traffic
      safety.)

      >
      >Being found is blissful -- not finding, but being found. That's why I'm
      >so enamoured with the philosophy of Gabriel Marcel. I heard someone say
      >something to the effect that Marcel's philosophy was simply a throw-back
      >to Augustine. That was very depreciating, I thought. Not a generous
      >remark at all! I'm sure Marcel would have disagreed. The primary
      >category for Marcel is not "I am" but "we are." This is not
      >Augustinian. I'd like to quote something from his essasy, "On the
      >Ontological Mystery":

      Right...being 'heard' is a pretty good feeling.

      >
      >"Hope consists in asserting that there is at the heart of being, beyond
      >all data, beyond all inventories and all calculations, a mysterious
      >principle which is in connivance with me, which cannot but will that
      >which I will, if what I will deserves to be willed and is, in fact,
      >willed by the whole of my being. . . . To hope against all hope that a
      >person whom I love will recover from a disease which is said to be
      >incurable is to say: It is impossible that I should be alone in willing
      >this cure; it is impossible that reality in its inward depth should be
      >hostile or so much as indifferent to what I assert is in itself a good.
      >It is quite useless to tell me of discouraging _cases_ or _examples_:
      >beyond all experience, all probability, all statistics. I assert that a
      >given order shall be re-established, that reality _is_ on my side in
      >willing it to be so. I do not wish: I assert; such is the prophetic tone
      >of true hope. No doubt I shall be told: 'In the immense majority of
      >cases this is an illusion.' But it is of the essence of hope to exclude
      >the consideration of cases; moreover, it can be shown that there exists
      >an ascending dialectic of hope, whereby hope rises to a plane which
      >transcends the level of all possible empirical disproof -- the plane of
      >salvation as opposed to that of success in whatever form."
      >
      >I think that this passage encapsulates the essence of Marcel's thought.
      >No doubt some people will think it's simply a denial of reality -- an
      >invitation to deceive oneself. And there's no argument that could
      >convince anyone otherwise. But that doesn't matter, because Marcel
      >isn't concerned with argumentation. He's not concerned with proving
      >anything.

      Yes, he is...that's why he wrote it...he was trying to be right in
      the eyes of the world. Me too!

      >If anything he says has validity, i.e., if it refers beyond
      >itself to a transcendence that is at the same time the ground of being,
      >then this transcendence cannot be communicated through symbols or words
      >that refer only to other symbols and other words, because this would
      >imply a denial of transcendence. The argument sometimes levelled against
      >Marcel -- that he can never arrive at an ontology of being on account of
      >his existentialism -- is a pointless argument. Marcel doesn't aim to
      >arrive at anything. His philosophy is an unveiling, like a work of art.
      >It's a discovery, not an arrival.

      He is aiming to arrive at being fully understood just like anyone
      else. Using words like art and discovery instead of philosophy and
      ontology doesn't change the motive.
      --

      Signature......
      "In the best relationships sex is the booby prize."

      "I'm gotten so out of shape sittin' at the computer all day that I
      get out of breath when I have to reach for the percent key!"

      - Zeitman
    • Shirley Isaac
      ... Certainly existence is not a thing, but I m not sure it s a claim either. As far as my remark about existence implying suffering is concerned, the
      Message 2 of 29 , Sep 4, 2000
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        Randy Zeitman wrote:

        > How does existence imply emptiness or result in suffering? Existance
        > is an assertion. It's not a thing, it's a claim. But claiming
        > something doesn't at all mean you require a result (suffering). Can
        > you give an example of existance causing suffering in of itself?

        Certainly existence is not a thing, but I'm not sure it's a claim
        either. As far as my remark about existence implying suffering is
        concerned, the statement was mostly directed toward Sartre's
        existentialism, which is a form of self-imprisonment. I can't see how
        it can be any other way, since the Other only functions in a negative
        capacity. There is no positive evaluation of the Other in _Being and
        Nothingness_. Consequently, there is no room for community, or love.
        Any attempt at creating community is destined to fail.

        I would define this self-isolation as suffering. Of course, it is very
        hard to define suffering -- suffering itself would seem to be something
        very subjective. But in all suffering, it seems to me that there is a
        sense of being alienated or estranged from whatever it is that is
        perceived as necessary to one's well-being. Suffering implies a lack,
        and my understanding of Sartre is that his existentialism is based on a
        lack, i.e., nonbeing, which gives rise to anguish. Being and non-being
        are not dialectically related, as in Hegel. Rather, being itself is
        projected against the backdrop of non-being. This can only imply a
        fatalism in regard to any effort to establish one's own identity.

        > There's a alot of truth to statements like 'the other can only be my
        > enemy' and 'hell is other people' when you really get how much effort
        > is spent (wasted as well) 'defending' yourself against other people.
        > The very nature of existance (me, here) is to 'defend' myself against
        > (you, there).

        You don't have to defend yourself. Stop thinking of me as the enemy,
        and the need to defend yourself will dissipate.

        > But there's also the point of exaggeration. I agree with the
        > statement 'my eyes do violence to the world' (perception is never
        > completely accurate) but I certainly don't let it give me permission
        > to, for example, steal because I'm so angry that the world really
        > isn't the way I'd like it to be.
        >
        I'm curious about your use of the word "certainly". Why do you
        "certainly" not give permission to yourself to steal on account of your
        anger that the world isn't the way you'd like it to be? Why "certainly"
        not? Why just "not"?

        [Shirley]
        > >Whether language can function as a Transcendence is uncertain. Perhaps
        > >it can to the extent that all language implies a shared universe. But
        > >as you said, "If there were a stadium of people and you said to them
        > >'picture a dog' how many would picture the same thing? . . . . I feel
        > >confident none would." So the place where we stand is very uncertain,
        > >and any communication can only take place within the broader context of
        > >miscommunication.

        [Randy]
        > I don't get this last part...communication only occurs within the
        > context of miscommunication? When did miscommunication come to be? No
        > communication is miscommunication?
        >
        What I'm saying is that given the hermeneutical circle, meaning is only
        found within the context of miscommunication. There is no resting point
        -- no point at which being is fully disclosed, or meaning becomes
        apparent. All communication is at the same time a miscommunication, and
        within this dialectic of communication/miscommunication the movement
        arises from below, i.e., from miscommunication, which becomes the
        impetus for further clarification. Thus, miscommunication assumes a
        primary stance.

        This is the way language works, I'm not disputing this. But precisely
        for this reason, I don't think that language can function as a
        Transcendence. All language issues out of silence, which is primordial.

        > Can you be without proving yourself? Well let me ask you...wouldn't
        > choosing to be without need for proof be the very criteria of proving
        > that you exist?

        Perhaps. But I think the word "choosing" is problematic. By "choosing"
        to be without need for proof, it would seem that I am attempting to
        prove something. Maybe this is what you're saying.

        While it's difficult to speak of freedom in an any other way, this
        notion of freedom as "choice" is really very modern, i.e., an
        Enlightenment notion. The ancient Greeks didn't think of freedom in
        this way. Freedom for them was finding one's place in society --
        reconciling onself with destiny. I don't think this is a particularly
        adequate concept of freedom, but it does go to show that freedom can be
        defined in more than one way.

        The difficulty I find with the notion of freedom as "choice" is that it
        can only imply a master/slave relationship. Freedom as the absence of
        constraint, both external and internal, is a freedom that locks a person
        within herself. I am destined to be free, according to this definition.
        But this notion has given rise to all kinds of hierarchical dualisms,
        e.g. the soul that governs the body, the man who rules over the woman,
        the God who rules over man. Freedom as "free choice" is an arbitrary
        freedom that in any relationship allows only one person to exist freely.
        IOW, all relationships are defined in terms of the relation of a subject
        to its object. I find this inadequate.

        > You're finding yourself through argumentation because you've made
        > claims about what it means to exist and are measuring them against
        > the standards of others. Otherwise everything you thought would be
        > true by default to you which would not be the actions of a person who
        > values continuing to exist. (For example, I recognize I exist and as
        > such want to continue to exist. As such I make the claim that walking
        > in traffic is a bad idea and I'll argue for it to anyone who would
        > listen should I choose to involve myself in a discussion on traffic
        > safety.)

        But why would you want to argue this to anyone? Why would you care? I
        suppose if everyone were to walk in traffic except you, the world would
        become much smaller and you might get lonely. But as you said, "to want
        is to suffer." According to this statement, you could choose your
        loneliness and thereby avoid suffering.

        > Right...being 'heard' is a pretty good feeling.

        Well, I'm sorry if you feel you haven't been heard. I'll try listening
        more intently.

        [Shirley]
        > > Marcel
        > >isn't concerned with argumentation. He's not concerned with proving
        > >anything.

        [Randy]
        > Yes, he is...that's why he wrote it...he was trying to be right in
        > the eyes of the world. Me too!

        I liked the "me too!" part. Actually, I laughed when I read that! I
        think it might be the one of the few expressions of sincerity. Children
        say it all the time: "Me too!" Maybe human nature is basically
        self-centered. Selfish, if you prefer. I'm beginning to think it is.
        At the same time, I think that selflessness is also basic to human
        nature, and that this is the contradiction that defines our existence.

        > He [Marcel] is aiming to arrive at being fully understood just like anyone
        > else. Using words like art and discovery instead of philosophy and
        > ontology doesn't change the motive.

        All language carries an implicit intent toward understanding, there's no
        disputing this. As for his motives, who knows what they might have
        been? I don't think we can ever be certain of our own motives. No one
        is this transparent, even to himself, it seems to me.

        Shirley
      • Randy Zeitman
        ... Well, if you can t see how it s any other way, consider this: If you are right (rightious) about everything, then you have no possibilities....cause you
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 4, 2000
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          >Randy Zeitman wrote:
          >
          >> How does existence imply emptiness or result in suffering? Existance
          >> is an assertion. It's not a thing, it's a claim. But claiming
          >> something doesn't at all mean you require a result (suffering). Can
          >> you give an example of existance causing suffering in of itself?
          >
          >Certainly existence is not a thing, but I'm not sure it's a claim
          >either. As far as my remark about existence implying suffering is
          >concerned, the statement was mostly directed toward Sartre's
          >existentialism, which is a form of self-imprisonment. I can't see how
          >it can be any other way, since the Other only functions in a negative
          >capacity. There is no positive evaluation of the Other in _Being and
          >Nothingness_. Consequently, there is no room for community, or love.
          >Any attempt at creating community is destined to fail.

          Well, if you can't see how it's any other way, consider this:

          If you are right (rightious) about everything, then you have no
          possibilities....cause you already know everyting.
          If you wrong about everything (that is, open minded) then you have an
          infinite number of possibilities. But of course, choosing to be wrong
          is certainly a rightious choice so you can certainly feel good about
          choosing to be wrong.

          The "Other" as you say only operates in a negative capactity when one
          is defending themselves. Though defending oneself is a basic premise
          of existance doesn't mean you can't act in a manner to overcome that
          through communication. I think the expression 'Communication breaks
          barriers' comes to mind...when you find people are like you (relate
          to you) there's no more threat (or alot less) and you break the
          vicious circle.

          That's why courage is paramount in the process of personal
          change...it provides a structure for breaking the cycle that leads to
          the negative stuff you describe.

          >
          >I would define this self-isolation as suffering. Of course, it is very
          >hard to define suffering -- suffering itself would seem to be something
          >very subjective.

          Suffering: an unfulfilled desire.

          >But in all suffering, it seems to me that there is a
          >sense of being alienated or estranged from whatever it is that is
          >perceived as necessary to one's well-being. Suffering implies a lack,
          >and my understanding of Sartre is that his existentialism is based on a
          >lack, i.e., nonbeing, which gives rise to anguish.

          Angst: Existential Anguish; An conflict based related to a meaning
          for purpose.

          Example: I don't know what to be in life. (my being is threatened...I
          don't know how I want to continue to be)

          >Being and non-being
          >are not dialectically related, as in Hegel. Rather, being itself is
          >projected against the backdrop of non-being. This can only imply a
          >fatalism in regard to any effort to establish one's own identity.
          >
          >> There's a alot of truth to statements like 'the other can only be my
          >> enemy' and 'hell is other people' when you really get how much effort
          >> is spent (wasted as well) 'defending' yourself against other people.
          >> The very nature of existance (me, here) is to 'defend' myself against
          >> (you, there).
          >
          >You don't have to defend yourself. Stop thinking of me as the enemy,
          >and the need to defend yourself will dissipate.

          No, I don't have to defend myself. It's a choice I made and am
          responsible for. At any time I certainly have the option of saying "I
          don't wish to participate anymore". However, it's my assertion that
          in the process of defending myself (explaining my position) I will
          help others to see what I couldn't previously see and have a newfound
          capacity to cause the quality of life they might envision for
          themselves. In other words, it's not 'about you'....you're serving
          as a launch pad for me.

          >
          >> But there's also the point of exaggeration. I agree with the
          >> statement 'my eyes do violence to the world' (perception is never
          > > completely accurate) but I certainly don't let it give me permission
          >> to, for example, steal because I'm so angry that the world really
          > > isn't the way I'd like it to be.
          > >
          >I'm curious about your use of the word "certainly". Why do you
          >"certainly" not give permission to yourself to steal on account of your
          >anger that the world isn't the way you'd like it to be? Why "certainly"
          >not? Why just "not"?

          Because I'm very adamant about it. I regularly, often almost
          constantly, recognize how I the meanings I readily give things
          debilitate or sabotage my being.

          "Coitenly!"
          - Curly

          >
          >[Shirley]
          >> >Whether language can function as a Transcendence is uncertain. Perhaps
          >> >it can to the extent that all language implies a shared universe. But
          >> >as you said, "If there were a stadium of people and you said to them
          >> >'picture a dog' how many would picture the same thing? . . . . I feel
          >> >confident none would." So the place where we stand is very uncertain,
          >> >and any communication can only take place within the broader context of
          >> >miscommunication.
          >
          >[Randy]
          >> I don't get this last part...communication only occurs within the
          >> context of miscommunication? When did miscommunication come to be? No
          >> communication is miscommunication?
          >>
          >What I'm saying is that given the hermeneutical circle, meaning is only
          >found within the context of miscommunication.

          I don't know what the hermeneutical circle is...I'll go try to find
          out. Does it simply mean that communication is the process of finding
          agreement? (because there's no agreement to begin with...therefore
          everything is a non-communication)? Just a guess.

          >There is no resting point
          >-- no point at which being is fully disclosed, or meaning becomes
          >apparent. All communication is at the same time a miscommunication, and
          >within this dialectic of communication/miscommunication the movement
          >arises from below, i.e., from miscommunication, which becomes the
          >impetus for further clarification. Thus, miscommunication assumes a
          >primary stance.
          >
          >This is the way language works, I'm not disputing this. But precisely
          >for this reason, I don't think that language can function as a
          >Transcendence. All language issues out of silence, which is primordial.
          >
          >> Can you be without proving yourself? Well let me ask you...wouldn't
          >> choosing to be without need for proof be the very criteria of proving
          >> that you exist?
          >
          >Perhaps. But I think the word "choosing" is problematic. By "choosing"
          >to be without need for proof, it would seem that I am attempting to
          >prove something. Maybe this is what you're saying.

          I am saying that... the choice you made "to be without need for
          proof" is an assertion of that you think it is to be.

          To choose not to choose is also a choice.

          >
          >While it's difficult to speak of freedom in an any other way, this
          >notion of freedom as "choice" is really very modern, i.e., an
          >Enlightenment notion. The ancient Greeks didn't think of freedom in
          >this way. Freedom for them was finding one's place in society --
          >reconciling onself with destiny. I don't think this is a particularly
          >adequate concept of freedom, but it does go to show that freedom can be
          >defined in more than one way.

          Freedom: The availability to execute choices. (my own existential definition).

          >
          >The difficulty I find with the notion of freedom as "choice" is that it
          >can only imply a master/slave relationship. Freedom as the absence of
          >constraint, both external and internal, is a freedom that locks a person
          >within herself. I am destined to be free, according to this definition.
          >But this notion has given rise to all kinds of hierarchical dualisms,
          >e.g. the soul that governs the body, the man who rules over the woman,
          >the God who rules over man. Freedom as "free choice" is an arbitrary
          >freedom that in any relationship allows only one person to exist freely.
          >IOW, all relationships are defined in terms of the relation of a subject
          >to its object. I find this inadequate.

          I think you're very much complicating this and in the process you've
          'rationalized yourself out of possibility'.

          There's always some sort of 'master/slave' relationship in
          communication...one speaks and one listens. When both speak or both
          listen there's no communication! But freedom locks a person within
          themselves? Huh? If there's an absense of constraint then how are
          they locked? Why does it mean anything about destiny? It simply means
          if you want to be free remove your constaints! (to want is to
          suffer...yet again).

          >
          >> You're finding yourself through argumentation because you've made
          >> claims about what it means to exist and are measuring them against
          >> the standards of others. Otherwise everything you thought would be
          >> true by default to you which would not be the actions of a person who
          >> values continuing to exist. (For example, I recognize I exist and as
          >> such want to continue to exist. As such I make the claim that walking
          >> in traffic is a bad idea and I'll argue for it to anyone who would
          >> listen should I choose to involve myself in a discussion on traffic
          > > safety.)
          >
          >But why would you want to argue this to anyone?

          So I can be understood! (Just as you are by asserting the question!)

          >Why would you care? I
          >suppose if everyone were to walk in traffic except you, the world would
          >become much smaller and you might get lonely. But as you said, "to want
          >is to suffer." According to this statement, you could choose your
          >loneliness and thereby avoid suffering.

          Why would someone want to be lonely?

          >
          > > Right...being 'heard' is a pretty good feeling.
          >
          >Well, I'm sorry if you feel you haven't been heard. I'll try listening
          >more intently.

          I never claimed I didn't. I simply stated (acknowledged) that "being
          'heard' is a pretty good feeling."

          >
          >[Shirley]
          >> > Marcel
          >> >isn't concerned with argumentation. He's not concerned with proving
          >> >anything.
          >
          >[Randy]
          >> Yes, he is...that's why he wrote it...he was trying to be right in
          > > the eyes of the world. Me too!
          >
          >I liked the "me too!" part. Actually, I laughed when I read that! I
          >think it might be the one of the few expressions of sincerity. Children
          >say it all the time: "Me too!" Maybe human nature is basically
          >self-centered. Selfish, if you prefer. I'm beginning to think it is.
          >At the same time, I think that selflessness is also basic to human
          >nature, and that this is the contradiction that defines our existence.

          ??? If I said "I do as well." it would've been less sincere?

          Funny how one of the criteria people have for gauging sincerity is familiarity.

          If it's familiar, it's shared.
          If it's shared, it's not a threat.
          If it's not a threat it's probable sincere.

          Funny how that seguas to the above conversation of 'communication
          breaks down walls'...yes? No?

          >
          >> He [Marcel] is aiming to arrive at being fully understood just like anyone
          >> else. Using words like art and discovery instead of philosophy and
          >> ontology doesn't change the motive.
          >
          >All language carries an implicit intent toward understanding, there's no
          >disputing this.

          Well said!

          >As for his motives, who knows what they might have
          >been? I don't think we can ever be certain of our own motives. No one
          >is this transparent, even to himself, it seems to me.

          I don't care about what the motives are...I simply dispute the claim
          that we wasn't trying to be understood. (the hell he wasn't!).

          --

          Signature......
          "In the best relationships sex is the booby prize."

          "I'm gotten so out of shape sittin' at the computer all day that I
          get out of breath when I have to reach for the percent key!"

          - Zeitman
        • Shirley Isaac
          ... It seems that you want to make possibility instead of actuality a primary category. I might not have problems with this, but possibility must be located
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 5, 2000
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            Randy Zeitman wrote:

            > If you are right (rightious) about everything, then you have no
            > possibilities....cause you already know everyting.
            > If you wrong about everything (that is, open minded) then you have an
            > infinite number of possibilities. But of course, choosing to be wrong
            > is certainly a rightious choice so you can certainly feel good about
            > choosing to be wrong.

            It seems that you want to make possibility instead of actuality a
            primary category. I might not have problems with this, but possibility
            must be located somewhere, and as A. N. Whitehead said, if "somewhere"
            is not present, it is not at all.

            > I don't know what the hermeneutical circle is...I'll go try to find
            > out. Does it simply mean that communication is the process of finding
            > agreement? (because there's no agreement to begin with...therefore
            > everything is a non-communication)? Just a guess.

            I'm not sure who was the first to use this term. It has reference to
            language theory, though, and particularly to the the hermeneutics of
            Gadamer and Ricoeur. I think your definition is pretty close to the
            mark. My understanding of the hermeneutical circle is that we always
            come to the text with a pre-given understanding of what is being said;
            therefore, there are no two readings that are the same. Yet, the text
            has the capacity to critique our assumptions, and so lead us on to new
            insights. Which comes first, our present understanding, or the world of
            meaning that the text opens up? An analogy would be the question of
            whether the chicken or the egg comes first.

            > Why would someone want to be lonely?

            Why not?

            > Funny how one of the criteria people have for gauging sincerity is familiarity.
            >
            > If it's familiar, it's shared.
            > If it's shared, it's not a threat.
            > If it's not a threat it's probable sincere.
            >
            > Funny how that seguas to the above conversation of 'communication
            > breaks down walls'...yes? No?

            Yes, I think so!

            Shirley
          • E. David McCarthy
            ... Greetings to all! The all important preface In my opinion should be understood here to balance my dogmatic style, so that none may take offense!
            Message 5 of 29 , Sep 5, 2000
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              ---------------------------------------------------------------------_->
              >
              > >
              > >Hi Randy,
              > >
              > >I'd like to pick up this conversation on your statement, "To want is to
              > >suffer." To exist is also to suffer, or so it would seem. Existing
              > >implies a lack, an emptiness, a being-for-itself that is at the same
              > >time not being. Sartre's philosophy is a philosophy of non-being.
              > >Nothingness. This is inescapable on account of his opposition between
              > >being-for-itself and being-in-itself.
              >
              > How does existence imply emptiness or result in suffering? Existance
              > is an assertion. It's not a thing, it's a claim. But claiming
              > something doesn't at all mean you require a result (suffering). Can
              > you give an example of existance causing suffering in of itself?
              >

              Greetings to all!

              The all important preface "In my opinion" should be understood here to
              balance my dogmatic style, so that none may take offense!

              "Existence is an assertion"

              Existence can never be an assertion, because we have not chosen to exist!

              Rather it has been thrust upon us as it were "a priori", as a fact to which
              we may respond, a frame which we may fill with our own interpretation, as an
              artist adorns his canvas. The canvas however, has prior existence and its
              own integrity as a thing-in-itself..rather like life.

              Whether we accept or reject the challenge of existence by an assertion is
              the real dilemma here.

              The old fear that an artist bears the empty canvass is well documented, but
              a decision either in favour or against painting on it will ultimately be
              taken by default, whether the artist wishes to take it or not!

              Choice exists in relation to the painter's response to the empty canvass but
              it can never be ignored..a decision "not to choose to choose" in this
              instance does not exist. It is really a non-choice. The artist "decides" or
              more succinctly ends up painting or not painting on the canvass. The
              decision may be subconscious or overt, organic over time or sudden, but it
              is required and will be taken.

              This allows the modified statement: "Existence is a forced assertion /
              non-assertion" In real terms we can replace the word "assertion" with
              "confession", and end up with a more negative impression of the individual
              being brought kicking and screaming into life, as we actually are as
              newborns!

              After this the artist considers the manner in which he/she will conduct the
              work, (assuming a positive decision to paint has "occurred" to the painter)

              Now the artist will either choose to lavishly and feverishly decorate
              his/her work with zeal, dab at it listlessly or leave the canvass to its
              white purity. An infinity of options in this regard exists but the implied
              and necessary decision "to paint or not to paint" will have been taken, as
              it logically must, with the degree of enthusiasm for the task remaining as
              the only variable.

              Choice or Assertion, (are the terms interchangeable?), in this context,("to
              paint or not to paint :o))" is actually compulsory!, so that the terms in
              themselves either become redundant or are misnomers in themselves. This is
              the primary, forced, decision of the artist which cannot always be said to
              be an assertion of his own volition. It is rather a non-decision, or at best
              a neutral decision which i believe occurs to the artist, whether it has been
              well deliberated upon or otherwise

              The positive decision or what i call the secondary decision, is the
              enthusiasm with which the artist engages his/her task, or not, as the case
              may be.

              So the "real" decision is my choosing of the setting and conditions under
              which i will exist, the values, beliefs and prejudices which i will
              cultivate etc., this being analogous to the manner in which the artist uses
              techniques of perspective, light and shade, tone and colour to produce
              his/her painting.

              A distinction can thus be drawn between the ultimately compulsory EITHER-OR
              non-decision, or primary decision, which often must be forced out of us in
              even the most mundane of matters,(go out stay in?), and the secondary
              decision which concerns itself with quality of response, (go to pub
              willingly or grudgingly in really wanting to stay home in the first place!)

              The real assertion is that of "existence management" not of existence
              itself.

              Our clinging to, or indeed, rejection of, existence, can indeed be assertive
              or otherwise.

              "Life is a circumstance that most people invariably fail to provide for."

              I think this sentence sums up the situation neatly. I do not need to assert
              my existence, for i already exist, whether i like it or not. By going
              further down that road we are led to such absurdities as:

              "I assert my non-existence"

              the real question is the nature of response which we make to our existence.

              Consider what Descartes said :

              "I think THEREFORE i am"

              Thought/Assertion does not beget Existence-In-Itself (aka "existence is an
              assertion"), but is a property and gift of that existence.

              The empty canvass confronts, engages and maybe even threatens the artist to
              respond and define/assert him/herself in this way!

              THEREFORE implies the consequence of thought upon being and not vice-versa.

              I'm getting dizzy now..i only meant to write a couple of sentences..this
              mini-treatise has written itself!

              it has asserted itself through me..and has not asserted me through it

              Was it a forced decision?

              eddie.
            • Randy Zeitman
              ... ...well... If somewhere is not present certainly brings somewhere into existance for me! ... Because lonely means to want company and choosing to
              Message 6 of 29 , Sep 5, 2000
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                >It seems that you want to make possibility instead of actuality a
                >primary category. I might not have problems with this, but possibility
                >must be located somewhere, and as A. N. Whitehead said, if "somewhere"
                >is not present, it is not at all.

                ...well..."If somewhere is not present" certainly brings "somewhere"
                into existance for me!
                >
                >> Why would someone want to be lonely?
                >
                >Why not?

                Because lonely means 'to want company' and choosing to cause
                suffering is simply stupid.
                --

                Signature......
                "In the best relationships sex is the booby prize."

                "I'm gotten so out of shape sittin' at the computer all day that I
                get out of breath when I have to reach for the percent key!"

                - Zeitman
              • Randy Zeitman
                ... Sure we did...the instant we started asserting. If you re claiming birth is the moment I started to exist I say perhaps for the observer but not to me. I
                Message 7 of 29 , Sep 5, 2000
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                  >The all important preface "In my opinion" should be understood here to
                  >balance my dogmatic style, so that none may take offense!
                  >
                  > "Existence is an assertion"
                  >
                  > Existence can never be an assertion, because we have not chosen to exist!

                  Sure we did...the instant we started asserting. If you're claiming
                  birth is the moment I started to exist I say perhaps for the observer
                  but not to me. I didn't exist till I made whatever assertion I first
                  made (an observation is also an assertion). If you then asked me when
                  I chose to first assert I'll just say I didn't have to...it was built
                  into the mechanism of being human. There was no choice involved.

                  >
                  >Rather it has been thrust upon us as it were "a priori", as a fact to which
                  >we may respond, a frame which we may fill with our own interpretation, as an
                  >artist adorns his canvas. The canvas however, has prior existence and its
                  >own integrity as a thing-in-itself..rather like life.

                  Sorry, I'm an atheist. Hard to be an Existentialist without being so to me...

                  >
                  >Whether we accept or reject the challenge of existence by an assertion is
                  >the real dilemma here.
                  >
                  >The old fear that an artist bears the empty canvass is well documented, but
                  >a decision either in favour or against painting on it will ultimately be
                  >taken by default, whether the artist wishes to take it or not!

                  Exactly why existance is an assertion...when the canvas was
                  distinguished it's possibility to become a painting was also chosen.
                  When I distinguish an apple the possibility of eating it also becomes
                  available. That said, it's a good idea to increase the number of
                  distinctions one has (which we also call learning) so that the number
                  of possibilities available increase as well.

                  And whether an empty canvas is a burden or not is soley in the choice
                  by the artist...another choice. The artist could just as well say
                  'this canvas is fine as is and that choice is my work of art'.

                  ...other stuff deleted...I didn't get it...

                  >I'm getting dizzy now..i only meant to write a couple of sentences..this
                  >mini-treatise has written itself!

                  You chose the right word.
                  --

                  Signature......
                  "In the best relationships sex is the booby prize."

                  "I'm gotten so out of shape sittin' at the computer all day that I
                  get out of breath when I have to reach for the percent key!"

                  - Zeitman
                • Tommy Beavitt
                  ... I like your analogy Eddie. But I don t agree that the degree of enthusiasm is the only variable although it may be the most important one. Why we discuss
                  Message 8 of 29 , Sep 6, 2000
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                    At 10:33 pm +0100 5/9/00, E. David McCarthy wrote:
                    >Now the artist will either choose to lavishly and feverishly decorate
                    >his/her work with zeal, dab at it listlessly or leave the canvass to its
                    >white purity. An infinity of options in this regard exists but the implied
                    >and necessary decision "to paint or not to paint" will have been taken, as
                    >it logically must, with the degree of enthusiasm for the task remaining as
                    >the only variable.

                    I like your analogy Eddie. But I don't agree that the degree of
                    enthusiasm is the only variable although it may be the most important
                    one.

                    Why we discuss philosophy is not because we are bored and want
                    something to do, or even because we wish to project and assert
                    ourselves but rather because belief systems actually have a bearing
                    on how we will fill our canvases.

                    If your philosophy consists of the belief that power is the only
                    important factor you may well end up herding your fellow men into gas
                    chambers. This is a different way of filling your canvas than would
                    result if your philosophy was more concerned with love and
                    compassion. (Sorry about the rather trite example)

                    This is not just 'degrees of enthusiasm': killers have shown
                    remarkable enthusiasm as they go about their grisly business.

                    At 10:33 pm +0100 5/9/00, E. David McCarthy wrote:
                    >Thought/Assertion does not beget Existence-In-Itself (aka "existence is an
                    >assertion"), but is a property and gift of that existence.

                    I agree with you here.

                    Tommy
                    --
                    tel +44 (0)1349 883858
                    3 Moultavie Cottages, Boath, Alness, Ross-shire, IV17 0XJ, UK
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                    Download Tommy Beavitt songs at: http://tommybeavitt.iuma.com
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                  • E. David McCarthy
                    ... From: Tommy Beavitt To: Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2000 1:02 PM Subject: Re: [Sartre] bad faith. ... implied
                    Message 9 of 29 , Sep 6, 2000
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                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Tommy Beavitt" <tommy@...>
                      To: <Sartre@egroups.com>
                      Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2000 1:02 PM
                      Subject: Re: [Sartre] bad faith.


                      > -------------------------- eGroups Sponsor -------------------------~-~>>
                      > At 10:33 pm +0100 5/9/00, E. David McCarthy wrote:
                      > >Now the artist will either choose to lavishly and feverishly decorate
                      > >his/her work with zeal, dab at it listlessly or leave the canvass to its
                      > >white purity. An infinity of options in this regard exists but the
                      implied
                      > >and necessary decision "to paint or not to paint" will have been taken,
                      as
                      > >it logically must, with the degree of enthusiasm for the task remaining
                      as
                      > >the only variable.
                      >
                      > I like your analogy Eddie. But I don't agree that the degree of
                      > enthusiasm is the only variable although it may be the most important
                      > one.
                      >
                      You're probably right,(i wasn't thinking this idea through rigorously
                      enough!), could you suggest some others?

                      > Why we discuss philosophy is not because we are bored and want
                      > something to do, or even because we wish to project and assert
                      > ourselves but rather because belief systems actually have a bearing
                      > on how we will fill our canvases.

                      Did i imply boredom as a motive for philosophy, even as an implication?
                      if so where?..i ask this purely out of interest and not in a confrontational
                      way, for it may well have been implied by what i wrote though i stress that
                      it was definitely not an idea i intended to convey.

                      I completely agree with your conviction that "belief systems actually
                      have a bearing
                      > on how we will fill our canvases". They can be and frequently are the
                      prime motivations behind a lot of life-artists' work..but we are assuming
                      that the artist is as principled and driven by conviction as you seem to
                      be..there are a vast array of other possibilities including boredom, which
                      is as valid a factor as any other.


                      > If your philosophy consists of the belief that power is the only
                      > important factor you may well end up herding your fellow men into gas
                      > chambers. This is a different way of filling your canvas than would
                      > result if your philosophy was more concerned with love and
                      > compassion. (Sorry about the rather trite example)
                      >
                      the "moral" argument opens another can of worms with relation to this, but i
                      was making no moral judgements about the decision of the artist..does the
                      exercise of philosophy require me to make a value judgement in this regard?

                      > This is not just 'degrees of enthusiasm': killers have shown
                      > remarkable enthusiasm as they go about their grisly business.
                      >
                      >
                      OK, Tommy, obviously i didn't qualify the "degrees of enthusiasm" concept
                      quite far enough; it didn't take any moral polarity into account. The artist
                      can paint a pleasant pastoral scene or the details of a vicious battle as he
                      wishes, i chose to interpret the decision to paint as a "positive" decision,
                      as opposed to the decision not to paint as being a "negative" decision;
                      positive and negative in this case are my positive and negative moral poles
                      subject to my interpretation. This is of course the problem unless you
                      believe in Absolute Truth according to Karol Wojtyla. But is there room in
                      existentialist philosophy for received morals, these implying as they do
                      some nature of higher authority and an ordered world with purpose and design
                      albeit imperfect design?.

                      .i apologise.. i'm muddying the waters here..it is difficult to keep to your
                      point in these things!

                      Of course as has been pointed out, the decision to leave the canvass blank
                      is also an artistic statement, a valid point which i completely overlooked!


                      At 10:33 pm +0100 5/9/00, E. David McCarthy wrote:
                      > >Thought/Assertion does not beget Existence-In-Itself (aka "existence is
                      an
                      > >assertion"), but is a property and gift of that existence.
                      >
                      > I agree with you here.
                      >
                      > Tommy
                      > --
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