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59762Re: more nothing

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  • Mary
    May 11, 2013
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      eduard,

      Sartre isn't so much concerned with absence of something or someone as he is with what happens to thought, how it has to break with itself with every nihilation it thinks. For Sartre any anxiety about a temporary absence is overshadowed by what happens in thought, the enacting of a rupture with the continuity of being.

      Concerning Pierre's absence, "If in terms of my perception of the room, I conceive of the former inhabitant who is no longer in the room, I am of necessity forced to produce an act of thought which no prior state can determine nor motivate, in short to effect in myself a break with being. And in so far as I continually use negativities to isolate and determine existents—i.e., to think them— the succession of my "states of consciousness" is a perpetual separation of effect from cause, since every nihilating process must derive its source from only itself...Every psychic process of nihilation implies then a cleavage between the immediate psychic past and the present. "

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@...> wrote:
      >
      > I think one has to go to the original French meaning of “néant”
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      > From Larousse ...
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      > Le non-être, le fait de ne pas être, de ne plus être.
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      > La non-existence, ce qui précède ou suit l'existence : Retourner au néant.
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      > Le peu de valeur de quelque chose, de quelqu'un : Le néant de la gloire.
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      > Absence totale, vide : Le néant total de sa pensée ne vous a pas frappé ?
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      > En style administratif, absence totale de certains éléments, rien à signaler : Signes particuliers : néant.
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      > With respect to your example of the desk, the “néant” or “nothing” isn’t your imagining the absence of the calendar, it is rather the actual absence of the calendar and your having to deal with that reduction to “néant”.
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      > The question in my mind is why should that lead to anxiety?? So what if the calendar is no longer there??
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      > eduard
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      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Jim
      > Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2013 8:17 AM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: more nothing
      >
      > Mary,
      >
      > Your short summary of your thoughts on Being and Nothing is a helpful focus and stimulus for my own thoughts.
      >
      > For me Nothing is a concept (a mental construct) which does not pick out anything in reality. If we want to refer to a component of reality, or a possible state of reality we should rather use the word `Nothingness'. Here I am following what Jim Holt writes in his book at page 49:
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      > << As the logicians remind us, nothing is not a name; it is mere shorthand for "not anything." To say, for example, that "nothing is greater than God" is not to talk about a super-divine entity; it is simply to say that there is not anything greater than God. "Nothingness," by contrast, is indeed a name. It designates an ontological option, a possible reality, a conceivable state of affairs: that in which nothing exists. >>
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      > Unlike Hegel, I try to keep a distance between my thoughts (including the concepts I use) and the aspects of reality my thoughts are about. So in thought I can negate things: I can imagine my desk without the calendar on it â€" i.e. I can imagine my desk with an empty space where my calendar traditionally sits. However I cannot make the calendar disappear from my desk by thought alone. I would need to physically pick it up and move it for that to happen. Certainly we can change reality and make things disappear, e.g. by burning them, but thought alone cannot change reality, in my view. (Arguably I cannot even change my mental life by thought alone. I can try to erase a particular painful memory, but that painful memory keeps coming back.)
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      > I still think the thought `why is there something rather than nothing?' is a powerful thought which, if nothing else, fills me with a sense of wonder that there is something at all, and I am a part of it. From my own perspective I am a big part of this reality, but from the outside (objective) perspective I am a mere tiny (very temporary) fraction of what there is.
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      > I think even the advances in science of the last hundred years or so, with the new knowledge that our universe started from something extremely small (possibly nothing at all) and is currently expanding outwards, does not remove my sense of wonder that I am a part of this strange reality, currently hammering away at my laptop keyboard.
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      > Jim
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