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Re: [existlist] human nature

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  • james tan
    eduard, i think you missed my point; and i got the odd feeling that we are going round in circle all along basically agreeing with one another except for the
    Message 1 of 39 , Apr 8, 2001
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      eduard,

      i think you missed my point; and i got the odd feeling that we are going
      round in circle all along basically agreeing with one another except for the
      way we understand each other. there is a little communication problem here.

      in any case, we don't have a agreed definition of 'human natue' to base our
      discussion on, i use it in one sense, and you use it in another, and all the
      while we exchange with one another as if we know what the other party have
      in mind.

      when i bring out the fact that being chinese doesn't mean that you have to
      be a follower of confucius, your answer reflects that we understand each
      other differently, and my point is precisely that.

      as to ultimate ethical system, you mentioned there is, such as the 'well
      established' bible or koran, etc, or the evolved social order. i afraid you
      quite missed my point.

      james.


      >From: "Edward Alf" <ealf@...>
      >Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      >To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      >Subject: Re: [existlist] human nature
      >Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2001 21:36:13 -0400
      >
      >James et folks,
      >
      >being a member of Islam or a follower of Confucius does not relate to human
      >nature ... you are suggesting that for example should you be Chinese, then
      >you might follow Confucius, if there were such a thing as human nature ...
      >and thus since it is not proven that you would automatically be a follower,
      >then human nature does not exist ...
      >
      >but that is not logical ... you are pre-defining specific conditions so as
      >to make your point ... being Chinese can result in your being anything ...
      >from a full blown atheist to a believer in Tao ...
      >
      >you are making human nature too specific ... there is nothing in human
      >nature which would make one into a follower of Confucius, or a member of
      >Islam ... it simply does not get down to that level ... human nature is
      >more
      >general ... i would say that it is our nature to seek after orderliness,
      >thus one could be a follower of Confucius, but also any other type of
      >person
      >to achieve this general goal ....
      >
      >is there a prior criteria system to guide you? ... i should think there is
      >... it is in human social evolution that defines what is desirable for
      >personal action ... this is not something that is limited to only one creed
      >or religion ... the proper study of mankind is man ... you find it
      >expressed
      >in all sorts of references ... it is in the Bible ... and in the Koran ...
      >and any other of excellent sources which has stood the test of time ...
      >
      >eduard
      >
      >
      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
      >To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: Friday, April 06, 2001 10:15 AM
      >Subject: Re: [existlist] human nature
      >
      >
      > >
      > > linda,
      > >
      > > of course sartre is no god; in fact he said along with nietzsche that
      >god
      >is
      > > dead; there are only humans, and that goes for sartre as well. i would
      >not
      > > say whether i am a sartre -ist or not (to use your coinage), but over
      >here
      >i
      > > was merely reflecting what he said or believed - i believe it was not
      >meant
      > > to be taken as a quote as if it is from a bible as authority. i just
      >said:
      > > sartre said.
      > > having said that, i myself tend to take sartre's ontology as a framework
      > > when i look at human situation and condition. i am only a undergraduate
      > > student in psychology, and knows little of philosophy, whether of the
      > > essentialist or existentialist school, so i appreciate your correction.
      >i
      > > believe sartre had arrived at that conclusion after phenomenolgical
      > > 'seeing', looking for essence in husserl's sense, and had come to the
      > > 'intuition' that the essence of being human is to have no essence,
      >unlike
      > > the being-in-itself (or dead objects without consciousness - in a sense,
      > > they have the fullness of being). it concerns the nature or structure of
      > > human consciousness, and he realised after eidetic reduction that
      > > consciousness is nothingness, in the sense that consciousness is not an
      > > entity, but a structure as intentionality, i.e. it takes on anything
      >that
      > > existence has to offer to it. this lack, this freedom, this
      >being-for-itself
      > > has nothingness at its very core; in fact, consciousness depends on
      >objects
      > > out there in the world for it to exist, since consciousness is always
      > > consciousness OF (). man is a useless passion insofar as the
      > > being-for-itself 'envies', so to speak, the being-in-itself; he vaguely
      > > realises his own being slippery and non-existent and he does all he can
      >to
      > > negate that (the ability of his consciousness, and thus being circular
      >it
      >is
      > > a futile attempt), and to fill it, and to use freud's terms, represses
      >it.
      > > now, at this point, i just assume with sartre and nietzsche that this
      > > universe is absurd, in the sense that it is totally indifferent to human
      > > needs for meaning in their lives: human is such that he needs meaning to
      > > continue living in a meaningful way (does it sounds tautological?) and
      >yet
      > > there is none. there is no supernatural guide as to how to act or
      >behave,
      > > nothing within (since consciousness is nothingness or freedom (the
      >meanng
      >of
      > > freedom is that you are the author of values, hence you are
      >fundamentally
      > > responsible for it - eric fromm talks about the psychological
      >implication
      >of
      > > this in his book "escape from freedom", and sartre calls it "bad faith")
      >or
      > > without. of course, there is the bible, or koran, or the buddhist
      > > scriptures, what have you, but it is a guide only because you first
      >choose
      > > it to be so. the point is: ultimately you are still the one responsible
      >in
      > > choosing that ethical system to be your guide. is there a prior criteria
      > > system to guide you? ultimately if you push far enough, there is none:
      >there
      > > is a abyss. you come to a point when you leap in a act of choice,
      > > irrationally (irrational in the sense that there is no higher criterias,
      > > since that is already the ultimate). can you appeal to human nature? but
      > > that question presuppose there is one? since it is posited, then let the
      > > positer demonstrates its existence. if you ask me, i think there is
      >none.
      >we
      > > are solely responsible for everything we do, and we cannot blame it on
      >god,
      > > or mother, or human nature. psychologically we may all fear death,
      >choose
      > > pleasure, avoid pain, but we CAN choose death, avoid pleasure, accept
      >pain
      > > (not that we must) if we want to, if there is a meaning to do it, and
      > > meaning is chosen freely. i can be chinese, but that doesn't mean i HAVE
      >to
      > > accept confusius's ethics, i can be born in arab, but it doesn't mean i
      >HAVE
      > > to be a muslim. i can, and that is the idea. is there a guide for the
      > > ultimate guide that could guide your little actions? there is none. even
      >if
      > > there is a god, you must first choose him.
      > > i am not totally accepting of sartre's idea, but i do think he makes
      >sense.
      > > at least to me. but comment or correct if you have anything to say, i'd
      >be
      > > most interested to hear from your point of view.
      > >
      > > james tan.
      >
      >
      >
      >

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    • Edward Alf
      james, i understand what you are saying ... my view is that, from an existentialist position, the individual makes individual choices, specific to
      Message 39 of 39 , Apr 13, 2001
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        james,

        i understand what you are saying ...

        my view is that, from an existentialist position, the individual
        makes individual choices, specific to himself/herself ... what
        happens after that is another decision in relation to morals and
        ethics ... for example, if im really angry at someone, i might
        choose initially to murder him/her ... but given this choice, i
        have another to decide whether to implement it ... i may say that
        this is contrary to civilized behavior and thus will not follow
        through with the choice ... or i might say that i risk capital
        punishment and thus am risking my own existence and decide that
        the release of anger is not worth the risk ...

        the point is that the basic principle is the freedom to choose...
        regardless of what that choice may lead to ... once you add
        qualifications the freedom is limited ... that is the way in
        which i treat logic ... one step at a time ... it is like looking
        for a new car that i can use to drive to work ... i first look
        into the set of cars in general (as opposed to bicycles or boats)
        ... then i look into this set for a subset of cars that would
        provide me with basic transportation (Volkswagens versus
        cadillacs) ... my old boss used to refer to it as the salami
        principle .. one slice at a time ...

        eduard

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, April 13, 2001 10:57 AM
        Subject: Re: [existlist] ethics, morality, law, etc.


        >
        > eduard,
        >
        > if i think that murder is wrong, then i am choosing not only
        for myself that
        > murder is wrong, i am choosing for all mankind that murder is
        wrong. this is
        > the case in principle. this is logic. it is another story
        whether what i
        > think gets implemented or not. any disagreement with that?
        well, that is my
        > stance.
        >
        > james.
        >
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