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Re: Kant

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  • bjunius30
    Shari:) If you have not seen Momento or Fight Club, then you should one night during the week when you have free time. They are psychological movies with
    Message 1 of 39 , Apr 29, 2003
      \\\

      Shari:)


      If you have not seen Momento or Fight Club, then you should one
      night during the week when you have free time. They are psychological
      movies with very strong innuendo of philosophical existentialism.

      Ex.

      Momento _ A man who has short term memory- forgets what He did the
      day before and all the people He met, except for his memories of his
      accident before which makes him persistent on finding who he needs to
      kill.

      They are both good movies. Just like the Matrix they are filled with
      existentialism philosophy
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shari hyder" <hydersjmj@x> wrote:
      > Bryan, :)
      >
      > Having very briefly read Kant, I think he would see my hesitation in
      > saving the man on the unsafe bridge knowing the man's intention is
      to
      > commit suicide as morally repugnant. I could be wrong, but perhaps
      > someone with more knowledge of Kant's philosophy could correct me on
      > this.
      >
      > No, have not seen neither `Momento" nor "The Fight Club." Are they
      more
      > psychological than philosophical?
      >
      > Have written stuff on God and Morality. Hope to post it soon.
      >
      > Cheers!
      > shari
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: bjunius30 [mailto:bjunius30@n...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, 29 April 2003 3:54 a.m.
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Scientific Existentialism and such
      >
      > Hi Shari:)
      >
      > I do not mean to be critical on your comments, but do sense a bit
      of
      > Kantian in you.
      > "Duty", IMHO is not about Man or nature as Kant once described; i
      > would seem to think "Duty" by any term, is a tool for political
      > pursuit for totalitarian methods of thought.
      > In the case to say, we do have duties that one must choose to live
      > by, but it does not mean we are sworn to live by them as Kant
      > proclaimed by ontological arguments.
      > Have you seen Momento? Or Fight Club?
      > Man can be as functional as he wants to be; without organisation of
      > society to confine Him, he is the epitomy unto himself. Mind is His
      > irreducible analogy.
      >
      > Bryan
      >
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shari hyder" <hydersjmj@x> wrote:
      > > Re Bentham – After much thought, I think that the caveat is that
      if
      > we
      > > choose to employ Utilitarianism, we are obliged to think carefully
      > > through all of its implications so that we are not merely naïve
      > > Utilitarians. Sacrificing individuals has its place under many
      > > circumstances.
      > >
      > > Re J S Mill – The Harm Principle is akin to live and let live –
      this
      > > time after very brief thinking. If a man is about to cross an
      unsafe
      > > bridge, and I know it to be unsafe, it will be my duty to warn
      him.
      > If
      > > the man wants to cross the bridge with the intention of committing
      > > suicide, and I am unaware of his intentions, my duty is
      unchanged.
      > If I
      > > am aware of his intentions, he puts my life at risk. But he will
      not
      > > care because he is beyond reason. He is harming himself, so the
      > question
      > > is, should I care?
      > >
      > > shari
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: bjunius30 [mailto:bjunius30@n...]
      > > Sent: Saturday, 26 April 2003 3:38 a.m.
      > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Scientific Existentialism and such
      > >
      > > Thanks for the summarization of existentialism Harry. It seems
      you
      > > like philosophy as much as i do. In your own opinion, do you
      think
      > > epiphenomenons are all we are and should feel more or less
      > inadequate
      > > because of our subjective experiences?
      > > In the writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mills; It would
      > > seem to take proactive participation of our own sublimeness,
      maybe
      > > just simply stating we are a beast of our own burdens, and in the
      > > act, results in our humanity being of the distinction of our own
      > > annihilation in the making. Would you agree? What point of view do
      > > see for this matter?
      > >
      > > :)
      > >
      > > Bryan Evan Junius
      > >
      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, john halley <johnmhalley@y...>
      > > wrote:
      > > > Thanks for the very nice summary.With respectto guilt. Perhaps
      > it
      > > would be useful to distinguish between remorse and guilt.
      Remorse
      > > being something like, "oh, i made a mistake. Sure don't want to
      do
      > > that again". And guilt being more, "oh, i made a mistake. I'm
      so
      > > terrible, I'm so bad". It seems like guilt is more self
      > destructive
      > > and remorse is part of a learning process. Warmly
      > > >
      > > > Harry JMK <ti083866@t...> wrote:From
      > > HYPERLINK
      > > "HYPERLINK
      > "http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadra/ThemeSix.htm"http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadr
      a/Th
      > emeSix.htm"HYPERLINK
      > "http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadr"http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadr
      > a/Th
      > > emeSix.htm : Authors, some definitions,
      > > > mutual influences, some answers.
      > > >
      > > > Existentialism
      > > > (1) Husserl and phenomenology
      > > > (2) Existentialism
      > > > (3) Kierkegaard
      > > > (4) Heidegger
      > > > (5) Jaspers
      > > > (6) Calderon de la Barca
      > > > (7) Tillich
      > > > (8) Sartre
      > > > (9) Scientific existentialism
      > > > (11) Tolstoi
      > > > (12) Anxiety
      > > > (13) Guilt
      > > > (14) Existence precedes essence
      > > > (15) Why are there beings rather than nothing?
      > > >
      > > > (1) Husserl and phenomenology. The German philosopher Husserl
      > lived
      > > from
      > > > 1859 to 1938. He developed the view of phenomenology saying:
      All
      > > knowledge
      > > > and all truth depend on the careful and accurate description of
      > > > first-person human experience, exactly as that experience
      reveals
      > > itself to
      > > > us. In other words I am invited to focus, observe, analyze,
      > > abstract, and
      > > > describe my experiences with candor and precision. The
      challenge
      > is
      > > that we
      > > > are dealing here with what cannot be seen, touched, measured,
      and
      > > accounted
      > > > for on the physical level. We are insisting here that such
      > > phenomena that
      > > > confront consciousness are just as real as those that confront
      > the
      > > senses.
      > > > Therefore happiness is just as real as a building, depression
      is
      > > just as
      > > > real as your fingers hitting computer keys, the experience of
      the
      > > future is
      > > > just as real as your experience of that hammer hitting your
      thumb
      > > in the
      > > > present, the anticipation of death is just as real as your bed,
      > and
      > > so is
      > > > the idea of nothingness very real, and the sense of
      subjectivity,
      > > the
      > > > feeling of free will, the presence of stress and strain, the
      > > meaning of
      > > > work, etc. The challenge is that such phenomenological
      > descriptions
      > > tax and
      > > > stretch language to its limit because of the changeable and
      > > ambiguous
      > > > nature of human experience. A typical example of such a
      > description
      > > would
      > > > be /Time flows at varying speeds/. Well, we can't see that but
      > > we /know/
      > > > this from experience. We know under what conditions time flies
      > > (when we are
      > > > having fun), and when it drags (when we are pretending to have
      > fun
      > > at a
      > > > party?).
      > > >
      > > > (2) Existentialism. Existentialism is the application of the
      > > technique of
      > > > phenomenology to the human situation. This had led to a theory
      of
      > > being
      > > > human based on sensitive descriptions of how it feels to be
      human
      > > in the
      > > > real world, the one in which we live and move and have our
      being.
      > > >
      > > > (3) Kierkegaard. Soren A. Kierkegaard (1813-1855) contributed
      to
      > > this
      > > > existential worldview by specializing in the humanly important
      > > states of
      > > > anxiety and dread. Well, somebody had to do it! So he studied
      how
      > > humans
      > > > confront boredom, melancholy, and despair.
      > > >
      > > > (4) Heidegger. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) contributed to this
      > > existential
      > > > worldview by developing his analysis of the first-person
      > experience
      > > of
      > > > time, death, guilt, and authenticity.
      > > >
      > > > (5) Jaspers. Karl Jaspers (1883-1961) developed a thorough
      > > empirical
      > > > description of the experience of finitude and limitation,
      which,
      > > according
      > > > to him, is the defining trait of human nature. Our greatest
      > > limitation is
      > > > the inevitable fact of death. We are all prisoners on death row.
      > > >
      > > > (6) Calderon de la Barca. A 17th century Spanish poet, Calderon
      > > once said
      > > > that our most heinous crime meriting the death sentence is that
      > of
      > > having
      > > > been born. Yet, the full recognition of our finitude can be, if
      > we
      > > allow
      > > > it, the sole thing that gives us the courage to truly live our
      > > lives.
      > > >
      > > > (7) Tillich. The existentialist philosopher and theologian Paul
      > > Tillich
      > > > (1886-1967) gave the religious consciousness a sensitive and
      > > thoroughgoing
      > > > empirical description. He explored and emphasized our endless
      > > mystification
      > > > and wonder at the mere fact that things area core experience he
      > > called the
      > > > miracle of being.
      > > >
      > > > (8) Sartre. Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1979) was a man endowed with
      > > > extraordinary introspective shrewdness. He specialized in an
      > > empirical and
      > > > subjectively oriented examination of the emotions. Before going
      > any
      > > > further, a summary: Phenomenology tells us to see things as
      they
      > > are.
      > > > Existentialism is the ongoing theory of what it means to be
      human
      > > that
      > > > follows from seeing things as they are.
      > > >
      > > > (9) Scientific existentialism. Hard scientific data differ
      > > from "soft"
      > > > existential data. Yet, as I indicated earlier, existentially,
      > both
      > > are
      > > > real. Let's compare these two sets of data a bit. A statistic
      is
      > a
      > > > comprehensible datum only when interpreted by a sophisticated
      > > scientist;
      > > > the throbbing of desire is an immediate, bare, and un-
      interpreted
      > > > presentation, equally clear to young and old, bright and dull.
      > Both
      > > > experiences are real. A trace in a cloud chamber is a rare and
      > > isolated
      > > > occurrence, observable only through the agency of expensive
      > > equipment and
      > > > elaborate preparations; but, alas, a surge of anxiety is an
      > > altogether
      > > > unsophisticated, unsolicited, and pervasive phenomenon. Both
      > > experiences
      > > > are real. The hepatitis virus, which can be photographed
      through
      > an
      > > > electron microscope, is, in a sense, a datum readily accessible
      > to
      > > the
      > > > general population if they understand what they are looking at;
      > but
      > > the
      > > > obligations of conscience are thrust constantly and
      persistently
      > > upon the
      > > > lives of all of us.
      > > >
      > > > Both are real.
      > > >
      > > > To drive this lesson home, let's use the scientific method
      > > existentially.
      > > > As you probably know there are four steps in the scientific
      > method:
      > > > observation, hypothesis, test, and confirmation or law. An
      > > astronomer may
      > > > observe through a telescope the paths of celestial bodies. She
      > may
      > > > construct an /hypothesis/ or guess to account for their
      relative
      > > motion.
      > > > She then /tests/ her hypothesis through further observations
      > until
      > > she
      > > > achieves /confirmation/ or /law/. Otherwise, back to the
      drawing
      > > boards!
      > > > Well, existentially we can use the same method. Let's say that
      > you
      > > observe
      > > > among people you meet and know an outward-moving, over-
      reaching,
      > > > transcending characteristic that you identify as ambition. Next
      > you
      > > > construct a /hypothesis/ (guess) that such outward-reaching
      > > transcendence
      > > > is perhaps a general characteristic of human existence, in
      other
      > > words, you
      > > > guess that humans are ambitious. Now you test your hypothesis,
      > > probably by
      > > > sending out questionnaires to hundreds of people picked at
      > random.
      > > You ask
      > > > questions such as: Do you want to make friends? Do you want to
      > win
      > > when you
      > > > play tennis? Do you want to fall in love? Do you want to lose
      ten
      > > pounds?
      > > > Do you want to ask God for something when you pray? The
      responses
      > > come in
      > > > and you have /confirmation/! Human beings are generally
      speaking
      > > ambitious.
      > > >
      > > > One might say that existentialism makes poetry scientific in
      the
      > > sense that
      > > > the inclination to be poetic is just as real as the inclination
      > to
      > > eat. The
      > > > body is fed. The soul is fed.
      > > >
      > > > (10) Tolstoi. The Russian novelist Count Leo Tolstoi (1828-
      1910)
      > in
      > > his
      > > > novelette /The Death of Ivan Ilych/, made the last words of
      Ivan
      > > Ilych, who
      > > > is dying after a life of agony: Death is finished. It is no
      more.
      > > Death has
      > > > meaning for us only while we are alive. Our terror of our death
      > > goes with
      > > > the coming of our death. Obviously, death is an important
      factor
      > in
      > > the
      > > > existential experience. It is the end of our existence.
      However,
      > > while one
      > > > could say that /I must die my own death, no one else can do
      this
      > > for me/,
      > > > it is equally true that I must live my own life. No one else
      can
      > do
      > > this
      > > > for me. Therefore /if we allow it/, and we are all allowers,
      > death
      > > can be
      > > > our friend, goading us to truly live our lives not just for
      > > ourselves but
      > > > also for others.
      > > >
      > > > (11) Anxiety. Existentialism would say that healthy anxiety
      which
      > > no
      > > > expensive therapy can help has to do with anxiety about death.
      > > Therefore
      > > > such anxiety has nothing to do with such typically
      psychological
      > > matters as
      > > > childhood maladjustments. Normal anxiety is anxiety about the
      > end.
      > > It is at
      > > > the root of the human condition, which is why no therapy can
      get
      > > rid of it.
      > > > The most important factor to note is that this anxiety about
      > death
      > > can have
      > > > a constructive rather than a destructive effect on personality.
      > If
      > > you are
      > > > thinking about mid-life crises you are on the right track. For
      > > some, a
      > > > mid-life crisis can lead, for example, to divorce. For others,
      > they
      > > muster
      > > > their energies and throw themselves into volunteer work, such
      as
      > > working
      > > > for hospice. In time, the marriage may be saved by channeling
      > one's
      > > energy
      > > > from anger to service. Life can be a two edged sword. I have
      > often
      > > wonder
      > > > how many murderers, rapists, thieves, etc., are responding
      > > destructively in
      > > > a kind of helplessness to their own deaths. Conceivably, one
      > could
      > > have a
      > > > mid-life crisis at any age. As I said above at the end of (10),
      > > death can
      > > > goad us to truly live our lives not just for ourselves but also
      > for
      > > others,
      > > > including our own families.
      > > >
      > > > (12) Guilt. Guilt flows from our sense of responsibility for
      our
      > > own lives
      > > > and the lives of others. If we can channel such guilt away from
      > > mere guilt
      > > > feelings, we could hold the reins of our lives. We can feel
      > guilty
      > > about
      > > > our relationship with ourselves, with others, with the world.
      In
      > > relating
      > > > to ourselves, for example, too much conformity can cause us to
      > > forfeit our
      > > > potential, our talents, our abilities, as when a young person
      > > pursues a
      > > > career path given to him by his parents instead of the path he
      or
      > > she has
      > > > chosen. Such a life becomes less than authentic, and
      > existentially,
      > > only an
      > > > authentic life has the potential to give meaning to our lives.
      As
      > > to our
      > > > relationship with others, the breakdown of love breeds guilt.
      > > Perhaps our
      > > > unwillingness to help someone in their time of need gives us a
      > > sense of
      > > > alienation from that person and we say we "feel bad" about it.
      > > That's
      > > > guilt. And as to nature, well, if the huge billboard at the
      foot
      > of
      > > the
      > > > Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps asks us not to pick the wild
      flowers,
      > > and yet we
      > > > do, well, I was in Zermatt Switzerland one day when a young
      lady
      > (a
      > > student
      > > > of mine!) Came down from her mountain hike with wild flowers in
      > her
      > > hand.
      > > > It was high noon. Goats in the middle of town. You can guess
      what
      > > > happened---the goats ate the flowers from her hands. You might
      > say
      > > the
      > > > punishment fit the crime! Again, as with anxiety, this is
      healthy
      > > guilt,
      > > > something you can do something about, with a sense of
      > > responsibility,
      > > > without the de-energizing that can come from guilt trips.
      > > >
      > > > (13) Existence precedes essence. Jean Paul Sartre raised a lead
      > > pencil
      > > > before his students. He told them that a couple of hundred
      years
      > > ago
      > > > someone noticed that lead can leave marks. He covered the lead
      in
      > a
      > > sheath
      > > > of wood, considerately thought of an eraser, thereby inventing
      > the
      > > pencil.
      > > > The creator of the pencil knew in advance, before the first
      > pencil
      > > was
      > > > made, what it's meaning would be, its essence, its purpose. The
      > > pencil's
      > > > essence, its meaning, came first in the mind of its creator.
      Then
      > > he gave
      > > > it existence, and it fulfilled its purpose, whether it knew it
      or
      > > not,
      > > > liked it or not. No choice! Then Sartre said to his
      > students, "You
      > > are not
      > > > pencils!" First, you exist. Then you must work out your
      meanings!
      > > Unlike
      > > > the pencil, your existence precedes your essence. Even if you
      > > believe in
      > > > God, this can hold meaning for you. If God's greatest gift to
      us
      > is
      > > > freedom, this gift will not be taken back. It is then our
      > privilege
      > > and our
      > > > right to work out our meanings as our lives unfold.
      > > >
      > > > (14) Why are there beings rather than nothing? This was how
      > Martin
      > > > Heidegger began his Introduction to Metaphysics. If we allow
      > > ourselves, we
      > > > can be stunned by the mystery, the miracle of
      existence. /Being/,
      > > wherever
      > > > and whenever it occurs---and it occurs everywhere---is the
      > supreme
      > > mystery.
      > > > To ask why it is not otherwise is typical of woman and man. Why
      > is
      > > it that
      > > > beings exist rather than not? Well, any answer would also /be/:
      > it
      > > is. We
      > > > are wondering here about the nature of this to be. The
      > realization
      > > that
      > > > even if we give it a name and call the ground of all
      being /God/,
      > > we are
      > > > still stuck with an immense mystery can come to us as a shock.
      > > Could it be
      > > > that the only genuine miracle is the miracle of being? This can
      > be
      > > seen as
      > > > a truly religious, or if you prefer, spiritual state of heart
      and
      > > mind.
      > > > Such a state of heart and mind can transform us and transform
      our
      > > outlook
      > > > on life. Like is seen from a new and fresh perspective, as in
      an
      > > awakening
      > > > or rebirth. Consequently, from this perspective, the secret of
      > > finding
      > > > meaning in life may very well be /to appreciate the miracle of
      > > being/.
      > > >
      > > > Some Concluding Thoughts on Existentialism:
      > > > Both believers and non-believers can be existentialists.
      Freedom,
      > > > responsibility, choice…these are existential terms. And
      > experience.
      > > We
      > > > learn from experience, and if we are wise, we learn that
      freedom
      > > means
      > > > responsibility for our choices. A classic example of this
      process
      > > is Geerat
      > > > Vermeij. He is blind, yet against all odds, he has become a
      world-
      > > renowned
      > > > malacologist, evolutionary biologist and paleontologist. He is
      a
      > > professor
      > > > at the University of California, and a recipient of the
      MacArthur
      > > > Foundation Genius Award.
      > > > What are you doing with your existence? What is the meaning of
      > your
      > > life,
      > > > what is its adaptive significance as your life unfolds? Is it
      > > beautiful,
      > > > your life? And what choices can you make to add to the beauty
      of
      > > your life?
      > > > Give one example of how you have taken charge of your life for
      > > yourself or
      > > > on behalf of others.
      > > >
      > > > Much to ponder! The stuff of philosophy!
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > - Harry -
      > > >
      > > >
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    • bjunius30
      Shari:) If you have not seen Momento or Fight Club, then you should one night during the week when you have free time. They are psychological movies with
      Message 39 of 39 , Apr 29, 2003
        \\\

        Shari:)


        If you have not seen Momento or Fight Club, then you should one
        night during the week when you have free time. They are psychological
        movies with very strong innuendo of philosophical existentialism.

        Ex.

        Momento _ A man who has short term memory- forgets what He did the
        day before and all the people He met, except for his memories of his
        accident before which makes him persistent on finding who he needs to
        kill.

        They are both good movies. Just like the Matrix they are filled with
        existentialism philosophy
        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shari hyder" <hydersjmj@x> wrote:
        > Bryan, :)
        >
        > Having very briefly read Kant, I think he would see my hesitation in
        > saving the man on the unsafe bridge knowing the man's intention is
        to
        > commit suicide as morally repugnant. I could be wrong, but perhaps
        > someone with more knowledge of Kant's philosophy could correct me on
        > this.
        >
        > No, have not seen neither `Momento" nor "The Fight Club." Are they
        more
        > psychological than philosophical?
        >
        > Have written stuff on God and Morality. Hope to post it soon.
        >
        > Cheers!
        > shari
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: bjunius30 [mailto:bjunius30@n...]
        > Sent: Tuesday, 29 April 2003 3:54 a.m.
        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [existlist] Re: Scientific Existentialism and such
        >
        > Hi Shari:)
        >
        > I do not mean to be critical on your comments, but do sense a bit
        of
        > Kantian in you.
        > "Duty", IMHO is not about Man or nature as Kant once described; i
        > would seem to think "Duty" by any term, is a tool for political
        > pursuit for totalitarian methods of thought.
        > In the case to say, we do have duties that one must choose to live
        > by, but it does not mean we are sworn to live by them as Kant
        > proclaimed by ontological arguments.
        > Have you seen Momento? Or Fight Club?
        > Man can be as functional as he wants to be; without organisation of
        > society to confine Him, he is the epitomy unto himself. Mind is His
        > irreducible analogy.
        >
        > Bryan
        >
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "shari hyder" <hydersjmj@x> wrote:
        > > Re Bentham – After much thought, I think that the caveat is that
        if
        > we
        > > choose to employ Utilitarianism, we are obliged to think carefully
        > > through all of its implications so that we are not merely naïve
        > > Utilitarians. Sacrificing individuals has its place under many
        > > circumstances.
        > >
        > > Re J S Mill – The Harm Principle is akin to live and let live –
        this
        > > time after very brief thinking. If a man is about to cross an
        unsafe
        > > bridge, and I know it to be unsafe, it will be my duty to warn
        him.
        > If
        > > the man wants to cross the bridge with the intention of committing
        > > suicide, and I am unaware of his intentions, my duty is
        unchanged.
        > If I
        > > am aware of his intentions, he puts my life at risk. But he will
        not
        > > care because he is beyond reason. He is harming himself, so the
        > question
        > > is, should I care?
        > >
        > > shari
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: bjunius30 [mailto:bjunius30@n...]
        > > Sent: Saturday, 26 April 2003 3:38 a.m.
        > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: [existlist] Re: Scientific Existentialism and such
        > >
        > > Thanks for the summarization of existentialism Harry. It seems
        you
        > > like philosophy as much as i do. In your own opinion, do you
        think
        > > epiphenomenons are all we are and should feel more or less
        > inadequate
        > > because of our subjective experiences?
        > > In the writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mills; It would
        > > seem to take proactive participation of our own sublimeness,
        maybe
        > > just simply stating we are a beast of our own burdens, and in the
        > > act, results in our humanity being of the distinction of our own
        > > annihilation in the making. Would you agree? What point of view do
        > > see for this matter?
        > >
        > > :)
        > >
        > > Bryan Evan Junius
        > >
        > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, john halley <johnmhalley@y...>
        > > wrote:
        > > > Thanks for the very nice summary.With respectto guilt. Perhaps
        > it
        > > would be useful to distinguish between remorse and guilt.
        Remorse
        > > being something like, "oh, i made a mistake. Sure don't want to
        do
        > > that again". And guilt being more, "oh, i made a mistake. I'm
        so
        > > terrible, I'm so bad". It seems like guilt is more self
        > destructive
        > > and remorse is part of a learning process. Warmly
        > > >
        > > > Harry JMK <ti083866@t...> wrote:From
        > > HYPERLINK
        > > "HYPERLINK
        > "http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadra/ThemeSix.htm"http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadr
        a/Th
        > emeSix.htm"HYPERLINK
        > "http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadr"http://puma.kvcc.edu/bbadr
        > a/Th
        > > emeSix.htm : Authors, some definitions,
        > > > mutual influences, some answers.
        > > >
        > > > Existentialism
        > > > (1) Husserl and phenomenology
        > > > (2) Existentialism
        > > > (3) Kierkegaard
        > > > (4) Heidegger
        > > > (5) Jaspers
        > > > (6) Calderon de la Barca
        > > > (7) Tillich
        > > > (8) Sartre
        > > > (9) Scientific existentialism
        > > > (11) Tolstoi
        > > > (12) Anxiety
        > > > (13) Guilt
        > > > (14) Existence precedes essence
        > > > (15) Why are there beings rather than nothing?
        > > >
        > > > (1) Husserl and phenomenology. The German philosopher Husserl
        > lived
        > > from
        > > > 1859 to 1938. He developed the view of phenomenology saying:
        All
        > > knowledge
        > > > and all truth depend on the careful and accurate description of
        > > > first-person human experience, exactly as that experience
        reveals
        > > itself to
        > > > us. In other words I am invited to focus, observe, analyze,
        > > abstract, and
        > > > describe my experiences with candor and precision. The
        challenge
        > is
        > > that we
        > > > are dealing here with what cannot be seen, touched, measured,
        and
        > > accounted
        > > > for on the physical level. We are insisting here that such
        > > phenomena that
        > > > confront consciousness are just as real as those that confront
        > the
        > > senses.
        > > > Therefore happiness is just as real as a building, depression
        is
        > > just as
        > > > real as your fingers hitting computer keys, the experience of
        the
        > > future is
        > > > just as real as your experience of that hammer hitting your
        thumb
        > > in the
        > > > present, the anticipation of death is just as real as your bed,
        > and
        > > so is
        > > > the idea of nothingness very real, and the sense of
        subjectivity,
        > > the
        > > > feeling of free will, the presence of stress and strain, the
        > > meaning of
        > > > work, etc. The challenge is that such phenomenological
        > descriptions
        > > tax and
        > > > stretch language to its limit because of the changeable and
        > > ambiguous
        > > > nature of human experience. A typical example of such a
        > description
        > > would
        > > > be /Time flows at varying speeds/. Well, we can't see that but
        > > we /know/
        > > > this from experience. We know under what conditions time flies
        > > (when we are
        > > > having fun), and when it drags (when we are pretending to have
        > fun
        > > at a
        > > > party?).
        > > >
        > > > (2) Existentialism. Existentialism is the application of the
        > > technique of
        > > > phenomenology to the human situation. This had led to a theory
        of
        > > being
        > > > human based on sensitive descriptions of how it feels to be
        human
        > > in the
        > > > real world, the one in which we live and move and have our
        being.
        > > >
        > > > (3) Kierkegaard. Soren A. Kierkegaard (1813-1855) contributed
        to
        > > this
        > > > existential worldview by specializing in the humanly important
        > > states of
        > > > anxiety and dread. Well, somebody had to do it! So he studied
        how
        > > humans
        > > > confront boredom, melancholy, and despair.
        > > >
        > > > (4) Heidegger. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) contributed to this
        > > existential
        > > > worldview by developing his analysis of the first-person
        > experience
        > > of
        > > > time, death, guilt, and authenticity.
        > > >
        > > > (5) Jaspers. Karl Jaspers (1883-1961) developed a thorough
        > > empirical
        > > > description of the experience of finitude and limitation,
        which,
        > > according
        > > > to him, is the defining trait of human nature. Our greatest
        > > limitation is
        > > > the inevitable fact of death. We are all prisoners on death row.
        > > >
        > > > (6) Calderon de la Barca. A 17th century Spanish poet, Calderon
        > > once said
        > > > that our most heinous crime meriting the death sentence is that
        > of
        > > having
        > > > been born. Yet, the full recognition of our finitude can be, if
        > we
        > > allow
        > > > it, the sole thing that gives us the courage to truly live our
        > > lives.
        > > >
        > > > (7) Tillich. The existentialist philosopher and theologian Paul
        > > Tillich
        > > > (1886-1967) gave the religious consciousness a sensitive and
        > > thoroughgoing
        > > > empirical description. He explored and emphasized our endless
        > > mystification
        > > > and wonder at the mere fact that things area core experience he
        > > called the
        > > > miracle of being.
        > > >
        > > > (8) Sartre. Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1979) was a man endowed with
        > > > extraordinary introspective shrewdness. He specialized in an
        > > empirical and
        > > > subjectively oriented examination of the emotions. Before going
        > any
        > > > further, a summary: Phenomenology tells us to see things as
        they
        > > are.
        > > > Existentialism is the ongoing theory of what it means to be
        human
        > > that
        > > > follows from seeing things as they are.
        > > >
        > > > (9) Scientific existentialism. Hard scientific data differ
        > > from "soft"
        > > > existential data. Yet, as I indicated earlier, existentially,
        > both
        > > are
        > > > real. Let's compare these two sets of data a bit. A statistic
        is
        > a
        > > > comprehensible datum only when interpreted by a sophisticated
        > > scientist;
        > > > the throbbing of desire is an immediate, bare, and un-
        interpreted
        > > > presentation, equally clear to young and old, bright and dull.
        > Both
        > > > experiences are real. A trace in a cloud chamber is a rare and
        > > isolated
        > > > occurrence, observable only through the agency of expensive
        > > equipment and
        > > > elaborate preparations; but, alas, a surge of anxiety is an
        > > altogether
        > > > unsophisticated, unsolicited, and pervasive phenomenon. Both
        > > experiences
        > > > are real. The hepatitis virus, which can be photographed
        through
        > an
        > > > electron microscope, is, in a sense, a datum readily accessible
        > to
        > > the
        > > > general population if they understand what they are looking at;
        > but
        > > the
        > > > obligations of conscience are thrust constantly and
        persistently
        > > upon the
        > > > lives of all of us.
        > > >
        > > > Both are real.
        > > >
        > > > To drive this lesson home, let's use the scientific method
        > > existentially.
        > > > As you probably know there are four steps in the scientific
        > method:
        > > > observation, hypothesis, test, and confirmation or law. An
        > > astronomer may
        > > > observe through a telescope the paths of celestial bodies. She
        > may
        > > > construct an /hypothesis/ or guess to account for their
        relative
        > > motion.
        > > > She then /tests/ her hypothesis through further observations
        > until
        > > she
        > > > achieves /confirmation/ or /law/. Otherwise, back to the
        drawing
        > > boards!
        > > > Well, existentially we can use the same method. Let's say that
        > you
        > > observe
        > > > among people you meet and know an outward-moving, over-
        reaching,
        > > > transcending characteristic that you identify as ambition. Next
        > you
        > > > construct a /hypothesis/ (guess) that such outward-reaching
        > > transcendence
        > > > is perhaps a general characteristic of human existence, in
        other
        > > words, you
        > > > guess that humans are ambitious. Now you test your hypothesis,
        > > probably by
        > > > sending out questionnaires to hundreds of people picked at
        > random.
        > > You ask
        > > > questions such as: Do you want to make friends? Do you want to
        > win
        > > when you
        > > > play tennis? Do you want to fall in love? Do you want to lose
        ten
        > > pounds?
        > > > Do you want to ask God for something when you pray? The
        responses
        > > come in
        > > > and you have /confirmation/! Human beings are generally
        speaking
        > > ambitious.
        > > >
        > > > One might say that existentialism makes poetry scientific in
        the
        > > sense that
        > > > the inclination to be poetic is just as real as the inclination
        > to
        > > eat. The
        > > > body is fed. The soul is fed.
        > > >
        > > > (10) Tolstoi. The Russian novelist Count Leo Tolstoi (1828-
        1910)
        > in
        > > his
        > > > novelette /The Death of Ivan Ilych/, made the last words of
        Ivan
        > > Ilych, who
        > > > is dying after a life of agony: Death is finished. It is no
        more.
        > > Death has
        > > > meaning for us only while we are alive. Our terror of our death
        > > goes with
        > > > the coming of our death. Obviously, death is an important
        factor
        > in
        > > the
        > > > existential experience. It is the end of our existence.
        However,
        > > while one
        > > > could say that /I must die my own death, no one else can do
        this
        > > for me/,
        > > > it is equally true that I must live my own life. No one else
        can
        > do
        > > this
        > > > for me. Therefore /if we allow it/, and we are all allowers,
        > death
        > > can be
        > > > our friend, goading us to truly live our lives not just for
        > > ourselves but
        > > > also for others.
        > > >
        > > > (11) Anxiety. Existentialism would say that healthy anxiety
        which
        > > no
        > > > expensive therapy can help has to do with anxiety about death.
        > > Therefore
        > > > such anxiety has nothing to do with such typically
        psychological
        > > matters as
        > > > childhood maladjustments. Normal anxiety is anxiety about the
        > end.
        > > It is at
        > > > the root of the human condition, which is why no therapy can
        get
        > > rid of it.
        > > > The most important factor to note is that this anxiety about
        > death
        > > can have
        > > > a constructive rather than a destructive effect on personality.
        > If
        > > you are
        > > > thinking about mid-life crises you are on the right track. For
        > > some, a
        > > > mid-life crisis can lead, for example, to divorce. For others,
        > they
        > > muster
        > > > their energies and throw themselves into volunteer work, such
        as
        > > working
        > > > for hospice. In time, the marriage may be saved by channeling
        > one's
        > > energy
        > > > from anger to service. Life can be a two edged sword. I have
        > often
        > > wonder
        > > > how many murderers, rapists, thieves, etc., are responding
        > > destructively in
        > > > a kind of helplessness to their own deaths. Conceivably, one
        > could
        > > have a
        > > > mid-life crisis at any age. As I said above at the end of (10),
        > > death can
        > > > goad us to truly live our lives not just for ourselves but also
        > for
        > > others,
        > > > including our own families.
        > > >
        > > > (12) Guilt. Guilt flows from our sense of responsibility for
        our
        > > own lives
        > > > and the lives of others. If we can channel such guilt away from
        > > mere guilt
        > > > feelings, we could hold the reins of our lives. We can feel
        > guilty
        > > about
        > > > our relationship with ourselves, with others, with the world.
        In
        > > relating
        > > > to ourselves, for example, too much conformity can cause us to
        > > forfeit our
        > > > potential, our talents, our abilities, as when a young person
        > > pursues a
        > > > career path given to him by his parents instead of the path he
        or
        > > she has
        > > > chosen. Such a life becomes less than authentic, and
        > existentially,
        > > only an
        > > > authentic life has the potential to give meaning to our lives.
        As
        > > to our
        > > > relationship with others, the breakdown of love breeds guilt.
        > > Perhaps our
        > > > unwillingness to help someone in their time of need gives us a
        > > sense of
        > > > alienation from that person and we say we "feel bad" about it.
        > > That's
        > > > guilt. And as to nature, well, if the huge billboard at the
        foot
        > of
        > > the
        > > > Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps asks us not to pick the wild
        flowers,
        > > and yet we
        > > > do, well, I was in Zermatt Switzerland one day when a young
        lady
        > (a
        > > student
        > > > of mine!) Came down from her mountain hike with wild flowers in
        > her
        > > hand.
        > > > It was high noon. Goats in the middle of town. You can guess
        what
        > > > happened---the goats ate the flowers from her hands. You might
        > say
        > > the
        > > > punishment fit the crime! Again, as with anxiety, this is
        healthy
        > > guilt,
        > > > something you can do something about, with a sense of
        > > responsibility,
        > > > without the de-energizing that can come from guilt trips.
        > > >
        > > > (13) Existence precedes essence. Jean Paul Sartre raised a lead
        > > pencil
        > > > before his students. He told them that a couple of hundred
        years
        > > ago
        > > > someone noticed that lead can leave marks. He covered the lead
        in
        > a
        > > sheath
        > > > of wood, considerately thought of an eraser, thereby inventing
        > the
        > > pencil.
        > > > The creator of the pencil knew in advance, before the first
        > pencil
        > > was
        > > > made, what it's meaning would be, its essence, its purpose. The
        > > pencil's
        > > > essence, its meaning, came first in the mind of its creator.
        Then
        > > he gave
        > > > it existence, and it fulfilled its purpose, whether it knew it
        or
        > > not,
        > > > liked it or not. No choice! Then Sartre said to his
        > students, "You
        > > are not
        > > > pencils!" First, you exist. Then you must work out your
        meanings!
        > > Unlike
        > > > the pencil, your existence precedes your essence. Even if you
        > > believe in
        > > > God, this can hold meaning for you. If God's greatest gift to
        us
        > is
        > > > freedom, this gift will not be taken back. It is then our
        > privilege
        > > and our
        > > > right to work out our meanings as our lives unfold.
        > > >
        > > > (14) Why are there beings rather than nothing? This was how
        > Martin
        > > > Heidegger began his Introduction to Metaphysics. If we allow
        > > ourselves, we
        > > > can be stunned by the mystery, the miracle of
        existence. /Being/,
        > > wherever
        > > > and whenever it occurs---and it occurs everywhere---is the
        > supreme
        > > mystery.
        > > > To ask why it is not otherwise is typical of woman and man. Why
        > is
        > > it that
        > > > beings exist rather than not? Well, any answer would also /be/:
        > it
        > > is. We
        > > > are wondering here about the nature of this to be. The
        > realization
        > > that
        > > > even if we give it a name and call the ground of all
        being /God/,
        > > we are
        > > > still stuck with an immense mystery can come to us as a shock.
        > > Could it be
        > > > that the only genuine miracle is the miracle of being? This can
        > be
        > > seen as
        > > > a truly religious, or if you prefer, spiritual state of heart
        and
        > > mind.
        > > > Such a state of heart and mind can transform us and transform
        our
        > > outlook
        > > > on life. Like is seen from a new and fresh perspective, as in
        an
        > > awakening
        > > > or rebirth. Consequently, from this perspective, the secret of
        > > finding
        > > > meaning in life may very well be /to appreciate the miracle of
        > > being/.
        > > >
        > > > Some Concluding Thoughts on Existentialism:
        > > > Both believers and non-believers can be existentialists.
        Freedom,
        > > > responsibility, choice…these are existential terms. And
        > experience.
        > > We
        > > > learn from experience, and if we are wise, we learn that
        freedom
        > > means
        > > > responsibility for our choices. A classic example of this
        process
        > > is Geerat
        > > > Vermeij. He is blind, yet against all odds, he has become a
        world-
        > > renowned
        > > > malacologist, evolutionary biologist and paleontologist. He is
        a
        > > professor
        > > > at the University of California, and a recipient of the
        MacArthur
        > > > Foundation Genius Award.
        > > > What are you doing with your existence? What is the meaning of
        > your
        > > life,
        > > > what is its adaptive significance as your life unfolds? Is it
        > > beautiful,
        > > > your life? And what choices can you make to add to the beauty
        of
        > > your life?
        > > > Give one example of how you have taken charge of your life for
        > > yourself or
        > > > on behalf of others.
        > > >
        > > > Much to ponder! The stuff of philosophy!
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > - Harry -
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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