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Intellectual Dishonesty

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  • Mary Jo Malo
    Biggie, Our disagreement is not really about intellectual honesty. It s about honesty, period. It s about cognitive honesty and autonomic honesty. Our bodies
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
      Biggie,

      Our disagreement is not really about "intellectual" honesty. It's
      about honesty, period. It's about cognitive honesty and autonomic
      honesty. Our bodies want to live, and our pain causes us to become
      cognitive cowards and stop hoping for what our bodies' autonomically
      want - to live well now, and to live forever. To deny hope, to deny
      that we want to love and be loved forever is dishonest. Nihilism is
      the cowards' way. It's like saying that since I'm in pain and fear
      that we can't ever have what we really desire, we'll desire nothing
      at all. Our bodies are mature and want to live. Our so called reason
      is childish and gives up what it knows to be true. Our minds kill our
      bodies in just about everyway imaginable. Christ, even bacteria have
      a greater will to live than nihilists.

      Jo

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
      wrote:
      > Mary Jo,
      >
      > I could respond in any number of conflicting and contradictory ways
      and all of them would "in a particular moment" make a certain degree
      of sense to me. In other words, when I tell you that human identity
      is, to me, a self-delusion, I am telling you that is how "I"
      understand "my" own sense of "self": in pieces. Lots and lots of
      ambiguous and convoluted and contradictory pieces. And when I tell
      you that I do not see the world around me as in the glass half-full
      or half-empty, but shattered on the floor in a thousand
      pieces...well...that is how "I" really "do" understand "my" own sense
      of reality. "I" "am" the philosophical [and moral, and psychological
      and emotional equivalent of Humpty Dumpty. And I say "philosophical"
      because I do not believe this frame of mind is just a psychological
      state. It is, in fact, a point of view that can be grasped and
      defended quite rationally if you see human reality as "I" do. And it
      can be lived with as well because philosophy really has almost
      > nothing to do with human existence.
      >
      > Human existence is about living your life. And we are equipped with
      enough biological and psychological predispositions so as to make it
      all worth while for most folks on the planet. Or, as I have pointed
      out in here previously, just because I see human interactions as
      essentially [philosophically/ontologically/teleologically]
      meaningless and absurd does not make food taste less delicious or
      orgasms feel less exhilarating or music sound less sublimely ecstatic.
      >
      > In this context, I never really point folks in a particular
      direction philosophically; I only point out, instead, how, in my
      view, the trajecties I imagine they are on are probably not the most
      intellectually honest ones. And that, of course, revolves around the
      extent to which they understand themselves as "whole". Only folks
      like that do can speak of "honest and heartfelt" words and really,
      really believe it.
      >
      > I deconstruct human identity down to the bone. That is why so many
      folks have this visceral antagonism to the points I make. They wish
      to take "sides" and I point out that, in an essentially absurd and
      meaningless human existence, not only are all sides interchangable in
      the end but that, by and large, the only reason you are on one side
      or the other is because your own particular existential trajectory
      pushed you here rather than there. Then the only legitimate question
      becomes the extent, in being cognizant of how this works, we can use
      philosophy to salvage at least some semblance of an autonomous "self"
      acting "freely" with and around others in the same boat. And then we
      die, one by one, and it all comes to nought for each of us, one by
      one, for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
      >
      > Biggie
      >
      >
      >
      > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
      > Biggie,
      >
      > Where or what is the point at which our individual perspectives and
      > similar and different sufferings in this life can merge in a moment
      > of real communication? We can't ever really share our personal
      > experiences, since we can't really feel or see what the other
      person
      > is experiencing. It's only through honest and "heartfelt" words
      that
      > we can even begin. I make peace with you now, but I can't really
      know
      > you, except as another human being carefully measuring his response
      > in front of this discussion group. Just don't tell me anymore that
      I
      > can't hope, and I won't tell that you should.
      >
      > Peace,
      > Mary Jo
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
      > wrote:
      > > Mary Jo,
      > >
      > > Acknowledging that one is, indeed, "condemned to be free" does
      not
      > give one a license to imagine one can, in turn, "choose wisely".
      > >
      > > You, again, speak of "indvidual reality" as though this were not
      > just an existential illusion, by and large.
      > >
      > > Now, I do not construe this to be as you seem to construe it at
      > all. Which does not make my way more "rational" than yours. To
      > suggest that would be to exclude myself from my own philosophy. And
      I
      > am, at least, "wise" enough not to do that, right?
      > >
      > > The first clue as to how clueless you are about the "nature" of
      > human communication is that you still use an expression like "from
      > the bottom of my heart". I suspect, perhaps, that was not merely a
      > figure of speech?
      > >
      > > Just out of curiosity, what sort of experiences have you had thus
      > far in life? I am one who firmly believes the wisest of the wise
      > search for meaning at the intersection of introspection and
      > experience. One without the other is particularly futile, eh?
      > >
      > > I just don't pursue either one...well...wisely. Meaning this
      point
      > of view is, ironically, just a figure of speech. And yet
      > expressed "in the moment" with great passion. Meaning from the
      bottom
      > of my heart.
      > >
      > > I have no doubt about that at all, you might say.
      > >
      > > You think, perhaps, I am just fucking with your head. Playing
      games
      > and such. But I am not. I am trying to give you a window inside the
      > world as I have come to understand it by talking about it the way I
      > think I do understand it: in pieces. I am, perhaps, the most
      > fragmented, broken man you will probably ever come across.
      > >
      > > I am rare specimen, indeed.
      > >
      > > Biggie
      > >
      > > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
      > > Biggie,
      > >
      > > Your words are lethal too, albeit so very polite. I understand
      more
      > about language than you think I do. I embrace much of what you
      > espouse, but I will never embrace stagnation and indecisiveness
      when
      > that appears to be the case. The most important consequence of
      > relativity is discovering our individual reality to the universe. I
      > believe with all my heart and mind that our observation point is
      > somehow inverted. Our relativity to it needs to be either restored
      or
      > discovered. We are so individual that we presently can't use any
      > common language to communicate. You're just stubborn and don't want
      > to admit that there's anything else to discover. Life is absurb.
      > What's even more absurd is that you and I are trying to tell each
      > other something. You are unique. Tell me something.
      > >
      > > Mary Jo
      > >
      > > George Walton wrote:
      > > Mary Jo,
      > >
      > > One day you are enthusiastically embracing my point of view and
      the
      > next day...well...if words could kill? Einstein in right about
      > relativity, observation, and the center of the universe. But alas,
      he
      > also thought god didn't play dice. No one is right about everything.
      > >
      > > You do not understand human language the way I do. You are like
      the
      > Newton of existentialism and I am like the Einstein. You wish to
      > situate the words "here" and then expand them to the more
      > enlightened "there". Einstein, on the other hand, not only points
      out
      > that much of what we think is true is true only in relationship to
      > another vantage point but that, in turn, anywhere you are situated
      in
      > the universe is as "enlightened" as any other place.
      > >
      > > We are all the center of it, eh?
      > >
      > > Only some [like me] grasp the moral consequences of that from a
      so
      > much more....uh....enlightened frame of mind?
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Biggie
      > >
      > > Mary Jo Malo wrote:
      > > Hey Biggie,
      > >
      > > If you can summon the energy or interest, take a flying fuck at a
      > pastry. "Enlightenment" is a generic expression, just
      like "nothing".
      > Some people actually feel capable of making a decision and die with
      > conviction. What do you care anyway? You'd rather instruct and
      > convert us to your particular verson of non-life. Remain the
      > frustrated adolescent you are.
      > > By enlightenment, I mean expanding and growing, not stagnating
      and
      > rotting.
      > > Jo
      > >
      > > George Walton wrote:
      > > Mary Jo,
      > >
      > > Ah, of course, the sublime "path of enlightenment". There have
      been
      > so many of them throughout the course of human history, eh? Most of
      > the advocates, however, are not around today, unfortunately, having
      > being killed off by those on the "paths of even greater
      enlightenment"
      > >
      > > Fuse your own idealism with GT's "outrage" and the two of you,
      > perhaps, can front the next vanguard army. I'll start building my
      > fallout shelter as soon as this is posted.
      > >
      > > Biggie
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > GT,
      > >
      > > I'm with you and Camus on this one. Clearly, Nihilism is not a
      > permanent state of relativity to our world. It may be a necessary
      > stopping place on the path of enlightenment, but clearly no place
      to
      > stay. One must move on and into possibility and inevitability.
      > >
      > > Mary Jo
      > >
      > > "I very clearly cannot disagree , but yet in my heart of hearts I
      > am loath to belive what you say. I quote Camus in Myth of
      > Sisyphus"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill
      a
      > man's heart. We have to imagine Sisyphus happy."
      > > Under these circumstances talking cynically about some inanities
      > fills me with outrage."
      > >
      > > GT
      > >
      > >
      > > Thiraviyam Ganesan wrote:Dear George ,
      > >
      > > You talk sense. I have to agree with you when you say
      > > > Still, let's not pretend that, if it were not for America,
      India
      > would be
      > > a shining beacon of human rights and freedom and justice...a
      > veritable
      > > democratic paradise! Every culture, after all, has its ruling
      > class, right?
      > > For example, does the phrase "caste system" ring a bell?.
      > > >
      > > My point is basically when the great majority of humanity ( this
      is
      > primarily the so called 3 world ) is trapped in so much chains of
      > bondage and ignorance can I as an existential being ignore all that
      > what is happening around me and live as a lotus eater. I beg to
      > differ. My nature as an being in this world is manifested by my
      > social interaction along with my thinking.
      > > as you have said
      > > > That's the way of the world. There are always going to be folks
      > who are
      > > smarter and more aggressive and more resourceful and more clever
      > than
      > > others. They will be the ones who accummulate political and
      > economic power.
      > > And with that political and economic wherwithal they will
      purchase
      > the best
      > > enforcers [judges and cops and soldiers] around. Then they pass
      > this down to
      > > the next generation. End of story. Human history in a nutshell.
      > > >
      > > I very clearly cannot disagree , but yet in my heart of hearts I
      am
      > loath to belive what you say. I quote Camus in Myth of Sisyphus"The
      > struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's
      heart.
      > We have to imagine Sisyphus happy."
      > > Under these circumstances talking cynically about some inanities
      > fills me with outrage.
      > >
      > > GT
      > > existlist@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      > > 1. Re: Existentialism & Humanism or you can call it anything
      > (tortures)
      > > From: "drQ"
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      ______________________________________________________________________
      > __
      > >
      >
      ______________________________________________________________________
      > __
      > >
      > > Message: 1
      > > Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 03:28:10 +0300
      > > From: "drQ"
      > > Subject: Re: Existentialism & Humanism or you can call it anything
      > (tortures)
      > >
      > > What?.. no ethics at all!? All is a "lie" !? Only big fish eating
      > small
      > > fish!? is that all there is?
      > > Was this unfairness of human condition present prior to
      > civilization and
      > > private property? or "this distribution of power" is only the son
      of
      > > aggressive capitalism!?... I wonder!!!
      > >
      > > This comes to my mind:
      > >
      > > Tortures (by Wislawa Szymborska - 1986)
      > >
      > > NOTHING has changed.
      > > The body is a reservoir of pain,
      > > it has to eat and breathe the air, and sleep,
      > > it's got thin skin and the blood is just beneath it,
      > > it's got a good supply of teeth and fingernails,
      > > its bones can be broken, its joints can be stretched.
      > > In tortures, all of this is considered.
      > >
      > > Nothing has changed.
      > > The body still trembles as it trembled
      > > before Rome was founded and after,
      > > in twentieth century before and after Christ;
      > > tortures are just what they were, only the earth has shrunk
      > > and whatever goes on sounds as if it's just a room away.
      > >
      > > Nothing has changed.
      > > Except there are more people,
      > > and new offences have sprung up beside the old ones,
      > > real, make-believe, short-lived, and nonexistent,
      > > but the cry with which the body answers for them
      > > was, is, will be a cry of innocence
      > > in keeping with the age-old scale and pitch.
      > >
      > > ------------------------------------------------------------------
      --
      > --------
      > > ------------------------
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: George Walton
      > > To:
      > > Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2003 2:11 PM
      > > Subject: Re: [existlist] Existentialism & Humanism or you can
      call
      > it
      > > anything
      > >
      > >
      > > > GT,
      > > >
      > > > Your point about American Imperialism [the so-called "global
      > economy"] is
      > > right in the bullseye, of course. The whole rationale behind
      > American
      > > foreign policy is to reconfigure the rest of the world so as to
      > assure that
      > > the Fat Cat Big Buckmeisters and their polical lackies get the
      > biggest
      > > chunks of the economic pie. And they largely succeed in doing
      this
      > by
      > > acculturating some of the most politically ignorant folks on the
      > planet:
      > > Amercian citizens. I mean, these politically challenged dolts
      > scratch their
      > > heads day after day trying to figure out why so much of the Third
      > World
      > > folks hate them! They see America as this big ole benign giant
      > lumbering
      > > about the globe and trying to bring freedom and democracy and
      human
      > rights
      > > to the poor and huddled masses. Now that is brainwashed, eh?
      > > >
      > > > Still, let's not pretend that, if it were not for America,
      India
      > would be
      > > a shining beacon of human rights and freedom and justice...a
      > veritable
      > > democratic paradise! Every culture, after all, has its ruling
      > class, right?
      > > For example, does the phrase "caste system" ring a bell?
      > > >
      > > > That's the way of the world. There are always going to be folks
      > who are
      > > smarter and more aggressive and more resourceful and more clever
      > than
      > > others. They will be the ones who accummulate political and
      > economic power.
      > > And with that political and economic wherwithal they will
      purchase
      > the best
      > > enforcers [judges and cops and soldiers] around. Then they pass
      > this down to
      > > the next generation. End of story. Human history in a nutshell.
      > > >
      > > > Now, in your post you were very effective at displaying the
      > outrage you
      > > feel over this. And that is because all kind and compssionaite
      and
      > caring
      > > and concerned folks [which I'm sure you are] become enraged by
      the
      > sheer
      > > depth of the economic disparity around the globe.
      > > >
      > > > John Kennedy, for example, once noted that life is unfair. But
      if
      > that is
      > > all it were, it would be so much easier to bear, wouldn't it?
      > Instead, the
      > > human condition is obscenely unfair; and, by and large, it is
      that
      > way
      > > because the game is rigged by the rich and powerful.
      > > >
      > > > But here's the thing: what specifically are you doing about
      that?
      > Of
      > > course, that's when the rage meets the fear, right? In other
      words,
      > you are
      > > incensed that the dice are flagrantly loaded but those loading
      them
      > are,
      > > again, the folks with the laws and the cops and the soldiers and
      > the guns
      > > and the tanks and the nuclear warheads. Sure, you can
      work "within
      > the
      > > system", perhaps, and try to reform the conditions that bring
      about
      > the most
      > > egregious suffering. But you can't ever really hope to tear it
      down
      > and
      > > reconstruct it based on the so much more "ideal" contraption you
      > have
      > > construed in your head. Besides, as the 20th century so brutally
      > contended,
      > > more often than not, the cure is much worse than the disease. I
      > mean, who
      > > wants to relocate to Cuba or North Korea?
      > > >
      > > > Philosophy has virtually nothing to offer the world [aside from
      > > Machavelian type contributions] because the world is about the
      > distribution
      > > of power. Even an in depth perusal of the political and economic
      > realities
      > > that brought about the US Constitution show that folks like
      > Jefferson were
      > > merely proposing a legislative context in which to allow the free
      > enterpise
      > > system to flourish as...well...free as possible. If, however, you
      > were to
      > > ask the Indians and slaves and women and indentured servants and
      > laborers
      > > and small landowners back then about freedom and liberty they
      would
      > give you
      > > a point of view quite at variance from the official "party line"
      > that most
      > > American citizens still reguritate like trained seals to this
      very
      > day.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Biggie
      > > >
      > > > Thiraviyam Ganesan wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Dear People,
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Frankly I cannot belive the junk being written . Try arguing
      > philososophy
      > > starving. I come from India. Where poverty dances in ecstacy. Do
      > you know
      > > what is poverty .It is a state where you are hungry, illiterate ,
      > > shelterless and naked. Why is it so ? Because the people are
      > lazy ,miserable
      > > good for nothing. No , No and No it is because of your so called
      > > Imperialism's)capitalism's Plunder and Pillage backed by
      feaudalism
      > and
      > > supported by the bureaucracy ( surprised huh? come over to
      India ).
      > Frankly
      > > When you are starving, it doesn't matter whether you stand for
      free
      > trade or
      > > bureaucracy.
      > > >
      > > > I belive everybody are responsible for them selves, but for
      that
      > the
      > > conditions need to be created. I do not belive that I can be
      > totally free
      > > which I want to be) when all around me are ignorant bondage. I
      > cannot like
      > > the existentialists of the west ( especially the US ( frankly I
      > loath the US
      > > , POMPOUS ARROGANT BASTARDS)) forget the fact that we live in a
      > society
      > > maybe a different one from yoiurs) and live in an ivory tower
      > eating lotus.
      > > >
      > > > GT
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > > G Ravi
      > >
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    • C. S. Wyatt
      ... A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for destruction. Nihilism, academically, is a theory that asserts that humanity will peak and then
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
        The following statement is technically inaccurate:

        > Christ, even bacteria have
        > a greater will to live than nihilists.
        >
        > Jo

        A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for
        destruction. Nihilism, academically, is a theory that asserts that
        humanity will peak and then descend into chaotic existence. The peaks
        and valleys of this pattern move mankind forward, until a final
        descent -- thousands of years from now, in theory.

        When capitalized, Nihilism is a cousin to Anarchy. It was a political
        movement throughout Europe and found a center in the Slavic nations.
        Eventually, Nihilism even counted as a true force in the Russian
        Revolutionary Movements.

        Nihilism, noun. the beliefs and practices of a revolutionary party in
        Russia in the middle 1800's, which advocated destruction of the old
        order by violence and terrorism to make way for reform.

        On the other hand, nihilism (lowercase) is more a rejection of order
        than an assertion that everything is terrible and we should all die.

        ni·hil·ism n
        1. the general rejection of established social conventions and
        beliefs, especially of morality and religion
        2. a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless
        3. the belief that there is no objective basis for truth
        4. the belief that all established authority is corrupt and must be
        destroyed in order to rebuild a just society
        5. Ni·hil·ism: a political movement in late 19th-century Russia that
        sought to bring about a just new society by destroying the existing
        one through acts of terrorism and assassination

        (from, of all places: Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999)

        I could use any number of dictionaries and texts for longer
        definitions, but let us use these simplified definitions.

        The first two easily fit into the Existentialism of early Sartre,
        which is why many consider the two related. The idea that social
        values should be redacted and replaced by internal motivations,
        intrinsic values, is common to many Continental Philosophical schools
        of thought.

        Item 3 is closer to later movements. I hate to sound negative, but
        American "moral relativists" and "cultural relativists" often fall
        under the spell of the "no objective truth" assertion of nihilism.
        Personally, I think there are a few objective truths -- starting with
        mankind is an animal that seeks to survive.

        Items 4 and 5 are Sartre's weakness. In fact, Sartre admired and
        embraced Russian Nihilism as a romantic notion. Camus did the same, in
        "The Just Assassins" -- but he observed a clear distinction between
        Nihilism and nihilism. Dostoevsky and other Russian writers did the same.

        "Nihilism" and "nihilistic" are too often misused, like "Existential"
        and "existentialism."

        - C. S. Wyatt
      • Mary Jo Malo
        C.S. Nihilism is not only despair and negation, but above all the desire to despair and to negate. - Albert Camus If we are to fail, it is better in any
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
          C.S.

          "Nihilism is not only despair and negation, but above all the desire
          to despair and to negate." - Albert Camus

          "If we are to fail, it is better in any case to have stood on the
          side of those who choose life than on the side of those who are
          destroying." - Camus

          Mary Jo

          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@t...>
          wrote:
          > The following statement is technically inaccurate:
          >
          > > Christ, even bacteria have
          > > a greater will to live than nihilists.
          > >
          > > Jo
          >
          > A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for
          > destruction. Nihilism, academically, is a theory that asserts that
          > humanity will peak and then descend into chaotic existence. The
          peaks
          > and valleys of this pattern move mankind forward, until a final
          > descent -- thousands of years from now, in theory.
          >
          > When capitalized, Nihilism is a cousin to Anarchy. It was a
          political
          > movement throughout Europe and found a center in the Slavic nations.
          > Eventually, Nihilism even counted as a true force in the Russian
          > Revolutionary Movements.
          >
          > Nihilism, noun. the beliefs and practices of a revolutionary party
          in
          > Russia in the middle 1800's, which advocated destruction of the old
          > order by violence and terrorism to make way for reform.
          >
          > On the other hand, nihilism (lowercase) is more a rejection of order
          > than an assertion that everything is terrible and we should all die.
          >
          > ni·hil·ism n
          > 1. the general rejection of established social conventions and
          > beliefs, especially of morality and religion
          > 2. a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless
          > 3. the belief that there is no objective basis for truth
          > 4. the belief that all established authority is corrupt and must be
          > destroyed in order to rebuild a just society
          > 5. Ni·hil·ism: a political movement in late 19th-century Russia that
          > sought to bring about a just new society by destroying the existing
          > one through acts of terrorism and assassination
          >
          > (from, of all places: Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999)
          >
          > I could use any number of dictionaries and texts for longer
          > definitions, but let us use these simplified definitions.
          >
          > The first two easily fit into the Existentialism of early Sartre,
          > which is why many consider the two related. The idea that social
          > values should be redacted and replaced by internal motivations,
          > intrinsic values, is common to many Continental Philosophical
          schools
          > of thought.
          >
          > Item 3 is closer to later movements. I hate to sound negative, but
          > American "moral relativists" and "cultural relativists" often fall
          > under the spell of the "no objective truth" assertion of nihilism.
          > Personally, I think there are a few objective truths -- starting
          with
          > mankind is an animal that seeks to survive.
          >
          > Items 4 and 5 are Sartre's weakness. In fact, Sartre admired and
          > embraced Russian Nihilism as a romantic notion. Camus did the same,
          in
          > "The Just Assassins" -- but he observed a clear distinction between
          > Nihilism and nihilism. Dostoevsky and other Russian writers did the
          same.
          >
          > "Nihilism" and "nihilistic" are too often misused,
          like "Existential"
          > and "existentialism."
          >
          > - C. S. Wyatt
        • C. S. Wyatt
          ... Camus, especially during the Algerian uprisings, came to see violent rebellion as no longer acceptable in the post-WWII environment. Like Merleau-Ponty, he
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary Jo Malo" <alcyon11@y...>
            > "If we are to fail, it is better in any case to have stood on the
            > side of those who choose life than on the side of those who are
            > destroying." - Camus
            >
            > Mary Jo
            >

            Camus, especially during the Algerian uprisings, came to see violent
            rebellion as no longer acceptable in the post-WWII environment. Like
            Merleau-Ponty, he came to view the Nihilists and Communists of Soviet
            Russia as suspect.

            Revolution often descends in to a cycle of violence. Camus lectured on
            this, near the time of his death. Camus struggled with the problem of
            violence, as did so many others during the 20th-Century.

            The Nihilists of Russia turned increasingly violent, without logic,
            and Camus studied this and other revolutionary movements. He came to
            view the Nihilists as basically hopeless and caught in a mob
            mentality. The violence lost its meaning -- equality for the workers
            -- and became nothing but destruction.

            Words mean things... which is why we have dictionaries and I am
            careful to post lexicons on my Web site.

            We toss about words too esily without historical context.

            - C. S. Wyatt
          • C. S. Wyatt
            I wish to clarify something.. ... The Nihilists of Russia and Eastern Europe did not call for the compelte destruction of society, but rather the destruction
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
              I wish to clarify something..

              > A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for
              > destruction. Nihilism, academically, is a theory that asserts that
              > humanity will peak and then descend into chaotic existence. The peaks
              > and valleys of this pattern move mankind forward, until a final
              > descent -- thousands of years from now, in theory.

              The Nihilists of Russia and Eastern Europe did not call for the
              compelte destruction of society, but rather the destruction of a
              government and its symbols. I do not consider this "destructive" in
              the sense of random and violent crime -- this is not Clockwork Orange.

              So, it becomes slightly symantec... destructive in the sense of
              tearing down a government, but not destructive in the sense of harming
              the citizens of a society. The Nihilists were no longer a political
              force by the end of World War I.

              The word "nihilism" slipped into common usage, without a reference to
              the party, to describe random and meaningless destruction. However,
              that is not the philosophical definition.

              Anyway... I must slip out again and write.
            • Mary Jo Malo
              C.S. Camus examined nihilism in greater depth than the example you provide. I accept his rejection, because it is my rejection. Obviously, I choose the side of
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
                C.S.

                Camus examined nihilism in greater depth than the example you provide. I accept his rejection, because it is my rejection. Obviously, I choose the side of hope, because I give an ultimate dignity to the human condition. Even with dictionaries, lexicons and historical context, we are simply offered several definitions. We will always choose the definition that most suits that which we already hold to be true for ourselves. To deny desire and hope in both trivial and profound matters will only guarantee that those who masquerade as humanity will succeed in making us like them. I choose forwards rather than backwards.

                Mary Jo

                "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@...> wrote:
                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary Jo Malo" <alcyon11@y...>
                > "If we are to fail, it is better in any case to have stood on the
                > side of those who choose life than on the side of those who are
                > destroying." - Camus
                >
                > Mary Jo
                >

                Camus, especially during the Algerian uprisings, came to see violent
                rebellion as no longer acceptable in the post-WWII environment. Like
                Merleau-Ponty, he came to view the Nihilists and Communists of Soviet
                Russia as suspect.

                Revolution often descends in to a cycle of violence. Camus lectured on
                this, near the time of his death. Camus struggled with the problem of
                violence, as did so many others during the 20th-Century.

                The Nihilists of Russia turned increasingly violent, without logic,
                and Camus studied this and other revolutionary movements. He came to
                view the Nihilists as basically hopeless and caught in a mob
                mentality. The violence lost its meaning -- equality for the workers
                -- and became nothing but destruction.

                Words mean things... which is why we have dictionaries and I am
                careful to post lexicons on my Web site.

                We toss about words too esily without historical context.

                - C. S. Wyatt



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              • George Walton
                Philosophy in a dictionary? C. S. Wyatt wrote: ... A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for destruction. Nihilism,
                Message 7 of 18 , Oct 2, 2003
                  Philosophy in a dictionary?



                  "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@...> wrote:
                  The following statement is technically inaccurate:

                  > Christ, even bacteria have
                  > a greater will to live than nihilists.
                  >
                  > Jo

                  A Nihilist is not destructive, nor does he or she call for
                  destruction. Nihilism, academically, is a theory that asserts that
                  humanity will peak and then descend into chaotic existence. The peaks
                  and valleys of this pattern move mankind forward, until a final
                  descent -- thousands of years from now, in theory.

                  When capitalized, Nihilism is a cousin to Anarchy. It was a political
                  movement throughout Europe and found a center in the Slavic nations.
                  Eventually, Nihilism even counted as a true force in the Russian
                  Revolutionary Movements.

                  Nihilism, noun. the beliefs and practices of a revolutionary party in
                  Russia in the middle 1800's, which advocated destruction of the old
                  order by violence and terrorism to make way for reform.

                  On the other hand, nihilism (lowercase) is more a rejection of order
                  than an assertion that everything is terrible and we should all die.

                  ni�hil�ism n
                  1. the general rejection of established social conventions and
                  beliefs, especially of morality and religion
                  2. a belief that life is pointless and human values are worthless
                  3. the belief that there is no objective basis for truth
                  4. the belief that all established authority is corrupt and must be
                  destroyed in order to rebuild a just society
                  5. Ni�hil�ism: a political movement in late 19th-century Russia that
                  sought to bring about a just new society by destroying the existing
                  one through acts of terrorism and assassination

                  (from, of all places: Encarta� World English Dictionary � 1999)

                  I could use any number of dictionaries and texts for longer
                  definitions, but let us use these simplified definitions.

                  The first two easily fit into the Existentialism of early Sartre,
                  which is why many consider the two related. The idea that social
                  values should be redacted and replaced by internal motivations,
                  intrinsic values, is common to many Continental Philosophical schools
                  of thought.

                  Item 3 is closer to later movements. I hate to sound negative, but
                  American "moral relativists" and "cultural relativists" often fall
                  under the spell of the "no objective truth" assertion of nihilism.
                  Personally, I think there are a few objective truths -- starting with
                  mankind is an animal that seeks to survive.

                  Items 4 and 5 are Sartre's weakness. In fact, Sartre admired and
                  embraced Russian Nihilism as a romantic notion. Camus did the same, in
                  "The Just Assassins" -- but he observed a clear distinction between
                  Nihilism and nihilism. Dostoevsky and other Russian writers did the same.

                  "Nihilism" and "nihilistic" are too often misused, like "Existential"
                  and "existentialism."

                  - C. S. Wyatt


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                  (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • George Walton
                  Words mean things. And God knows only nihilists are permitted to compile the dictionaries we use to confirm the meaning of all the words we use in philosophy.
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 2, 2003
                    Words mean things. And God knows only nihilists are permitted to compile the dictionaries we use to confirm the meaning of all the words we use in philosophy.

                    He does, doesn't he?

                    "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@...> wrote:
                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary Jo Malo" <alcyon11@y...>
                    > "If we are to fail, it is better in any case to have stood on the
                    > side of those who choose life than on the side of those who are
                    > destroying." - Camus
                    >
                    > Mary Jo
                    >

                    Camus, especially during the Algerian uprisings, came to see violent
                    rebellion as no longer acceptable in the post-WWII environment. Like
                    Merleau-Ponty, he came to view the Nihilists and Communists of Soviet
                    Russia as suspect.

                    Revolution often descends in to a cycle of violence. Camus lectured on
                    this, near the time of his death. Camus struggled with the problem of
                    violence, as did so many others during the 20th-Century.

                    The Nihilists of Russia turned increasingly violent, without logic,
                    and Camus studied this and other revolutionary movements. He came to
                    view the Nihilists as basically hopeless and caught in a mob
                    mentality. The violence lost its meaning -- equality for the workers
                    -- and became nothing but destruction.

                    Words mean things... which is why we have dictionaries and I am
                    careful to post lexicons on my Web site.

                    We toss about words too esily without historical context.

                    - C. S. Wyatt



                    Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT

                    Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
                    (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

                    TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
                    existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                    Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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