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Re: "Engaging" nihilism in "film noir"

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  • Mary Jo Malo
    Biggie, Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far more sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so much more
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 6, 2003
      Biggie,

      "Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far more
      sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so much
      more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the entire
      globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture] and
      2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
      possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness."

      Camus' existentialism (a rejection of philosophical nihilism) is a
      far more sophisticated cure and mature understanding of humanity's
      desires. Only through suffering want (emotional or material)will this
      sad culture you describe become miserable enough to question their
      existence. They will either reject it (their existence) or try to
      understand it and begin the reintegration (or integration) of their
      personality. Their wholeness (reflected in healthy eroticism) will
      enable humanity to reach its potential. Fragmentation is neither a
      natural nor desired state of being.

      Mary Jo

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously" <iambiguously@y...>
      wrote:
      > From Thomas Hibbs, "Shows About Nothing" page 32:
      >
      > "By putting our conventions into question, film noir opens up the
      > possibilty of a more fundamental and more comprehensivve inquiry.
      > Its accent on darkness and mystery is an affront to Enlightenment
      > confidence in transparent objectivity and progress. According to
      the
      > modern perception of progress, we know precisely where we are,
      where
      > we want to go and how we are to get there. Film noir recovers the
      > premodern conception of life as an always tenuous quest, wherein we
      > are dependent on veiled clues and the uncertain assistance of
      > others. Although fulfilment is never sevure, the eortic longing for
      > qwholeness and lovew remain at the very cebnter of teh plot.
      > Autonomy is adebilitating illusion, and bold self-assertion, a self-
      > destructive vice. Film noir thus engagages without sucummbing to,
      > nihilsm."
      >
      > As with many passages in Hibbs' book, this one is very, very
      > effective in delineating the profoundly problematic nature of
      modern
      > contemporary social interaction when the metaphysical adhesive is
      > withdrawn and we are faced with how to put all of the existential
      > fragments together from day to day; and to do so in such a manner
      as
      > to effectively communicate a sense of "self" to others....one that
      > is, in turn, construed by them in a plausable and reciprocal
      manner.
      >
      > But: Is the "erotic longing for wholeness and love" depicted in
      film
      > noir compatible at all with the very manner in which identity is
      > frangmented and dehumanized in our modern capitalist political
      > economy?
      >
      > Consider, for example, an insight regarding human identity from
      > Madan Sarup's "Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World".
      >
      > He is discussing a biography by Eva Hoffman titled "Lost in
      > Translation". She was a 13 year child in war-torn Cracow, Poland
      > when her Jewish parents emigrated to Canada:
      >
      > "....Eva focuses on her alienation and her problems with the
      English
      > language. She remarks 'the problem is that the signifier has become
      > severed from the signified. The words I learn don't stand for the
      > things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native tongue'.
      > Gradually, Polish becomes a dead language, the language of the
      > untranslatable past. She finds her Polish words don't apply to her
      > new experineces....and the English words don't hook on to anything.
      > This part of the book is a thoughful discussion about life in a new
      > language [the subtilte of the book] and her anxieties about
      identity:
      >
      > 'This is a society [an American says] in which you are who you
      think
      > you are. Nobody gives you your identity here, you have to reinvent
      > yourself every day. He is right I suspect, but I can't figure out
      > how this is done. You just say what you are and everyone believes
      > you? But how do I choose from the identity options all around me?'
      >
      > "....Eva [then] gives an account of how she gradually begins to
      feel
      > at home in the 'New World'. At first, she shares with her American
      > generation an acute sense of dislocation and the equally acute
      > challenge of having to invent a place and an identiy for herself
      > without the traditional supports. Feelings of aniomie, loneliness
      > and emotional repression drive Eva to therapy. She is asked, 'why
      do
      > so many Americans go to psychiatrists all the time? She replies:
      >
      > 'It's a problem of identity. Many of my American friends feel they
      > don't have enough of it. They often feel worthless, or they don't
      > know how they feel?.....maybe it's because everyone is always on
      the
      > move and undergoing enormous changes, so they lose track of who
      > they've been and have to keep tabs on who they're becoming all the
      > time'"
      >
      >
      > Why do you imagine they don't they make many films these days in
      > which "the hero" or "the heroine" is "engaging rather than
      > succumbing" to nihilism? Because, when film noir was popular in the
      > 30's and 40's and 50's, there was a much LESS fragmented sense of
      > reality, of identity. Contemporary culture is far, far, far MORE
      > fractured now. Perhaps irrevocably, hopelessly so. We DO move
      around
      > and back and forth from place to place incessantly and change is
      > constant, more overwhelming and coming at us from a lot more
      > directions. The new Gods [pop culture, consumption and celebrity]
      > are everywhere and, wherever they go they reproduce shallow and
      > vacuous and feckless minds woefully incapable to going more than a
      > foot wide and an inch deep respecting any really serious issues in
      > philosophy or politcal discourse or considerations of morality.
      >
      > Ah, but is this nihilistic wasteland that so many really
      > DO "succumb" to the cause or the effect when we discuss the impact
      > of Seinfeld or the Simpsons or television in general or hollywood
      > film or video games or professional wrestling or popular music?
      >
      > Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
      more
      > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
      much
      > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the entire
      > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture] and
      > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
      > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness.
      >
      > Biggie
    • George Walton
      Mary Jo, Had Albert and I been able to discuss the philosophical nature of nihilism, I am more than confident I would have made him see the error of his ways.
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 7, 2003
        Mary Jo,

        Had Albert and I been able to discuss the philosophical nature of nihilism, I am more than confident I would have made him see the error of his ways.



        As for "suffering want", Europeans were both dishing it out [colonialism] and taking it in[two world wars].Yet I don't see them reconstructing their own worlds so as ward off the mindless madness of the new Gods.

        Fragmentation is also on both sides of the existential coin. It can be used to create [think Rorty's sense of "aesthetics" in resurrecting the "self"] and, of course, used to destroy. But in order to make it a more utilitarian/practical/functional aggenda, one willing to embrace moderation and compromise and negociation, it must be yanked out of and spirited as far away from philosophy is we can take it. Moral philosophy is the virulent disease because...well...it insists defending itself as, for the most part, the virulent cure.

        Philosophy, therefore, as I think you understand it is an intellectual black hole. Once The Philosopher falls down inside it she almost never, ever makes it back out again. Why? Because she doesn't want to.

        Biggie


        Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@...> wrote:
        Biggie,

        "Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far more
        sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so much
        more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the entire
        globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture] and
        2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
        possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness."

        Camus' existentialism (a rejection of philosophical nihilism) is a
        far more sophisticated cure and mature understanding of humanity's
        desires. Only through suffering want (emotional or material)will this
        sad culture you describe become miserable enough to question their
        existence. They will either reject it (their existence) or try to
        understand it and begin the reintegration (or integration) of their
        personality. Their wholeness (reflected in healthy eroticism) will
        enable humanity to reach its potential. Fragmentation is neither a
        natural nor desired state of being.

        Mary Jo

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously" <iambiguously@y...>
        wrote:
        > From Thomas Hibbs, "Shows About Nothing" page 32:
        >
        > "By putting our conventions into question, film noir opens up the
        > possibilty of a more fundamental and more comprehensivve inquiry.
        > Its accent on darkness and mystery is an affront to Enlightenment
        > confidence in transparent objectivity and progress. According to
        the
        > modern perception of progress, we know precisely where we are,
        where
        > we want to go and how we are to get there. Film noir recovers the
        > premodern conception of life as an always tenuous quest, wherein we
        > are dependent on veiled clues and the uncertain assistance of
        > others. Although fulfilment is never sevure, the eortic longing for
        > qwholeness and lovew remain at the very cebnter of teh plot.
        > Autonomy is adebilitating illusion, and bold self-assertion, a self-
        > destructive vice. Film noir thus engagages without sucummbing to,
        > nihilsm."
        >
        > As with many passages in Hibbs' book, this one is very, very
        > effective in delineating the profoundly problematic nature of
        modern
        > contemporary social interaction when the metaphysical adhesive is
        > withdrawn and we are faced with how to put all of the existential
        > fragments together from day to day; and to do so in such a manner
        as
        > to effectively communicate a sense of "self" to others....one that
        > is, in turn, construed by them in a plausable and reciprocal
        manner.
        >
        > But: Is the "erotic longing for wholeness and love" depicted in
        film
        > noir compatible at all with the very manner in which identity is
        > frangmented and dehumanized in our modern capitalist political
        > economy?
        >
        > Consider, for example, an insight regarding human identity from
        > Madan Sarup's "Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World".
        >
        > He is discussing a biography by Eva Hoffman titled "Lost in
        > Translation". She was a 13 year child in war-torn Cracow, Poland
        > when her Jewish parents emigrated to Canada:
        >
        > "....Eva focuses on her alienation and her problems with the
        English
        > language. She remarks 'the problem is that the signifier has become
        > severed from the signified. The words I learn don't stand for the
        > things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native tongue'.
        > Gradually, Polish becomes a dead language, the language of the
        > untranslatable past. She finds her Polish words don't apply to her
        > new experineces....and the English words don't hook on to anything.
        > This part of the book is a thoughful discussion about life in a new
        > language [the subtilte of the book] and her anxieties about
        identity:
        >
        > 'This is a society [an American says] in which you are who you
        think
        > you are. Nobody gives you your identity here, you have to reinvent
        > yourself every day. He is right I suspect, but I can't figure out
        > how this is done. You just say what you are and everyone believes
        > you? But how do I choose from the identity options all around me?'
        >
        > "....Eva [then] gives an account of how she gradually begins to
        feel
        > at home in the 'New World'. At first, she shares with her American
        > generation an acute sense of dislocation and the equally acute
        > challenge of having to invent a place and an identiy for herself
        > without the traditional supports. Feelings of aniomie, loneliness
        > and emotional repression drive Eva to therapy. She is asked, 'why
        do
        > so many Americans go to psychiatrists all the time? She replies:
        >
        > 'It's a problem of identity. Many of my American friends feel they
        > don't have enough of it. They often feel worthless, or they don't
        > know how they feel?.....maybe it's because everyone is always on
        the
        > move and undergoing enormous changes, so they lose track of who
        > they've been and have to keep tabs on who they're becoming all the
        > time'"
        >
        >
        > Why do you imagine they don't they make many films these days in
        > which "the hero" or "the heroine" is "engaging rather than
        > succumbing" to nihilism? Because, when film noir was popular in the
        > 30's and 40's and 50's, there was a much LESS fragmented sense of
        > reality, of identity. Contemporary culture is far, far, far MORE
        > fractured now. Perhaps irrevocably, hopelessly so. We DO move
        around
        > and back and forth from place to place incessantly and change is
        > constant, more overwhelming and coming at us from a lot more
        > directions. The new Gods [pop culture, consumption and celebrity]
        > are everywhere and, wherever they go they reproduce shallow and
        > vacuous and feckless minds woefully incapable to going more than a
        > foot wide and an inch deep respecting any really serious issues in
        > philosophy or politcal discourse or considerations of morality.
        >
        > Ah, but is this nihilistic wasteland that so many really
        > DO "succumb" to the cause or the effect when we discuss the impact
        > of Seinfeld or the Simpsons or television in general or hollywood
        > film or video games or professional wrestling or popular music?
        >
        > Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
        more
        > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
        much
        > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the entire
        > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture] and
        > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
        > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness.
        >
        > Biggie


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      • Mary Jo Malo
        Biggie ... nihilism, I am more than confident I would have made him see the error of his ways.
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 7, 2003
          Biggie

          > Had Albert and I been able to discuss the philosophical nature of
          nihilism, I am more than confident I would have made him see the
          error of his ways.<

          I doubt it

          > As for "suffering want", Europeans were both dishing it out
          [colonialism] and taking it in[two world wars].Yet I don't see them
          reconstructing their own worlds so as ward off the mindless madness
          of the new Gods.<

          You knew every individual European did/do you? How can you know the
          changes it brings to an individual's life. Just because it doesn't
          make a noticeable change in a society, doesn't mean it isn't
          successful. Besides, I would argue that Europe today is a product of
          the nihilistic philosophy, generally speaking that is.

          >Fragmentation is also on both sides of the existential coin. It can
          be used to create [think Rorty's sense of "aesthetics" in
          resurrecting the "self"] and, of course, used to destroy. But in
          order to make it a more utilitarian/practical/functional aggenda, one
          willing to embrace moderation and compromise and negociation, it must
          be yanked out of and spirited as far away from philosophy is we can
          take it. Moral philosophy is the virulent disease because...well...it
          insists defending itself as, for the most part, the virulent cure.<

          Fragmentation is a result of confusing ideas in society, and yes
          healing and creativity can proceed from it. Camus was all for
          moderation, compromise and negotiation, as am I. It's not about
          morality for others. It's about morality for yourself and reaching
          reasonable consesus.

          >Philosophy, therefore, as I think you understand it is an
          intellectual black hole. Once The Philosopher falls down inside it
          she almost never, ever makes it back out again. Why? Because she
          doesn't want to.<

          How do you understand philosophy? Some people don't like coming down
          out of their ivory tower or out of their hole of pain. I like fresh
          air and sunshine. If you have no need for philosophy why do you pose
          in this philosophical venue?

          > Biggie
          >
          >
          > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
          > Biggie,
          >
          > "Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
          more
          > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
          much
          > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the entire
          > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture] and
          > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
          > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness."
          >
          > Camus' existentialism (a rejection of philosophical nihilism) is a
          > far more sophisticated cure and mature understanding of humanity's
          > desires. Only through suffering want (emotional or material)will
          this
          > sad culture you describe become miserable enough to question their
          > existence. They will either reject it (their existence) or try to
          > understand it and begin the reintegration (or integration) of their
          > personality. Their wholeness (reflected in healthy eroticism) will
          > enable humanity to reach its potential. Fragmentation is neither a
          > natural nor desired state of being.
          >
          > Mary Jo
          >
          > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously"
          <iambiguously@y...>
          > wrote:
          > > From Thomas Hibbs, "Shows About Nothing" page 32:
          > >
          > > "By putting our conventions into question, film noir opens up the
          > > possibilty of a more fundamental and more comprehensivve inquiry.
          > > Its accent on darkness and mystery is an affront to Enlightenment
          > > confidence in transparent objectivity and progress. According to
          > the
          > > modern perception of progress, we know precisely where we are,
          > where
          > > we want to go and how we are to get there. Film noir recovers the
          > > premodern conception of life as an always tenuous quest, wherein
          we
          > > are dependent on veiled clues and the uncertain assistance of
          > > others. Although fulfilment is never sevure, the eortic longing
          for
          > > qwholeness and lovew remain at the very cebnter of teh plot.
          > > Autonomy is adebilitating illusion, and bold self-assertion, a
          self-
          > > destructive vice. Film noir thus engagages without sucummbing to,
          > > nihilsm."
          > >
          > > As with many passages in Hibbs' book, this one is very, very
          > > effective in delineating the profoundly problematic nature of
          > modern
          > > contemporary social interaction when the metaphysical adhesive is
          > > withdrawn and we are faced with how to put all of the existential
          > > fragments together from day to day; and to do so in such a manner
          > as
          > > to effectively communicate a sense of "self" to others....one
          that
          > > is, in turn, construed by them in a plausable and reciprocal
          > manner.
          > >
          > > But: Is the "erotic longing for wholeness and love" depicted in
          > film
          > > noir compatible at all with the very manner in which identity is
          > > frangmented and dehumanized in our modern capitalist political
          > > economy?
          > >
          > > Consider, for example, an insight regarding human identity from
          > > Madan Sarup's "Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World".
          > >
          > > He is discussing a biography by Eva Hoffman titled "Lost in
          > > Translation". She was a 13 year child in war-torn Cracow, Poland
          > > when her Jewish parents emigrated to Canada:
          > >
          > > "....Eva focuses on her alienation and her problems with the
          > English
          > > language. She remarks 'the problem is that the signifier has
          become
          > > severed from the signified. The words I learn don't stand for the
          > > things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native
          tongue'.
          > > Gradually, Polish becomes a dead language, the language of the
          > > untranslatable past. She finds her Polish words don't apply to
          her
          > > new experineces....and the English words don't hook on to
          anything.
          > > This part of the book is a thoughful discussion about life in a
          new
          > > language [the subtilte of the book] and her anxieties about
          > identity:
          > >
          > > 'This is a society [an American says] in which you are who you
          > think
          > > you are. Nobody gives you your identity here, you have to
          reinvent
          > > yourself every day. He is right I suspect, but I can't figure out
          > > how this is done. You just say what you are and everyone believes
          > > you? But how do I choose from the identity options all around me?'
          > >
          > > "....Eva [then] gives an account of how she gradually begins to
          > feel
          > > at home in the 'New World'. At first, she shares with her
          American
          > > generation an acute sense of dislocation and the equally acute
          > > challenge of having to invent a place and an identiy for herself
          > > without the traditional supports. Feelings of aniomie, loneliness
          > > and emotional repression drive Eva to therapy. She is asked, 'why
          > do
          > > so many Americans go to psychiatrists all the time? She replies:
          > >
          > > 'It's a problem of identity. Many of my American friends feel
          they
          > > don't have enough of it. They often feel worthless, or they don't
          > > know how they feel?.....maybe it's because everyone is always on
          > the
          > > move and undergoing enormous changes, so they lose track of who
          > > they've been and have to keep tabs on who they're becoming all
          the
          > > time'"
          > >
          > >
          > > Why do you imagine they don't they make many films these days in
          > > which "the hero" or "the heroine" is "engaging rather than
          > > succumbing" to nihilism? Because, when film noir was popular in
          the
          > > 30's and 40's and 50's, there was a much LESS fragmented sense of
          > > reality, of identity. Contemporary culture is far, far, far MORE
          > > fractured now. Perhaps irrevocably, hopelessly so. We DO move
          > around
          > > and back and forth from place to place incessantly and change is
          > > constant, more overwhelming and coming at us from a lot more
          > > directions. The new Gods [pop culture, consumption and celebrity]
          > > are everywhere and, wherever they go they reproduce shallow and
          > > vacuous and feckless minds woefully incapable to going more than
          a
          > > foot wide and an inch deep respecting any really serious issues
          in
          > > philosophy or politcal discourse or considerations of morality.
          > >
          > > Ah, but is this nihilistic wasteland that so many really
          > > DO "succumb" to the cause or the effect when we discuss the
          impact
          > > of Seinfeld or the Simpsons or television in general or hollywood
          > > film or video games or professional wrestling or popular music?
          > >
          > > Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
          > more
          > > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
          > much
          > > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the
          entire
          > > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture]
          and
          > > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
          > > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness.
          > >
          > > Biggie
          >
          >
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          > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
          >
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          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
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          >
          >
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          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • George Walton
          Mary Jo, Aren t you forgetting: I was the guy who convinced God he did not exist. Do you really imgaine after that achievement, Al would have stood a chance
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 7, 2003
            Mary Jo,

            Aren't you forgetting: I was the guy who convinced God he did not exist. Do you really imgaine after that achievement, Al would have stood a chance against me?

            Did you know every Eurpoean? If not, how do you know what changes were or were not effectuated as a result of their experiences in the 20th century? But I suspect that if the patterns in Europe were really all that remarkably different from the USA, we would have caught wind of it by now.

            How could Europe not be in the midst of a nihilistic paradigm given that each individual nation in Europe has their own rendition of the capitalist political economy? That, if you will recall, is my own rendition of nihilism at it's most destructive: when the leash is anchored to a technocratic aggenda and "knowledge" is construed [by increasingly larger majorities] only in terms of pop culture, consumption and celebrity. Oh, sure, just as in America there are those in Europe---lots more---like you and who have figured all this out and go our own way. But we are the ones on the road to extinction not the advocates of poptocracy, right? Look, for example, at the appalling intellectual drek that passes for "philosophy" in some of these rooms!! Try even finding a philosophical venue out in cyberspace that is worthy of the name. They have either been taken woefully infiltrated by the relgious nuts, the right wing politcal ranters or, when you finally do find truly gifted minds [like in
            the KANT1 room in Yahoo], almost all of them are desicated Scholars who wallow in pedantic and didactic abstractions and concepts and definitions. Another kind of nihilism, in my view.

            Give me a break. People are not fragmented in contemporary culture because they are "confused about ideas". They are fragmented, ironically, because they could not care less about ideas. Instead, they are fragmented at the World Series or the Super Bowl or listening to Rap rather than Country music or over brand loyalty or whether tatoos and body piercing and smoking is "cool" or not or at the generation gap or engaging in the war between the folks on Mars and the folks on Venus. Oprah or Phil? And even for those few who take the time to take ideas seriously, the fragmentation is virtually always about What Nietzsche Really Really Meant or Whether Nietzsche's Philosophy is closer to The Truth than Kant's.

            How many people really take the time to understand not what they think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?

            Biggie







            Fragmentation is a result of confusing ideas in society, and yes
            healing and creativity can proceed from it. Camus was all for
            moderation, compromise and negotiation, as am I. It's not about
            morality for others. It's about morality for yourself and reaching
            reasonable consesus.

            >Philosophy, therefore, as I think you understand it is an
            intellectual black hole. Once The Philosopher falls down inside it
            she almost never, ever makes it back out again. Why? Because she
            doesn't want to.<

            How do you understand philosophy? Some people don't like coming down
            out of their ivory tower or out of their hole of pain. I like fresh
            air and sunshine. If you have no need for philosophy why do you pose
            in this philosophical venue?

            > Biggie
            >
            >
            > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
            > Biggie,
            >
            > "Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
            more
            > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
            much
            > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the entire
            > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture] and
            > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
            > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness."
            >
            > Camus' existentialism (a rejection of philosophical nihilism) is a
            > far more sophisticated cure and mature understanding of humanity's
            > desires. Only through suffering want (emotional or material)will
            this
            > sad culture you describe become miserable enough to question their
            > existence. They will either reject it (their existence) or try to
            > understand it and begin the reintegration (or integration) of their
            > personality. Their wholeness (reflected in healthy eroticism) will
            > enable humanity to reach its potential. Fragmentation is neither a
            > natural nor desired state of being.
            >
            > Mary Jo
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously"
            <iambiguously@y...>
            > wrote:
            > > From Thomas Hibbs, "Shows About Nothing" page 32:
            > >
            > > "By putting our conventions into question, film noir opens up the
            > > possibilty of a more fundamental and more comprehensivve inquiry.
            > > Its accent on darkness and mystery is an affront to Enlightenment
            > > confidence in transparent objectivity and progress. According to
            > the
            > > modern perception of progress, we know precisely where we are,
            > where
            > > we want to go and how we are to get there. Film noir recovers the
            > > premodern conception of life as an always tenuous quest, wherein
            we
            > > are dependent on veiled clues and the uncertain assistance of
            > > others. Although fulfilment is never sevure, the eortic longing
            for
            > > qwholeness and lovew remain at the very cebnter of teh plot.
            > > Autonomy is adebilitating illusion, and bold self-assertion, a
            self-
            > > destructive vice. Film noir thus engagages without sucummbing to,
            > > nihilsm."
            > >
            > > As with many passages in Hibbs' book, this one is very, very
            > > effective in delineating the profoundly problematic nature of
            > modern
            > > contemporary social interaction when the metaphysical adhesive is
            > > withdrawn and we are faced with how to put all of the existential
            > > fragments together from day to day; and to do so in such a manner
            > as
            > > to effectively communicate a sense of "self" to others....one
            that
            > > is, in turn, construed by them in a plausable and reciprocal
            > manner.
            > >
            > > But: Is the "erotic longing for wholeness and love" depicted in
            > film
            > > noir compatible at all with the very manner in which identity is
            > > frangmented and dehumanized in our modern capitalist political
            > > economy?
            > >
            > > Consider, for example, an insight regarding human identity from
            > > Madan Sarup's "Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World".
            > >
            > > He is discussing a biography by Eva Hoffman titled "Lost in
            > > Translation". She was a 13 year child in war-torn Cracow, Poland
            > > when her Jewish parents emigrated to Canada:
            > >
            > > "....Eva focuses on her alienation and her problems with the
            > English
            > > language. She remarks 'the problem is that the signifier has
            become
            > > severed from the signified. The words I learn don't stand for the
            > > things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native
            tongue'.
            > > Gradually, Polish becomes a dead language, the language of the
            > > untranslatable past. She finds her Polish words don't apply to
            her
            > > new experineces....and the English words don't hook on to
            anything.
            > > This part of the book is a thoughful discussion about life in a
            new
            > > language [the subtilte of the book] and her anxieties about
            > identity:
            > >
            > > 'This is a society [an American says] in which you are who you
            > think
            > > you are. Nobody gives you your identity here, you have to
            reinvent
            > > yourself every day. He is right I suspect, but I can't figure out
            > > how this is done. You just say what you are and everyone believes
            > > you? But how do I choose from the identity options all around me?'
            > >
            > > "....Eva [then] gives an account of how she gradually begins to
            > feel
            > > at home in the 'New World'. At first, she shares with her
            American
            > > generation an acute sense of dislocation and the equally acute
            > > challenge of having to invent a place and an identiy for herself
            > > without the traditional supports. Feelings of aniomie, loneliness
            > > and emotional repression drive Eva to therapy. She is asked, 'why
            > do
            > > so many Americans go to psychiatrists all the time? She replies:
            > >
            > > 'It's a problem of identity. Many of my American friends feel
            they
            > > don't have enough of it. They often feel worthless, or they don't
            > > know how they feel?.....maybe it's because everyone is always on
            > the
            > > move and undergoing enormous changes, so they lose track of who
            > > they've been and have to keep tabs on who they're becoming all
            the
            > > time'"
            > >
            > >
            > > Why do you imagine they don't they make many films these days in
            > > which "the hero" or "the heroine" is "engaging rather than
            > > succumbing" to nihilism? Because, when film noir was popular in
            the
            > > 30's and 40's and 50's, there was a much LESS fragmented sense of
            > > reality, of identity. Contemporary culture is far, far, far MORE
            > > fractured now. Perhaps irrevocably, hopelessly so. We DO move
            > around
            > > and back and forth from place to place incessantly and change is
            > > constant, more overwhelming and coming at us from a lot more
            > > directions. The new Gods [pop culture, consumption and celebrity]
            > > are everywhere and, wherever they go they reproduce shallow and
            > > vacuous and feckless minds woefully incapable to going more than
            a
            > > foot wide and an inch deep respecting any really serious issues
            in
            > > philosophy or politcal discourse or considerations of morality.
            > >
            > > Ah, but is this nihilistic wasteland that so many really
            > > DO "succumb" to the cause or the effect when we discuss the
            impact
            > > of Seinfeld or the Simpsons or television in general or hollywood
            > > film or video games or professional wrestling or popular music?
            > >
            > > Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
            > more
            > > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
            > much
            > > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the
            entire
            > > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture]
            and
            > > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
            > > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness.
            > >
            > > Biggie
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
            >
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          • Mary Jo Malo
            Biggie, I m saying that despite the fact that although Europe seems mired in the great nothing, there are always individuals who live existentially. But I did
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 7, 2003
              Biggie,

              I'm saying that despite the fact that although Europe seems mired in
              the great nothing, there are always individuals who live
              existentially. But I did realize after my post, however, that if
              nihilism appears pervasive, perhaps it is successful. You should be
              satisfied in my observation, but probably not :)

              Every idea has its negative applications and unholy alliances. That's
              pretty much what our friend Albert had to say. The extremes and
              absolutes are to be avoided.

              I'm not saying that people are fragmented by "contemporary culture".
              I'm say they're fragmented from the moment they're born by well
              meaning but confused parents, teachers, and society, you know - real
              people. I attack ideas and philosophies because they usually don't
              have any connection with real life. You've said this yourself.

              "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
              think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
              context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

              I don't know how many, but I always have. Apparently, so have you.
              That more people don't is indeed reason for concern. I know you stay
              the intellectual and good grammar course when communicating with us
              here. I'm just not that disciplined anymore and identify more with
              common speech and try like hell to communicate clearly. Sometimes I
              succeed.

              Mary Jo

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
              wrote:
              > Mary Jo,
              >
              > Aren't you forgetting: I was the guy who convinced God he did not
              exist. Do you really imgaine after that achievement, Al would have
              stood a chance against me?
              >
              > Did you know every Eurpoean? If not, how do you know what changes
              were or were not effectuated as a result of their experiences in the
              20th century? But I suspect that if the patterns in Europe were
              really all that remarkably different from the USA, we would have
              caught wind of it by now.
              >
              > How could Europe not be in the midst of a nihilistic paradigm given
              that each individual nation in Europe has their own rendition of the
              capitalist political economy? That, if you will recall, is my own
              rendition of nihilism at it's most destructive: when the leash is
              anchored to a technocratic aggenda and "knowledge" is construed [by
              increasingly larger majorities] only in terms of pop culture,
              consumption and celebrity. Oh, sure, just as in America there are
              those in Europe---lots more---like you and who have figured all this
              out and go our own way. But we are the ones on the road to extinction
              not the advocates of poptocracy, right? Look, for example, at the
              appalling intellectual drek that passes for "philosophy" in some of
              these rooms!! Try even finding a philosophical venue out in
              cyberspace that is worthy of the name. They have either been taken
              woefully infiltrated by the relgious nuts, the right wing politcal
              ranters or, when you finally do find truly gifted minds [like in
              > the KANT1 room in Yahoo], almost all of them are desicated
              Scholars who wallow in pedantic and didactic abstractions and
              concepts and definitions. Another kind of nihilism, in my view.
              >
              > Give me a break. People are not fragmented in contemporary culture
              because they are "confused about ideas". They are fragmented,
              ironically, because they could not care less about ideas. Instead,
              they are fragmented at the World Series or the Super Bowl or
              listening to Rap rather than Country music or over brand loyalty or
              whether tatoos and body piercing and smoking is "cool" or not or at
              the generation gap or engaging in the war between the folks on Mars
              and the folks on Venus. Oprah or Phil? And even for those few who
              take the time to take ideas seriously, the fragmentation is virtually
              always about What Nietzsche Really Really Meant or Whether
              Nietzsche's Philosophy is closer to The Truth than Kant's.
              >
              > How many people really take the time to understand not what they
              think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
              context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?
              >
              > Biggie
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Fragmentation is a result of confusing ideas in society, and yes
              > healing and creativity can proceed from it. Camus was all for
              > moderation, compromise and negotiation, as am I. It's not about
              > morality for others. It's about morality for yourself and reaching
              > reasonable consesus.
              >
              > >Philosophy, therefore, as I think you understand it is an
              > intellectual black hole. Once The Philosopher falls down inside it
              > she almost never, ever makes it back out again. Why? Because she
              > doesn't want to.<
              >
              > How do you understand philosophy? Some people don't like coming
              down
              > out of their ivory tower or out of their hole of pain. I like fresh
              > air and sunshine. If you have no need for philosophy why do you
              pose
              > in this philosophical venue?
              >
              > > Biggie
              > >
              > >
              > > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
              > > Biggie,
              > >
              > > "Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
              > more
              > > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
              > much
              > > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the
              entire
              > > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture]
              and
              > > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
              > > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness."
              > >
              > > Camus' existentialism (a rejection of philosophical nihilism) is
              a
              > > far more sophisticated cure and mature understanding of
              humanity's
              > > desires. Only through suffering want (emotional or material)will
              > this
              > > sad culture you describe become miserable enough to question
              their
              > > existence. They will either reject it (their existence) or try to
              > > understand it and begin the reintegration (or integration) of
              their
              > > personality. Their wholeness (reflected in healthy eroticism)
              will
              > > enable humanity to reach its potential. Fragmentation is neither
              a
              > > natural nor desired state of being.
              > >
              > > Mary Jo
              > >
              > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously"
              > <iambiguously@y...>
              > > wrote:
              > > > From Thomas Hibbs, "Shows About Nothing" page 32:
              > > >
              > > > "By putting our conventions into question, film noir opens up
              the
              > > > possibilty of a more fundamental and more comprehensivve
              inquiry.
              > > > Its accent on darkness and mystery is an affront to
              Enlightenment
              > > > confidence in transparent objectivity and progress. According
              to
              > > the
              > > > modern perception of progress, we know precisely where we are,
              > > where
              > > > we want to go and how we are to get there. Film noir recovers
              the
              > > > premodern conception of life as an always tenuous quest,
              wherein
              > we
              > > > are dependent on veiled clues and the uncertain assistance of
              > > > others. Although fulfilment is never sevure, the eortic longing
              > for
              > > > qwholeness and lovew remain at the very cebnter of teh plot.
              > > > Autonomy is adebilitating illusion, and bold self-assertion, a
              > self-
              > > > destructive vice. Film noir thus engagages without sucummbing
              to,
              > > > nihilsm."
              > > >
              > > > As with many passages in Hibbs' book, this one is very, very
              > > > effective in delineating the profoundly problematic nature of
              > > modern
              > > > contemporary social interaction when the metaphysical adhesive
              is
              > > > withdrawn and we are faced with how to put all of the
              existential
              > > > fragments together from day to day; and to do so in such a
              manner
              > > as
              > > > to effectively communicate a sense of "self" to others....one
              > that
              > > > is, in turn, construed by them in a plausable and reciprocal
              > > manner.
              > > >
              > > > But: Is the "erotic longing for wholeness and love" depicted in
              > > film
              > > > noir compatible at all with the very manner in which identity
              is
              > > > frangmented and dehumanized in our modern capitalist political
              > > > economy?
              > > >
              > > > Consider, for example, an insight regarding human identity from
              > > > Madan Sarup's "Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World".
              > > >
              > > > He is discussing a biography by Eva Hoffman titled "Lost in
              > > > Translation". She was a 13 year child in war-torn Cracow,
              Poland
              > > > when her Jewish parents emigrated to Canada:
              > > >
              > > > "....Eva focuses on her alienation and her problems with the
              > > English
              > > > language. She remarks 'the problem is that the signifier has
              > become
              > > > severed from the signified. The words I learn don't stand for
              the
              > > > things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native
              > tongue'.
              > > > Gradually, Polish becomes a dead language, the language of the
              > > > untranslatable past. She finds her Polish words don't apply to
              > her
              > > > new experineces....and the English words don't hook on to
              > anything.
              > > > This part of the book is a thoughful discussion about life in a
              > new
              > > > language [the subtilte of the book] and her anxieties about
              > > identity:
              > > >
              > > > 'This is a society [an American says] in which you are who you
              > > think
              > > > you are. Nobody gives you your identity here, you have to
              > reinvent
              > > > yourself every day. He is right I suspect, but I can't figure
              out
              > > > how this is done. You just say what you are and everyone
              believes
              > > > you? But how do I choose from the identity options all around
              me?'
              > > >
              > > > "....Eva [then] gives an account of how she gradually begins to
              > > feel
              > > > at home in the 'New World'. At first, she shares with her
              > American
              > > > generation an acute sense of dislocation and the equally acute
              > > > challenge of having to invent a place and an identiy for
              herself
              > > > without the traditional supports. Feelings of aniomie,
              loneliness
              > > > and emotional repression drive Eva to therapy. She is
              asked, 'why
              > > do
              > > > so many Americans go to psychiatrists all the time? She replies:
              > > >
              > > > 'It's a problem of identity. Many of my American friends feel
              > they
              > > > don't have enough of it. They often feel worthless, or they
              don't
              > > > know how they feel?.....maybe it's because everyone is always
              on
              > > the
              > > > move and undergoing enormous changes, so they lose track of who
              > > > they've been and have to keep tabs on who they're becoming all
              > the
              > > > time'"
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Why do you imagine they don't they make many films these days
              in
              > > > which "the hero" or "the heroine" is "engaging rather than
              > > > succumbing" to nihilism? Because, when film noir was popular in
              > the
              > > > 30's and 40's and 50's, there was a much LESS fragmented sense
              of
              > > > reality, of identity. Contemporary culture is far, far, far
              MORE
              > > > fractured now. Perhaps irrevocably, hopelessly so. We DO move
              > > around
              > > > and back and forth from place to place incessantly and change
              is
              > > > constant, more overwhelming and coming at us from a lot more
              > > > directions. The new Gods [pop culture, consumption and
              celebrity]
              > > > are everywhere and, wherever they go they reproduce shallow and
              > > > vacuous and feckless minds woefully incapable to going more
              than
              > a
              > > > foot wide and an inch deep respecting any really serious issues
              > in
              > > > philosophy or politcal discourse or considerations of morality.
              > > >
              > > > Ah, but is this nihilistic wasteland that so many really
              > > > DO "succumb" to the cause or the effect when we discuss the
              > impact
              > > > of Seinfeld or the Simpsons or television in general or
              hollywood
              > > > film or video games or professional wrestling or popular music?
              > > >
              > > > Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
              > > more
              > > > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
              > > much
              > > > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the
              > entire
              > > > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture]
              > and
              > > > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
              > > > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness.
              > > >
              > > > Biggie
              > >
              > >
              > > 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]
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
              >
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            • Nicole Schultheis
              How many people really take the time to understand not what they think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the context of how they came to
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

                This is what the narrator always does in a worthy story. Off the top of my
                head, here are some novels that have hit the high water mark in this
                department:

                Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
                Disgrace, John Maxwell Coetzee
                Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
                A House for Mr. Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
                The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

                Each describes a different time and place; each exquisitely gets it right.
                They all capture this fragmentation thing, too.
                Start with Oskar's bits of amber washing up on the beach; Mr. Biswas'
                unfinishable house that no one would live in; Florentino's unlived
                possibilities and his decaying world; David Lurie's question (projected
                onto rescued animals), "Where is home, and how do I get there?"; and pick
                any passage you want from Invisible Man, cuz it's crawling with them.

                If I were really to sit down and think about it, the list could get a lot
                longer.

                I think we all read novels in order to better understand not what we think
                we know but how what we think we know unfolded in the context of how we came
                to think we know that in the first place. If we didn't, Powells and Borders
                and Amazon.com and B&N would all go out of business.

                Nicole
              • Mary Jo Malo
                Nicole, Thanks for the reading list. I ve missed reading a great novel lately, and this will get me back on track. When you read, you use your brain in a
                Message 7 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                  Nicole,

                  Thanks for the reading list. I've missed reading a great novel lately, and this will get me back on track. When you read, you use your brain in a completely different way than you do with so many other visual activities. There are so many profound stories, and I offer just a couple here too:

                  Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera)
                  This Much I Know Is True (Wally Lamb)
                  Cold Mountain (Charles Frasier)
                  Toni Morrison (Paradise, etc.)
                  Jane Hamilton (Ruth's Song, Map of the World, etc.)
                  Waiting For The Barbarians (Coetzee)

                  Mary Jo

                  Nicole Schultheis <nschulth@...> wrote:
                  "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                  think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                  context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

                  This is what the narrator always does in a worthy story. Off the top of my
                  head, here are some novels that have hit the high water mark in this
                  department:

                  Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
                  Disgrace, John Maxwell Coetzee
                  Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez
                  A House for Mr. Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
                  The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

                  Each describes a different time and place; each exquisitely gets it right.
                  They all capture this fragmentation thing, too.
                  Start with Oskar's bits of amber washing up on the beach; Mr. Biswas'
                  unfinishable house that no one would live in; Florentino's unlived
                  possibilities and his decaying world; David Lurie's question (projected
                  onto rescued animals), "Where is home, and how do I get there?"; and pick
                  any passage you want from Invisible Man, cuz it's crawling with them.

                  If I were really to sit down and think about it, the list could get a lot
                  longer.

                  I think we all read novels in order to better understand not what we think
                  we know but how what we think we know unfolded in the context of how we came
                  to think we know that in the first place. If we didn't, Powells and Borders
                  and Amazon.com and B&N would all go out of business.

                  Nicole



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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • George Walton
                  Mary Jo, The most important point I am trying make [and it is, of course, just one man s opinion] is that nihilism has been hijacked for centuries by either
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                    Mary Jo,

                    The most important point I am trying make [and it is, of course, just one man's opinion] is that nihilism has been hijacked for centuries by either the know-nothings or the know-everythings.

                    Call me a neo-nihilist, if you wish. And when you say things like "every idea has its negative applications and unholy alliances" you are just making my point because you always feel this need to situate words along a moral continuum. That is what has to be reconfigured, in my view.

                    True, like everyone else, I have lines I draw in the sand. On one side of the line are behaviors I construe as "right" [freedom of speech, a woman's right to choose abortion, giving everyone the opportunity as a child to excell, impeaching Bush on the charge of mass murder] and, on the other side, are behaviors I deem as "wrong" [blind prejudice, discrimination based on blind prejudice, being a Republican, listening to talk radio]. But the lines are not linear---they are constantly shifting back and forth in myriad conflicting directions as I encounter new points of view and experiences.

                    We all need to prescribe and proscribe our human comportment, right? Otherwise, without laws and mores and folkways and custums and traditions and conventional wisdom and various renditions of commonsense, anarchy would prevail and those with the might would always get to say what is right. My point, however, is to suggest that 99.9% of folks on the planet do not really have a damn clue as to how they come to internalize their own particular Values and Convictions. Philosophical nihilism, on the other hand, starts with the simple assumption [and that is all it can ever be] there is no God. If there is no God than everything we come to know as Right and Wrong is man-made. So, how does that work? How do we acquire a sense of "self"? And once we encompass a relatively "reasonable" way in which to understand that, how then, should we choose to live amongst ourselves?

                    In my opinion, it will always be "between the lines" and down in the "cracks and crevices" because, respecting that crucial relationship between "in my head" and "out in the world", human language can never translate it literally respecting that which most preoccupies folks: how ought I to think and feel and behave around others?

                    Look at the world around us. All of us are, biologically, born the same: as human beings. We may, as individuals, have differing gender and racial characteristics; we may have differing congential IQs or personalitiy traits; we may have differing biological and psychological predispositons. But is that the reason there is so much pain and suffering, conflicts and conflagrations out in the world? No, of course not. The primary reason we can't seem to just "all get along" is that people come to embrace the words they use to construe Reality as though they literally express What Reality Is. They exchange words like so many cinderblocks. They use ideas as walls. Most folks have more bricks in their head then they do in their homes. Us and them. And then, of course, the rich and powerful in virtually all cultures use this to their own advantage to reconstruct the world so as to perpetuate their own political and economic and social interests.

                    But: if there is no absoloute Right or Wrong way to know how to live, how, then, do we go about coming up with "right" and "wrong" ways, instead? Some of the issues are, of course, a whole lot easier to resolve than others. For example, few folks will say "it is okay to conduct medical experiments on a new born child" or "once a man or woman becomes disabled and can no longer function as a productive citizen, they should be taken to extermination camps and disposed of". Here, although there will always be some who would, in all sincerity, agree with this, the overwhelming majority of people will say, "no way!". But what about the vast majority of other moral and political issues that are far from cut and dry---abortion, capital punishment, homosexuality, gun control, poronography, affirmative action---how do we "resolve" them?

                    Do we approach it by adding more brick-words to the walls or in figuring out [through moderation and compromise and negociation] how to reconfigure the walls into fences instead? Sans God, all the alternatives are nihilistic. But which alternative to more likely to get the job done with the least amount of dysfunction in a very, very, very complex and convoluted world?

                    Biggie


                    Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@...> wrote:
                    Biggie,

                    I'm saying that despite the fact that although Europe seems mired in
                    the great nothing, there are always individuals who live
                    existentially. But I did realize after my post, however, that if
                    nihilism appears pervasive, perhaps it is successful. You should be
                    satisfied in my observation, but probably not :)

                    Every idea has its negative applications and unholy alliances. That's
                    pretty much what our friend Albert had to say. The extremes and
                    absolutes are to be avoided.

                    I'm not saying that people are fragmented by "contemporary culture".
                    I'm say they're fragmented from the moment they're born by well
                    meaning but confused parents, teachers, and society, you know - real
                    people. I attack ideas and philosophies because they usually don't
                    have any connection with real life. You've said this yourself.

                    "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                    think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                    context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

                    I don't know how many, but I always have. Apparently, so have you.
                    That more people don't is indeed reason for concern. I know you stay
                    the intellectual and good grammar course when communicating with us
                    here. I'm just not that disciplined anymore and identify more with
                    common speech and try like hell to communicate clearly. Sometimes I
                    succeed.

                    Mary Jo

                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
                    wrote:
                    > Mary Jo,
                    >
                    > Aren't you forgetting: I was the guy who convinced God he did not
                    exist. Do you really imgaine after that achievement, Al would have
                    stood a chance against me?
                    >
                    > Did you know every Eurpoean? If not, how do you know what changes
                    were or were not effectuated as a result of their experiences in the
                    20th century? But I suspect that if the patterns in Europe were
                    really all that remarkably different from the USA, we would have
                    caught wind of it by now.
                    >
                    > How could Europe not be in the midst of a nihilistic paradigm given
                    that each individual nation in Europe has their own rendition of the
                    capitalist political economy? That, if you will recall, is my own
                    rendition of nihilism at it's most destructive: when the leash is
                    anchored to a technocratic aggenda and "knowledge" is construed [by
                    increasingly larger majorities] only in terms of pop culture,
                    consumption and celebrity. Oh, sure, just as in America there are
                    those in Europe---lots more---like you and who have figured all this
                    out and go our own way. But we are the ones on the road to extinction
                    not the advocates of poptocracy, right? Look, for example, at the
                    appalling intellectual drek that passes for "philosophy" in some of
                    these rooms!! Try even finding a philosophical venue out in
                    cyberspace that is worthy of the name. They have either been taken
                    woefully infiltrated by the relgious nuts, the right wing politcal
                    ranters or, when you finally do find truly gifted minds [like in
                    > the KANT1 room in Yahoo], almost all of them are desicated
                    Scholars who wallow in pedantic and didactic abstractions and
                    concepts and definitions. Another kind of nihilism, in my view.
                    >
                    > Give me a break. People are not fragmented in contemporary culture
                    because they are "confused about ideas". They are fragmented,
                    ironically, because they could not care less about ideas. Instead,
                    they are fragmented at the World Series or the Super Bowl or
                    listening to Rap rather than Country music or over brand loyalty or
                    whether tatoos and body piercing and smoking is "cool" or not or at
                    the generation gap or engaging in the war between the folks on Mars
                    and the folks on Venus. Oprah or Phil? And even for those few who
                    take the time to take ideas seriously, the fragmentation is virtually
                    always about What Nietzsche Really Really Meant or Whether
                    Nietzsche's Philosophy is closer to The Truth than Kant's.
                    >
                    > How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                    think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                    context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?
                    >
                    > Biggie
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Fragmentation is a result of confusing ideas in society, and yes
                    > healing and creativity can proceed from it. Camus was all for
                    > moderation, compromise and negotiation, as am I. It's not about
                    > morality for others. It's about morality for yourself and reaching
                    > reasonable consesus.
                    >
                    > >Philosophy, therefore, as I think you understand it is an
                    > intellectual black hole. Once The Philosopher falls down inside it
                    > she almost never, ever makes it back out again. Why? Because she
                    > doesn't want to.<
                    >
                    > How do you understand philosophy? Some people don't like coming
                    down
                    > out of their ivory tower or out of their hole of pain. I like fresh
                    > air and sunshine. If you have no need for philosophy why do you
                    pose
                    > in this philosophical venue?
                    >
                    > > Biggie
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Mary Jo Malo <alcyon11@y...> wrote:
                    > > Biggie,
                    > >
                    > > "Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
                    > more
                    > > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
                    > much
                    > > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the
                    entire
                    > > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture]
                    and
                    > > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
                    > > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness."
                    > >
                    > > Camus' existentialism (a rejection of philosophical nihilism) is
                    a
                    > > far more sophisticated cure and mature understanding of
                    humanity's
                    > > desires. Only through suffering want (emotional or material)will
                    > this
                    > > sad culture you describe become miserable enough to question
                    their
                    > > existence. They will either reject it (their existence) or try to
                    > > understand it and begin the reintegration (or integration) of
                    their
                    > > personality. Their wholeness (reflected in healthy eroticism)
                    will
                    > > enable humanity to reach its potential. Fragmentation is neither
                    a
                    > > natural nor desired state of being.
                    > >
                    > > Mary Jo
                    > >
                    > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "iambiguously"
                    > <iambiguously@y...>
                    > > wrote:
                    > > > From Thomas Hibbs, "Shows About Nothing" page 32:
                    > > >
                    > > > "By putting our conventions into question, film noir opens up
                    the
                    > > > possibilty of a more fundamental and more comprehensivve
                    inquiry.
                    > > > Its accent on darkness and mystery is an affront to
                    Enlightenment
                    > > > confidence in transparent objectivity and progress. According
                    to
                    > > the
                    > > > modern perception of progress, we know precisely where we are,
                    > > where
                    > > > we want to go and how we are to get there. Film noir recovers
                    the
                    > > > premodern conception of life as an always tenuous quest,
                    wherein
                    > we
                    > > > are dependent on veiled clues and the uncertain assistance of
                    > > > others. Although fulfilment is never sevure, the eortic longing
                    > for
                    > > > qwholeness and lovew remain at the very cebnter of teh plot.
                    > > > Autonomy is adebilitating illusion, and bold self-assertion, a
                    > self-
                    > > > destructive vice. Film noir thus engagages without sucummbing
                    to,
                    > > > nihilsm."
                    > > >
                    > > > As with many passages in Hibbs' book, this one is very, very
                    > > > effective in delineating the profoundly problematic nature of
                    > > modern
                    > > > contemporary social interaction when the metaphysical adhesive
                    is
                    > > > withdrawn and we are faced with how to put all of the
                    existential
                    > > > fragments together from day to day; and to do so in such a
                    manner
                    > > as
                    > > > to effectively communicate a sense of "self" to others....one
                    > that
                    > > > is, in turn, construed by them in a plausable and reciprocal
                    > > manner.
                    > > >
                    > > > But: Is the "erotic longing for wholeness and love" depicted in
                    > > film
                    > > > noir compatible at all with the very manner in which identity
                    is
                    > > > frangmented and dehumanized in our modern capitalist political
                    > > > economy?
                    > > >
                    > > > Consider, for example, an insight regarding human identity from
                    > > > Madan Sarup's "Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World".
                    > > >
                    > > > He is discussing a biography by Eva Hoffman titled "Lost in
                    > > > Translation". She was a 13 year child in war-torn Cracow,
                    Poland
                    > > > when her Jewish parents emigrated to Canada:
                    > > >
                    > > > "....Eva focuses on her alienation and her problems with the
                    > > English
                    > > > language. She remarks 'the problem is that the signifier has
                    > become
                    > > > severed from the signified. The words I learn don't stand for
                    the
                    > > > things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native
                    > tongue'.
                    > > > Gradually, Polish becomes a dead language, the language of the
                    > > > untranslatable past. She finds her Polish words don't apply to
                    > her
                    > > > new experineces....and the English words don't hook on to
                    > anything.
                    > > > This part of the book is a thoughful discussion about life in a
                    > new
                    > > > language [the subtilte of the book] and her anxieties about
                    > > identity:
                    > > >
                    > > > 'This is a society [an American says] in which you are who you
                    > > think
                    > > > you are. Nobody gives you your identity here, you have to
                    > reinvent
                    > > > yourself every day. He is right I suspect, but I can't figure
                    out
                    > > > how this is done. You just say what you are and everyone
                    believes
                    > > > you? But how do I choose from the identity options all around
                    me?'
                    > > >
                    > > > "....Eva [then] gives an account of how she gradually begins to
                    > > feel
                    > > > at home in the 'New World'. At first, she shares with her
                    > American
                    > > > generation an acute sense of dislocation and the equally acute
                    > > > challenge of having to invent a place and an identiy for
                    herself
                    > > > without the traditional supports. Feelings of aniomie,
                    loneliness
                    > > > and emotional repression drive Eva to therapy. She is
                    asked, 'why
                    > > do
                    > > > so many Americans go to psychiatrists all the time? She replies:
                    > > >
                    > > > 'It's a problem of identity. Many of my American friends feel
                    > they
                    > > > don't have enough of it. They often feel worthless, or they
                    don't
                    > > > know how they feel?.....maybe it's because everyone is always
                    on
                    > > the
                    > > > move and undergoing enormous changes, so they lose track of who
                    > > > they've been and have to keep tabs on who they're becoming all
                    > the
                    > > > time'"
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Why do you imagine they don't they make many films these days
                    in
                    > > > which "the hero" or "the heroine" is "engaging rather than
                    > > > succumbing" to nihilism? Because, when film noir was popular in
                    > the
                    > > > 30's and 40's and 50's, there was a much LESS fragmented sense
                    of
                    > > > reality, of identity. Contemporary culture is far, far, far
                    MORE
                    > > > fractured now. Perhaps irrevocably, hopelessly so. We DO move
                    > > around
                    > > > and back and forth from place to place incessantly and change
                    is
                    > > > constant, more overwhelming and coming at us from a lot more
                    > > > directions. The new Gods [pop culture, consumption and
                    celebrity]
                    > > > are everywhere and, wherever they go they reproduce shallow and
                    > > > vacuous and feckless minds woefully incapable to going more
                    than
                    > a
                    > > > foot wide and an inch deep respecting any really serious issues
                    > in
                    > > > philosophy or politcal discourse or considerations of morality.
                    > > >
                    > > > Ah, but is this nihilistic wasteland that so many really
                    > > > DO "succumb" to the cause or the effect when we discuss the
                    > impact
                    > > > of Seinfeld or the Simpsons or television in general or
                    hollywood
                    > > > film or video games or professional wrestling or popular music?
                    > > >
                    > > > Philosophical nihilism is just another [and, in my opinion, far
                    > > more
                    > > > sophisticated] manner in which to 1] grasp the nature of the so
                    > > much
                    > > > more pernicious cultural nihilism increasingly infecting the
                    > entire
                    > > > globe [re McDonald's and Disney World and American Pop Culture]
                    > and
                    > > > 2] ofers a far more sophisticate prescription for effecting a
                    > > > possible "cure" for the rampantly mindless madness.
                    > > >
                    > > > Biggie
                    > >
                    > >
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                  • Rakwena Mogoai
                    ... Otherwise, without laws and mores and folkways and customs and traditions and conventional wisdom and various renditions of commonsense, anarchy would
                    Message 9 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                      >>>>We all need to prescribe and proscribe our human comportment, right?
                      Otherwise, without laws and mores and folkways and customs and traditions
                      and conventional wisdom and various renditions of commonsense, anarchy would
                      prevail and those with the might would always get to say what is right. My
                      point, however, is to suggest that 99.9% of folks on the planet do not
                      really have a damn clue as to how they come to internalize their own
                      particular Values and Convictions. Philosophical nihilism, on the other
                      hand, starts with the simple assumption [and that is all it can ever be]
                      there is no God. If there is no God than everything we come to know as Right
                      and Wrong is man-made. So, how does that work? How do we acquire a sense of
                      "self"? And once we encompass a relatively "reasonable" way in which to
                      understand that, how then, should we choose to live amongst ourselves?>>

                      As a philosophical view, nihilism represents an extreme form of skepticism
                      or relativism with regards to the knowability of truth and the legitimacy of
                      claims to knowledge. According to the nihilist, the world and especially
                      human existence are without meaning, purpose or essential value.

                      Indeed faced with such utter despair about everything - how can we acquire a
                      sense of Self and what tennets would we put forward to guide us to live
                      together?

                      The nihilist paradox: Nihilism is often associated with a belief in the
                      nonexistence of truth. In its most extreme form, such a belief is difficult
                      to justify, because it contains a variation on the liar paradox: if it is
                      true that truth does not exist, the statement "truth does not exist" is a
                      truth, thereby proving itself incorrect. A more sophisticated interpretation
                      of the claim might be that while truth may exist, it is inaccessible in
                      practice. This avoids the immediate contradiction, but still does not avoid
                      the problem of how to evaluate the claim.

                      Rakwena
                      ###########################################

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                    • George Walton
                      Nicole, A novel, like a history tome or a book on art or philosophy, is less a text than a context written by and then, down the road, interpreted by someone
                      Message 10 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                        Nicole,

                        A novel, like a history tome or a book on art or philosophy, is less a text than a context written by and then, down the road, interpreted by someone who is inextricably and inexpressibly inside of it. That, in fact, is why it is always so easy to be conned in the first place. We cannot acquire the "bird's eye view" necessary to see how the contexts are all intertwined historically, culturally, experientially, existentially over time. We merely have our own accumulation of bits and pieces as Dasein. And, perforce, we are doing the interpretation as a particular frame of mind already profoundly hard-wired to view the contexts in...well...particular ways.

                        The only real distinction to make, then, is between natural science and social science. And, of course, the real danger lies at the intersection where social scientists actually think they are natural scientists.

                        They're not. They are not even close.

                        Biggie


                        Nicole Schultheis <nschulth@...> wrote:
                        "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                        think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                        context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

                        This is what the narrator always does in a worthy story. Off the top of my
                        head, here are some novels that have hit the high water mark in this
                        department:

                        Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
                        Disgrace, John Maxwell Coetzee
                        Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez
                        A House for Mr. Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
                        The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

                        Each describes a different time and place; each exquisitely gets it right.
                        They all capture this fragmentation thing, too.
                        Start with Oskar's bits of amber washing up on the beach; Mr. Biswas'
                        unfinishable house that no one would live in; Florentino's unlived
                        possibilities and his decaying world; David Lurie's question (projected
                        onto rescued animals), "Where is home, and how do I get there?"; and pick
                        any passage you want from Invisible Man, cuz it's crawling with them.

                        If I were really to sit down and think about it, the list could get a lot
                        longer.

                        I think we all read novels in order to better understand not what we think
                        we know but how what we think we know unfolded in the context of how we came
                        to think we know that in the first place. If we didn't, Powells and Borders
                        and Amazon.com and B&N would all go out of business.

                        Nicole



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                      • Mary Jo Malo
                        Rakwena, Thank you for this clarification. Moving forward, it might be more honest to claim that while truth seems inaccessible, we still desire it. Mary Jo
                        Message 11 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                          Rakwena,

                          Thank you for this clarification. Moving forward, it might be more
                          honest to claim that while "truth" seems inaccessible, we still
                          desire it.

                          Mary Jo

                          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Rakwena Mogoai <RakwenaM@M...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > >>>>We all need to prescribe and proscribe our human comportment,
                          right?
                          > Otherwise, without laws and mores and folkways and customs and
                          traditions
                          > and conventional wisdom and various renditions of commonsense,
                          anarchy would
                          > prevail and those with the might would always get to say what is
                          right. My
                          > point, however, is to suggest that 99.9% of folks on the planet do
                          not
                          > really have a damn clue as to how they come to internalize their own
                          > particular Values and Convictions. Philosophical nihilism, on the
                          other
                          > hand, starts with the simple assumption [and that is all it can
                          ever be]
                          > there is no God. If there is no God than everything we come to know
                          as Right
                          > and Wrong is man-made. So, how does that work? How do we acquire a
                          sense of
                          > "self"? And once we encompass a relatively "reasonable" way in
                          which to
                          > understand that, how then, should we choose to live amongst
                          ourselves?>>
                          >
                          > As a philosophical view, nihilism represents an extreme form of
                          skepticism
                          > or relativism with regards to the knowability of truth and the
                          legitimacy of
                          > claims to knowledge. According to the nihilist, the world and
                          especially
                          > human existence are without meaning, purpose or essential value.
                          >
                          > Indeed faced with such utter despair about everything - how can we
                          acquire a
                          > sense of Self and what tennets would we put forward to guide us to
                          live
                          > together?
                          >
                          > The nihilist paradox: Nihilism is often associated with a belief in
                          the
                          > nonexistence of truth. In its most extreme form, such a belief is
                          difficult
                          > to justify, because it contains a variation on the liar paradox: if
                          it is
                          > true that truth does not exist, the statement "truth does not
                          exist" is a
                          > truth, thereby proving itself incorrect. A more sophisticated
                          interpretation
                          > of the claim might be that while truth may exist, it is
                          inaccessible in
                          > practice. This avoids the immediate contradiction, but still does
                          not avoid
                          > the problem of how to evaluate the claim.
                          >
                          > Rakwena
                          > ###########################################
                          >
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                          Exchange.
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                        • George Walton
                          Rakween, You are neither reading nor responding to my own rendition of nihilism. Instead, you spout the typical APA accredited by-the-book bullshit regarding
                          Message 12 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                            Rakween,

                            You are neither reading nor responding to my own rendition of nihilism. Instead, you spout the typical APA accredited by-the-book bullshit regarding What Nihilism Is. Period. End of story. Case closed.

                            The liar's paradox is, for all intents and purposes, my very point: that language cannot encompass the world around us---except as it tautologically insists the world around us allegedly "is".

                            On the other hand, physicists and chemists and geologists and meteorologists etc. do evince a literal translation between subject and predicate respecting their own theoretical constructs. Why? Because they are construing relationships out in the physical world between mindless matter. Gravity and mass and space and time and energy and acceleration are not understood as "behaving" rightly or wrongly. Not in a moral sense. A scientist doesn't say "I think we ought to be able to walk on water; it's not fair that we can't" or "I think the Earth should be orbiting the Moon, instead; and orbit the Sun in the opposite direction or 60,000,000 miles closer in". Either/or is the name of the game in science---at least until you get down into the quantum realms, right?

                            Social sciences on the other hand are much, much softer. Very, very little can be expressed tautologically, can it? Social psychologists can, for example, make reasonable conjectures about, say, how we will behave in a crowd as opposed to how we might behave alone in our living room. Or how we might respond in relatively anonomous venues like this as opposed to eyeball to eyeball with someone we know intimately sitting next to us in the same room. But there will always be exceptions and shades of grey, right? And no social psychologogist can attest with any degree of objectivity whether the "cause' of the crownd we happen to be in is Right or Wrong respecting the point it is trying to make.

                            See the difference?

                            Biggie



                            Rakwena Mogoai <RakwenaM@...> wrote:



                            >>>>We all need to prescribe and proscribe our human comportment, right?
                            Otherwise, without laws and mores and folkways and customs and traditions
                            and conventional wisdom and various renditions of commonsense, anarchy would
                            prevail and those with the might would always get to say what is right. My
                            point, however, is to suggest that 99.9% of folks on the planet do not
                            really have a damn clue as to how they come to internalize their own
                            particular Values and Convictions. Philosophical nihilism, on the other
                            hand, starts with the simple assumption [and that is all it can ever be]
                            there is no God. If there is no God than everything we come to know as Right
                            and Wrong is man-made. So, how does that work? How do we acquire a sense of
                            "self"? And once we encompass a relatively "reasonable" way in which to
                            understand that, how then, should we choose to live amongst ourselves?>>

                            As a philosophical view, nihilism represents an extreme form of skepticism
                            or relativism with regards to the knowability of truth and the legitimacy of
                            claims to knowledge. According to the nihilist, the world and especially
                            human existence are without meaning, purpose or essential value.

                            Indeed faced with such utter despair about everything - how can we acquire a
                            sense of Self and what tennets would we put forward to guide us to live
                            together?

                            The nihilist paradox: Nihilism is often associated with a belief in the
                            nonexistence of truth. In its most extreme form, such a belief is difficult
                            to justify, because it contains a variation on the liar paradox: if it is
                            true that truth does not exist, the statement "truth does not exist" is a
                            truth, thereby proving itself incorrect. A more sophisticated interpretation
                            of the claim might be that while truth may exist, it is inaccessible in
                            practice. This avoids the immediate contradiction, but still does not avoid
                            the problem of how to evaluate the claim.

                            Rakwena
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                          • Mary Jo Malo
                            Biggie, Natural science is as good as it gets, for now. They have a relativity problem, however. They are looking at the machine (how it works)in a picture
                            Message 13 of 18 , Oct 8, 2003
                              Biggie,

                              Natural science is as good as it gets, for now. They have a
                              relativity problem, however. They are looking at the machine (how it
                              works)in a picture (our observation). They want to know how the
                              machine works, but they don't know how the picture works.

                              Mary Jo

                              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
                              wrote:
                              > Nicole,
                              >
                              > A novel, like a history tome or a book on art or philosophy, is
                              less a text than a context written by and then, down the road,
                              interpreted by someone who is inextricably and inexpressibly inside
                              of it. That, in fact, is why it is always so easy to be conned in the
                              first place. We cannot acquire the "bird's eye view" necessary to see
                              how the contexts are all intertwined historically, culturally,
                              experientially, existentially over time. We merely have our own
                              accumulation of bits and pieces as Dasein. And, perforce, we are
                              doing the interpretation as a particular frame of mind already
                              profoundly hard-wired to view the contexts in...well...particular
                              ways.
                              >
                              > The only real distinction to make, then, is between natural science
                              and social science. And, of course, the real danger lies at the
                              intersection where social scientists actually think they are natural
                              scientists.
                              >
                              > They're not. They are not even close.
                              >
                              > Biggie
                              >
                              >
                              > Nicole Schultheis <nschulth@i...> wrote:
                              > "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                              > think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                              > context of how they came to think they know that in the first
                              place?"
                              >
                              > This is what the narrator always does in a worthy story. Off the
                              top of my
                              > head, here are some novels that have hit the high water mark in this
                              > department:
                              >
                              > Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
                              > Disgrace, John Maxwell Coetzee
                              > Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
                              > A House for Mr. Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
                              > The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass
                              >
                              > Each describes a different time and place; each exquisitely gets it
                              right.
                              > They all capture this fragmentation thing, too.
                              > Start with Oskar's bits of amber washing up on the beach; Mr.
                              Biswas'
                              > unfinishable house that no one would live in; Florentino's unlived
                              > possibilities and his decaying world; David Lurie's question
                              (projected
                              > onto rescued animals), "Where is home, and how do I get there?";
                              and pick
                              > any passage you want from Invisible Man, cuz it's crawling with
                              them.
                              >
                              > If I were really to sit down and think about it, the list could get
                              a lot
                              > longer.
                              >
                              > I think we all read novels in order to better understand not what
                              we think
                              > we know but how what we think we know unfolded in the context of
                              how we came
                              > to think we know that in the first place. If we didn't, Powells
                              and Borders
                              > and Amazon.com and B&N would all go out of business.
                              >
                              > Nicole
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                              > 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
                              >
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                              Service.
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                              >
                              > ---------------------------------
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                            • Rakwena Mogoai
                              Biggie, Your rendition of nihilism would hold its own in natural science - cause natural science by its very nature preclude any normative constructs. But in
                              Message 14 of 18 , Oct 9, 2003
                                Biggie,

                                Your rendition of nihilism would hold its own in natural science - 'cause
                                natural science by its very nature preclude any normative constructs. But in
                                social science one cannot escape norms and mores - and who is to evaluate
                                Right and Wrong, Social scientists? Or who is to say that now Biggie can
                                move his lines in the sand to accommodate new acquired experience or
                                knowledge?

                                For collectivism there may be profound disagreements on what constitutes
                                "shades of grey", unless we agree on some standard of judgement or
                                evaluation, as a sort of reference point. Otherwise how are we ever going to
                                prescribe and proscribe our comportment? To achieve this we need to
                                resurrect GOD!

                                What would be the basis for configuring words outside the moral continuum -
                                especially when it comes to human interaction and behaviour? If you can
                                configure this for social interaction -then you would have succeeded in
                                "Killing" God.

                                Rakwena
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                              • George Walton
                                Rakwena, Well, to the best of my knowledge, the guy best qualified to evaluate the lines Biggie draws in the sand is...well...Biggie? Who else, after all, has
                                Message 15 of 18 , Oct 9, 2003
                                  Rakwena,

                                  Well, to the best of my knowledge, the guy best qualified to evaluate the lines Biggie draws in the sand is...well...Biggie?

                                  Who else, after all, has lived his life as intimately as...well....he has?

                                  Why oh why can't folks seem to grasp this: my point!

                                  In other words, my point is not to suggest that, sans God, moral values and convictions are beyond grasping reasonably and intelligently and judiciously; but that, instead, they can only be grasped existentially as a particular interpretation of a particular circumstantial context by a particular mind profoundly embedded as Dasein in a particular historical, cultural and interpersonal juncture. The "standards" therefore will always be shifting back and forth in the ebb and flow of politcal realities that have very little to do with Moral Philosophy.

                                  Let us, however, dispense with both the posturing and the abstractions. Let us focus the beam, instead, on an actual ethical quandary: abortion. Again, I like using abortion as the ethical quagmire of choice because it literally revolves around life and death...around what it means to encompass "individual autonomy" and "human freedom".

                                  So, where do I draw the line in that particular moral sand trap?

                                  Here:

                                  Abortion, in my opinion, is 1] the killing of a human being and 2] a medical procedure women should have legal access to. In other words, I do not believe abortion should be construed, in most circumstances, as a crime, as murder.

                                  How do I reconcile that? How do I reconcile advocating a legal right for women to kill a human being? I don't. I don't because I can't. No one can. Why? Because, sans God, there is no objective vantage point from which to circumscribe or differentiate Good from Bad human behavior respecting the killing of a human fetus.

                                  Plus I readily acknowledge that just because I construe a human fetus as a human being does not make it one. I make the argument that, biologically, human life is seamless from conception to death. But I recognize the arguments others make about the ontological status of a fetus can, in turn, also be construed just as reasonably by them as my own point of view is by me. How in the world would we ever be able to "resolve" it? Both philosophy and science are utterly impotent in this respect.

                                  So, given that no one can know with any degree certainty whether abortion is, in fact, right or wrong, the key question then becomes this: how do we derive a legislative [coercive] reflection of this? If we adopt the extremist moral positions---"abortion is murder and should be banned outright" or "it's okay if women pursue abortion without any legal restrictions whatsoever"---then the legal proscriptions [or lack thereof] will be extremist too.

                                  So, as a nihilist, I suggests that, because moral absolutes are self-delusions, we should strive to come up with a negociated compromise by which the legal reflection of this gut wrenching moral conflagration falls somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum. Abortions are permited but there are legal restrictions involved.

                                  Then everyone should work together to make sure that, in the future, abortions become increasingly rarer and rarer.

                                  Ah, but there is another fly in my own particular moral ointment. You see, I do not believe men should have any legal or politcial role whatsoever in criminalizing abortion. Why? Because, biologically, men are not even capable of knowing the horror of being forced to give birth againt your will. Sure, they can offer advice and opinions, but that is it as far as I am concerned. Or, as Gloria Steinem once noted: "if men could become pregnant abortion would be a sacrament".

                                  How true, eh?

                                  Biggie




                                  Rakwena Mogoai <RakwenaM@...> wrote:
                                  Biggie,

                                  Your rendition of nihilism would hold its own in natural science - 'cause
                                  natural science by its very nature preclude any normative constructs. But in
                                  social science one cannot escape norms and mores - and who is to evaluate
                                  Right and Wrong, Social scientists? Or who is to say that now Biggie can
                                  move his lines in the sand to accommodate new acquired experience or
                                  knowledge?

                                  For collectivism there may be profound disagreements on what constitutes
                                  "shades of grey", unless we agree on some standard of judgement or
                                  evaluation, as a sort of reference point. Otherwise how are we ever going to
                                  prescribe and proscribe our comportment? To achieve this we need to
                                  resurrect GOD!

                                  What would be the basis for configuring words outside the moral continuum -
                                  especially when it comes to human interaction and behaviour? If you can
                                  configure this for social interaction -then you would have succeeded in
                                  "Killing" God.

                                  Rakwena
                                  ###########################################

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                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Nicole Schultheis
                                  Mary Jo, Thank you for this list. I ve read 2 of the books already, and the rest are going on my little list. Used copies of the other books you recommended
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Oct 9, 2003
                                    Mary Jo,

                                    Thank you for this list. I've read 2 of the books already, and the rest are
                                    going on my little list. Used copies of the other books you recommended a
                                    few weeks ago are on the nightstand waiting for me to get to them, along
                                    with The Mandarins and some other books I should have read long before now.

                                    The Unbearable Lightness of Being is terrific -- one of those novels where
                                    the characters serve as metaphors for the forces that tear apart the world
                                    they live in.

                                    There are some new R&R songs that do the same thing, although I am not sure
                                    how intentional it is.

                                    Madison Smart Bell and Wyn Cooper's "On 8 Mile," is about a man who goes to
                                    see his former lover in a club where she is now a stripper: "But the look in
                                    her eyes is just the same." When she puts her clothes on she chastises
                                    him; he's no better than she is, she says. Is the poet saying our "new"
                                    world order is on no higher moral ground than the old one? He seems to warn
                                    us that money is still money and it's not how we get it but how we wield the
                                    power it gives us. The man and the woman are both lost souls. How did he
                                    get there? How did she get there? The bond between them has fractured but
                                    they seem to have no place else to go. One is still measuring him/herself
                                    through the eyes of the other. Sounds like the state of our world economy.

                                    The Kings of Leon's "Holy Roller Novocaine" seems to be about a false
                                    religious prophet who seduces a naive girl, but it also seems to say that
                                    our American culture is bankrupt; we are but one voluntary step away from
                                    the seductive anesthesia of fascism, symbolized by the powerful figure whose
                                    moral authority goes unquestioned. The willing victim is told by her
                                    seducer in his big white limo, "You ain't got much I can't take away."
                                    Sounds like our intellectually impoverished culture is on the verge of
                                    making a big mistake, alright, one for which "God's gonna get us back."

                                    Then there's "Tranny" (also Kings of Leon) in which some bubbas turn a
                                    hapless transsexual (transgendered?) whore into a girl, cuz it will do her
                                    good, but of course they violently destroy him/her in the process. I think.
                                    Maybe someone will look up the lyrics and tell me what it all means. The
                                    bubbas are metaphors for America deciding it has more authority than the
                                    creator, that part seems clear. Sort of.

                                    Yeah, I know sometimes a song is just a song. But I think we are in one of
                                    those prescient times when songs aren't just songs, but warnings.

                                    Is all new art, poetry, literature, criticism, music, etc. nihilistic? Is
                                    there some sort of unwritten rule about that? Or are we unable to write
                                    anything else that has merit?

                                    Nicole

                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: Mary Jo Malo [mailto:alcyon11@...]
                                    Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 6:39 AM
                                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: "Engaging" nihilism in "film noir"


                                    Nicole,

                                    Thanks for the reading list. I've missed reading a great novel lately, and
                                    this will get me back on track. When you read, you use your brain in a
                                    completely different way than you do with so many other visual activities.
                                    There are so many profound stories, and I offer just a couple here too:

                                    Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera)
                                    This Much I Know Is True (Wally Lamb)
                                    Cold Mountain (Charles Frasier)
                                    Toni Morrison (Paradise, etc.)
                                    Jane Hamilton (Ruth's Song, Map of the World, etc.)
                                    Waiting For The Barbarians (Coetzee)

                                    Mary Jo

                                    Nicole Schultheis <nschulth@...> wrote:
                                    "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                                    think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                                    context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

                                    This is what the narrator always does in a worthy story. Off the top of my
                                    head, here are some novels that have hit the high water mark in this
                                    department:

                                    Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
                                    Disgrace, John Maxwell Coetzee
                                    Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
                                    A House for Mr. Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
                                    The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

                                    Each describes a different time and place; each exquisitely gets it right.
                                    They all capture this fragmentation thing, too.
                                    Start with Oskar's bits of amber washing up on the beach; Mr. Biswas'
                                    unfinishable house that no one would live in; Florentino's unlived
                                    possibilities and his decaying world; David Lurie's question (projected
                                    onto rescued animals), "Where is home, and how do I get there?"; and pick
                                    any passage you want from Invisible Man, cuz it's crawling with them.

                                    If I were really to sit down and think about it, the list could get a lot
                                    longer.

                                    I think we all read novels in order to better understand not what we think
                                    we know but how what we think we know unfolded in the context of how we came
                                    to think we know that in the first place. If we didn't, Powells and Borders
                                    and Amazon.com and B&N would all go out of business.

                                    Nicole
                                  • Mary Jo Malo
                                    Hi Nicole, You could write reviews for books & music for Amazon, Barnes & Noble. I admire your ability, and I know it comes from a good education. My oldest
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Oct 9, 2003
                                      Hi Nicole,

                                      You could write reviews for books & music for Amazon, Barnes & Noble. I admire your ability, and I know it comes from a good education. My oldest daughter was an English/history major and contemplated law school on numberous occasions. Somehow your sensibilities as expressed in this group, remind me of her.

                                      I can't explain very well why I enjoy certain works of art and literature, but I know what I like. One of my sons is home from college this weekend, a real hip hop aficionado, and he's exposed me to this musical genre which I had previously and ignorantly dismissed. Some of the lyrics (poetry for his generation) are unbelievable. The fusion sounds, sampling, literary, and historical allusions of his choices have impressed me. Sometimes he even asks me what the rapper or MC is talking about ! I live for those moments.

                                      Mary Jo

                                      Nicole Schultheis <nschulth@...> wrote:
                                      Mary Jo,

                                      Thank you for this list. I've read 2 of the books already, and the rest are
                                      going on my little list. Used copies of the other books you recommended a
                                      few weeks ago are on the nightstand waiting for me to get to them, along
                                      with The Mandarins and some other books I should have read long before now.

                                      The Unbearable Lightness of Being is terrific -- one of those novels where
                                      the characters serve as metaphors for the forces that tear apart the world
                                      they live in.

                                      There are some new R&R songs that do the same thing, although I am not sure
                                      how intentional it is.

                                      Madison Smart Bell and Wyn Cooper's "On 8 Mile," is about a man who goes to
                                      see his former lover in a club where she is now a stripper: "But the look in
                                      her eyes is just the same." When she puts her clothes on she chastises
                                      him; he's no better than she is, she says. Is the poet saying our "new"
                                      world order is on no higher moral ground than the old one? He seems to warn
                                      us that money is still money and it's not how we get it but how we wield the
                                      power it gives us. The man and the woman are both lost souls. How did he
                                      get there? How did she get there? The bond between them has fractured but
                                      they seem to have no place else to go. One is still measuring him/herself
                                      through the eyes of the other. Sounds like the state of our world economy.

                                      The Kings of Leon's "Holy Roller Novocaine" seems to be about a false
                                      religious prophet who seduces a naive girl, but it also seems to say that
                                      our American culture is bankrupt; we are but one voluntary step away from
                                      the seductive anesthesia of fascism, symbolized by the powerful figure whose
                                      moral authority goes unquestioned. The willing victim is told by her
                                      seducer in his big white limo, "You ain't got much I can't take away."
                                      Sounds like our intellectually impoverished culture is on the verge of
                                      making a big mistake, alright, one for which "God's gonna get us back."

                                      Then there's "Tranny" (also Kings of Leon) in which some bubbas turn a
                                      hapless transsexual (transgendered?) whore into a girl, cuz it will do her
                                      good, but of course they violently destroy him/her in the process. I think.
                                      Maybe someone will look up the lyrics and tell me what it all means. The
                                      bubbas are metaphors for America deciding it has more authority than the
                                      creator, that part seems clear. Sort of.

                                      Yeah, I know sometimes a song is just a song. But I think we are in one of
                                      those prescient times when songs aren't just songs, but warnings.

                                      Is all new art, poetry, literature, criticism, music, etc. nihilistic? Is
                                      there some sort of unwritten rule about that? Or are we unable to write
                                      anything else that has merit?

                                      Nicole

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: Mary Jo Malo [mailto:alcyon11@...]
                                      Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2003 6:39 AM
                                      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: "Engaging" nihilism in "film noir"


                                      Nicole,

                                      Thanks for the reading list. I've missed reading a great novel lately, and
                                      this will get me back on track. When you read, you use your brain in a
                                      completely different way than you do with so many other visual activities.
                                      There are so many profound stories, and I offer just a couple here too:

                                      Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera)
                                      This Much I Know Is True (Wally Lamb)
                                      Cold Mountain (Charles Frasier)
                                      Toni Morrison (Paradise, etc.)
                                      Jane Hamilton (Ruth's Song, Map of the World, etc.)
                                      Waiting For The Barbarians (Coetzee)

                                      Mary Jo

                                      Nicole Schultheis <nschulth@...> wrote:
                                      "How many people really take the time to understand not what they
                                      think they know but how what they think they know unfolded in the
                                      context of how they came to think they know that in the first place?"

                                      This is what the narrator always does in a worthy story. Off the top of my
                                      head, here are some novels that have hit the high water mark in this
                                      department:

                                      Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
                                      Disgrace, John Maxwell Coetzee
                                      Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez
                                      A House for Mr. Biswas, V. S. Naipaul
                                      The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

                                      Each describes a different time and place; each exquisitely gets it right.
                                      They all capture this fragmentation thing, too.
                                      Start with Oskar's bits of amber washing up on the beach; Mr. Biswas'
                                      unfinishable house that no one would live in; Florentino's unlived
                                      possibilities and his decaying world; David Lurie's question (projected
                                      onto rescued animals), "Where is home, and how do I get there?"; and pick
                                      any passage you want from Invisible Man, cuz it's crawling with them.

                                      If I were really to sit down and think about it, the list could get a lot
                                      longer.

                                      I think we all read novels in order to better understand not what we think
                                      we know but how what we think we know unfolded in the context of how we came
                                      to think we know that in the first place. If we didn't, Powells and Borders
                                      and Amazon.com and B&N would all go out of business.

                                      Nicole


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