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RE: [existlist] Re: the absurd

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  • Jeffrey Tate
    George, you say I can think of only two reactions that make sense---fighting back or clinging all the more to the distractions. Fighting back revolves around
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 1, 2005
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      George, you say "I can think of only two reactions that make
      sense---fighting back or clinging all the more to the distractions.
      Fighting back revolves around the relationship between rage and fear.
      You are enraged at what the thugs do in this world but you are fearful
      that if you do fight back they will do the same thing to you. And they
      have the power----the wealth and the armies and the guns and the bombs.
      And you have your moral outrage."

      I don't quite get it; why is seeing the world in terms of victim or
      victimizer the only option? Sure, there are victims and victimizers in
      this world. There are also friends, lovers, family members who care
      about me, co-workers I enjoy working with, golf and poker buddies I have
      a great time with, a profession I enjoy studying and using to help
      others (and getting paid for same), etc.

      I'm sorry about the victims and victimizers in the world. But that's not
      the focus of my world. Does that mean that I'm using distractions to
      avoid the True Issues of existence? What makes the victim-victimizers
      (or the issue of my own death, or the issue of the ultimate impermanence
      of everything) most genuine?

      Jeff


      -----Original Message-----
      From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of George Walton
      Sent: Friday, July 01, 2005 9:41 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: the absurd


      Living is not about what we know, of course, because there is very
      little we can know [philosophically] regarding our evalutions and
      judgments of human behavior. Instead it is about how we interpret what
      we think we know. And then, in turn, in how others evaluate and judge
      that.

      The absurd allows you to interpret human behavior in any number of ways.
      And with no final arbiter to be found we have to live with the
      consequences of that.

      Sometimes [in particular personalities embedded in particular
      circumstances] it makes sense to say, "it's all right Ma, it's life and
      life only". But for other personalities embedded in other sets of
      circumstances that frame of reference seems quite preposterous.

      The world depicted in Sophie's Choice leaps to mind.

      I can think of only two reactions that make sense---fighting back or
      clinging all the more to the distractions. Fighting back revolves
      around the relationship between rage and fear. You are enraged at what
      the thugs do in this world but you are fearful that if you do fight back
      they will do the same thing to you. And they have the power----the
      wealth and the armies and the guns and the bombs. And you have your
      moral outrage.

      So you distract yourself from having to make the committment. And then
      you live with it. Because, you tell yourself, it really is ultimately
      futile no mattter what you do.

      In many profound ways this is an appallingly shitty world. You either
      come to understand that or you don't.

      I loved Camus as well. And he chose to fight back, of course. Perhaps
      that was his distraction of choice. But he is gone forever and soon you
      and I will be gone forever too. Is there any reaction to that which
      makes any more sense than any other reaction?

      The more you think about it the more you come to understand there has
      got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the list is
      endless.

      Which, of course, doesn't really explain what the hell I am doing in
      here pointing it out over and over again. But then I have never
      understood myself. And I think I cling to existential philosophy because
      it is the closest thing I have ever come to to understanding why I
      probably never will.

      That's a comfort of sorts. If you know what I mean.



      g.


      Mary Jo Malo <maryjomalo@...> wrote:
      It's all life, George. Either/or and neither/nor. The diversions are
      life. The absurd is life. We really don't need philosophy or religion
      or very many words; we just like them for whatever reason. As you
      know I enjoy Camus' take on the absurd. He had a disease (TB) for
      which there was no cure but died an accidental car death. For me what
      he expressed in his writing was that life itself was a hope, that
      there could be more life. What's more absurd than that? We have to
      face the fact of death alone and die our death alone. No one can do
      it for us or reason it away. All the company that we keep can't stay
      that death from us. I recently finished Camus' "Exile and the
      Kingdom" and especially enjoyed the story, "The Artist at Work" as a
      wonderful expression of the absurd. I found his character Jonas to be
      a more poignant, gentle discoverer of the absurd, not as cowardly and
      calculating as Clamence (The Fall) or as cold and indifferent as
      Meursault (The Stranger). Mary

      Darkness at the break of noon
      Shadows even the silver spoon
      The handmade blade, the child's balloon
      Eclipses both the sun and moon
      To understand you know too soon
      There is no sense in trying.

      Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
      Suicide remarks are torn
      >From the fools gold mouthpiece
      The hollow horn plays wasted words
      Proved to warn
      That he not busy being born
      Is busy dying.

      Temptation's page flies out the door
      You follow, find yourself at war
      Watch waterfalls of pity roar
      You feel to moan but unlike before
      You discover
      That you'd just be
      One more person crying.

      So don't fear if you hear
      A foreign sound to you ear
      It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing.

      As some warn victory, some downfall
      Private reasons great or small
      Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
      To make all that should be killed to crawl
      While others say don't hate nothing at all
      Except hatred.

      Disillusioned words like bullets bark
      As human gods aim for their marks
      Made everything from toy guns that sparks
      To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
      It's easy to see without looking too far
      That not much
      Is really sacred.

      While preachers preach of evil fates
      Teachers teach that knowledge waits
      Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
      Goodness hides behind its gates
      But even the President of the United States
      Sometimes must have
      To stand naked.

      An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
      It's only people's games that you got to dodge
      And it's alright, Ma, I can make it.

      Advertising signs that con you
      Into thinking you're the one
      That can do what's never been done
      That can win what's never been won
      Meantime life outside goes on
      All around you.

      You loose yourself, you reappear
      You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
      Alone you stand without nobody near
      When a trembling distant voice, unclear
      Startles your sleeping ears to hear
      That somebody thinks
      They really found you.

      A question in your nerves is lit
      Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
      Insure you not to quit
      To keep it in your mind and not forget
      That it is not he or she or them or it
      That you belong to.

      Although the masters make the rules
      For the wise men and the fools
      I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

      For them that must obey authority
      That they do not respect in any degree
      Who despite their jobs, their destinies
      Speak jealously of them that are free
      Cultivate their flowers to be
      Nothing more than something
      They invest in.

      While some on principles baptized
      To strict party platforms ties
      Social clubs in drag disguise
      Outsiders they can freely criticize
      Tell nothing except who to idolize
      And then say God Bless him.

      While one who sings with his tongue on fire
      Gargles in the rat race choir
      Bent out of shape from society's pliers
      Cares not to come up any higher
      But rather get you down in the hole
      That he's in.

      But I mean no harm nor put fault
      On anyone that lives in a vault
      But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him.

      Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
      Limited in sex, they dare
      To push fake morals, insult and stare
      While money doesn't talk, it swears
      Obscenity, who really cares
      Propaganda, all is phony.

      While them that defend what they cannot see
      With a killer's pride, security
      It blows the minds most bitterly
      For them that think death's honesty
      Won't fall upon them naturally
      Life sometimes
      Must get lonely.

      My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
      False gods, I scuff
      At pettiness which plays so rough
      Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
      Kick my legs to crash it off
      Say okay, I have had enough
      What else can you show me ?

      And if my thought-dreams could been seen
      They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
      But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.

      Bob Dylan
      It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)



      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Emile Cioran from The Heights of Despair:
      >
      > "When all the current reasons---moral, aesthetic, religious,
      social, and so on---no longer guide one's life, how can one sustain
      life without succumbing to nothingness? Only by a connection with the
      absurd, by love of absolute uselessness, loving something which does
      not have substance but which simulates an illusion of life."
      >
      >
      >
      > The irony of course is how a passion for philosophy can take some
      through circuitous close encounters with all manner of received
      wisdom and in the end deposit them instead into an intellectual
      wasteland that engenders a feeling of being profoundly disconnected
      from all the great thoughts of all the great minds.
      >
      > What happens is this: you try to connect the dots between the great
      ideas floating amidst the clouds of abstraction and the gritty world
      you actually live in and it finally begins to dawn on you the aim was
      quite the opposite. The aim was by and large to take you out of the
      cave altogether...out into the blinding light of Truth.
      >
      > The blinding light of....The Word.
      >
      > The absurd shreds that to bits, of course, but if you're lucky it
      will rescue you from the philosophical straitjacket that is
      either/or. Ambiguity is the ticket. It discards either/or and instead
      suggests another way: neither/nor.
      >
      > Among other things, this increases your options by leaps and
      bounds. And that is because the logocentric truth-tellers always feel
      compelled to follow the stright and narrow path of self-
      righteousness. They are slaves to The Word.
      >
      > And when the absurd turns on you in moments of existential despair
      there are always distractions to divert you---love and sex and sports
      and entertainment and careers and family. The list is practically
      endless. The illusion becomes real because you are able to trick
      yourself psychologically by falling into them.
      >
      > Only death is insurmountable. But then you may reach the point
      where you want to die.
      >
      > Or maybe not. Oblivion admittedly is the toughest nut to crack.
      There are few distractions that work when the doc tells you the tumor
      is inoperable. Not even the absurd helps if you love your life and
      its about to end. Then you have to trick yourself like Plato and Kant
      [and so many others] with philosophy or religion.
      >
      > I wonder how they do that.
      >
      > george
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > Yahoo! Sports
      > Rekindle the Rivalries. Sign up for Fantasy Football
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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    • Mary Jo Malo
      The more you think about it the more you come to understand there has got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the list is endless. Which,
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 1, 2005
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        "The more you think about it the more you come to understand there
        has got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the
        list is endless. Which, of course, doesn't really explain what the
        hell I am doing in here pointing it out over and over again. But then
        I have never understood myself. And I think I cling to existential
        philosophy because it is the closest thing I have ever come to to
        understanding why I probably never will. That's a comfort of sorts.
        If you know what I mean." g.

        Dear g.

        Wouldn't say that I know exactly what you mean, but close enough to
        agree. We understand that not everyone is able to say "it's all right
        Ma," and many do have a 'bitch'. Problem is, with whom? Certainly not
        all our other unfortunate compadres. At least that's what Camus
        thought. I've yet to face the telephone call that renders my
        existentialism irrelevant. Until then, I'll savor the honey and maybe
        share a little. Mary

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
        wrote:
        > Living is not about what we know, of course, because there is very
        little we can know [philosophically] regarding our evalutions and
        judgments of human behavior. Instead it is about how we interpret
        what we think we know. And then, in turn, in how others evaluate and
        judge that.
        >
        > The absurd allows you to interpret human behavior in any number of
        ways. And with no final arbiter to be found we have to live with the
        consequences of that.
        >
        > Sometimes [in particular personalities embedded in particular
        circumstances] it makes sense to say, "it's all right Ma, it's life
        and life only". But for other personalities embedded in other sets of
        circumstances that frame of reference seems quite preposterous.
        >
        > The world depicted in Sophie's Choice leaps to mind.
        >
        > I can think of only two reactions that make sense---fighting back
        or clinging all the more to the distractions. Fighting back revolves
        around the relationship between rage and fear. You are enraged at
        what the thugs do in this world but you are fearful that if you do
        fight back they will do the same thing to you. And they have the
        power----the wealth and the armies and the guns and the bombs. And
        you have your moral outrage.
        >
        > So you distract yourself from having to make the committment. And
        then you live with it. Because, you tell yourself, it really is
        ultimately futile no mattter what you do.
        >
        > In many profound ways this is an appallingly shitty world. You
        either come to understand that or you don't.
        >
        > I loved Camus as well. And he chose to fight back, of course.
        Perhaps that was his distraction of choice. But he is gone forever
        and soon you and I will be gone forever too. Is there any reaction to
        that which makes any more sense than any other reaction?
        >
        > The more you think about it the more you come to understand there
        has got to be better things to do. And look around you. Again, the
        list is endless.
        >
        > Which, of course, doesn't really explain what the hell I am doing
        in here pointing it out over and over again. But then I have never
        understood myself. And I think I cling to existential philosophy
        because it is the closest thing I have ever come to to understanding
        why I probably never will.
        >
        > That's a comfort of sorts. If you know what I mean.
        >
        >
        >
        > g.
        >
        >
        > Mary Jo Malo <maryjomalo@y...> wrote:
        > It's all life, George. Either/or and neither/nor. The diversions
        are
        > life. The absurd is life. We really don't need philosophy or
        religion
        > or very many words; we just like them for whatever reason. As you
        > know I enjoy Camus' take on the absurd. He had a disease (TB) for
        > which there was no cure but died an accidental car death. For me
        what
        > he expressed in his writing was that life itself was a hope, that
        > there could be more life. What's more absurd than that? We have to
        > face the fact of death alone and die our death alone. No one can do
        > it for us or reason it away. All the company that we keep can't
        stay
        > that death from us. I recently finished Camus' "Exile and the
        > Kingdom" and especially enjoyed the story, "The Artist at Work" as
        a
        > wonderful expression of the absurd. I found his character Jonas to
        be
        > a more poignant, gentle discoverer of the absurd, not as cowardly
        and
        > calculating as Clamence (The Fall) or as cold and indifferent as
        > Meursault (The Stranger). Mary
        >
        > Darkness at the break of noon
        > Shadows even the silver spoon
        > The handmade blade, the child's balloon
        > Eclipses both the sun and moon
        > To understand you know too soon
        > There is no sense in trying.
        >
        > Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
        > Suicide remarks are torn
        > From the fools gold mouthpiece
        > The hollow horn plays wasted words
        > Proved to warn
        > That he not busy being born
        > Is busy dying.
        >
        > Temptation's page flies out the door
        > You follow, find yourself at war
        > Watch waterfalls of pity roar
        > You feel to moan but unlike before
        > You discover
        > That you'd just be
        > One more person crying.
        >
        > So don't fear if you hear
        > A foreign sound to you ear
        > It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing.
        >
        > As some warn victory, some downfall
        > Private reasons great or small
        > Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
        > To make all that should be killed to crawl
        > While others say don't hate nothing at all
        > Except hatred.
        >
        > Disillusioned words like bullets bark
        > As human gods aim for their marks
        > Made everything from toy guns that sparks
        > To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
        > It's easy to see without looking too far
        > That not much
        > Is really sacred.
        >
        > While preachers preach of evil fates
        > Teachers teach that knowledge waits
        > Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
        > Goodness hides behind its gates
        > But even the President of the United States
        > Sometimes must have
        > To stand naked.
        >
        > An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
        > It's only people's games that you got to dodge
        > And it's alright, Ma, I can make it.
        >
        > Advertising signs that con you
        > Into thinking you're the one
        > That can do what's never been done
        > That can win what's never been won
        > Meantime life outside goes on
        > All around you.
        >
        > You loose yourself, you reappear
        > You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
        > Alone you stand without nobody near
        > When a trembling distant voice, unclear
        > Startles your sleeping ears to hear
        > That somebody thinks
        > They really found you.
        >
        > A question in your nerves is lit
        > Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
        > Insure you not to quit
        > To keep it in your mind and not forget
        > That it is not he or she or them or it
        > That you belong to.
        >
        > Although the masters make the rules
        > For the wise men and the fools
        > I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.
        >
        > For them that must obey authority
        > That they do not respect in any degree
        > Who despite their jobs, their destinies
        > Speak jealously of them that are free
        > Cultivate their flowers to be
        > Nothing more than something
        > They invest in.
        >
        > While some on principles baptized
        > To strict party platforms ties
        > Social clubs in drag disguise
        > Outsiders they can freely criticize
        > Tell nothing except who to idolize
        > And then say God Bless him.
        >
        > While one who sings with his tongue on fire
        > Gargles in the rat race choir
        > Bent out of shape from society's pliers
        > Cares not to come up any higher
        > But rather get you down in the hole
        > That he's in.
        >
        > But I mean no harm nor put fault
        > On anyone that lives in a vault
        > But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him.
        >
        > Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
        > Limited in sex, they dare
        > To push fake morals, insult and stare
        > While money doesn't talk, it swears
        > Obscenity, who really cares
        > Propaganda, all is phony.
        >
        > While them that defend what they cannot see
        > With a killer's pride, security
        > It blows the minds most bitterly
        > For them that think death's honesty
        > Won't fall upon them naturally
        > Life sometimes
        > Must get lonely.
        >
        > My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
        > False gods, I scuff
        > At pettiness which plays so rough
        > Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
        > Kick my legs to crash it off
        > Say okay, I have had enough
        > What else can you show me ?
        >
        > And if my thought-dreams could been seen
        > They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
        > But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.
        >
        > Bob Dylan
        > It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > Emile Cioran from The Heights of Despair:
        > >
        > > "When all the current reasons---moral, aesthetic, religious,
        > social, and so on---no longer guide one's life, how can one sustain
        > life without succumbing to nothingness? Only by a connection with
        the
        > absurd, by love of absolute uselessness, loving something which
        does
        > not have substance but which simulates an illusion of life."
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > The irony of course is how a passion for philosophy can take some
        > through circuitous close encounters with all manner of received
        > wisdom and in the end deposit them instead into an intellectual
        > wasteland that engenders a feeling of being profoundly disconnected
        > from all the great thoughts of all the great minds.
        > >
        > > What happens is this: you try to connect the dots between the
        great
        > ideas floating amidst the clouds of abstraction and the gritty
        world
        > you actually live in and it finally begins to dawn on you the aim
        was
        > quite the opposite. The aim was by and large to take you out of the
        > cave altogether...out into the blinding light of Truth.
        > >
        > > The blinding light of....The Word.
        > >
        > > The absurd shreds that to bits, of course, but if you're lucky it
        > will rescue you from the philosophical straitjacket that is
        > either/or. Ambiguity is the ticket. It discards either/or and
        instead
        > suggests another way: neither/nor.
        > >
        > > Among other things, this increases your options by leaps and
        > bounds. And that is because the logocentric truth-tellers always
        feel
        > compelled to follow the stright and narrow path of self-
        > righteousness. They are slaves to The Word.
        > >
        > > And when the absurd turns on you in moments of existential
        despair
        > there are always distractions to divert you---love and sex and
        sports
        > and entertainment and careers and family. The list is practically
        > endless. The illusion becomes real because you are able to trick
        > yourself psychologically by falling into them.
        > >
        > > Only death is insurmountable. But then you may reach the point
        > where you want to die.
        > >
        > > Or maybe not. Oblivion admittedly is the toughest nut to crack.
        > There are few distractions that work when the doc tells you the
        tumor
        > is inoperable. Not even the absurd helps if you love your life and
        > its about to end. Then you have to trick yourself like Plato and
        Kant
        > [and so many others] with philosophy or religion.
        > >
        > > I wonder how they do that.
        > >
        > > george
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ---------------------------------
        > > Yahoo! Sports
        > > Rekindle the Rivalries. Sign up for Fantasy Football
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining
        nothing!
        >
        > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
        >
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------
        > YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS
        >
        >
        > Visit your group "existlist" on the web.
        >
        > 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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        > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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