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Re: [existlist] lover of wisdom

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  • james tan
    interesting & thoughtful. james. From: Jim Aiden Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com To: existlist@yahoogroups.com Subject:
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 8, 2001
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      interesting & thoughtful.

      james.




      From: "Jim Aiden" <livewild@...>
      Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] lover of wisdom
      Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 16:32:12 -0000


      I wonder... I wonder...

      Could perhaps a deeper layer of morality lay somewhere between
      Kierkegaard's views that we each are searching for happiness in
      'truth' and Neitzsche who believes that happiness should not be
      factored into such discovery.

      People often forget what the word philosopher means. The last I
      understood what that meant is "lover of wisdom" not "lover of my
      opinions". So as our society's (and personal) knowledge and
      environment changes it seems to make sense that our beliefs should
      change as well. At least for now, a true philosopher can never be
      still. We use science and rational thought, as our imperfect vehicle
      to truth, and those truths keep growing. Those that do not like it,
      are always welcome to return to the pleasantness of the mud, death, or
      perhaps the comforts of a prescribed deity or some specific dogma.
      That would be consistent if not exactly rational or comfortable.

      We each have a philosophy that we live by. A philosopher that
      evolves (or that is inaccurate) is still a philosopher... not
      necessarily a follower of the elusive "the philosophy". I base this
      assumption, on the personal observation that I do not yet have enough
      information to come to absolute conclusions about the absolute nature
      of the universe or even myself. Perhaps others feel they do. Sometimes
      people confuse the assertion that everybody else's opinion is likely
      incorrect, with therefore meaning that somehow their opinions are
      correct. The reality is reason should tell us that our deductions are
      also probably inaccurate as well. I believe this is a rational flaw
      from those that cannot separate their opinions, from their sense of
      self. I have learned to exist within the context of opinions (of my
      own) that I accept as likely flawed, even though I cannot deduce those
      flaws.

      An analogy that might make this idea clearer.... if I notice a
      blindfolded person missing the basketball hoop of what I perceive as
      reality, from a purely observational standpoint I can point out that
      they are missing baskets. From an emotional/moral standpoint I could
      choose to say "You suck" or say "Keep trying". Or perhaps I could say
      "Maybe if you shoot a little higher to the left"? When it's my turn to
      shoot at the basket, I must accept that my vision is clouded and that
      I too am wearing a blindfold. I rationalize this, as everyone else I
      have ever seen shoot at the target appears to have missed, so
      therefore I must assume I will LIKELY miss. At this point I have a
      choice. To shoot randomly at the basket, or listen to the voices
      around me to get some sense of where the basket is.

      Does this negate the possibility of real truths or higher purpose,
      as a relativist might argue? One strength of reasoning I always found
      in most Existentialist thought, is that the unlikelihood or likelihood
      of an event or truth, is not absolute evidence onto itself. Even in
      Finite mathematics, the idea of probability creates the idea of
      possibility (i.e. Pascal). Reasoning a stance that there is no reason,
      is unreasonable onto itself. You must either accept that reasoning
      exists in at least some weak form and use it within the world that you
      have defined as reasonable, or the concept of reason itself is flawed.
      The problem lays in that individuals use reason to do that. People
      often mistake the right for a belief, as the equivalent of respect for
      a belief. Reason by it's agreed upon definition, forces one to follow
      a repeatable path once an entry point and parameters are selected.
      (One can create a new word and concept if they don't like the
      parameters of reason) Once that path is in motion, like a flow chart,
      there are definitive wrongs and rights even if the 'user' is too
      ignorant or 'proud' to see them. As far as I can see, being in a
      state of non commitment, is the only place where you are free to
      minimize hypocrisy where philosophy is concerned.

      The beauty of the thoughts of the unreasonable, is that they always
      appear protected, as we are working under the assumption that no one
      knows the nature of anything absolutely. A hardened criminal, a
      caveman, a religious fanatic, an incorrigible jester, or a lion seem
      to always be philosophically safe, because they have no one to account
      to except themselves. Everything can be ridiculed or preyed upon. It's
      not so hard. But they too fall into a philosophy. The philosophy of
      the ideas of "self" with no allowance for "other". But is this
      philosophy absolutely rational since even they must live and interact
      with others? Since they are forced into hypocrisy, because they must
      either acknowledge the rest of physicality or cease being viable life
      forms? If reason does exist, does it not seem more reasonable to
      humbly accept our own ignorance and move from that point onwards....
      acknowledging there is more than the "self"?

      Any action's we perform are to some extent based on the limited
      interpretation (knowledge) we have of the universe and each other.
      Here is a definitive answer for some.... of course, we see the colour
      green (or blue) in slightly different ways. The optics in our eyes,
      the neurons in our minds, are not identical. The colour blind might
      even argue that the colour green is simply an illusion because they
      are incapable of "seeing" it. But does that mean that the concept of
      green does not exist? I believe it most certainly does , its just the
      machinery of our bodies and individual minds that limits us from
      coming into an agreement of its' absolute nature. But nature seems to
      provide us with ways around these limitations. It allows for
      approximations that are useful towards life if not absolute truths.
      Cannot we use the colour green in a stoplight to protect ourselves
      from accidents? Cannot we find beauty in a lush rain forest? Cannot we
      describe green to whatever depth we choose on a spectral analysis
      chart that we ALL can agree upon? At any point, we can have a concrete
      meaning to the idea of green as a society, whether or not the
      colourblind wish to acknowledge it or not.

      This does not negate the existence or importance of those that
      assume that "self" is the only thing that matters. As hard as they
      might try, even they are not perfect creatures that perfectly ignore
      the universe. They are part of whole whether they wish (or can)
      acknowledge it in words or not, it's only a matter of whether they are
      rational on that particular point or not. They too fall somewhere
      between Kierkegaard and Neitzsche in that they wish to comfort
      themselves in their understanding, where understanding is very sparse.
      It is a difficult thing to exist with the idea of nulls, unknowns and
      acceptance of flawed reasoning. But it is not rational to equate our
      ignorance of those nulls with absolute uncertainty or even
      hopelessness. An incomplete puzzle is something, a work that needs to
      be completed before a picture can be seen. Like ill tempered children
      we are just impatient for answers.

      Although we are ignorant to the ultimate effects of one's actions
      and validity of one's truths, I make this observation. That I have
      never touched a moral. I have never seen the eyes of justice. I can't
      seem to hear the heartbeat of love or smell the sweetness of equality.
      And yet curiously, I find I want all these 'things'. (Many
      Existentialist thinkers do. This is one of those 'cracks' I mentioned
      I find in Existentialist thought)

      One advantage that we have over our 19th century philosopher
      friends, is additional knowledge. We have begun to understand the
      "happiness" itself is something that is possibly measurable. Not just
      some ethereal null concept. Chemicals in our minds ultimately affect
      how we "feel". The events of our lives are simply triggers for
      immensely complex activity that determines the actions and feelings of
      the most sophisticated device so far ever observed in the universe.
      Ourselves. It amazes me when individuals assure me of their infallible
      model of the universe and humanity when we as a species cannot even
      agree on the underling physics of reality. Not because it does or
      doesn't exist, but because reason tells me we do not have nearly
      enough information to develop an absolutely sound thesis.

      Does this mean we should not try? Should we have discovered how to
      harness nuclear power, electromagnetic forces or other forms of
      knowledge? I'm glad we did because it allows me to post this message.
      Others perhaps are not so sympathetic to the idea of society and
      technology. If they are authentic to their own beliefs, they will not
      be not in support of those causes by posting messages or buying cars,
      or wearing clothes, or...........

      To me, it seem reasonable that other intangible forces might one
      day be realized as well. Can not the concepts of "meaning", "morals",
      "love", etc... also be something ultimately real? Of course we can
      always give up, and just stand idly by, like in the middle ages, and
      boldly say "I am comfortable with my answers" or "why bother". Or we
      can find purpose in our own lives by searching and sharing with each
      other whatever we learn to be in support of life, not the detriment.
      Perhaps I am a fool, but it does seem we do learn from each other.

      Without a doubt, the reason we are where we are, and still are not
      scurrying about like rodents is because we have learned to communicate
      and propagate information somewhat from generation to generation. This
      is what society is all about. If anybody think it pointless, they are
      welcome to leave it. Staying only proves that they acknowledge society
      offers them something. Still here? Good. The more to work out this
      enigma, the better. Although I do not believe that any two
      philosophies or people are the same, I find a strange familiarity and
      predictability about all of them. Philosophies and ideas are not
      independent creatures. They have been "pillaged" from other places.
      Our very nature indicates there are a community of thoughts in our
      minds. To discredit the whole, is to discredit ourselves. There is not
      only the 'I', there is the 'we' as well.

      I leave with this thought, assumption and perhaps truth.

      To lift up the whole is the greatest feat one can hope for, because
      it also lifts the foundation of oneself. That seems only rational.

      J.Aiden

      Another, then another, then another....




      _________________________________________________________________
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    • Jim Aiden
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 11, 2001
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        <<If you are so accurate at predicting, you don't need a philosophy
        or a crystal ball.>>

        Never implied that. Sometimes people have a bad habit of making
        comments that are antagonistic and inaccurate. Perhaps you are
        misreading intentionally in an effort to prove your point? I thought
        we already discussed the negative aspects of mockery. This is not an
        attempt to put you down, simply a question. Why do you feel the need
        to resort to mockery? Is this tied into your belief system somehow or
        simply an emotional response? Sometimes people first search for errors
        and ignore those details that seem to put arguments into some sort of
        perspective. It takes time and dilegence to understand another
        perspective, assuming of course that someone is interested in actually
        doing that. Even a simple sentence can ballon into long and detailed
        arguments. You can't spend five seconds on complex arguments and state
        you 'understand' or it's 'wrong' because only fools do that. This was
        the point (through demonstration) I was trying to make when I
        suggested 'I know your corner of thought better than you'. To which I
        may add, you quickly pointed out the error of my ways. Consistancy is
        the key to any argument. I'm not saying I'm consistant, far from, but
        I'm searching for that consistancy.

        << So you assume that your position of understanding is infallible.
        Or that what you read to ingest the ideas is infallible. If not,
        then you can't trust your position, and you can't 'rightfully' reject
        >>

        Are you reading my posts or skimming through them? I have said on
        multiple occasions I believe my reasoning is flawed. Ditto on previous
        statement. This is not me being misunderstood, this is you reading
        what you want from the post (Fodder for Derrida?). Plenty of
        theoretical physicists are very smart, have magnificent elaborate
        arguments, that are just plain wrong. Reality talks. Words and
        theories are cheap unless they seem to coincide with it. Of course
        this includes me.

        <<You make assumptions again, and don blinders. I acknowledge
        I have a perception of 'I' (which may be errant) and I
        acknowledge I have a perception of 'here and now' (which may be
        errant). Beside removing perception of I, there is no escape,
        apparently, from here and now. >>

        In otherwards you acknowledge the here and now but part of the here
        and now is remembering history. Which you also acknowledge each time
        you post. This argument is very weak and is one of the comments I make
        about philosophies that lack consistancy. No matter how much retoric
        someone gives me, the fact remains they keep reaping the benefits of
        society. If they did not feel there were benefits, like water they
        would travel the easier path and leave society. This kind of
        philosophical reasoning is what I believe undermines all philosophy.
        This is not a personal attack on you, you make interesting comments
        and observations. I'm just trying to show (from my perspective) how
        people appear to create small churches for themselves (i.e. The books
        in the church are fine. I only view the structure as corrupted) that
        they cannot differentiate from the self. Perhaps this is not true but
        I do not bend to any false G~D, except those that I choose to serve
        for survival purposes. I simply exist with decisions of the
        moment beyond that and an evolving philosophical model that is slowly
        taking shape.


        << There is nothing I saw in any existentialist writing which said:
        "Take 6 million jews, and remove them." And even if there was, this
        might be an error on the part of the author, philosopher, etc. Take
        the good, useful part and crap on the bad. >>

        You are correct, but if someone really understands what
        Extentialism seems to state, there are no morals, only cost benefit
        analysis. This is what can justify such horrific actions. As for my
        paranoia about the 'society crumbling when political/economic forces
        are poor' dare I say todays unfortunate events clearly (in spades)
        show what happens when you ignore these philosophical forces in lew of
        selfish materialistic pursuits. As I said, you may not know when
        exactly things may happen, but they usually are enivitable.

        J.Aiden

        P.S. Thanks for the Derrida description.

        -------------------------------------------

        P.S.
        -------------
        --- In existlist@y..., nothing@t... wrote:
        > << < I don't buy that. [It is] Rationalizing after an event. >
        > Events can sometimes be somewhat predictable... >>
        >
        > If you are so accurate at predicting, you don't need a philosophy
        > or a crystal ball.
        >
        > << I simply (rightfully) discredit it's current construction. >>
        >
        > So you assume that your position of understanding is infallible.
        > Or that what you read to ingest the ideas is infallible. If not,
        then
        > you can't trust your position, and you can't 'rightfully' reject
        > anything.
        >
        > << <<Again I am not sure I see the point of having society
        > continue.>>This is where I find great inconsistency. If you do not
        > feel that society should continue or you get any benefit, then why
        > do you participate? Just like you acknowledge physicality, you
        > are acknowledging society, otherwise I see no logical reason to
        > partake. Please explain further this apparent glaring
        > inconsistency, I am very curious to see where you find your
        > thoughts linear. >>
        >
        > You make assumptions again, and don blinders. I acknowledge
        > I have a perception of 'I' (which may be errant) and I
        > acknowledge I have a perception of 'here and now' (which may
        > be errant). Beside removing perception of I, there is no escape,
        > apparently, from here and now. I have interests which drive
        > 'partaking.' If I did not have interests, it might be that I would
        not
        > be here.
        >
        > I don't know that there is a linearity. One follows a logical
        > conclusion and ends with what they think is a result (right or
        > wrong) -- and perhaps a resulting philosophy. This can be purely
        > an intellectual philosophy (and perhaps — though I would
        > suggest definitely — this philosophy cannot be proved). When
        > this person is faced with 'here and now' the purely intellectual
        > and logical philosophy or understanding surely does not fit to the
        > 'here and now' which is not contained in the original idea. You
        > are mixing up milk and mortar again -- not so much together, as
        > applying each to brick alone.
        >
        > << << Forgive me if I find this baseless and perhaps sounding a
        > bit paranoid. >> (in reference to deconstrutive history which I
        > equate with war, nonintellectual pursuit, and other pastimes I
        > consider suffering.) I don't like to suffer needlessly or have
        > others suffer. Perhaps others do. It is no X-Files episode when I
        > say Hitler used to read Neitzsche for bedside reading. Its quite
        > well documented Hitler's affinity towards Existentialism and is
        > quite consistent with his 'values'. >>
        >
        > This is by no means looking at the positive part of the
        > philosophy, and taking your perception of one person's errant
        > perspective on it is doing exactly what I said -- absolving with the
        > perspective rather than a better ideal. There is nothing I saw in
        > any existentialist writing which said: "Take 6 million jews, and
        > remove them." And even if there was, this might be an error on
        > the part of the author, philosopher, etc. Take the good, useful
        > part and crap on the bad. Hitler may have misinterpreted to his
        > benefit. So might you. But you can just as easily (50-50)
        > misinterpret to your detriment, which was my point, not yours.
        > Thank you for the example. Even if Hitler had an affinity for
        > Existentialism, that does not prove Existentialism to be bad. He
        > might have liked milk to, might not have used it for mortar, and
        > milk is loved by lots of children...some of the children are nice,
        > and some are not.
        >
        > It is an academic 'proof' of the effect/affect of existentialism at
        the
        > very best.
        >
        > << Next time we may not survive. Perhaps you do not care, but I
        > and many others do. >>
        >
        > I asked before...and this I find inconsistent. You don't like
        society
        > as it is as this society has a philosophical or other drive toward
        > self-mutilation. As that is the case, what is there in the society
        > that you are trying to save? (When I suggest there is nothing
        > necessarily worth saving, it is not to mean that obliteration is
        > preferable, it is just that there seems no way to deduce
        > conclusively, and without contradiction, that there is reason to
        > save or point toward demise.)
        >
        > << Please explain to me what your perception of deconstruction
        > is. >>
        >
        > Derrida is just a name attached to an idea, which he then
        > proceeded to muff in my view. my perspective, simply, is: When
        > anything is read there is a myriad of meaning attached by the
        > author to words which do not carry nearly all of that meaning to a
        > reader who cannot interpret all intentions and then has basis
        > and perspective of their own. In short, everything is misread, and
        > the burden of the reading, and validity of meaning ends up being
        > what the reader interprets, rather than what the author means,
        > meant or intended. One is not wrong. A single text could allow a
        > lifetime of study with more continually revealed.
        >
        > As soon as you take a step beyond here to "better readings" of
        > text, the discussion becomes less easy to navigate and reiterate.
        > It almost necessarily falls to scorn and academic ridicule. I
        > would suggest the idea of better readings would be those which
        > are either more complete (further indulged) or those which seek
        > to create sense of the essence of ideas (not the author's
        > 'meaning' but the sensible idea which is independent from the
        > author that the author was trying to iterate). However, that
        > essence can continually be revised as one evolves (both
        > personally and in understanding).
        >
        > I cannot directly attribute the ideas here to Derrida nor
        > deconstruction...it is just the way I understand what I have
        > convinced myself is deconstruction.
        >
        > << (I will accept your assumption that our interpretations dilute
        > the original). >>
        >
        > I would never suggest that. Interpretations can be worse or better
        > (see the dialogue above), but most likely would not be entirely
        > the same.
        >
        > diluted-reconstitued (with milk)-and dried
        > --------------------------------------------------------
      • nothing@theabsurd.com
        I mock because I don t believe what you say at all and don t believe you do. You can t possibly know how I
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 12, 2001
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          <<Why do you feel the need to resort to mockery? >>

          I mock because I don't believe what you say at all and don't believe
          you do. You can't possibly know how I would respond in any situation.
          You can't say you know how you would. I don't think you could have
          asked most of the people who jumped out of the twin towers yesterday
          that put in the situation would they jump. I mosk what is, I think,
          obviously wrong, and not at all what I am afraid of...though it is
          perhaps wrong to do. So I should mock myself, but I have you to do
          that for me.

          <<Are you reading my posts or skimming through them?>>

          Reading. Perhaps I am misinterpreting, or perhaps you are unclear.
          Either, as far as I am concerned is most probable. That is my point.
          "I have said on multiple occasions I believe my reasoning is flawed."
          Saying and believing or absorbing are two very different things.

          <<In otherwards you acknowledge the here and now but part of the here
          and now is remembering history.>>

          I consider it remembering only my history. Not this fictitious blur
          of 'past' which I don't know can be anything but twisted, percieved,
          ill-conceived and unreliable. "This argument is very weak and is one
          of the comments I make about philosophies that lack consistancy."
          There is no lack of consistency in saying: I only can believe that
          experience which I think I have lived through. It is slightly more
          complicated than that, but not much. I have a memory...I remember
          events and dreams. I think I can tell the difference -- or my
          consciousness is convinced it can -- but I really don't know, do I? I
          might guess that I will see the NY skyline as different from now on,
          but in years might wonder if it was a dream. What proof do I have?

          << the fact remains they keep reaping the benefits of society. If
          they did not feel there were benefits, like water they would travel
          the easier path and leave society. >>

          Not necessarily so. Some people believe they can change it (note,
          buildings in NY). Some people don't consider an alternative. Some sit
          interested, and perhaps chuckling, wondering what an alternative
          might be like.

          For some reason you think there are never alternatives. Regretfully,
          I think I can never think of all the possible variations. That is a
          basic philosophical difference. Either you or I might change at some
          point...

          <<This kind of philosophical reasoning is what I believe undermines
          all philosophy.>>

          So, the kind you can't understand you find to undermine...I don't
          know if that is consistent.

          <<I do not bend to any false G~D, except those that I choose to serve
          for survival purposes. >>

          If it is not false, it is true...hmm...so you have an answer which
          you know to be true? Out with it, please.

          << You are correct, but if someone really understands what
          Extentialism seems to state, there are no morals, only cost benefit
          analysis...when you ignore these philosophical forces in lew of
          selfish materialistic pursuits...>>

          I clipped that wrong. However, the suggestion was that existentialism
          was materialistic, and/or that materialism had anything to do with
          what I was discussing. If there were only analysis, there would not
          be extensive materialism, over-indulgence, mass extinction, etc.,
          unless it was necessary. Necessary doesn't just mean "Oh, hey, I'd
          like to be an executive in this company, so if I delete all my
          superiors..." In any case, I don't know that 'selfish' is part of
          existentialism...sounds more like something closer to Alister (sp?)
          Crowley to me...Though I can't claim that even that goes as far.

          My point was, why assume there is negative? If there is a way to work
          around the negative, perhaps you produce a better understanding of
          the perspective as it would be my assumption that philosophers and
          those building philosophies would not err on purpose. Perhaps you
          misinterpreted and you've got it better now, and perhaps the writer
          wrote poorly. The only benefit you get from rejecting a philosophy is
          a feeling that your's is superior. Well, I have a name for mine, but
          only because I don't want to insult anyone else's perspective on how
          they understand one or another ideal. I don't know that the
          existentialism I understand is what everyone else does, but your
          understanding/perception does not match mine...You can find people to
          argue with you or me...I would believe the pure idea is better than
          you allow it to be.

          a-little-vanilla-with-that?
          ---------------------------
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