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Nihilism: where it all begins

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  • George Walton
    Simon Critchley from Continental Philosophy: .....Christian metaphysics turns on the belief in a true world that is opposed to the false world of becoming
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 1, 2005
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      Simon Critchley from Continental Philosophy:

      ".....Christian metaphysics turns on the belief in a true world that is opposed to the false world of becoming that we inhabit here below. However, with the consciousness of the death of God, the true world is revealed to be a fable. Thus, and this is the paradox, the will for a moral interpretation or valuation of the world now appears to be the will to untruth. And yet----here's the rub---a belief in a world of truth is required simply in order to live because we cannot endure this world of becoming. Nietzsche writes,

      'But as soon as man finds out how that world is fabricated solely from psychological needs [my emphasis], and how he has absolutely no right to it, the last form of nihilism comes into being: it includes disbelief in any metaphysical world and forbids itself any belief in a true world. Having reached this standpoint, one grants the reality of becoming as the only reality, forbids oneself every kind of clandestine access to afterworlds and false divinities---but cannot endure this world though one does not want to deny it.'"

      Critchley then iterates the point:

      "...we can no longer believe in a world of truth beyond this world of becoming and yet we cannot endure this world of becoming.....This vicious antagonism results in what Nietzsche calls 'a process of dissolution', namely that when we realize the shabby origin of our moral values....our reactive response is to declare that existence is meaningless. It is this declaration of meaninglessness that Nietzsche identifies as nihilism..."



      The record may be broken and the needle may be stuck in the same groove but this is what philosophy brings me back to over and again: how, in a world that is essentially meaningless and absurd, ought one to live? And, once someone acknolwedges that philosophy can't tell [or help] them any more than religion, how ought they respond to others philosophically at all?

      In other words, I don't know. And you don't know. No one knows. And that is because, sans God, no one can know.

      Therefore, it invaribly comes down to grappling as best we can with actually living our lives. Living them always in the shadow of the abyss. The one six feet under and the one that encompasses the vastness of all earth is enveloped in cosmologically.

      But: you can only do this one decision at a time. And this segues into the circumstantial contexts out of which all choices are situated. In other words, the chaotic and convoluted ambiguities they emerge from and then back into.

      The starting point thus is always nihilism. There is either knowing this or no knowing it.

      Unless, of course, some philosopher actually comes up with a God that sticks this time. Unlike, say, the ones invented by Plato or Kant or Wittgenstein.



      george





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    • Trinidad Cruz
      Human beings must be wholly considered and this requires an account of death that recognizes personal mortality, not in the sense that all men die, but rather
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 1, 2005
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        Human beings must be wholly considered and this requires an account of
        death that recognizes personal mortality, not in the sense that all
        men die, but rather that "I" die. If we catch on to Sartre's bending
        of Heidegger's demand toward activation there is some resolution for
        this issue short of nihilism. It is my view that the idea of
        activation requires a bit more development. In a purely scientific
        sense I may reasonably hypothesize that "I" the individual cannot be
        without the species, and produce any number of historical scientific
        arguments to that effect, but putting us all in the same boat does
        nothing to personally rid me of death, so short of fantasy I can only
        be immersed in death. Consider that the activation of any species-wide
        new action on the individual cannot be activated by the species
        precisely because the individual has arisen from the species. Any
        action by the species on a living individual with the potential to
        change the individual can only be activated by the individual himself.
        Consider that the individual cannot escape what the species has
        activated towards him in initially producing him as an individual
        member of the species, in order to get the sense of an essentially
        determined condition; and one can argue that the force required for
        the individual to improve his situation beyond what is common to the
        species can only be generated as a species-wide resolution toward
        change. For an individual to improve his biologically determined
        plight he must somehow activate the species toward the "I" that he
        longs to keep. For most on the surface this is a rather unattractive
        nearly Machiavellian idea until one considers what methodolgy or
        implementation would be required to activate the species toward
        oneself. Consider that the species' activation toward
        self-perpetuation produced the individual in the first place.
        Reconsider that the ordinary individual arisen of the species can do
        absolutely nothing to alter that imperative short of destroying the
        species. Consider that existence for a human being is an all or
        nothing proposition if you will, but do not discount what is left of
        the all just because you have yet to philosophically decipher how to
        activate the species toward the individual. It seems to me that if an
        individual were to successfully assume the responsibility for the
        perpetuation and preservation of the species the species would be free
        to produce a new imperative. I wonder what that would be? Perhaps one
        could speculate: the perpetuation of the individual? Consider that
        every act an individual makes toward liberating and providing more
        choices to another individual is a brief assumption of the imperative
        of the species. Perhaps that activation of species toward individual
        is not so impossible. Death in the whole individual is something that
        must be taken as fact, just an end of a string of possibilities, but
        what one does with the possibilities is of substantial importance to
        the whole species and so to every living individual and every
        individual to come. As much as a human being to be whole must accept
        the personal immersion in death, so must he accept the personal
        immersion in species. Becoming is an active and limited state.
        Nietzche's argument is dated and now become inevitably a straw man
        construction. The argument for meaning that stands is the one that
        removes the NECESSITY of meaninglessness from the dialectic, the one
        Sartre and Darwin began. We are all "dead men walking" and it is this
        "walking", the active state, that is our meaning as individuals, and
        as a species. We can only change as individuals what we began as a
        species by accepting responsibility for it. Pick up the stone.

        Trinidad Cruz
      • Robert Keyes
        Can you be a Niliest and form a philosophy, That is Positive to the individual humans (or countries).I think Yes. Its called accepting reality. Then move on
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 1, 2005
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          Can you be a Niliest and form a philosophy,
          That is Positive to the individual humans (or countries).I think Yes.
          Its called accepting reality. Then move on with the problem at hand.
          Good Post.
          Bob...


          -----Original Message-----
          From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of George Walton
          Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005 5:23 PM
          To: George Walton
          Subject: [existlist] Nihilism: where it all begins


          Simon Critchley from Continental Philosophy:

          ".....Christian metaphysics turns on the belief in a true world that is
          opposed to the false world of becoming that we inhabit here below. However,
          with the consciousness of the death of God, the true world is revealed to be
          a fable. Thus, and this is the paradox, the will for a moral interpretation
          or valuation of the world now appears to be the will to untruth. And
          yet----here's the rub---a belief in a world of truth is required simply in
          order to live because we cannot endure this world of becoming. Nietzsche
          writes,

          'But as soon as man finds out how that world is fabricated solely from
          psychological needs [my emphasis], and how he has absolutely no right to it,
          the last form of nihilism comes into being: it includes disbelief in any
          metaphysical world and forbids itself any belief in a true world. Having
          reached this standpoint, one grants the reality of becoming as the only
          reality, forbids oneself every kind of clandestine access to afterworlds and
          false divinities---but cannot endure this world though one does not want to
          deny it.'"

          Critchley then iterates the point:

          "...we can no longer believe in a world of truth beyond this world of
          becoming and yet we cannot endure this world of becoming.....This vicious
          antagonism results in what Nietzsche calls 'a process of dissolution',
          namely that when we realize the shabby origin of our moral values....our
          reactive response is to declare that existence is meaningless. It is this
          declaration of meaninglessness that Nietzsche identifies as nihilism..."



          The record may be broken and the needle may be stuck in the same groove but
          this is what philosophy brings me back to over and again: how, in a world
          that is essentially meaningless and absurd, ought one to live? And, once
          someone acknolwedges that philosophy can't tell [or help] them any more than
          religion, how ought they respond to others philosophically at all?

          In other words, I don't know. And you don't know. No one knows. And that is
          because, sans God, no one can know.

          Therefore, it invaribly comes down to grappling as best we can with actually
          living our lives. Living them always in the shadow of the abyss. The one six
          feet under and the one that encompasses the vastness of all earth is
          enveloped in cosmologically.

          But: you can only do this one decision at a time. And this segues into the
          circumstantial contexts out of which all choices are situated. In other
          words, the chaotic and convoluted ambiguities they emerge from and then back
          into.

          The starting point thus is always nihilism. There is either knowing this or
          no knowing it.

          Unless, of course, some philosopher actually comes up with a God that sticks
          this time. Unlike, say, the ones invented by Plato or Kant or Wittgenstein.



          george





          ---------------------------------
          Yahoo! for Good
          Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

          [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
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        • Robert Keyes
          Nihilism is reality. I Accept that and still want to leave a better world no matter now pointless. And I think I have rational reasons for thinking this.
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 1, 2005
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            Nihilism is reality.
            I Accept that and still want to leave a better world no matter now
            pointless.
            And I think I have rational reasons for thinking this.
            Bob...


            -----Original Message-----
            From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Trinidad Cruz
            Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005 12:26 AM
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [existlist] Re: Nihilism: where it all begins

            Human beings must be wholly considered and this requires an account of
            death that recognizes personal mortality, not in the sense that all
            men die, but rather that "I" die. If we catch on to Sartre's bending
            of Heidegger's demand toward activation there is some resolution for
            this issue short of nihilism. It is my view that the idea of
            activation requires a bit more development. In a purely scientific
            sense I may reasonably hypothesize that "I" the individual cannot be
            without the species, and produce any number of historical scientific
            arguments to that effect, but putting us all in the same boat does
            nothing to personally rid me of death, so short of fantasy I can only
            be immersed in death. Consider that the activation of any species-wide
            new action on the individual cannot be activated by the species
            precisely because the individual has arisen from the species. Any
            action by the species on a living individual with the potential to
            change the individual can only be activated by the individual himself.
            Consider that the individual cannot escape what the species has
            activated towards him in initially producing him as an individual
            member of the species, in order to get the sense of an essentially
            determined condition; and one can argue that the force required for
            the individual to improve his situation beyond what is common to the
            species can only be generated as a species-wide resolution toward
            change. For an individual to improve his biologically determined
            plight he must somehow activate the species toward the "I" that he
            longs to keep. For most on the surface this is a rather unattractive
            nearly Machiavellian idea until one considers what methodolgy or
            implementation would be required to activate the species toward
            oneself. Consider that the species' activation toward
            self-perpetuation produced the individual in the first place.
            Reconsider that the ordinary individual arisen of the species can do
            absolutely nothing to alter that imperative short of destroying the
            species. Consider that existence for a human being is an all or
            nothing proposition if you will, but do not discount what is left of
            the all just because you have yet to philosophically decipher how to
            activate the species toward the individual. It seems to me that if an
            individual were to successfully assume the responsibility for the
            perpetuation and preservation of the species the species would be free
            to produce a new imperative. I wonder what that would be? Perhaps one
            could speculate: the perpetuation of the individual? Consider that
            every act an individual makes toward liberating and providing more
            choices to another individual is a brief assumption of the imperative
            of the species. Perhaps that activation of species toward individual
            is not so impossible. Death in the whole individual is something that
            must be taken as fact, just an end of a string of possibilities, but
            what one does with the possibilities is of substantial importance to
            the whole species and so to every living individual and every
            individual to come. As much as a human being to be whole must accept
            the personal immersion in death, so must he accept the personal
            immersion in species. Becoming is an active and limited state.
            Nietzche's argument is dated and now become inevitably a straw man
            construction. The argument for meaning that stands is the one that
            removes the NECESSITY of meaninglessness from the dialectic, the one
            Sartre and Darwin began. We are all "dead men walking" and it is this
            "walking", the active state, that is our meaning as individuals, and
            as a species. We can only change as individuals what we began as a
            species by accepting responsibility for it. Pick up the stone.

            Trinidad Cruz






            Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

            Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • gevans613@aol.com
            _existlist@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com) Trinidad Cruz wrote: [below] Hi Trinidad, An excellent piece of writing. Is there any more of
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 2, 2005
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              _existlist@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com)


              Trinidad Cruz wrote: [below]

              Hi Trinidad,
              An excellent piece of writing. Is there any more of your stuff I can see
              somewhere - perhaps published on the Internet?
              I would like to publish your piece in my Athenaeum Library of Philosophy
              credited to you together with a small head and shoulders picture if that is
              possible?
              You can see the treatment I give to the material I post by visiting:

              _http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/study.htm_
              (http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/study.htm)

              If you have any other philosophical stuff of a similar quality I would love
              to put that up in the library too. The website libraries are strictly
              non-commercial and regularly attract between 60,000 to 80,000 visitors per DAY - so
              you would be ensured of a large readership. :-)

              Cordially,

              Jud Evans.

              BTW Any other members who have stuff that they have written that they feel
              would be of interest to a philosophical audience are most welcome to sent it to
              me privately as an attachment. The philosophical stance taken is
              immaterial, and can include concepts from the whole gamut of ideas, from Platonism to
              Nietzsche - from Anselm to the Churchills or personal, individual philosophies.


              Trinidad Cruz wrote:
              Human beings must be wholly considered and this requires an account of death
              that recognizes personal mortality, not in the sense that all men die, but
              rather that "I" die. If we catch on to Sartre's bending of Heidegger's demand
              toward activation there is some resolution for this issue short of nihilism.

              It is my view that the idea of activation requires a bit more development.
              In a purely scientific sense I may reasonably hypothesize that "I" the
              individual cannot be without the species, and produce any number of historical
              scientific arguments to that effect, but putting us all in the same boat does
              nothing to personally rid me of death, so short of fantasy I can only be immersed
              in death. Consider that the activation of any species-wide new action on the
              individual cannot be activated by the species precisely because the
              individual has arisen from the species. Any action by the species on a living
              individual with the potential to change the individual can only be activated by the
              individual himself.

              Consider that the individual cannot escape what the species has activated
              towards him in initially producing him as an individual member of the species,
              in order to get the sense of an essentially determined condition; and one can
              argue that the force required for the individual to improve his situation
              beyond what is common to the species can only be generated as a species-wide
              resolution toward change. For an individual to improve his biologically
              determined plight he must somehow activate the species toward the "I" that he longs
              to keep.

              For most on the surface this is a rather unattractive nearly Machiavellian
              idea until one considers what methodolgy or implementation would be required to
              activate the species toward oneself. Consider that the species' activation
              toward self-perpetuation produced the individual in the first place.
              Reconsider that the ordinary individual arisen of the species can do absolutely
              nothing to alter that imperative short of destroying the species. Consider that
              existence for a human being is an all or nothing proposition if you will, but do
              not discount what is left of the all just because you have yet to
              philosophically decipher how to activate the species toward the individual. It seems to
              me that if an individual were to successfully assume the responsibility for
              the perpetuation and preservation of the species the species would be free to
              produce a new imperative. I wonder what that would be? Perhaps one could
              speculate: the perpetuation of the individual? Consider that every act an
              individual makes toward liberating and providing more choices to another
              individual is a brief assumption of the imperative of the species. Perhaps that
              activation of species toward individual is not so impossible.

              Death in the whole individual is something that must be taken as fact, just
              an end of a string of possibilities, but what one does with the possibilities
              is of substantial importance to the whole species and so to every living
              individual and every individual to come. As much as a human being to be whole
              must accept the personal immersion in death, so must he accept the personal
              immersion in species. Becoming is an active and limited state. Nietzche's
              argument is dated and now become inevitably a straw man construction. The argument
              for meaning that stands is the one that removes the NECESSITY of
              meaninglessness from the dialectic, the one Sartre and Darwin began. We are all "dead men
              walking" and it is this "walking", the active state, that is our meaning as
              individuals, and as a species. We can only change as individuals what we began
              as a species by accepting responsibility for it. Pick up the stone.


              PERSONAL WEBSITE
              http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/index.htm


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Aija Veldre Beldavs
              ... yes, but most who confront their dead (wo)man state aren t heroes, they need a touch on the shoulder, or at least seeing others picking up their stones.
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 2, 2005
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                > Nietzche's argument is dated and now become inevitably a straw man
                > construction. The argument for meaning that stands is the one that
                > removes the NECESSITY of meaninglessness from the dialectic, the one
                > Sartre and Darwin began. We are all "dead men walking" and it is this
                > "walking", the active state, that is our meaning as individuals, and
                > as a species. We can only change as individuals what we began as a
                > species by accepting responsibility for it. Pick up the stone.
                > Trinidad Cruz

                yes, but most who confront their dead (wo)man state aren't heroes, they
                need a touch on the shoulder, or at least seeing others picking up their
                stones.

                aija
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