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nihilism

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  • jtate
    George wrote: And it doesn t change anything regarding the profoundly problematic manner in which we construe and then manifest our political and ethical
    Message 1 of 41 , Oct 2, 2005
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      George wrote:

      "And it doesn't change anything regarding the profoundly problematic manner
      in which we construe and then manifest our political and ethical agendas in
      the absense of God. They are merely existential contraptions in which what
      appears shabby to one person may appear quite sublime to another.

      "Then what? Then whoever has the most power is able to enforce one
      particular rendition over another. That's an additional lesson we learn from
      a close perusal of human history to date."

      I reply: Might making right isn't new with the death of God, of course. Even
      if God exists, interpretations of His will for us conflict, often bloodily.
      We see this within and between all religions.

      So the absence of God changes nothing practically.

      Jeff
    • Ghost Dansing
      It is of interest to me in this thread to include the notion of the essentially individual nature of one s own death within the context of a Constitutional
      Message 41 of 41 , Oct 5, 2005
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        It is of interest to me in this thread to include the notion of the
        essentially individual nature of one's own death within the context of a
        Constitutional Framework that was intentionally designed to provide
        government entrusted, with checks and balances, to ensure maximum liberty to
        the individual. (I don't like Sartre or Jaspers on this...that death is an
        existential theme that points back to the individual is, in my opinion, more
        experientially sound. Heidegger's a good guy).

        If a trully Constitutional intention was followed in the establishment of
        public policy for assisted death, the elegant solution is to somehow
        localize the decision as closely as possible to the individual, and the
        medical professional. Problems arise, of course, when the individual can no
        longer participate in the decision making, as we found in the Schiavo case.
        However, the principle, ensuring individual freedom to the highest degree
        possible, from a Constitutional standpoint is sound.

        Science can sometimes assist Law Making and the Judicial rendering of the
        Law and Public Policy. A problem arises in the case of life and death in
        that operational definitions regarding the beginning of life, and the
        occurance of death cannot, apparently, reach concensus. Since Science
        demands mutually agreed-upon operational definitions, and measurments based
        on these, Science is not a ready tool to inform the Judicial case.

        Similary, Religious dogmatism not only can be, but has been turned on its
        head when it comes to medical intervention in Life and Death. Insofar as
        life has within it, and could be described (if it is not essentially) as a
        process toward dying (perhaps being-towards-death), any medical intervention
        can be seen as essentially against the will of God. I think there are some
        Christian sects that deny the use of certain medical procedures
        (transfusions for example), and there may be some left that do not abide by
        medicine at all. Those Religious positions pre-date the modern versions of
        Christianity where there are issues regarding when, exactly, to "pull the
        plug". So, somewhere in all that there was quite a bit of morphing of
        positions vis-a-vis medical practice and its role. Therefore, Religious
        positions do not necessarily inform good public policy either, and once
        again we find the individual at the center, and probably the best locus for
        such decision making.

        The American Constitution supports even the most solipsistic existentialism
        one can practice, and I think that's a good thing. Interestingly, even Roe v
        Wade was quite consistent with the Constitutional intent, recognizing the
        priority of the individual within what is typically a very complex
        existential circumstance within the context of general Public Policy and
        Law. That's good Public Policy and Law, at least in terms of traditional
        American values. One could even say that the Public solution rendered by the
        Court was even Libertarian in nature. However, the so called "conservatives"
        who count Libertarians amongst them failed to see the elegance and justice.

        I should point out that the question of strict Religious applications to
        Public Policy and Law is coming from a circumscribed sect of "christians" in
        the American society. Once upon a time, at least, most Christians understood
        the practice of their faith, albeit communal, to be essentially about an
        individual's relationship with God, and the personal choices he/she made
        along that path. It is a particular sect, evangelical, fundamentalist,
        dominionist extremists that are of the idea that direct application of their
        dogmatism to Public Policy and Law should be absolute, and not merely
        informed. And even here, when it comes to medical intervention in matters of
        life and death there is inconsistency in their allegedly "absolute"
        application. On the one hand their approach to cases such as Schiavo suggest
        limitless medical intervention dedicated to prolonging life in even its
        simplist manifestation. Yet, in the area of stem cell research; research
        that could potentially expand the levels of medical intervention
        exponentially, they advocate curtailment. So, even here, the issue of
        medical, intervention, or non-intervention, as a matter of Publica Policy
        and Law, is provided no uniform rule.

        Only by allowing for the primacy of the individual in such cases as life and
        death can one accomodate the complexity of the existential situation as it
        unfolds. The American Constitution provides for this latitude.

        Enough for now. Thanks for letting me share. :)

        Ghost Dansing

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Trinidad Cruz" <cruzprdb@...>
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 5:18 PM
        Subject: [existlist] Re: nihilism


        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@y...> wrote:
        > [Simone]
        > "For example, upon which system of ideas and opinions do you think
        > the Supreme Court will decide the assisted suicide issue? My bet is on
        > religious dogma, not science; and certainly not the U.S. Constitution
        > which they are sworn to uphold."
        >
        > Louise
        > "What on earth would that be like, a judicial decision about life or
        > death for a human being, based on science?? Are there not several
        > different systems of thinking required, in order to make a good
        > judgment, in the interests of trusted value? Social and individual
        > claims must be considered, in the light of all relevant knowledge.
        > Beliefs that refuse to be challenged and questioned may be fairly
        > called prejudice or mere opinion, yet this is hardly the preserve only
        > of religious folk. And maybe I haven't time tonight, to remember and
        > relate what has led me to that common conclusion, a human life should
        > not be used as a means to an end. As far as calculating intention is
        > concerned, I believe the same for non-human life as well. That is
        > briefly stated, though - I too drift into mere statement. Argument is
        > hard work, n'est-ce pas? Not that I'm jesting; je tatonne; words slip
        > and slide."
        >
        > "Actually Louise any decision on this matter by the court should be
        > based solely on the US Constitution. None of these other things you
        > mention are meant to come into play, although the SC has always argued
        > for creative argument, the arguments in the end must be tenably
        > constitutional.Unfortunately the SC is often very political and
        > marginally constitutional, thus Simone's concern."
        >
        > tc
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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