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Introduction and a brief question about Existentialism

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  • John Meyer
    Hi, I m John, student of everything, trying to learn about Existentialism and having a problem with the books, seems like every time I pick up a book on
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 1, 2006
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      Hi, I'm John, student of everything, trying to learn about Existentialism and
      having a problem with the books, seems like every time I pick up a book on
      existentialism it's like grasping an eel.
      The whole thing is, the main point of existentialism seems to be "Life sucks,
      so choose your path cause nobody else or no force is going to do it for you."
      Am I right, or am I really missing the point?
    • Bobconkawi@aol.com
      John--You are not far off, but why bother? is the next question. Why not end it all? Only when you are not content that man suffers and dies for no clear
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 1, 2006
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        John--You are not far off, but "why bother?" is the next question. Why not end it all? Only when you are not content that man suffers and dies for no clear reason are you ready to choose a path; that is, when you are distressed with the absurdity. It is the effort to make sense of absurdity that grows the mind to what it might be and it that growth that seems to be enough to choose life, even if it is absurd. "The climb to the heights is enough", according to Camus, who said he was not really an existentialist, by the way.

        -----Original Message-----
        From: John Meyer <john.l.meyer@...>
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, 1 Jan 2006 17:56:13 -0700
        Subject: [existlist] Introduction and a brief question about Existentialism


        Hi, I'm John, student of everything, trying to learn about Existentialism and
        having a problem with the books, seems like every time I pick up a book on
        existentialism it's like grasping an eel.
        The whole thing is, the main point of existentialism seems to be "Life sucks,
        so choose your path cause nobody else or no force is going to do it for you."
        Am I right, or am I really missing the point?


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

        Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
        Yahoo! Groups Links






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Herman B. Triplegood
        Essentially, as Nietzsche is rumored to have said, If God is dead, all is permissible. I say, if all is permissible, then man is not possible. It might be
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 1, 2006
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          Essentially, as Nietzsche is rumored to have said, "If God is dead, all is
          permissible."



          I say, if all is permissible, then man is not possible.



          It might be helpful to examine the basic premise that existentialism
          involves, that life is absurd. Does one grant this premise or not? If not,
          then nothing that existentialism says follows from there. It was one man's
          made up word for his own idiosyncratic world view anyway.



          Let go of the eel, I say, and go back about two thousand years for a new
          look at some old things. One might be surprised at just how relevant those
          old ideas can be. Existentialism is a recent seizure at the end of a long
          history; believe it or not, whether it likes it or not, it cannot escape its
          own historical context, as much as it would like to.



          Hb3g



          _____

          From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of John Meyer
          Sent: Sunday, January 01, 2006 4:56 PM
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [existlist] Introduction and a brief question about Existentialism



          Hi, I'm John, student of everything, trying to learn about Existentialism
          and
          having a problem with the books, seems like every time I pick up a book on
          existentialism it's like grasping an eel.
          The whole thing is, the main point of existentialism seems to be "Life
          sucks,
          so choose your path cause nobody else or no force is going to do it for
          you."
          Am I right, or am I really missing the point?


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

          Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist




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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • bobcarter3000
          Some writers in the existentialist family make the existentialist viewpoint seem very complicated. It s not. You got it basically. Except, one s life need
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 1, 2006
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            Some writers in the existentialist family make the existentialist
            viewpoint seem very complicated. It's not. You got it basically.
            Except, one's life need not necessarily suck. It's all up to you to
            create and build for yourself a life that doesn't suck, if that's what
            you want. You are totally free. You can do what you want. If fact,
            you always at every minute are always doing exactly what you want to do.
            [Unless you truly have a serious mental illness or injury or defect
            that robs you of free will.] A key point of the existentialist
            viewpoint is that there is no Big Daddy in the Sky or Friendly Universe
            or Morally Ordered Universe to help you or guide you. It's all up to
            you. Get over your fear and dread of your freedom. Face your freedom.
            Quit hoping for and waiting for a Savior. Build and create your own
            life. Create yourself and your experiences. That's all there is.
            This is all stated in Sartre's essay "Existentialism is a Humanism" and
            in his book "Being and Nothingness." Sartre also goes off in details
            that are really irrelevant to living a good life. Sartre also went
            bonkers and supported the tyrants Stalin and Mao--that's a mystery and
            a tragedy. Maybe that shows that Sartre deep down was looking for a Big
            Daddy or a Savior too. But his basic view of how life works seems
            indisputable, and plenty of other people have reached the same
            conclusion.

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, John Meyer <john.l.meyer@g...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi, I'm John, student of everything, trying to learn about
            Existentialism and
            > having a problem with the books, seems like every time I pick up a
            book on
            > existentialism it's like grasping an eel.
            > The whole thing is, the main point of existentialism seems to
            be "Life sucks,
            > so choose your path cause nobody else or no force is going to do it
            for you."
            > Am I right, or am I really missing the point?
            >
          • John Meyer
            ... Kind of get it, The only thing you can understand and decide on is you. There is no grand destiny, or miracles that God provides. God won t come down
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 2, 2006
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              On Monday 02 January 2006 8:40 pm, Exist List Moderator wrote:

              > It is not that life "sucks" so much as "you are on your own" in life.
              > There is quite a difference. Kierkegaard argued that even a Christian
              > is alone to make decisions, doubting that God was going to stand at
              > your side and offer you daily advice. Sartre went further and argued
              > that there is nothing, no meaning at all, beyond the individual. You
              > are not only on your own, but this is it -- the one shot trip to be all
              > you want or as little as you want.
              >


              Kind of get it, "The only thing you can understand and decide on is you."
              There is no grand destiny, or miracles that God provides. God won't come
              down from his clouds and instantly grant you what you want or show you the
              exact path that you should walk. You have to find that path on your own.
            • Exist List Moderator
              ... It is not that life sucks so much as you are on your own in life. There is quite a difference. Kierkegaard argued that even a Christian is alone to
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 2, 2006
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                On Jan 01, 2006, at 16:56, John Meyer wrote:

                > The whole thing is, the main point of existentialism seems to be "Life
                > sucks,
                > so choose your path cause nobody else or no force is going to do it
                > for you."
                > Am I right, or am I really missing the point?

                It is not that life "sucks" so much as "you are on your own" in life.
                There is quite a difference. Kierkegaard argued that even a Christian
                is alone to make decisions, doubting that God was going to stand at
                your side and offer you daily advice. Sartre went further and argued
                that there is nothing, no meaning at all, beyond the individual. You
                are not only on your own, but this is it -- the one shot trip to be all
                you want or as little as you want.

                Total freedom. It's a lot to grasp, but it isn't meant to be easy. The
                easy route is to adopt a strict cultural or religious ethical system,
                follow the letter of the law, and find your meaning in the rules
                created by other people (or whatever you believe created those rules).
                Most people want to be given rules because it's much easier.

                I like some rules, I admit, because then I know what is expected of me.
                I also hate rules that restrict my freedoms. I have to decide which
                rules make sense, then. I pick and choose. We all do. If anyone tell
                you that he or she never breaks a law or rule, that person is lying.
                Existentialists would say that all rules are a personal choice -- the
                trick is admitting this to yourself. Most people would never admit they
                are free to break the rules but choose not to.

                Enjoy the list.

                - C. S. Wyatt
                I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                that I shall be.
                http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
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