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Re: [existlist] ' I am the past and the future in the present moment '

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  • Exist List Moderator
    ... This quote isn t about being impossible to define. The quote ends with the all that I shall become because it is about human potential, not limited by
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 25, 2006
      On Aug 24, 2006, at 19:56, James Johnson wrote:

      > C.S. Wyatt is,
      >
      > ' I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and
      > not certainly not at all that I shall become'

      This quote isn't about being impossible to define. The quote ends with
      the "all that I shall become" because it is about human potential, not
      limited by the past or present since we never know what opportunities
      (or even limits) exist ahead of us. My choices in the "now" and the
      "future" give me an opportunity to redefine myself.

      In fact, the opportunity to redefine the self is a very philosophical
      notion: redemption at one extreme and corruption at the other. I know
      this is corny, but I think of various films in which the "bad guy"
      seeks a final redemption or when a "good guy" goes bad like a comic
      book villain.

      Tomorrow I might face a choice that will cement my image... or I might
      simply drive to the local Petsmart and buy some cat food. I might
      decide to register to vote in my new home state, or I might choose to
      watch a Pixar DVD.

      > Wyatt, so you are the moment, though you can't
      > demonstrate the existence of you ( I am ) in the moment because any
      > image or representation of that moment would be false since it could
      > not capture the complete Wyatt.

      The problem is that people who do make lasting impressions do so for
      the extremes. We don't remember a mediocre or okay waitress, but I can
      actually recall the fantastic service I received at a TGI Friday's in
      Oakland, California. Maybe we happened to catch that waiter on a great
      day, but he made an impression that lasts. Others, even from the best
      places, made no impression.

      I recall students who were loud, exceptionally bright, troubled,
      "expressive" in appearance, or in some other way out of the norm. I
      couldn't name more than 30 past students, though. And those I can name,
      how accurate or complete is my impression of the student? Maybe that
      student just really hated presenting a project, or maybe the student
      was homesick. Maybe the bright student in my class did nothing in
      psychology or history and was a complete flake to those instructors.

      > Where are the other parts of the complete individual kept if not in
      > the present, since the past or the future isn't you?

      While biologically complete, that does not mean completely expressed.
      We present what we want to present to people, even ourselves. These
      choices are revealing, and certainly interesting from a sociological,
      psychological, and even neurobiological standpoint. But, unless you
      witness a major choice, you can only make assumptions regarding my
      ethical constructs.

      Not a bad thing. I recall being told that if you must make a choice,
      it's probably a choice between two bad alternatives.

      > you take a bath or express bodily waste. Maybe there is no concern or
      > the chance that you could make a wrong or right decision, since all
      > decisions are just decisions no right or wrong labels to them, since
      > you are a relative being ?

      Actually, I'm not a moral relativist. I have some principals I attempt
      to apply to all situations and I believe in cause-effect relationships.
      For example, I think it is wrong to interfere with another person's
      life if that person is not directly harming or hindering others. I also
      believe in the notion of compromise -- however odd that must be in
      today's world. We can also agree to rules that are mutually beneficial
      because they reduce the risk of harm. I certainly agree to taking a
      driver's test, a gun class, and a blood test for my teaching post. I
      agree to follow rules that, if followed by others, help us coexist.

      > Thus if your focus is not about understanding the relationships
      > between these things (again e.g You/Me) then you have no need to
      > connect or understand your motives or share your conjectured view of
      > my to validate and how right or wrong you
      > are ?

      I care less about motives than actions, since motives are hard to grasp
      and I'm not trusting of psychology as a "science" that gives us each a
      disorder upon which to rest our flaws. No, I am left to judge actions,
      not intentions. I reject the "ends justify" explanations. What I do not
      reject are cold calculations of risk.

      Example: I reject a blind test of an inoculation on any uninformed
      population. I do not reject the risk of an inoculation that might harm
      one in a million recipients while saving the others. One risks harming
      people against their will, while the other (ideally) is conducted with
      the informed consent of a population.

      Things are not "relative" so much as measured and weighed in ethics.

      > does large groups help in defining who and what you are. Like you
      > adamantly said if there was no poor or suffering people would we have
      > need for Christianity

      Actually, I didn't say this. It is a quote from Nicolas Berdyaev. His
      was a question of how could we be "good" and "moral" if there were no
      tough choices? Do we need these tough moral choices as individuals and
      as a species to better refine ourselves? If so, then this is a form of
      training exercise from the creator (Berdyeav's idea, not mine).
      Otherwise, all this suffering is absurd, since there is no way to
      alleviate it all. Then we move to Camus' notion of absurdity in the
      human condition. We watch people suffer, help a few, then we all die
      and even the universe will cease to exist rather unceremoniously.

      > I like how you say that you created ' The Existential Primer ' for
      > information and limited comments on the 'THINKERS' ( I guess the
      > 'agreed' on great Philosophers ('Others') are the 'Thinkers') and we
      > students and the curious need to first read the 'thinkers' works ( to
      > get a ticket inside the Web site ? ) before engaging in conversation
      > with others ( I guess anyone at this site that writes are now THINKERS
      > and readers of the great 'THINKERS' are approved to write ).

      Actually, the primer is primarily used by students (including my own)
      and I want to limit the information because the temptation to
      "cut-n-paste" is not particularly helpful to understanding. I want my
      students and everyone else to read and explore the words on their own.
      I should not replace reading Plato with reading a book about Plato. Too
      often, students use Monarch Notes or Wiki and think they know enough
      about a person or concept to pass the class.

      If you aren't a student, I still think a deeper meaning is found after
      you read the works.

      As for who is or isn't profiled: I am limited by time, energy, and
      (yes) the standard choices in curriculum. Anyone is free to discuss
      another person or work on the list, or to suggest I attempt to add a
      page or two when I learn to do without sleep.


      - 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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