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Existence and Essence, a relationship..........????????

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  • James Johnson
    ... please add how these terms ... as the Other ( authority ) accerlerates the differentiating process of Self and Non Self. The Other lays down the
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 27, 2006
      > Wil, Trindad and others that I could see defined
      > words,Thanks,
      >
      >
      > Wil, I would like to understand
      > you views better
      > and throw out some of my own leanings, speculation or
      > hypothesis regarding
      > the above question.... Please be patience with
      > me....
      > Wil, you added that ' Essence is
      > the
      > abstract' ( our non material non touch reality , i.e
      > what's in your
      > head/heart,,, Hopes, dreams, wishes, theories or
      > hypothesis ???? )
      > and that 'Existence is the concrete' ( the touch,
      > felt, defined
      > material reality ???? ) It would be great if you could
      please add how these terms
      > relates to who
      > you are in your daily experience, if possible.
      > If existence precedes essence is
      > there any truth to
      > support/argue this hypothesis that the reality
      > when we pop out of
      > the womb we are SO much more an expression of
      > 'Existence' ( an
      > absorbing object ) having experiences ( sensations )
      > from the outside or
      >the inside without much of a defined 'Essence' (
      > separate self
      > identity that has opinions/thoughts/feelings ),do
      > you agree ? Thus it could
      > appear in the many years that follow, ones ( the
      > making sense of the
      > sensations ) Existence plays a dominate role in
      > the development of
      > Essence. Could it be that Essence is created by the
      > attempt to make
      > sense of all the external ( internal ) stimuli (
      > stressors ) that
      > come into the infant/child space and time. Could
      > Essence be a
      > process of making sense of ones world experiences ?
      > But for the
      > process of Essence development to occur, the being
      > has to develop or
      > differentiate the experience into
      > two awarenesses
      > 'Self' ( Essence; me ) and Non self ( OTHER; mother
      > ), correct ? This where the Existence as expressed
      as the' Other' ( authority ) accerlerates the differentiating
      process of ' Self' and Non Self. The 'Other' lays down
      the meaning of it's Existence/experience). The 'other'
      > gives opinions and judment/meaning as to who or
      why Existence ( objective world
      > non self; Mother,etc authority)
      > is stimulating itself ( Essence). It's possible
      > that creation of the Essence
      > (subjective 'Self' being different than) by
      > it's creator,
      > Existence.
      > At first the infant/child is
      > the mother's
      > actions, thoughts or feelings ( can't differentiate
      > between infant
      > and mother, no self identity ) and may be encourage
      > to stay ( no
      > strong separate self ) mother like ( those mothers
      > not comfortable
      > being different/separate from their Mothers
      > Existence; authority
      > figures ). In time the pendulum swings or shifts
      > from Existence
      > ( 'Other' non self, objective ) to more of a
      > defined Essence ( if
      > encourage by 'other' Existence' ), separate 'Self'.
      > The potentiation ( growth ) of
      > ones Essence is
      > influenced/caused by the shared interpretations (
      > congruent to
      > incongruent thoughts/feelings ) of the events the
      > defined people
      > around us. Those many sources of people in our lives
      > from our
      > parents to the weird guy down the street. As Chris
      > has said it's the
      > actions that speak louder than words. Thus its the
      > defining congruent
      > actions ( thoughts and feeling in action ) of ones
      > Existence that may
      > create a defining congruent Essence. Or there could
      > be incongruent
      > undefined actions ( thoughts and feelings in action
      > ) that create
      > undefined incongruent (mixed confusion) Essence.
      >
      > Thus having said all this cramp,
      > my gut says it
      > really about the relationship between things and not
      > one over or
      > causing the other. It's not that Existence (
      > objective environment, '
      > Other ' or 'the whole') has more value/importance
      > than Essence
      > ( subjective 'Self', nature or the parts ). My gut
      > tells me that what
      > truly important is understanding the relational
      > dependence ( HOW
      > THINGS ARE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER ) of the parts to
      > the whole.
      > Reality is all about the relationships, like as to
      > why I (Good;
      > 'Self' ) needs You; (my 'Other' ( Bad)) to
      > define/know/understand Me
      > and just like You ( Good; your ' Self') needs Me (
      > Bad 'your
      > 'Other') to define/know/understand you.
      > Mt gut also tells me because of
      > having a Subjective '
      > Self' reality experience( Having a Mind; thoughts and a Heart;
      > feelings) that
      > can attempt to postulate/understand or see what is
      > beyond ones
      > physical perimeter,the Objective reality, that says
      >or means to me that the Essence ( subjective 'Self')
      and Existence ( Objective The ' Other'
      > are meant to be connected or that they have a
      > relationship to each
      > other. The private Subjective reality of the 'Self'
      > eyes/ears/fingers
      > opens to experience sensations of a disclosing
      > Objective reality full
      > of roughness and softness. Both realities are meant
      > for each other.
      > The Essence is preceding at the same rate as the
      > Existence is, again neither more having
      > more value or importance. I think life is about the
      > struggle to understand
      > and find the balance between ones differences (Essence
      > internal 'Self' subjective and
      > Existence external the ' Other' objective)and what
      it means and experienced on a personal level.
      > So to me Existence
      > doesn't
      > necessarily precede Essence it relates to it...........
      > So to you Trindad, Essense is
      > the forces
      > ( Katrina) that act on ourselves to enhance
      > Existence ? Though you
      > say that Essence ( Iron fillings ) can be of equal
      > effect as
      > Existence ( A Magnet) ? So do you see both arguments
      > ???
      > So Wil you see that Katrina the
      > hurricane of
      > water and wind just passing through causing no
      > damage and only the
      > permanent stationary changes that the Army Corp of
      > engineers made in
      > the Delta as causing the damage. So the ( Katrina's)
      > wind and water's
      > major changes in NOLA being part of nature isn't
      > damage because if
      > the humans hadn't made major changes to the delta
      > region no major
      > changes would of occurred, is that what you are
      > saying ? Or is that
      > any changes by nature are only ebbs and flows not
      > damage since they
      > are human terms ????
      >
      > The more defined ( clarify/explain )
      > we are in writing, speaking and being
      > the more chance there is to connect to
      > 'Others' and one
      > 'Self'
      >
      >
      > Jay
      >
      >
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      Jay, The subject here is originally from Sartre s Existentialism is a Humanism . Sartre writes, What is meant by the term existentialism?… Actually, it is
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 28, 2006
        Jay,

        The subject here is originally from Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism".
        Sartre writes, "What is meant by the term existentialism?… Actually, it is the
        least scandalous, the most austere of doctrines. It is intended strictly for
        specialists and philosophers. Yet it can be defined easily. What complicates
        matters is that there are two kinds of existentialist; first, those who are
        Christian, among whom I would include Jaspers and Gabriel Marcel, both Catholic;
        and on the other hand the atheistic existentialists, among whom I class
        Heidegger, and the French existentialists and myself. What they have in common is
        that they think that existence precedes essence, or, if you prefer, that
        subjectivity must be the starting point.

        "Just what does that mean? Let us consider some object that is manufactured,
        for example, a book or a paper-cutter: here is an object which has been made
        by an artisan whose inspiration came from a concept. He referred to the concept
        of what a paper-cutter is and likewise to a known method of production, which
        is part of the concept, something which is, by and large, a routine. Thus,
        the paper-cutter is at once an object produced in a certain way and, on the
        other hand, one having a specific use; and one can not postulate a man who
        produces a paper-cutter but does not know what it is used for. Therefore, let us say
        that, for the paper-cutter, essence- that is, the ensemble of both the
        production routines and the properties which enable it to be both produced and
        defined- precedes existence. Thus, the presence of the paper-cutter or book in front
        of me is determined. Therefore, we have here a technical view of the world
        whereby it can be said that production precedes existence."

        Sartre then goes on to define the problem by means of an atheistic position
        regarding Being:

        "When we conceive God as the Creator, He is generally thought of as a
        superior sort of artisan. ... Thus, the concept of man in the mind of God is
        comparable to the concept of paper-cutter in the mind of the manufacturer, and,
        following certain techniques and a conception, God produces man, just as the
        artisan, following a definition and a technique, makes a paper-cutter. Thus, the
        individual man is the realization of a certain concept in the divine intelligence.

        "...Atheistic existentialism, which I represent, ... states that if God does
        not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a
        being who exists before he can be defined by any concept, and that this being
        is man, or, as Heidegger says, human reality. What is meant here by saying that
        existence precedes essence? It means that, first of all, man exists, turns
        up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself. If man, as the
        existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is
        nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what
        he will be. Thus, there is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive
        it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also only what
        he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence."

        There are many objections that can be made here regarding what appears to be
        this radically blank slate condition of "man", but I will not go into the
        nature/nurture arguments, or generative grammar, or the rest of it just now. The
        point is that my reality is one of this world, a world without transcendence.
        Who I am is a question of what happens in the real world.

        Wil


        In a message dated 9/28/06 12:51:51 AM, netjaysd@... writes:


        > > Wil, Trindad and others that I could see defined
        > > words,Thanks,
        > >
        > >
        > > Wil, I would like to understand
        > > you views better
        > > and throw out some of my own leanings, speculation or
        > > hypothesis regarding
        > > the above question.... Please be patience with
        > > me....
        > > Wil, you added that ' Essence is
        > > the
        > > abstract' ( our non material non touch reality , i.e
        > > what's in your
        > > head/heart,, head/heart,,<wbr>, Hopes, dreams, w
        > > hypothesis ???? )
        > > and that 'Existence is the concrete' ( the touch,
        > > felt, defined
        > > material reality ???? ) It would be great if you could
        > please add how these terms
        > > relates to who
        > > you are in your daily experience, if possible.
        > > If existence precedes essence is
        > > there any truth to
        > > support/argue this hypothesis that the reality
        > > when we pop out of
        > > the womb we are SO much more an expression of
        > > 'Existence' ( an
        > > absorbing object ) having experiences ( sensations )
        > > from the outside or
        > >the inside without much of a defined 'Essence' (
        > > separate self
        > > identity that has opinions/thoughts/ identity tha
        > > you agree ? Thus it could
        > > appear in the many years that follow, ones ( the
        > > making sense of the
        > > sensations ) Existence plays a dominate role in
        > > the development of
        > > Essence. Could it be that Essence is created by the
        > > attempt to make
        > > sense of all the external ( internal ) stimuli (
        > > stressors ) that
        > > come into the infant/child space and time. Could
        > > Essence be a
        > > process of making sense of ones world experiences ?
        > > But for the
        > > process of Essence development to occur, the being
        > > has to develop or
        > > differentiate the experience into
        > > two awarenesses
        > > 'Self' ( Essence; me ) and Non self ( OTHER; mother
        > > ), correct ? This where the Existence as expressed
        > as the' Other' ( authority ) accerlerates the differentiating
        > process of ' Self' and Non Self. The 'Other' lays down
        > the meaning of it's Existence/experienc the meanin
        > > gives opinions and judment/meaning as to who or
        > why Existence ( objective world
        > > non self; Mother,etc authority)
        > > is stimulating itself ( Essence). It's possible
        > > that creation of the Essence
        > > (subjective 'Self' being different than) by
        > > it's creator,
        > > Existence.
        > > At first the infant/child is
        > > the mother's
        > > actions, thoughts or feelings ( can't differentiate
        > > between infant
        > > and mother, no self identity ) and may be encourage
        > > to stay ( no
        > > strong separate self ) mother like ( those mothers
        > > not comfortable
        > > being different/separate from their Mothers
        > > Existence; authority
        > > figures ). In time the pendulum swings or shifts
        > > from Existence
        > > ( 'Other' non self, objective ) to more of a
        > > defined Essence ( if
        > > encourage by 'other' Existence' ), separate 'Self'.
        > > The potentiation ( growth ) of
        > > ones Essence is
        > > influenced/caused by the shared interpretations (
        > > congruent to
        > > incongruent thoughts/feelings ) of the events the
        > > defined people
        > > around us. Those many sources of people in our lives
        > > from our
        > > parents to the weird guy down the street. As Chris
        > > has said it's the
        > > actions that speak louder than words. Thus its the
        > > defining congruent
        > > actions ( thoughts and feeling in action ) of ones
        > > Existence that may
        > > create a defining congruent Essence. Or there could
        > > be incongruent
        > > undefined actions ( thoughts and feelings in action
        > > ) that create
        > > undefined incongruent (mixed confusion) Essence.
        > >
        > > Thus having said all this cramp,
        > > my gut says it
        > > really about the relationship between things and not
        > > one over or
        > > causing the other. It's not that Existence (
        > > objective environment, '
        > > Other ' or 'the whole') has more value/importance
        > > than Essence
        > > ( subjective 'Self', nature or the parts ). My gut
        > > tells me that what
        > > truly important is understanding the relational
        > > dependence ( HOW
        > > THINGS ARE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER ) of the parts to
        > > the whole.
        > > Reality is all about the relationships, like as to
        > > why I (Good;
        > > 'Self' ) needs You; (my 'Other' ( Bad)) to
        > > define/know/ define/know/<w
        > > and just like You ( Good; your ' Self') needs Me (
        > > Bad 'your
        > > 'Other') to define/know/ 'Other') to de
        > > Mt gut also tells me because of
        > > having a Subjective '
        > > Self' reality experience( Having a Mind; thoughts and a Heart;
        > > feelings) that
        > > can attempt to postulate/understan can attempt to
        > > beyond ones
        > > physical perimeter,the Objective reality, that says
        > >or means to me that the Essence ( subjective 'Self')
        > and Existence ( Objective The ' Other'
        > > are meant to be connected or that they have a
        > > relationship to each
        > > other. The private Subjective reality of the 'Self'
        > > eyes/ears/fingers
        > > opens to experience sensations of a disclosing
        > > Objective reality full
        > > of roughness and softness. Both realities are meant
        > > for each other.
        > > The Essence is preceding at the same rate as the
        > > Existence is, again neither more having
        > > more value or importance. I think life is about the
        > > struggle to understand
        > > and find the balance between ones differences (Essence
        > > internal 'Self' subjective and
        > > Existence external the ' Other' objective)and what
        > it means and experienced on a personal level.
        > > So to me Existence
        > > doesn't
        > > necessarily precede Essence it relates to it..........
        > > So to you Trindad, Essense is
        > > the forces
        > > ( Katrina) that act on ourselves to enhance
        > > Existence ? Though you
        > > say that Essence ( Iron fillings ) can be of equal
        > > effect as
        > > Existence ( A Magnet) ? So do you see both arguments
        > > ???
        > > So Wil you see that Katrina the
        > > hurricane of
        > > water and wind just passing through causing no
        > > damage and only the
        > > permanent stationary changes that the Army Corp of
        > > engineers made in
        > > the Delta as causing the damage. So the ( Katrina's)
        > > wind and water's
        > > major changes in NOLA being part of nature isn't
        > > damage because if
        > > the humans hadn't made major changes to the delta
        > > region no major
        > > changes would of occurred, is that what you are
        > > saying ? Or is that
        > > any changes by nature are only ebbs and flows not
        > > damage since they
        > > are human terms ????
        > >
        > > The more defined ( clarify/explain )
        > > we are in writing, speaking and being
        > > the more chance there is to connect to
        > > 'Others' and one
        > > 'Self'
        > >
        > >
        > > Jay
        > >
        >
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Aija Veldre Beldavs
        ... ...as I experience and interpret it in relation to whom and how I connect. (this is what i learned from the daina-song tradition.) aija
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 28, 2006
          > Who I am is a question of what happens in the real world.
          > Wil

          ...as I experience and interpret it in relation to whom and how I connect.
          (this is what i learned from the daina-song tradition.)

          aija
        • Exist List Moderator
          Quoting Sartre is a far better explanation than anything I have time to ponder at the moment. I have been and will be in way too many administrative meetings
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 29, 2006
            Quoting Sartre is a far better explanation than anything I have time
            to ponder at the moment. I have been and will be in way too many
            administrative meetings to think clearly. However, I will insert a
            few comments to what Wil offers, which may or may not help Jay
            comprehend my statements.

            On Sep 28, 2006, at 8:04, eupraxis@... wrote:

            > Heidegger, and the French existentialists and myself. What they
            > have in common is
            > that they think that existence precedes essence, or, if you prefer,
            > that
            > subjectivity must be the starting point.

            It is that "subjectivity" that conflicts with science -- and why
            phenomenology and other disciplines appeal to me for study. How I see
            and experience the world is not something that can be objectively
            measured. I have never been able to explain being colorblind, for
            example. Is every thing green "blue" or is everything blue seen as
            "green" by me? I have no clue. How could I know?

            What is "hot" to me might be comfortable to you. We can agree that a
            day is 30C/85F, which is miserably hot to me. You might think it is a
            wonderfully tropical day. Perceptions do matter.

            This is further complicated by input bias and life experience. While
            I might read Chomsky and Dershowitz one way, another person might
            *believe* the other. My experiences and education are filters, and I
            never deny that. I always couch things in that my experiences,
            education, acculturation, et cetera, do have an effect -- so yes, the
            past shapes me.

            Ah, but therein lies the catch. An existentialist says you can reject
            the past and start a new one -- you are always free. As Camus argued,
            you can even choose suicide since life itself is a choice.

            I am more aligned with Camus and Merleau-Ponty, who both argued that
            there are limits to choice and that radical free will and humanism
            were too difficult to reconcile. I admire Camus a lot and wish
            Merleau-Ponty were a larger figure in our schools. I admit, I am not
            a fan of Sartre, the man, and have thought his works pose a paradox.

            > it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also
            > only what
            > he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence."

            This, is what I mean when I quote the line, "...not all that I will
            be." I do believe, like Frankl and even Sartre, that I am free to
            "will myself" to be something "better" every day. I am also free to
            be nothing at all.

            > Who I am is a question of what happens in the real world.

            Bravo. I am what I do. Writing is an action, no doubt, and often a
            call to action. However, I judge my value first as that of a teacher.
            I think my "value" is a choice I have made, that no one else made,
            that I teach the young and work with particular "marginalized"
            communities.

            Yes, I fight government regulation, university red-tape, and who
            knows what else that contributes to marginalizing people. Paulo
            Freire, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" is something of a guiding
            principal for me. I'm still something of a "social, neo-liberal" or
            something that I can't quite explain. For me, education is the key to
            participation and the key to resistance in a technological,
            information-based society.

            Because I do embrace science, but not as a description of human
            existence, this places me in a complex debate at the university. I
            argue there are truths and facts, which we can seek, but how we
            perceive reality will never be objective. So, "truth" exists but can
            never be fully known. Talk about going way back, I think Protagoras
            (sp?) the Sophist said something about "What we can know we cannot
            understand."

            Darn, those Greeks were smart... I know facts, but meaning is way
            beyond me some days.

            - CSW
          • James Johnson
            C.S.W, I enjoy your desire to Know and to Understand, as is for me too. With more data from you, I feel I can understand your statements, I am the present
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 6, 2006
              C.S.W,
              I enjoy your desire to Know and to Understand, as is for me too.
              With more data from you, I feel I can understand your statements, ' I am the
              present moment, not the past and not all that I will be' and ' I am whatever I am ". You say
              that the knowing, understanding and the meaning of these words may beyond you some
              days ( as for me also) thus to me they are our potentials.
              I respect your belief in your ability to express (or not to express ) free will and
              choose what you ( Self ) may be in the present moment and reject the past you ( Self ). This
              is a potential, not a given present moment reality. To be ' Better' or to not to be ' Better'
              everyday with your choice and free will of doing what you value ( teaching, etc. ) that only
              you can know and understand.
              Though you believe in Protogoras's statement ' What I know ( Truth, Reality ?? )
              we cannot understand' and even thoughyou say " truth exists you can never fully know it '
              or it's 'meaning is way beyond me some days'.
              In regards to ' We can know.. ( Truth, Reality), I can accept that I may only be
              able to know or experience my own individual space/time continuum ( Reality) and not
              yours. I can only know/experience the Left leg of the full elephnat ( so called 'Full and
              Total' reality of space and time continuum). Even though you may be extremely close to
              my space/time continuum ( that Left leg ) your know/experience will have a slight different
              color ( green, right? ) because the relationship between your experience of the subjective (
              'Self', 'Essence' 'Finite ( the part )?? ) and the objective ( nonself " The Other' 'Existence'
              'Infinite' ( the whole ') left a distinctive fingerprint of that combination.
              In regards to ' we cannot understand' and the meaning is way beyond you some
              days, I'm getting mixed messages from you. One, being that you have or can demonstrate
              free will and choice in the present moment to reject the ' Self ' of your past and be a new (
              Self ) in the present moment but you have no 'understanding' of what you 'know '. I would
              argue that, that it takes understanding to make that metamorphosis from letting go of the
              past 'Self' to welcoming the new 'Self '. I would love to talk about how possibly this change
              can only occur in the present moment. That fantastic potential change from a very narrow
              focus to a wider focus or awareness of 'Self'( and nonself " Other" ). Two, you say that
              there are ' Truths and facts' in which we can seek ( know) but because we ( even science )
              cannot perceive reality objectively Truth ( Reality ) cannot be fully known. And again
              because we cannot perceive reality objectively we cannot know,understand or find
              personal meaning of these 'Truths' ?? The preception of reality objectivity, how is that
              possible, I argue this is not possible ????
              How can I/we perceive 'Reality' in a pure Objectiviely stae or view ? To me being
              purely objective means being aware only of ones external world/experience ( Science,
              what is being observed or studied ). This occuring without the interaction or influence of
              the subjective senses or thoughts/feelings or judgments, right?. Not the contaminating
              flawed subjective mind. Being purely objective sounds like being dead object. Do you
              agree ?
              How can I/we perceive 'Reality' in a purely Subjective way ?? To me, being purely
              subjective means being aware of ones internal world/experience without the interaction/
              influence of the external world. This looking like, being aware of ones internal world/
              experience without being affected/influenced by the external interaction of the
              sight,sound, or the feel of the external world. One could not really include ones thoughts
              and feeling since that were originally devised by the influences of the external world. Being
              deaf,mute,paralyzed and without the ability to feel the external world. Being purely
              subjectively sounds like being dead, also. Do you agree ??
              So to me 'Reality' is both the subjective and objective. Both blended together
              in the present moment. {{ {{{{ Science has to calculate this since it knows its hypothesis
              are only as good as the data that is put into them and how good the human element is in
              interpretaing the data. That's the benefit of the approach or attitude of Science versus
              religion/philosophy or psychology is the expectation that you need muliple trials to prove
              that your hypothesis is not wrong, it's building on each other and at any moment or trial
              one can alter strongly held concepts}}}}}}. You can't know one without the other. Just like
              you can't know/DEFINE yourself ' Self/Finite,Part/Essence " without knowing or having
              DEFINED the 'Other/Infinte,Whole/Existence. I believe it's all about the relationship
              between these seemingly opposites that need each other to be defined in the present
              moment.
              I believe in absolute 'Human Truths'. These are common needs/desires that
              transcends cultures , i.e The need to make sense and find meaning ( feeling good about
              ourselves B/C if you don't feel good about oneself nothing will get done) where we find
              ourselves and get a sense of being in charge of our destiny( To Change) . That potential
              power of free will and choice between the past 'Self' ( what we don't like) or the future '
              Self' ( what we want or to be ) can be materialized in the present moment, as a new being
              'Self' of the presence. But one needs to know and understand the why's of ones past ( past
              'Self' ) and in getting connected to the potential of our future experience ( future 'Self' ) in
              the present moment where change and forward motion ( growth) happens. How does this
              change occur and what factors that encourage the change of the past to the the
              future ????????

              Jay

              >
              > Quoting Sartre is a far better explanation than anything I have time
              > to ponder at the moment. I have been and will be in way too many
              > administrative meetings to think clearly. However, I will insert a
              > few comments to what Wil offers, which may or may not help Jay
              > comprehend my statements.
              >
              > On Sep 28, 2006, at 8:04, eupraxis@... wrote:
              >
              > > Heidegger, and the French existentialists and myself. What they
              > > have in common is
              > > that they think that existence precedes essence, or, if you prefer,
              > > that
              > > subjectivity must be the starting point.
              >
              > It is that "subjectivity" that conflicts with science -- and why
              > phenomenology and other disciplines appeal to me for study. How I see
              > and experience the world is not something that can be objectively
              > measured. I have never been able to explain being colorblind, for
              > example. Is every thing green "blue" or is everything blue seen as
              > "green" by me? I have no clue. How could I know?
              >
              > What is "hot" to me might be comfortable to you. We can agree that a
              > day is 30C/85F, which is miserably hot to me. You might think it is a
              > wonderfully tropical day. Perceptions do matter.
              >
              > This is further complicated by input bias and life experience. While
              > I might read Chomsky and Dershowitz one way, another person might
              > *believe* the other. My experiences and education are filters, and I
              > never deny that. I always couch things in that my experiences,
              > education, acculturation, et cetera, do have an effect -- so yes, the
              > past shapes me.
              >
              > Ah, but therein lies the catch. An existentialist says you can reject
              > the past and start a new one -- you are always free. As Camus argued,
              > you can even choose suicide since life itself is a choice.
              >
              > I am more aligned with Camus and Merleau-Ponty, who both argued that
              > there are limits to choice and that radical free will and humanism
              > were too difficult to reconcile. I admire Camus a lot and wish
              > Merleau-Ponty were a larger figure in our schools. I admit, I am not
              > a fan of Sartre, the man, and have thought his works pose a paradox.
              >
              > > it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also
              > > only what
              > > he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence."
              >
              > This, is what I mean when I quote the line, "...not all that I will
              > be." I do believe, like Frankl and even Sartre, that I am free to
              > "will myself" to be something "better" every day. I am also free to
              > be nothing at all.
              >
              > > Who I am is a question of what happens in the real world.
              >
              > Bravo. I am what I do. Writing is an action, no doubt, and often a
              > call to action. However, I judge my value first as that of a teacher.
              > I think my "value" is a choice I have made, that no one else made,
              > that I teach the young and work with particular "marginalized"
              > communities.
              >
              > Yes, I fight government regulation, university red-tape, and who
              > knows what else that contributes to marginalizing people. Paulo
              > Freire, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" is something of a guiding
              > principal for me. I'm still something of a "social, neo-liberal" or
              > something that I can't quite explain. For me, education is the key to
              > participation and the key to resistance in a technological,
              > information-based society.
              >
              > Because I do embrace science, but not as a description of human
              > existence, this places me in a complex debate at the university. I
              > argue there are truths and facts, which we can seek, but how we
              > perceive reality will never be objective. So, "truth" exists but can
              > never be fully known. Talk about going way back, I think Protagoras
              > (sp?) the Sophist said something about "What we can know we cannot
              > understand."
              >
              > Darn, those Greeks were smart... I know facts, but meaning is way
              > beyond me some days.
              >
              > - CSW
              >
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