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  • Trinidad Cruz
    Wil and Mary please define for me where you find the authentic action in Maldoror in an existentialist sense. I know the piece well. Have read it several
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 28, 2007
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      Wil and Mary please define for me where you find the authentic action
      in Maldoror in an existentialist sense. I know the piece well. Have
      read it several times. It is diverting surrealism, but Maldoror is
      utterly inauthentic. Are you arguing that his human experience is more
      vivid and so better possessed of adequacy? Are you rejecting Sartre's
      arguments for optimism then? Is human upon human senseless brutality
      authentic, or the kind that is reasoned out? Where are you going with
      this reference? Foucalt?

      Jim I would say your perception of atheist existentialism is not too
      far afield when you refer to altruism , though existential
      authenticity is deeply concerned with immediacy rather than after the
      fact so empathy is more important in humanist terms than the
      compassionate acts it leads towards. And don't be afraid to have it,
      and let it be you if it already belongs to you. It is far more
      comforting than the cold. The arguments are not about superior morals
      or ethics, just more robust and vibrant humans. Having actual empathy
      is better than reasoned compassion, and is where the individual reaps
      the reward.

      Bill you know as well as me that your situation with existentialism
      has always been based in a resignation to human inadequacy. You are a
      classic "shepherd of being" in discourse here, often the bitter
      aristocrat, but I have suspected not always so in real life. It's just
      my socialist wording that upsets your capitalist balance. No real
      sense in you breaking it down anymore. Most things are settled here in
      the direction you think to defend and require no defense of you. And
      for me there is no need to break what I am certain is already broken,
      so I am settling my situation away from any disadvantagement of men,
      and I do consider monotheism to abuse itself upon humanity in theory
      and praxis just as severely as corporatism.

      tc
    • Mary Jo
      Just a beginning, but how about the rejection of salvation? I loaned my copy of Chants du Maldoror/Poisies to someone, so you have me at some disadvantage. I
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 28, 2007
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        Just a beginning, but how about the rejection of salvation? I loaned my
        copy of "Chants du Maldoror/Poisies" to someone, so you have me at some
        disadvantage. I also vaguely remember something about the banality of
        evil via Camus' "The Rebel".

        Throughout Maldoror's evil negation he cursed and blamed g-d, thereby
        giving him credit for his creation. Ducasse was probably more of a
        theistic existentialist, in a twisted kind of way.

        Mary

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Trinidad Cruz" <TriniCruz@...> wrote:

        Wil and Mary please define for me where you find the authentic action
        in Maldoror in an existentialist sense.
      • eupraxis@aol.com
        Maldoror, er TC -- sorry, As you already know, then, the Maldoror text is very complex and no single summation can really be made about it. However, I m not
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 28, 2007
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          Maldoror, er TC -- sorry,

          As you already know, then, the Maldoror text is very complex and no single
          summation can really be made about it. However, I'm not sure that depictions of
          authentic action are the only matters that qualify a text as existentialist.
          Consider, for example, Sartre's Nausea.

          But is the lone Maldoror inauthentic; does he consign himself to the ontical
          pre-given bourgeois world? Is he not condemned to his freedom; doesn't he
          exhibit the Kierkegaardian subject, if in reverse?

          Finally, you of all folks aren't going all Anita Bryant on me, are you? Maybe
          I am where you were -- or where I projected you were -- a year ago or so.
          Although, to be honest, I am riffing here a little, I am nevertheless adamant in
          my defense of a certain shade of 'evil', so to speak.

          Are we Pietists all of a sudden? Some here may want to consign our
          existential horizon to some universal maxim, but have we given up the (holy) ghost to
          Kant? Really? Is mischief now so passé? Bill, what do you think?

          Wil

          In a message dated 8/28/07 6:04:01 PM, TriniCruz@... writes:


          > Wil and Mary please define for me where you find the authentic action
          > in Maldoror in an existentialist sense. I know the piece well. Have
          > read it several times. It is diverting surrealism, but Maldoror is
          > utterly inauthentic. Are you arguing that his human experience is more
          > vivid and so better possessed of adequacy? Are you rejecting Sartre's
          > arguments for optimism then? Is human upon human senseless brutality
          > authentic, or the kind that is reasoned out? Where are you going with
          > this reference? Foucalt?
          >
          >
          >




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        • Trinidad Cruz
          ... Is he not condemned to his freedom; doesn t he exhibit the Kierkegaardian subject, if in reverse? Wil Ducasse is unique, but I look at it as an
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 28, 2007
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            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:

            "Is he not condemned to his freedom; doesn't he exhibit the
            Kierkegaardian subject, if in reverse?" Wil

            Ducasse is unique, but I look at it as an experiment with evil in the
            place of goodness as you say; but also a certain refutation of angst
            as in the complaint of earlier nihilists. I seems to me that Ducasse
            may have taken suicidal nihilism as a kind of shock induced situation
            and his effort was to trivialize evil to awaken others of the time
            from shock. So like Mary says too in the end it refutes salvation from
            either quarter and the power of angst as well. It is almost as if the
            writer had a pre-expectation of existentialism. That's just my
            opinion, but then in poetic endeavors I often find a kind of
            pre-self-didaction. Perhaps he did too. I forgotten the analysis in
            Camus, but I bet Mary can come up with it. It was maybe four pages or
            less in the midst of the discussion of Rimbaud and the nihilists I
            think. Anyway you guys gave some way COOL replies.

            "Finally, you of all folks aren't going all Anita Bryant on me, are you?"

            Hah! I'm a gun carrying socialist. Even the ISO in Chicago thinks I'm
            radical. Huey P. is my man. I only drink orange juice in tequila
            sunrises. I was up to mischief though, and I have relatives in the DR.
            Bill is cool though I'm not sure if there ever was Irish aristocracy
            other than Presbyteriens and I'm not sure if they're Irish. Fun
            answers. Perked me up.

            tc
          • eupraxis@aol.com
            One of these days we ll all meet up somewhere and burn it up. WS ... ************************************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 28, 2007
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              One of these days we'll all meet up somewhere and burn it up.

              WS

              In a message dated 8/28/07 10:12:01 PM, TriniCruz@... writes:


              >
              >
              >
              > --- In existlist@yahoogrouexistl, eupraxis@... wrote:
              >
              > "Is he not condemned to his freedom; doesn't he exhibit the
              > Kierkegaardian subject, if in reverse?" Wil
              >
              > Ducasse is unique, but I look at it as an experiment with evil in the
              > place of goodness as you say; but also a certain refutation of angst
              > as in the complaint of earlier nihilists. I seems to me that Ducasse
              > may have taken suicidal nihilism as a kind of shock induced situation
              > and his effort was to trivialize evil to awaken others of the time
              > from shock. So like Mary says too in the end it refutes salvation from
              > either quarter and the power of angst as well. It is almost as if the
              > writer had a pre-expectation of existentialism. That's just my
              > opinion, but then in poetic endeavors I often find a kind of
              > pre-self-didaction. Perhaps he did too. I forgotten the analysis in
              > Camus, but I bet Mary can come up with it. It was maybe four pages or
              > less in the midst of the discussion of Rimbaud and the nihilists I
              > think. Anyway you guys gave some way COOL replies.
              >
              > "Finally, you of all folks aren't going all Anita Bryant on me, are you?"
              >
              > Hah! I'm a gun carrying socialist. Even the ISO in Chicago thinks I'm
              > radical. Huey P. is my man. I only drink orange juice in tequila
              > sunrises. I was up to mischief though, and I have relatives in the DR.
              > Bill is cool though I'm not sure if there ever was Irish aristocracy
              > other than Presbyteriens and I'm not sure if they're Irish. Fun
              > answers. Perked me up.
              >
              > tc
              >
              >
              >




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            • dasein512
              Was is shepherd of being and who is it anti-humanistic - is it eluding to an elitist view Me versus the stupid masse??GErald
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 28, 2007
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                Was is shepherd of being and who is it anti-humanistic - is it eluding
                to an elitist view Me versus the stupid masse??GErald

                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Trinidad Cruz" <TriniCruz@...> wrote:
                >
                > Wil and Mary please define for me where you find the authentic action
                > in Maldoror in an existentialist sense. I know the piece well. Have
                > read it several times. It is diverting surrealism, but Maldoror is
                > utterly inauthentic. Are you arguing that his human experience is more
                > vivid and so better possessed of adequacy? Are you rejecting Sartre's
                > arguments for optimism then? Is human upon human senseless brutality
                > authentic, or the kind that is reasoned out? Where are you going with
                > this reference? Foucalt?
                >
                > Jim I would say your perception of atheist existentialism is not too
                > far afield when you refer to altruism , though existential
                > authenticity is deeply concerned with immediacy rather than after the
                > fact so empathy is more important in humanist terms than the
                > compassionate acts it leads towards. And don't be afraid to have it,
                > and let it be you if it already belongs to you. It is far more
                > comforting than the cold. The arguments are not about superior morals
                > or ethics, just more robust and vibrant humans. Having actual empathy
                > is better than reasoned compassion, and is where the individual reaps
                > the reward.
                >
                > Bill you know as well as me that your situation with existentialism
                > has always been based in a resignation to human inadequacy. You are a
                > classic "shepherd of being" in discourse here, often the bitter
                > aristocrat, but I have suspected not always so in real life. It's just
                > my socialist wording that upsets your capitalist balance. No real
                > sense in you breaking it down anymore. Most things are settled here in
                > the direction you think to defend and require no defense of you. And
                > for me there is no need to break what I am certain is already broken,
                > so I am settling my situation away from any disadvantagement of men,
                > and I do consider monotheism to abuse itself upon humanity in theory
                > and praxis just as severely as corporatism.
                >
                > tc
                >
              • jimstuart46
                Trinidad, Thank you for your supportive remarks. Yes, I agree that it is better to have actual empathy than reasoned compassion. The trouble with Kant is that,
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 29, 2007
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                  Trinidad,

                  Thank you for your supportive remarks.

                  Yes, I agree that it is better to have actual empathy than reasoned
                  compassion.

                  The trouble with Kant is that, though he has some very good
                  arguments, he expects reason to do all the hard work. Human beings,
                  and philosophers, need strong (positive, optimistic) feelings and
                  vivid imaginations, as well as clear logical thinking.

                  Jim



                  Trinidad wrote:

                  Jim I would say your perception of atheist existentialism is not too
                  far afield when you refer to altruism , though existential
                  authenticity is deeply concerned with immediacy rather than after the
                  fact so empathy is more important in humanist terms than the
                  compassionate acts it leads towards. And don't be afraid to have it,
                  and let it be you if it already belongs to you. It is far more
                  comforting than the cold. The arguments are not about superior morals
                  or ethics, just more robust and vibrant humans. Having actual empathy
                  is better than reasoned compassion, and is where the individual reaps
                  the reward.
                • eupraxis@aol.com
                  [Yes, I agree that it is better to have actual empathy than reasoned compassion.] Jim, I have been staring at this sentence for a few minutes. Actual empathy
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 29, 2007
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                    [Yes, I agree that it is better to have actual empathy than reasoned
                    compassion.]

                    Jim, I have been staring at this sentence for a few minutes. Actual empathy
                    (rather than something feigned) versus reasoned compassion. Compassion and
                    empathy are related terms, so the qualifier that would be the source of antagonism
                    here seems to be the "reasoned" bit. Reasoned compassion, compassion based on
                    reason. Versus "actual" empathy. Reason in some way falsifies the human
                    relation? An argument for an intuitive ethics, maybe?

                    [The trouble with Kant is that, though he has some very good arguments, he
                    expects reason to do all the hard work.]

                    Leaving aside the "arguments" approach to reading Kant, one could argue you
                    second point both for and against. Certainly the first Critique had as a prime
                    purpose the reigning in of pure reason in a very special way. But, in another
                    sense, Kant does see the 'agent' subsumed and predefined by the refinements of
                    rationality, and in his political pieces, like those on Cosmopolitanism, he
                    does try to show, with some considerable persuasion, how only reason can bring
                    about global peace and freedom. The explanation for that is, perhaps, that
                    only reason will perform the hard works, wrought of necessity and mutual
                    contingency.

                    [Human beings, and philosophers, need strong (positive, optimistic) feelings
                    and vivid imaginations, as well as clear logical thinking.]

                    Careful! Your Utilitarianism is showing. The purpose of Existentialism, if it
                    can be said to have one in such a prescriptive way, is not to produce Boy
                    Scouts or regular bowel movements.

                    Wil

                    In a message dated 8/29/07 4:09:58 AM, jjimstuart@... writes:


                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Trinidad,
                    >
                    > Thank you for your supportive remarks.
                    >
                    > Yes, I agree that it is better to have actual empathy than reasoned
                    > compassion.
                    >
                    > The trouble with Kant is that, though he has some very good
                    > arguments, he expects reason to do all the hard work. Human beings,
                    > and philosophers, need strong (positive, optimistic) feelings and
                    > vivid imaginations, as well as clear logical thinking.
                    >
                    > Jim
                    >
                    >
                    >




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                  • Mary Jo
                    Indeed, Maldoror is poetry! The Rebel is basically Camus survey of nihilistic rebellion, his antipathy towards it, and his response which is surprisingly
                    Message 9 of 12 , Aug 29, 2007
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                      Indeed, Maldoror is poetry! "The Rebel" is basically Camus' survey of
                      nihilistic rebellion, his antipathy towards it, and his response which
                      is surprisingly existential. The relevant passage is found in Part II
                      Metaphysical Rebellion, The Poets' Rebellion, entitled "Lautréamont and
                      Banality." In conjunction with another project, I'll reproduce this
                      specific Camus text and provide a link when it's prepared. Suffice it
                      to say that the poem is certainly not an endorsement of evil, but
                      rather seminal surrealism. It was experimental, and the follow-
                      up "Poisies" explained what Ducasse was doing. Camus' insightful
                      critique is worth the read. The two works when taken together provide a
                      a powerful example of the tension between anarchistic nihilism and
                      conformity to self-creative banality which is necessary for survival.
                      The theme is freedom and the horror that can be unleashed in its name.

                      Mary

                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:

                      Maldoror, er TC -- sorry,

                      As you already know, then, the Maldoror text is very complex and no
                      single summation can really be made about it.
                    • eupraxis@aol.com
                      I ll look that up as well; sounds interesting. WS ... From: Mary Jo To: existlist@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 12:44 pm
                      Message 10 of 12 , Aug 29, 2007
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                        I'll look that up as well; sounds interesting.

                        WS







                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: Mary Jo <maryjo.malo@...>
                        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 12:44 pm
                        Subject: [existlist] Re: ok now boys and girls

























                        Indeed, Maldoror is poetry! "The Rebel" is basically Camus' survey of

                        nihilistic rebellion, his antipathy towards it, and his response which

                        is surprisingly existential. The relevant passage is found in Part II

                        Metaphysical Rebellion, The Poets' Rebellion, entitled "Lautréamont and

                        Banality." In conjunction with another project, I'll reproduce this

                        specific Camus text and provide a link when it's prepared. Suffice it

                        to say that the poem is certainly not an endorsement of evil, but

                        rather seminal surrealism. It was experimental, and the follow-

                        up "Poisies" explained what Ducasse was doing. Camus' insightful

                        critique is worth the read. The two works when taken together provide a

                        a powerful example of the tension between anarchistic nihilism and

                        conformity to self-creative banality which is necessary for survival.

                        The theme is freedom and the horror that can be unleashed in its name.



                        Mary



                        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:



                        Maldoror, er TC -- sorry,



                        As you already know, then, the Maldoror text is very complex and no

                        single summation can really be made about it.





















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                      • jimstuart46
                        Wil, Thank you for your response (your post 42100) to my short remarks about empathy, Kant and reason (my post 42100). The expressions actual empathy and
                        Message 11 of 12 , Aug 30, 2007
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                          Wil,

                          Thank you for your response (your post 42100) to my short remarks
                          about empathy, Kant and reason (my post 42100).

                          The expressions "actual empathy" and "reasoned compassion" were
                          originally Trinidad's, so perhaps he is the best one to comment on
                          your remarks, but I think what you write fits in with Trinidad's
                          thought (see his post 42086, second paragraph).

                          I agree with what you write about Kant on reason. I'm not sure in my
                          own mind how far I agree with Kant. As I say, I think he expects our
                          use of reason to get us all the way to being compassionate, but I
                          think we need to harness our emotions as well.

                          Anyway, that was the line of thought behind my final sentence, which
                          you didn't like. Here is my sentence, which you suggest is more
                          utilitarian than existential:

                          "Human beings, and philosophers, need strong (positive, optimistic)
                          feelings
                          and vivid imaginations, as well as clear logical thinking."

                          What I was trying to say was this: Kant thinks we can become
                          compassionate purely through the use of reason ("clear logical
                          thinking"), however if we assume that a person can only act
                          compassionately if they first have the feeling of empathy (as I
                          interpreted Trinidad as arguing), then we must ask: what is required
                          for an individual to have empathy?

                          This was where my strong feelings and vivid imagination came in. For
                          me to feel empathy for a suffering person whose life is very
                          different from my own, I need to have a vivid imagination – to
                          imagine what it is like for that person. And for me to be motivated
                          to get up off my back-side and do something to help the suffering
                          person, I need strong feelings, or something like Kierkegaard's
                          passion, which is better thought of as "resolute commitment".

                          When I did my research in analytical philosophy departments, I met
                          lots of very clever people, whose reasoning skills were fantastic.
                          But they still failed to impress me as human beings, as they seemed
                          to lack some of the caring emotions like empathy.

                          So in my sentence I was trying to capture all the various
                          psychological characteristics necessary for a well-rounded human
                          being, who might even count as an "authentic individual" in Sartrian
                          terms.

                          Perhaps you are right to suggest that in trying to describe the
                          virtuous person or the authentic individual, I am moving away from
                          existentialism and towards something like utilitarianism.

                          Jim
                        • eupraxis@aol.com
                          Jim, Thanks again. Yes, Kantianism is rarely cited as wellspring of compassion and empathy, as such. Of course, he was always being rather formal in his
                          Message 12 of 12 , Aug 30, 2007
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                            Jim,

                            Thanks again.

                            Yes, Kantianism is rarely cited as wellspring of compassion and empathy, as such. Of course, he was always being rather formal in his writings, especially after his "Critical" period. Some of his earlier, youthful, writings show a 'different' Kant, even a humorous one, at times, but I do not remember much in the way of anything 'personable' in them. I have chuckled at a few jokes in Kant (his description of common-sensists is the Prolegomena as "windbags", or his lampooning of religious artifacts in On the Sublime, for example), but I cannot ever remember having to dry any empathic tears over the years.....

                            Wil







                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
                            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 11:04 am
                            Subject: [existlist] Re: ok now boys and girls

























                            Wil,



                            Thank you for your response (your post 42100) to my short remarks

                            about empathy, Kant and reason (my post 42100).



                            The expressions "actual empathy" and "reasoned compassion" were

                            originally Trinidad's, so perhaps he is the best one to comment on

                            your remarks, but I think what you write fits in with Trinidad's

                            thought (see his post 42086, second paragraph).



                            I agree with what you write about Kant on reason. I'm not sure in my

                            own mind how far I agree with Kant. As I say, I think he expects our

                            use of reason to get us all the way to being compassionate, but I

                            think we need to harness our emotions as well.



                            Anyway, that was the line of thought behind my final sentence, which

                            you didn't like. Here is my sentence, which you suggest is more

                            utilitarian than existential:



                            "Human beings, and philosophers, need strong (positive, optimistic)

                            feelings

                            and vivid imaginations, as well as clear logical thinking."



                            What I was trying to say was this: Kant thinks we can become

                            compassionate purely through the use of reason ("clear logical

                            thinking"), however if we assume that a person can only act

                            compassionately if they first have the feeling of empathy (as I

                            interpreted Trinidad as arguing), then we must ask: what is required

                            for an individual to have empathy?



                            This was where my strong feelings and vivid imagination came in. For

                            me to feel empathy for a suffering person whose life is very

                            different from my own, I need to have a vivid imagination – to

                            imagine what it is like for that person. And for me to be motivated

                            to get up off my back-side and do something to help the suffering

                            person, I need strong feelings, or something like Kierkegaard's

                            passion, which is better thought of as "resolute commitment".



                            When I did my research in analytical philosophy departments, I met

                            lots of very clever people, whose reasoning skills were fantastic.

                            But they still failed to impress me as human beings, as they seemed

                            to lack some of the caring emotions like empathy.



                            So in my sentence I was trying to capture all the various

                            psychological characteristics necessary for a well-rounded human

                            being, who might even count as an "authentic individual" in Sartrian

                            terms.



                            Perhaps you are right to suggest that in trying to describe the

                            virtuous person or the authentic individual, I am moving away from

                            existentialism and towards something like utilitarianism.



                            Jim





















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