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Re: [existlist] Knowing how to live authentically

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  • Aija Veldre Beldavs
    ... overall i agree. but many in fact, are stunted or poisoned by war etc., unhealthy to children. also, there have been cultures like ancient Sparta that
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 3, 2007
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      jimstuart46:
      >
      > Trinidad and Johannes Climacus seem to agree on this: an individual
      > doesn't have to study philosophy in order to learn how to live
      > well. "Ordinary people", "every sixteen-year-old girl" already know
      > that loving is better than hating, that being honest is better than
      > being dishonest, that acting justly is better than acting unjustly.
      > In other words, ordinary people – without years of philosophical
      > study – know how to live a good life.
      >

      overall i agree.
      but many in fact, are stunted or poisoned by war etc., unhealthy to
      children.
      also, there have been cultures like ancient Sparta that practiced
      eugenics and exposed children to harsh environments to create warrior
      slave-holding states, which not everyone finds acceptable. ditto for
      cultures that approach defining gender relations (and have to some
      degree domesticated themselves) in terms of predator (say shark) and
      prey (whoever gets in the way or has something the predator wants). i
      doubt any of these types of cultures survive long over generations in
      pure form, especially if a child or adolescent lacks someone who also
      shows some degree of caring. luckily for the sake of survival of the
      society as a whole, everyone does not react to the norms or conditions
      of their society exactly in the same way. diversity does provide some
      checks and balances.

      a model which divides humans into prey and predators is in fact
      practicing cannibalism. even strong forms of clan organization are not
      self sufficient, and of course genes cross over even in strictly
      regulated societies, so that this model is also an oversimplified myth.
      humankind has evolved so that a sufficient number of people don't want
      to reduce themselves to a definition of either prey or predator.

      sufficient numbers would agree today with mental health practitioners
      that those who feel alive only through power-trips that hurts themselves
      or others (are "a significant danger to themselves or others") should be
      isolated, restricted, and given healing treatment until they can safely
      return to mainstream society. sure, i know the response: how
      bourgeoisie, or how naive. :)
      > The difference between the "robust and vibrant" human being and the
      > inauthentic individual is that the former puts into practice what
      > she knows, whilst the latter does not. So it is not knowledge which
      > the inauthentic individual lacks, rather it is courage – the courage
      > to act on his ethical convictions.
      >
      > Existentialism is not a body of knowledge, which the individual must
      > learn in order to exist authentically. Existentialism is a
      > communication which tells us what we already know: to live
      > authentically we must act on what we already know, and take full
      > responsibility for our choices and actions. Jim
      >
      >

      yes. this article that i recently shared in another listserv's
      discussion, explores definitions and dilemmas of courage in
      straightforward language:
      Rate, C. R., Clarke, J. A., Lindsay, D. R., Sternberg, R. J. (2007).
      Implicit theories of courage. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2(2),
      80-98.
      http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/08/what-is-courage.php

      aija
    • jimstuart46
      Aija, Thank you for your helpful response and constructive criticism. Sparta? Predator and prey behaviour? Those stunted and poisoned by war, etc.? Yes, a
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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        Aija,

        Thank you for your helpful response and constructive criticism.

        Sparta? Predator and prey behaviour? Those stunted and poisoned by
        war, etc.?

        Yes, a minority of individuals reach adulthood without developing the
        capability to love others. This may be the result of a genetic
        abnormality or an inadequate upbringing (e.g. a war environment,
        abusive parents, etc.). Just as some individuals may develop without
        the proper human emotions and mental well-being, so occasionally whole
        societies may go wrong. But my claim is that most individuals, most
        societies, develop with the potential for humane behaviour.

        Evolution has been kind to the human species in that most mothers (and
        many fathers too) have a disposition to love their children. This
        contingent fact is, I suggest, the grounding for the truth of what
        Trinidad and Johannes Climacus claim: that most human beings reach
        adulthood with the capability to act decently and love others. We have
        this capability because we were loved first – usually by our mothers,
        often by our fathers or other carers.

        Once we reach adulthood with the capability of loving others, it is
        then down to us. Do we have the courage, the resolution and the
        commitment to actually love others in our turn?

        Jim
      • Aija Veldre Beldavs
        ... i would state this even more radically - striving to not give up on any case, but this takes some humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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          jimstuart46:
          > But my claim is that most individuals, most societies, develop with the potential for humane behaviour.

          i would state this even more radically -
          striving to not give up on any case, but this takes some humanistic
          social engineering or restructuring of society, rather than heroic
          individualism.

          even individuals who are born with genetic defects, under optimum
          childhood environment have a much better chance to learn to be
          contributing to society, rather than destructive or a burden, if they
          have xtra support, training, and realistic recognition of limits.
          (ironically, some "primitive" societies may have done comparatively
          better in humanely integrating their mentally ill by assigning a
          tolerant special category that reduces fear and aggression all around).

          any society if it is to survive is living, dynamic, adaptive, and so
          changes as needed. although whole societies do indeed go wrong, become
          insane, or dysfunctional, this is not a necessary predeterminer of their
          future. even within a society gone wrong, there are individuals who
          offer alternatives, and when the time is right, they will be listened
          to. also there is a collective evolving accumulation of experience as a
          resource, and mechanisms that can be described as self-correcting.

          years back i was very impressed what was being done to improve the
          chances for autistic children while doing a student short term grant
          job for about 8 months at an autism research institute here at IU.
          however, after training, ongoing support is needed generally for life.
          i also was very impressed by a lecture given by Dr. Temple Grandin.
          growing up and having the proper support, she used what she had within
          her - thinking in picutures and other sense-scapes as a way to figure
          out how to respond verbally in a socially proper way. it's a skill
          most people take for granted as natural, rather than indirectly
          acquired. the genetic defect, born lacking empathy, may be offset by
          behavior training in childhood to predispose to socially acceptable
          behavior, "rewiring" of the brain, and being surrounded by models of
          acceptable behavior in adolescence, responsive to special needs.

          aija
        • jimstuart46
          Aija, I agree with everything you say – I share you optimism that disadvantaged individuals and dysfunctional societies can respond positively to the efforts
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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            Aija,

            I agree with everything you say – I share you optimism that
            disadvantaged individuals and dysfunctional societies can respond
            positively to the efforts of single individuals, small groups or
            collective mass movements.

            I agree that "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
            society" is more effective than "heroic individualism." But in the
            absence of humanistic social engineering or restructuring of society,
            heroic individualism is the only game in town. In other words, heroic
            individualism is better than nothing, but humanistic social
            engineering or restructuring of society is best of all.

            But, of course, humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
            society only takes place when lots of single individuals make resolute
            commitments to work hard for the good of all.

            Jim
          • eupraxis@aol.com
            Jim, How would such social engineering look? Is this a social-democratic model or a kind of public works approach, etc.? Would it be governmental-legalistic?
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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              Jim,

              How would such social engineering look? Is this a social-democratic model or a kind of public works approach, etc.? Would it be governmental-legalistic? Or a kind of voluntarism; or authoritarian?

              Wil







              -----Original Message-----
              From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tue, 4 Sep 2007 11:52 am
              Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowing how to live authentically

























              Aija,



              I agree with everything you say – I share you optimism that

              disadvantaged individuals and dysfunctional societies can respond

              positively to the efforts of single individuals, small groups or

              collective mass movements.



              I agree that "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of

              society" is more effective than "heroic individualism." But in the

              absence of humanistic social engineering or restructuring of society,

              heroic individualism is the only game in town. In other words, heroic

              individualism is better than nothing, but humanistic social

              engineering or restructuring of society is best of all.



              But, of course, humanistic social engineering or restructuring of

              society only takes place when lots of single individuals make resolute

              commitments to work hard for the good of all.



              Jim





















              ________________________________________________________________________
              Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! - http://mail.aol.com


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • jimstuart46
              Wil, Bill, The expression humanistic social engineering or restructuring of society is Aija s, so really you are better asking her what she means by it. I am
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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                Wil, Bill,

                The expression "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
                society" is Aija's, so really you are better asking her what she
                means by it.

                I am not really very interested in politics – I prefer to think about
                philosophical matters.

                Politically I am a member of the Green Party here in the UK. The
                party stands against the destruction of the planet and in favour of a
                version of self-sustaining socialism.

                I am also a member of Amnesty International which campaigns against
                torture and the imprisonment of people purely because of their
                beliefs.

                I am also a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which,
                surprise, surprise, campaigns for a world without any nuclear weapons.

                In terms of US politics, if I had been a citizen of your country in
                recent years, I would have voted for Ralph Nader in your presidential
                elections. But then again, didn't his votes in 2000 let Bush in, and
                cause all the current strife in the world?

                Now can you stop asking me about politics, and can I get back to
                existentialism?

                I started this thread with some remarks about the Existentialist
                ideas of Trinidad and Johannes Climacus. In the later posts in this
                thread I was basically arguing for the existentialist idea that
                radical change for the individual and for society is possible. I read
                existentialism as a philosophy of radical freedom. Each of us has the
                freedom to remake himself or herself in almost any way. Collectively
                the members of a society are free to remake their society in any way.
                Am I being naïve here? Am I being faithful to present-day
                existentialism here, or am I stuck in the 1950's?

                Jim
              • eupraxis@aol.com
                Jim, Your associations sound great to me. We probably share a lot in that regard. Wil ... From: jimstuart46 To:
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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                  Jim,

                  Your associations sound great to me. We probably share a lot in that regard.

                  Wil







                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, 4 Sep 2007 3:40 pm
                  Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowing how to live authentically

























                  Wil, Bill,



                  The expression "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of

                  society" is Aija's, so really you are better asking her what she

                  means by it.



                  I am not really very interested in politics – I prefer to think about

                  philosophical matters.



                  Politically I am a member of the Green Party here in the UK. The

                  party stands against the destruction of the planet and in favour of a

                  version of self-sustaining socialism.



                  I am also a member of Amnesty International which campaigns against

                  torture and the imprisonment of people purely because of their

                  beliefs.



                  I am also a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which,

                  surprise, surprise, campaigns for a world without any nuclear weapons.



                  In terms of US politics, if I had been a citizen of your country in

                  recent years, I would have voted for Ralph Nader in your presidential

                  elections. But then again, didn't his votes in 2000 let Bush in, and

                  cause all the current strife in the world?



                  Now can you stop asking me about politics, and can I get back to

                  existentialism?



                  I started this thread with some remarks about the Existentialist

                  ideas of Trinidad and Johannes Climacus. In the later posts in this

                  thread I was basically arguing for the existentialist idea that

                  radical change for the individual and for society is possible. I read

                  existentialism as a philosophy of radical freedom. Each of us has the

                  freedom to remake himself or herself in almost any way. Collectively

                  the members of a society are free to remake their society in any way.

                  Am I being naïve here? Am I being faithful to present-day

                  existentialism here, or am I stuck in the 1950's?



                  Jim





















                  ________________________________________________________________________
                  Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! - http://mail.aol.com


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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