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RE: [existlist] Epicureanism

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  • Eduard Alf
    Bill, Everything considered, perhaps eating grapes in my Epicurean garden does me a heck of a lot better than worrying about the stresses of making decisions.
    Message 1 of 75 , Nov 2, 2001
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      Everything considered, perhaps eating grapes in my Epicurean garden does me
      a heck of a lot better than worrying about the stresses of making decisions.
      How can you say that Existentialism is the most important philosophy in the
      history of man? It may well be that Epicureanism is the most important.
      Perhaps it is just that Epicureanism comes complete in itself, that there is
      no need for further discussion ... I just eat my grapes.

      Epicureanism is akin to Daoism in that it advises a withdrawal and return to
      origins. It is something that many people are turning to.

      I would seriously doubt that Existentialsm is the modern western philosophy
      [with emphasis on the "the"]. That is not to discount its contribution, but
      like all things our philosophy evolves. I noted the following comment on
      the Existentialist Primer web site, "

      "Camus marks the finale of existentialism... an attempt to move beyond
      what Sartre had defined. Camus cannot be called an existentialist, but his
      ideas evolved alongside those of Sartre and others."

      What this shows is that Existentialism is not the "end all". Sartre and
      Camus parted company, not only physically as friends but also
      philosophically. Perhaps because Camus was not socialist enough. Although
      I have only browsed a bit of Camus, it seems to me that he was more
      orientated towards the individual. In any case, Sartre coined the term
      Existentialist to suit his particular thinking at the time. One wonders
      what Sartre would say today, if he were alive. A lot of what Sartre had to
      say came out of the war and what was then the "beat" era. You can see that
      in his play "Huis clos" where Garcin is focused upon what is friends on
      earth are now saying about his cowardness. I was surprised that in that
      play, Sartre does not have some answer for Garcin. It simply ends with "Eh
      bien, continuons". The play is dark, because it does not provide any
      solution. Garcin, Estelle and Inez are buried in hell and we can only watch
      them without involvement. Perhaps, in the turmoil of the 1950s, Sartre did
      not have any answers. I should think that in post-war Europe, no one had
      any answers, other than to just get on with their lives. There is a certain
      emptiness in that. I believe that the trend towards eastern philosophies,
      that is noticeable even up to the late 90s, is an attempt to define
      ourselves and where we are going.

      The basic principle of Existentialism is the making of rationale decisions
      in an irrational universe. But I would suspect that today, there isn't the
      same perspective and rather there is a greater willingness to accept that
      the universe is indeed rationale afterall.

      But more to the point, you have not shown that Existentialism is a complete
      philosophy. I would suggest that it is only a component. In order to be a
      complete philosophy there has to be more than just a process for making
      decisions. I am sure that if one were to study the life of Sartre, one
      would find all sorts of perspectives. He was an anti-fascist, then a
      Marxist, then I don't know what. All of that combined gives a view of what
      Sartre was and what he thought, but again Existentialism would be only a
      part of it.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
      Sent: Friday, November 02, 2001 11:16 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [existlist] Epicureanism

      I see Existentialism as the modern western philosophy. Indeed the early
      thinkers in this dicipline were very negative in their approach, they had
      great deal to break away from. In Europe the reformation had left little
      fervor for more conflict over religion and the idea of throwing not only
      religion but god away was a hard sell. The founders pounded away at the
      great evils, injustice, and voids in the old faith based systems. Europe
      went another way, it experimented with socialism, communism, fascism, and
      national socialism. Indeed the French attempt at democracy fared little
      better then the aforementioned experiments. Behind all of this turmoil,
      existentialists extolled the virtues of individualism and philosophical
      determination. Euorpeans, in desperation, began to listen. In the United
      States capitalistic democracy had a firm hold politically but
      values were starting to erode faith based systems. The "God is dead"
      headline shocked middle class america and much of the political debate
      relates more to cultural warfare than to any struggle with political
      systems. I have always seen Existentialism united with capitalism,
      democracy, and materialism as being the philosophy,economy, politics, and
      life style of the western world. We have intermingled them to the point
      where we have lost sight of the existential individualism that acts as
      foundation to the other three. Attacks have been mounted by right wing
      christian fundamentalists and politically correct collectivists but I see
      these movements as moribund and passe. Existentialism is a philosophy,
      most important and vital philosophy in the history of man. Eating grapes
      your epicurian garden or mouthing politically correct jargon are no
      substitute. Bill

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bill Harris
      Eduard, Should Garcin be concerned that history labels him as a coward---No. If the context of the play is to be accepted he is already dead and therefore has
      Message 75 of 75 , Nov 6, 2001
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        Eduard, Should Garcin be concerned that history labels him as a coward---No.
        If the context of the play is to be accepted he is already dead and
        therefore has no consciousness or concern. If I were dead I would not be
        concerned and I, again have no idea if Sartre was trying to say something
        about afterlife or guilt therein. As to your comment about exist as a
        tool, I would say it is a tool that few have used and like a level may be
        necessary to complete a modern philosophy. {Mixing a few metaphores ] I
        think it gives us license to think as individuals. Today that is not seen as
        such a necessary relief from prohibition but we have all exercised the
        freedom and to my knowledge only bookdoc has been burned at the stake.
        Where is he anyway? Bill
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 5:01 PM
        Subject: RE: [existlist] Epicureanism

        > I am not actually backing away from Existentialism. I think it is a good
        > tool, but it takes more than one tool to build a warm house. I am
        > surprised, however, that there doesn't seem to be very much in the way of
        > recent discussion on Epicureanism. There is a lot on Epicurean meals and
        > such, but that is not what the philosophy is about. Perhaps that is
        > something that I can contribute. Win me a Nobel prize or something.
        > By the way. What did you folks think of Garcin's concern about history
        > labeling him as a coward, in the play "Huis clos". Should he be
        > Would you? I think that Sartre is trying to say something there.
        > eduard
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
        > Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 12:04 PM
        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [existlist] Epicureanism
        > It all evolves, there is no end but there are dead ends. I have never
        > had
        > any particular liking for the term exist----. It is just a big word that
        > confuses us all. I think what I sense in your recent postings is a
        > backing
        > away from modern thought, I have had the same misgivings with what is
        > going
        > on in the world now. I find that I have a certain depression of
        > enthusiasm
        > for engagement in current events reminescent of the VietNam era. I
        > the current situation will be attributed to those with retrograde
        > philosophies and we should do our best to further that process. I might
        > find myself more absorbed with science and art until such time as it is
        > safe
        > to reject the current jingoism. George told me , however, it will be a
        > long
        > war, Bill
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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