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Re: Das last man

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  • Herman B. Triplegood
    I don t know very much about existentialism. I can t answer your questions like an existentialist would probably answer them. So, I ll just answer them like a
    Message 1 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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      I don't know very much about existentialism. I can't answer your
      questions like an existentialist would probably answer them. So, I'll
      just answer them like a regular old "blue collar worker", who ain't
      out to save the world, would answer them.

      The "dark night of the soul" that you describe is different things to
      different people.

      For some, it is the barrel of a thirty eight caliber revolver, loaded
      with hollow point bullets, jammed into the mouth, with a finger on
      the trigger, and a moment of decision -- to squeeze the trigger or
      not. For others, it is walking into their daughter's bedroom with
      that revolver, and blowing her face off while she sleeps. For others,
      it is hanging from the end of a rope, slowly choking to death, in a
      friend's trailer, while he goes out to buy another quarter ounce of
      dope. It is a nineteen year old crack whore mother sitting in the
      middle of Boulder Highway with a baby in her arms wanting to be run
      over. It is forgetting your Lithium, and struggling to forget you
      ever knew how to play classical guitar, before the electroshock
      treatments wiped all that out. That is a "dark night of the soul"
      right there. Being old, and dying alone in your apartment. Being
      young, and not having a home. Clocking in everyday, and regretting
      that your life never amounted to anything beyond earning a paycheck
      and getting drunk on Friday night. That is a "dark night" too.
      Gambling away one hundred thousand dollars. Being in the wrong house
      when the murderer stops by for a visit. Being the wrong religion in
      Baghdad. Having a ticket for the wrong airline on September 11th.
      Finding out that your uncles molested you. Setting foot on Omaha
      Beach in 1944. Living in Hiroshima in 1945. Being only eighteen in
      1965.

      Nobody has a monopoly on "dark night". Most of us, almost all of us,
      carry memories of such terrible experiences. Some of the, we
      ourselves go through. Others, our closest friends or family go
      through. Toothpaste can be a most welcome relief from all of
      that "dark night". Just ask the eighty-something year old veterann
      who slogged his way across Italy, France and Germany, and is still
      amazed, to this day, that he lived, and so many others didn't.
      His "dark night" is every night, when he dreams, when he remembers.

      It sounds so romantic to say "dark night of the soul", but there
      isn't much, really, that is romantic about normal everyday pain, and
      anguish, and plain old, good old fashioned, human suffering.

      Hb3g

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      >
      >
      > "specifically how many people do you require to agree with you"
      >
      > Everyone likes to be agreed with, but that is not what I am asking.
      Existentialism always has as a theme the "problematized" self, let us
      say. That would mean that such things as Behaviorism, for example,
      although it has a strong idea of what the Self is (or is not) and
      what freedom is (etc.), is not Existentialism. The latter can reflect
      on the issues brought forth by the former, but any adoption of it as
      a base theoretical outlook would change the genre, if I can use that
      term, into something else altogether.
      >
      > In other words, just having freedom, being or choice, etc., as a
      subject-matter does not qualify a discourse as Existentialist, which
      is presumably what we are here to examine and discuss. An example:
      Hegelian philosophy as such is not an existential philosophy.
      However, he does introduce themes and problems that have everything
      to do with it, like the alienated subject or the notion of positive
      and negative infinity, for example.
      >
      > Or certain contemporary trends in Cognitive Science (like Thomas
      Metzinger's "Being No One", MIT 2003) that deny any notion of
      the "common sense" Self, but rather understands it as a perceptual
      and discursive function. What does mean to our experience of
      ourselves as living persons, notwithstanding? Etc.
      >
      > It is not, finally, a matter of opinions, but of questions and
      reservations that everything to do with this -- our only -- life.
      >
      > Wil
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: m00dy58 <m00dy58@...>
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 8:30 am
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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      >
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      >
      >
      >
      > Well of course, you're right, but specifically how many people do
      you
      >
      > require to agree with you ;) A gander through the archives reveals
      >
      > much discussion of existential themes and authors. Is there really
      >
      > anything new to discover?
      >
      >
      >
      > m
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@ wrote:
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Friends,
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Since this list is one supposedly devoted to "Existentialism", I
      >
      > would have
      >
      > > thought that most of us would have some affinity to the basic
      >
      > themes of the
      >
      > > subject. But such is not the case.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > I guess the concepts of overdetermination or of multivalent
      layers
      >
      > of
      >
      > > intentionality, much less the unconscious drives,
      >
      > misdirection, "false consciousness"
      >
      > > and the like have been ignored by the flat cognitive/analytic
      >
      > notions of
      >
      > > "self" that have spawned in the wake of our regime of short
      >
      > attention spans and
      >
      > > "feel good" ideologies. So much the worse for us.
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Besides myself and perhaps Louise (or Trinidad), aren't there any
      >
      > folks here
      >
      > > who have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have
      >
      > come to
      >
      > > understand our self-satisfactions and consumer-wrought
      sanguinities
      >
      > as a hopeless
      >
      > > charade, an empty shell game, a bad comportment to life itself?
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Choice? Do you actually think that our stupid and
      inane "choices",
      >
      > much less
      >
      > > our career paths and stock portfolios have ANYTHING at all to do
      >
      > with
      >
      > > "authenticity"? Do you really understand the issue such that
      having
      >
      > a 'conscious
      >
      > > opinion' means anything at all with regards to the deeper
      >
      > ambiguities of
      >
      > > self-identity? Do you really think you're free? Really? Just
      >
      > because you can choose
      >
      > > whatever brand of toothpaste suits your fancy? Is existentialism
      >
      > for you just
      >
      > > about the "Me"? Is that what it has come down to here?
      >
      > >
      >
      > > Wil
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > **************************************
      >
      > > See what's new at http://www.aol.com
      >
      > >
      >
      > >
      >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > >
      >
      >
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      >
      ______________________________________________________________________
      __
      > 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]
      >
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      H, It sounds so romantic to say dark night of the soul , but there isn t much, really, that is romantic about normal everyday pain, and anguish, and plain
      Message 2 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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        H,

        "It sounds so romantic to say "dark night of the soul", but there isn't much, really, that is romantic about normal everyday pain, and anguish, and plain old, good old fashioned, human suffering."


        An inch you cannot scratch. I wasn't being romantic.

        There isn't much required to read existential authors. Just the books, really. I also hasten to add here that not all of it is dour and negative. But the negative, like Nietzsche's moment of nausea in "The Birth...", is, sadly, required.

        Wil















        -----Original Message-----

        From: Herman B. Triplegood <hb3g@...>

        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com

        Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 11:16 am

        Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man
































        I don't know very much about existentialism. I can't answer your


        questions like an existentialist would probably answer them. So, I'll


        just answer them like a regular old "blue collar worker", who ain't


        out to save the world, would answer them.





        The "dark night of the soul" that you describe is different things to


        different people.





        For some, it is the barrel of a thirty eight caliber revolver, loaded


        with hollow point bullets, jammed into the mouth, with a finger on


        the trigger, and a moment of decision -- to squeeze the trigger or


        not. For others, it is walking into their daughter's bedroom with


        that revolver, and blowing her face off while she sleeps. For others,


        it is hanging from the end of a rope, slowly choking to death, in a


        friend's trailer, while he goes out to buy another quarter ounce of


        dope. It is a nineteen year old crack whore mother sitting in the


        middle of Boulder Highway with a baby in her arms wanting to be run


        over. It is forgetting your Lithium, and struggling to forget you


        ever knew how to play classical guitar, before the electroshock


        treatments wiped all that out. That is a "dark night of the soul"


        right there. Being old, and dying alone in your apartment. Being


        young, and not having a home. Clocking in everyday, and regretting


        that your life never amounted to anything beyond earning a paycheck


        and getting drunk on Friday night. That is a "dark night" too.


        Gambling away one hundred thousand dollars. Being in the wrong house


        when the murderer stops by for a visit. Being the wrong religion in


        Baghdad. Having a ticket for the wrong airline on September 11th.


        Finding out that your uncles molested you. Setting foot on Omaha


        Beach in 1944. Living in Hiroshima in 1945. Being only eighteen in


        1965.





        Nobody has a monopoly on "dark night". Most of us, almost all of us,


        carry memories of such terrible experiences. Some of the, we


        ourselves go through. Others, our closest friends or family go


        through. Toothpaste can be a most welcome relief from all of


        that "dark night". Just ask the eighty-something year old veterann


        who slogged his way across Italy, France and Germany, and is still


        amazed, to this day, that he lived, and so many others didn't.


        His "dark night" is every night, when he dreams, when he remembers.





        It sounds so romantic to say "dark night of the soul", but there


        isn't much, really, that is romantic about normal everyday pain, and


        anguish, and plain old, good old fashioned, human suffering.





        Hb3g





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


        >


        >


        > "specifically how many people do you require to agree with you"


        >


        > Everyone likes to be agreed with, but that is not what I am asking.


        Existentialism always has as a theme the "problematized" self, let us


        say. That would mean that such things as Behaviorism, for example,


        although it has a strong idea of what the Self is (or is not) and


        what freedom is (etc.), is not Existentialism. The latter can reflect


        on the issues brought forth by the former, but any adoption of it as


        a base theoretical outlook would change the genre, if I can use that


        term, into something else altogether.


        >


        > In other words, just having freedom, being or choice, etc., as a


        subject-matter does not qualify a discourse as Existentialist, which


        is presumably what we are here to examine and discuss. An example:


        Hegelian philosophy as such is not an existential philosophy.


        However, he does introduce themes and problems that have everything


        to do with it, like the alienated subject or the notion of positive


        and negative infinity, for example.


        >


        > Or certain contemporary trends in Cognitive Science (like Thomas


        Metzinger's "Being No One", MIT 2003) that deny any notion of


        the "common sense" Self, but rather understands it as a perceptual


        and discursive function. What does mean to our experience of


        ourselves as living persons, notwithstanding? Etc.


        >


        > It is not, finally, a matter of opinions, but of questions and


        reservations that everything to do with this -- our only -- life.


        >


        > Wil


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        > -----Original Message-----


        > From: m00dy58 <m00dy58@...>


        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com


        > Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 8:30 am


        > Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        > Well of course, you're right, but specifically how many people do


        you


        >


        > require to agree with you ;) A gander through the archives reveals


        >


        > much discussion of existential themes and authors. Is there really


        >


        > anything new to discover?


        >


        >


        >


        > m


        >


        >


        >


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


        >


        > >


        >


        > > Friends,


        >


        > >


        >


        > > Since this list is one supposedly devoted to "Existentialism", I


        >


        > would have


        >


        > > thought that most of us would have some affinity to the basic


        >


        > themes of the


        >


        > > subject. But such is not the case.


        >


        > >


        >


        > > I guess the concepts of overdetermination or of multivalent


        layers


        >


        > of


        >


        > > intentionality, much less the unconscious drives,


        >


        > misdirection, "false consciousness"


        >


        > > and the like have been ignored by the flat cognitive/analytic


        >


        > notions of


        >


        > > "self" that have spawned in the wake of our regime of short


        >


        > attention spans and


        >


        > > "feel good" ideologies. So much the worse for us.


        >


        > >


        >


        > > Besides myself and perhaps Louise (or Trinidad), aren't there any


        >


        > folks here


        >


        > > who have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have


        >


        > come to


        >


        > > understand our self-satisfactions and consumer-wrought


        sanguinities


        >


        > as a hopeless


        >


        > > charade, an empty shell game, a bad comportment to life itself?


        >


        > >


        >


        > > Choice? Do you actually think that our stupid and


        inane "choices",


        >


        > much less


        >


        > > our career paths and stock portfolios have ANYTHING at all to do


        >


        > with


        >


        > > "authenticity"? Do you really understand the issue such that


        having


        >


        > a 'conscious


        >


        > > opinion' means anything at all with regards to the deeper


        >


        > ambiguities of


        >


        > > self-identity? Do you really think you're free? Really? Just


        >


        > because you can choose


        >


        > > whatever brand of toothpaste suits your fancy? Is existentialism


        >


        > for you just


        >


        > > about the "Me"? Is that what it has come down to here?


        >


        > >


        >


        > > Wil


        >


        > >


        >


        > >


        >


        > >


        >


        > > **************************************


        >


        > > See what's new at http://www.aol.com


        >


        > >


        >


        > >


        >


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


        >


        > >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        >


        __________________________________________________________


        __


        > 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]


        >


























        ________________________________________________________________________
        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]
      • eupraxis@aol.com
        Yes, a recommended text (along with the Naomi s -- Naomi Klein s -- book on Disaster Capitalism. No, I quite agree. Wil ... From: m00dy58
        Message 3 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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          Yes, a recommended text (along with the Naomi's -- Naomi Klein's -- book on Disaster Capitalism. No, I quite agree.

          Wil




          -----Original Message-----
          From: m00dy58 <m00dy58@...>
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 11:13 am
          Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man

























          Yes, and what's of great interest to me here is how this division

          will play out in our domestic arena. Will what Naomi Wolf points to

          as the 10 steps leading to fascism in "The End of America" play out?

          Is existentialism fated to be a practical or idealistic bone heap?



          m



          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote: M, A miasma,

          indeed!



          I am all for the interfacing of disciplines. My own principle field

          of interest is, just so you know, is not existentialism. I consider

          the 'genre' a basic one, however, and one that is of perennial

          interest and lasting value. But, as so many right-wingers have said

          over the years, it is an "anti-" discourse, essentially. It can never

          be sanguine about god, country and power; about war, poverty and

          injustice; or about human delusion and failure.



          I have said in the past that Existentialism is inherently leftist.

          While a good deal of it has been, the statement is overweening.

          Heidegger was a reactionary; Nietzsche, an a-political elitist;

          Kierkegaard, an evangelical of sorts, etc. Yet every one of them was

          critical of his time and and suspicious of any self-satisfied notion

          of the Self.



          Wil





















          ________________________________________________________________________
          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]
        • Aija Veldre Beldavs
          ... these words evoke for me suggestions of a desire to simultaneously prioritize existentialism as a higher form of unique that nevertheless is supposed to be
          Message 4 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            eupraxis@... wrote:
            > Existentialism always has as a theme the "problematized" self, let us say. That would mean that such things as Behaviorism, for example, although it has a strong idea of what the Self is (or is not) and what freedom is (etc.),is not Existentialism. The latter can reflect on the issues brought forth by the former, but any adoption of it as a base theoretical outlook would change the genre, if I can use that term, into something else altogether.
            >
            > In other words, just having freedom, being or choice, etc., as a subject-matter does not qualify a discourse as Existentialist [...] Hegelian philosophy as such is not an existential philosophy. However, he does introduce themes and problems that have everything to do with it, like the alienated subject or the notion of positive and negative infinity, for example.
            >
            > Or certain contemporary trends in Cognitive Science (like Thomas Metzinger's "Being No One", MIT 2003) that deny any notion of the "common sense" Self, but rather understands it as a perceptual and discursive function. What does mean to our experience of ourselves as living persons, notwithstanding? Etc.
            >
            > It is not, finally, a matter of opinions, but of questions and reservations that everything to do with this -- our only -- life.
            >
            > Wil
            >
            >> Besides myself and perhaps Louise (or Trinidad), aren't there any folks here who have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have come to understand our self-satisfactions and consumer-wrought sanguinities as a hopeless charade, an empty shell game, a bad comportment to life itself?
            these words evoke for me suggestions of a desire to simultaneously
            prioritize existentialism as a higher form of unique that nevertheless
            is supposed to be relevant to other philosophies or world views, even as
            those are categorized as derivative, subordinate, or irrelevant. :D i
            would rather think in terms of evolving open systems where what
            otherwise would be a historical datable western relatively narrow
            intellectual movement is placed in a broader relational more universal
            context.

            for me it is hubris to presume who has suffered dark nights of the soul
            as opposed to who has not. not everyone even feels a reason to share
            artistic expressions of grief, horror, and despair at the absurdity of
            existence, except perhaps with those with whom one feels especially
            close. in other cases such experessions are not only suppressed, but
            erased by authorities from history. in any case, such sensibilities are
            hardly confined to intellectual exercises in philosophy.

            in high school and the first years of college i devoted serious time to
            reconcile for myself philosophy with both science and the disciplines
            that tried to deal with the sense of being human. i still follow
            philosophy discussions - as on this list. however, engagement within
            the practice of life, of the arts, of science and the human disciplines
            is more direct. i am concerned about overlong narcotic-like
            disappearance into narcissistic inner worlds, intellectual or emotional,
            without engaging with actual social powers or nature's laws. and i
            don't even bother about questions of "authenticity" any more as you are
            what you are. the subject of "fakelore" in folklore was dumped by most
            folklorists some years ago.

            Das last man? whatever...go through angst long enough and even that
            becomes whatever in that one is constantly making the choice to live now
            or not.

            aija
          • eupraxis@aol.com
            aija,   I would rather think in terms of evolving open systems where what otherwise would be a historical datable (sic) western relatively narrow
            Message 5 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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              aija,




               



              "I would rather think in terms of evolving open systems
              where what otherwise would be a historical datable (sic) western relatively narrow intellectual
              movement is placed in a broader relational more universal context."



               



              That would be great -- in another list.


              "For me it is hubris to presume who has suffered dark nights of the soul as
              opposed to who has not. not everyone even feels a reason to share artistic
              expressions of grief, horror, and despair at the absurdity of existence, except
              perhaps with those with whom one feels especially close. in other cases such expressions
              are not only suppressed, but

              erased by authorities from history. in any case, such sensibilities are hardly
              confined to intellectual exercises in philosophy."




               



              I have no idea what you mean, or if you have any idea what I
              meant.


              "I am concerned about overlong narcotic-like disappearance into
              narcissistic inner worlds, intellectual or emotional, without engaging with
              actual social powers or nature's laws. and I don't even bother about questions
              of "authenticity" any more as you are what you are. the subject of
              "fakelore" in folklore was dumped by most folklorists some years ago."




               



              If existentialism means delving into a "narcissistic
              inner world", I have to wonder what you are doing at a list on existentialism.
              Auto-flagellation?


              "Das last man? whatever...go through angst long enough and even that becomes
              whatever in that one is constantly making the choice to live now or not."




               



              Do you write for Metalacalypse? Anyway, "The Last
              Man" is from Nietzsche's Zarathustra, and bears on the notion of
              Heidegger's Das Man. Or, as you would say, "whatever...".







              Wil













              -----Original Message-----
              From: Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...>
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 11:41 am
              Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Das last man

























              eupraxis@... wrote:

              > Existentialism always has as a theme the "problematized" self, let us say. That would mean that such things as Behaviorism, for example, although it has a strong idea of what the Self is (or is not) and what freedom is (etc.),is not Existentialism. The latter can reflect on the issues brought forth by the former, but any adoption of it as a base theoretical outlook would change the genre, if I can use that term, into something else altogether.

              >

              > In other words, just having freedom, being or choice, etc., as a subject-matter does not qualify a discourse as Existentialist [...] Hegelian philosophy as such is not an existential philosophy. However, he does introduce themes and problems that have everything to do with it, like the alienated subject or the notion of positive and negative infinity, for example.

              >

              > Or certain contemporary trends in Cognitive Science (like Thomas Metzinger's "Being No One", MIT 2003) that deny any notion of the "common sense" Self, but rather understands it as a perceptual and discursive function. What does mean to our experience of ourselves as living persons, notwithstanding? Etc.

              >

              > It is not, finally, a matter of opinions, but of questions and reservations that everything to do with this -- our only -- life.

              >

              > Wil

              >

              >> Besides myself and perhaps Louise (or Trinidad), aren't there any folks here who have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have come to understand our self-satisfactions and consumer-wrought sanguinities as a hopeless charade, an empty shell game, a bad comportment to life itself?

              these words evoke for me suggestions of a desire to simultaneously

              prioritize existentialism as a higher form of unique that nevertheless

              is supposed to be relevant to other philosophies or world views, even as

              those are categorized as derivative, subordinate, or irrelevant. :D i

              would rather think in terms of evolving open systems where what

              otherwise would be a historical datable western relatively narrow

              intellectual movement is placed in a broader relational more universal

              context.



              for me it is hubris to presume who has suffered dark nights of the soul

              as opposed to who has not. not everyone even feels a reason to share

              artistic expressions of grief, horror, and despair at the absurdity of

              existence, except perhaps with those with whom one feels especially

              close. in other cases such experessions are not only suppressed, but

              erased by authorities from history. in any case, such sensibilities are

              hardly confined to intellectual exercises in philosophy.



              in high school and the first years of college i devoted serious time to

              reconcile for myself philosophy with both science and the disciplines

              that tried to deal with the sense of being human. i still follow

              philosophy discussions - as on this list. however, engagement within

              the practice of life, of the arts, of science and the human disciplines

              is more direct. i am concerned about overlong narcotic-like

              disappearance into narcissistic inner worlds, intellectual or emotional,

              without engaging with actual social powers or nature's laws. and i

              don't even bother about questions of "authenticity" any more as you are

              what you are. the subject of "fakelore" in folklore was dumped by most

              folklorists some years ago.



              Das last man? whatever...go through angst long enough and even that

              becomes whatever in that one is constantly making the choice to live now

              or not.



              aija



















              ________________________________________________________________________
              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]
            • Aija Veldre Beldavs
              ... right. msgs are read insofar as one has time and gets something out of them, not necessarily even close to what the author intended. the only way to
              Message 6 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                eupraxis@... wrote:
                >
                > I have no idea what you mean, or if you have any idea what I
                > meant.
                >
                right. msgs are read insofar as one has time and gets something out of
                them, not necessarily even close to what the author intended. the only
                way to narrow the gap is to get to know someone in a broader context,
                which is why radical individualism doesn't resonate with me any more
                than radical socialism or some kind of group-think.
                > if existentialism means delving into a "narcissistic
                > inner world", I have to wonder what you are doing at a list on existentialism. Auto-flagellation?
                >
                are you asking me to justify my being on the existentialism list? :)
                but that is your chosen interpretation of what i said, which presumably
                tells more about you than me.

                i said i worry about such phenomena in general. true, it has to do more
                with questions that are not particularly relevant to this list, such as
                science fiction, the electronic media, and consumer society, but it also
                has applications to philosophies that address individuality, but not
                relations or community.
                > Do you write for Metalacalypse? Anyway, "The Last
                > Man" is from Nietzsche's Zarathustra, and bears on the notion of Heidegger's Das Man. Or, as you would say, "whatever...".
                >
                i have metal music moods, but don't consider myself as either
                sociopathological or especially prone to conspiracy theories. otoh Olaf
                Stapledon's -Last and First Man- and -Starmaker- was good sf when i read it.

                aija
              • eupraxis@aol.com
                are you asking me to justify my being on the existentialism list? No, certainly not. It was a rhetorical question. By the way, Adult Swim, 11:45pm eastern
                Message 7 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                  "are you asking me to justify my being on the existentialism list?

                  No, certainly not. It was a "rhetorical" question. By the way, Adult Swim, 11:45pm eastern time: tune in and you will get my (bad) Metalocalypse joke.

                  Wil

                  WS







                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...>
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 12:20 pm
                  Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Das last man

























                  eupraxis@... wrote:

                  >

                  > I have no idea what you mean, or if you have any idea what I

                  > meant.

                  >

                  right. msgs are read insofar as one has time and gets something out of

                  them, not necessarily even close to what the author intended. the only

                  way to narrow the gap is to get to know someone in a broader context,

                  which is why radical individualism doesn't resonate with me any more

                  than radical socialism or some kind of group-think.

                  > if existentialism means delving into a "narcissistic

                  > inner world", I have to wonder what you are doing at a list on existentialism. Auto-flagellation?

                  >

                  are you asking me to justify my being on the existentialism list? :)

                  but that is your chosen interpretation of what i said, which presumably

                  tells more about you than me.



                  i said i worry about such phenomena in general. true, it has to do more

                  with questions that are not particularly relevant to this list, such as

                  science fiction, the electronic media, and consumer society, but it also

                  has applications to philosophies that address individuality, but not

                  relations or community.

                  > Do you write for Metalacalypse? Anyway, "The Last

                  > Man" is from Nietzsche's Zarathustra, and bears on the notion of Heidegger's Das Man. Or, as you would say, "whatever...".

                  >

                  i have metal music moods, but don't consider myself as either

                  sociopathological or especially prone to conspiracy theories. otoh Olaf

                  Stapledon's -Last and First Man- and -Starmaker- was good sf when i read it.



                  aija



















                  ________________________________________________________________________
                  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]
                • eupraxis@aol.com
                  Sorry, on Sunday nights. WS ... From: eupraxis@aol.com To: existlist@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 12:30 pm Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Das last man
                  Message 8 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                    Sorry, on Sunday nights.

                    WS







                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: eupraxis@...
                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 12:30 pm
                    Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Das last man



























                    "are you asking me to justify my being on the existentialism list?



                    No, certainly not. It was a "rhetorical" question. By the way, Adult Swim, 11:45pm eastern time: tune in and you will get my (bad) Metalocalypse joke.



                    Wil



                    WS



                    -----Original Message-----

                    From: Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...>

                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com

                    Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 12:20 pm

                    Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Das last man



                    eupraxis@... wrote:



                    >



                    > I have no idea what you mean, or if you have any idea what I



                    > meant.



                    >



                    right. msgs are read insofar as one has time and gets something out of



                    them, not necessarily even close to what the author intended. the only



                    way to narrow the gap is to get to know someone in a broader context,



                    which is why radical individualism doesn't resonate with me any more



                    than radical socialism or some kind of group-think.



                    > if existentialism means delving into a "narcissistic



                    > inner world", I have to wonder what you are doing at a list on existentialism. Auto-flagellation?



                    >



                    are you asking me to justify my being on the existentialism list? :)



                    but that is your chosen interpretation of what i said, which presumably



                    tells more about you than me.



                    i said i worry about such phenomena in general. true, it has to do more



                    with questions that are not particularly relevant to this list, such as



                    science fiction, the electronic media, and consumer society, but it also



                    has applications to philosophies that address individuality, but not



                    relations or community.



                    > Do you write for Metalacalypse? Anyway, "The Last



                    > Man" is from Nietzsche's Zarathustra, and bears on the notion of Heidegger's Das Man. Or, as you would say, "whatever...".



                    >



                    i have metal music moods, but don't consider myself as either



                    sociopathological or especially prone to conspiracy theories. otoh Olaf



                    Stapledon's -Last and First Man- and -Starmaker- was good sf when i read it.



                    aija



                    __________________________________________________________

                    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]





















                    ________________________________________________________________________
                    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, You seem to require two character traits of the genuine existentialist: Heidegger was a reactionary; Nietzsche, an a-political elitist; Kierkegaard, an
                    Message 9 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                      Wil,

                      You seem to require two character traits of the genuine
                      existentialist:

                      "Heidegger was a reactionary; Nietzsche, an a-political elitist;
                      Kierkegaard, an evangelical of sorts, etc. Yet every one of them was
                      critical of his time and suspicious of any self-satisfied notion of
                      the Self."

                      True existentialists don't subscribe to "feel good ideologies"
                      or "flat cognitive/analytic notions of self". Further, true
                      existentialists "have faced the dark night of the soul".

                      I agree with the sentiments you express here, although I do wonder if
                      I am supposed to be one of your targets in your posts. Perhaps you
                      think of me as one of those who talks about freedom, being and
                      choice, but not in a sufficiently critical manner to count as a
                      genuine existentialist.

                      I feel that by your criteria I ought to count as a genuine
                      existentialist as I hold to Kierkegaard's account of the self, and to
                      the political outlook of Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein. But I am not
                      concerned to justify my existentialist credentials here.

                      I agree with one aspect of what you are saying, and disagree with
                      another aspect.

                      I agree with you that an attitude of complacency and self-
                      satisfaction does not sit well with existentialism. An existentialist
                      confronts uncomfortable truths, and has a distrustful attitude both
                      towards himself (being wary of self-deception) and towards his
                      society (being wary of rulers and those hungry for power).

                      I disagree with your attitude towards diversity on this forum. You
                      seem to want contributors to restrict there contributions to a more
                      narrow agenda. You want a sort of existentialist "political
                      correctness" where views which don't respect the idea of "the
                      problematized self" or a critical attitude to society are to be
                      discouraged on the forum. You want contributors to have faced their
                      personal "dark night of the soul".

                      Like you, I do get frustrated sometimes by posts which seem to have
                      no connection to existentialism, or are flippant or shallow, or
                      consist solely of platitudes, but I also like the diversity of views
                      and outlooks exhibited on the forum.

                      In particular, I enjoy reading the contributions of the regular
                      contributors like yourself, Louise, Bill, Hb3g, Knott and Aija, who
                      all manifest very different life experiences and ethical and
                      philosophical outlooks. To use Kierekgaard's expression, you are
                      all "single individuals" who have thought things through for
                      yourselves, and are not afraid to say what you think and take the
                      flak.

                      Yes, not everyone has completely kosher existentialist credentials,
                      but as long as the individuals have thought seriously about what they
                      are saying, and they write with an attitude of respect for others,
                      that is fine by me.

                      Jim
                    • eupraxis@aol.com
                      Jim: I disagree with your attitude towards diversity on this forum. You seem to want contributors to restrict there contributions to a more narrow agenda. You
                      Message 10 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                        Jim: I disagree with your attitude towards diversity on this
                        forum. You seem to want contributors to restrict there contributions to a more
                        narrow agenda. You want a sort of existentialist "political
                        correctness" where views which don't respect the idea of "the

                        problematized self" or a critical attitude to society are to be
                        discouraged on the forum. You want contributors to have faced their personal
                        "dark night of the soul".



                         



                        Answer: I wasn't thinking of you, actually, but you are
                        correct that "shiny happy people existentialism" is not
                        existentialism. If that describes you, I am sorry for that, but I am confident
                        of my position vis-a-vis the literature, which goes by the ascription of
                        "existentialist" and which has everything to do with the mode of
                        thought called the same.



                         



                        What you mean by "political correctness" eludes
                        me. What politics would you like espouse that you feel is too politically
                        incorrect, as far as I or anyone else goes? Gulags, extraordinary renditions,
                        waterboarding? Doesn't sound like you. Or are you saying that it is all-too
                        "political correct" to mention the 'dark night of the soul', rather
                        than champion some Prosac inspired crap about how a day with a big utilitarian smile
                        is like a day without sunshine?



                         


                        Wil






                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
                        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 3:30 pm
                        Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man

























                        Wil,



                        You seem to require two character traits of the genuine

                        existentialist:



                        "Heidegger was a reactionary; Nietzsche, an a-political elitist;

                        Kierkegaard, an evangelical of sorts, etc. Yet every one of them was

                        critical of his time and suspicious of any self-satisfied notion of

                        the Self."



                        True existentialists don't subscribe to "feel good ideologies"

                        or "flat cognitive/analytic notions of self". Further, true

                        existentialists "have faced the dark night of the soul".



                        I agree with the sentiments you express here, although I do wonder if

                        I am supposed to be one of your targets in your posts. Perhaps you

                        think of me as one of those who talks about freedom, being and

                        choice, but not in a sufficiently critical manner to count as a

                        genuine existentialist.



                        I feel that by your criteria I ought to count as a genuine

                        existentialist as I hold to Kierkegaard's account of the self, and to

                        the political outlook of Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein. But I am not

                        concerned to justify my existentialist credentials here.



                        I agree with one aspect of what you are saying, and disagree with

                        another aspect.



                        I agree with you that an attitude of complacency and self-

                        satisfaction does not sit well with existentialism. An existentialist

                        confronts uncomfortable truths, and has a distrustful attitude both

                        towards himself (being wary of self-deception) and towards his

                        society (being wary of rulers and those hungry for power).



                        I disagree with your attitude towards diversity on this forum. You

                        seem to want contributors to restrict there contributions to a more

                        narrow agenda. You want a sort of existentialist "political

                        correctness" where views which don't respect the idea of "the

                        problematized self" or a critical attitude to society are to be

                        discouraged on the forum. You want contributors to have faced their

                        personal "dark night of the soul".



                        Like you, I do get frustrated sometimes by posts which seem to have

                        no connection to existentialism, or are flippant or shallow, or

                        consist solely of platitudes, but I also like the diversity of views

                        and outlooks exhibited on the forum.



                        In particular, I enjoy reading the contributions of the regular

                        contributors like yourself, Louise, Bill, Hb3g, Knott and Aija, who

                        all manifest very different life experiences and ethical and

                        philosophical outlooks. To use Kierekgaard's expression, you are

                        all "single individuals" who have thought things through for

                        yourselves, and are not afraid to say what you think and take the

                        flak.



                        Yes, not everyone has completely kosher existentialist credentials,

                        but as long as the individuals have thought seriously about what they

                        are saying, and they write with an attitude of respect for others,

                        that is fine by me.



                        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: I wasn t thinking of you, actually, but you are correct that shiny happy people existentialism is not existentialism. If that describes you, I am sorry
                        Message 11 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                          Wil: I wasn't thinking of you, actually, but you are correct
                          that "shiny happy people existentialism" is not existentialism. If
                          that describes you, I am sorry for that, but I am confident of my
                          position vis-a-vis the literature, which goes by the ascription
                          of "existentialist" and which has everything to do with the mode of
                          thought called the same.

                          Jim: No, I would not describe myself as a "shiny happy person", and
                          I am not disagreeing with your interpretation of the existentialist
                          literature.

                          My own philosophical outlook is closest to Kierkegaard's but without
                          the theism. This is a pessimistic outlook.

                          Wil: What you mean by "political correctness" eludes me. What
                          politics would you like espouse that you feel is too politically
                          incorrect, as far as I or anyone else goes? Gulags, extraordinary
                          renditions, waterboarding? Doesn't sound like you. Or are you saying
                          that it is all-too "political correct" to mention the 'dark night of
                          the soul', rather than champion some Prosac inspired crap about how
                          a day with a big utilitarian smile is like a day without sunshine?

                          Jim: No, my point was that you seemed to be advocating a version of
                          political correctness which disallowed (or, at least, discouraged)
                          non-existentialist or anti-existentialist viewpoints. My alternative
                          was to allow the full range of views, as even the anti-
                          existentialist post can be the catalyst for a good discussion.

                          Jim
                        • eupraxis@aol.com
                          Okay. To be perhaps even more infuriating, though...I am not a pessimist either, at least in the long view. I agree with Kant and Hegel and Nietzsche, each in
                          Message 12 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                            Okay.

                            To be perhaps even more infuriating, though...I am not a pessimist either, at least in the long view. I agree with Kant and Hegel and Nietzsche, each in their own way, that reason or rationality or just good sense may actually prevail.



                            WS




                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
                            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 5:23 pm
                            Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man

























                            Wil: I wasn't thinking of you, actually, but you are correct

                            that "shiny happy people existentialism" is not existentialism. If

                            that describes you, I am sorry for that, but I am confident of my

                            position vis-a-vis the literature, which goes by the ascription

                            of "existentialist" and which has everything to do with the mode of

                            thought called the same.



                            Jim: No, I would not describe myself as a "shiny happy person", and

                            I am not disagreeing with your interpretation of the existentialist

                            literature.



                            My own philosophical outlook is closest to Kierkegaard's but without

                            the theism. This is a pessimistic outlook.



                            Wil: What you mean by "political correctness" eludes me. What

                            politics would you like espouse that you feel is too politically

                            incorrect, as far as I or anyone else goes? Gulags, extraordinary

                            renditions, waterboarding? Doesn't sound like you. Or are you saying

                            that it is all-too "political correct" to mention the 'dark night of

                            the soul', rather than champion some Prosac inspired crap about how

                            a day with a big utilitarian smile is like a day without sunshine?



                            Jim: No, my point was that you seemed to be advocating a version of

                            political correctness which disallowed (or, at least, discouraged)

                            non-existentialist or anti-existentialist viewpoints. My alternative

                            was to allow the full range of views, as even the anti-

                            existentialist post can be the catalyst for a good discussion.



                            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]
                          • Exist List Moderator
                            ... I m wondering, beyond the New Age obscurisms and religion, what ideologies promise one a feel good solution in today s world? In fact, I would argue that
                            Message 13 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On Nov 01, 2007, at 7:41, eupraxis@... wrote:

                              > "self" that have spawned in the wake of our regime of short
                              > attention spans and
                              > "feel good" ideologies. So much the worse for us.

                              I'm wondering, beyond the New Age obscurisms and religion, what
                              ideologies promise one a "feel good" solution in today's world? In
                              fact, I would argue that most of the humanities are littered with
                              victimology, guilt, and a generally low regard for most (curiously)
                              humans.

                              Then again, I was based in the notoriously pessimistic Department of
                              Rhetoric and now deal with Communications Studies part of the time.
                              Read enough communications research, or even too many issues of MIND,
                              and you realize people make decisions emotionally, instinctively, or
                              through some other process and then rationalize the choice. You're
                              left wondering how many people at least try to pause and analyze
                              choices -- or analyze after the fact.

                              We seem to be conditioned by fear and dread. Probably, this was a
                              survival issue. The human most afraid was more likely to be cautious
                              and survive. Now, that fear instinct is regularly manipulated by
                              political parties ("Do you want to be bombed?" "Your Social Security
                              will be cut!" "Terrorists want candidate X to win!" "Children will die
                              if Y wins!") with people in fields like my own studying MRIs to learn
                              how to better manipulate voters. Of course, we do those for the
                              "right" (left?) candidates, so that's okay.

                              Of course this has affected my view of free will. It's also influenced
                              how suspicious I am of everything, just as my work writing or my
                              internships as a reporter shaped me. Three years of defense-related
                              work also shaped my cynical outlook.

                              > Besides myself and perhaps Louise (or Trinidad), aren't there any
                              > folks here
                              > who have faced the dark night of the soul, as it were, and have come
                              > to
                              > understand our self-satisfactions and consumer-wrought sanguinities
                              > as a hopeless
                              > charade, an empty shell game, a bad comportment to life itself?

                              Personally, I don't have a soul -- thankfully sparing me being "saved"
                              by various fanatics. My view of hopelessness is much grander than a
                              moment. I simply wonder why, with the universe eventually coming to
                              either a cold or explosive end (theories vary), we don't make more of
                              the brief moments of existence.

                              Life is short. You can wallow in misery or you can do something about
                              it. You can try to understand the absurd (which I think is beyond
                              comprehension) or you can do something to make other "meaningless"
                              lives more tolerable. Sure, I also want my life to be tolerable along
                              the way.

                              Once you know how mortal you are, or if you have generally lived with
                              that mortality, then you can either decide (free will, definitely) to
                              end the pain of existence, or you can decide to confront the absurd
                              and make the most of it.

                              My free will is to live. Beyond that, once you choose to exist you are
                              forever moderated by the circumstances of your birth -- genetic,
                              social, familial, and even fortunate circumstances. Certainly, I had
                              no choice when it came to my physical limitations, but I do choose to
                              live with them or to wallow in self-pity.

                              I'd rather exist... cynicism and all.

                              - C. S. Wyatt
                              I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                              that I shall be.
                              http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
                              http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
                            • Herman B. Triplegood
                              Reason, or rationality, or just good sense, should prevail. That isn t optimism. That is being reasonable -- as well as pragmatic. All three that you mention
                              Message 14 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Reason, or rationality, or just good sense, should prevail. That
                                isn't optimism. That is being reasonable -- as well as pragmatic. All
                                three that you mention are important for what they have to say about
                                this. But Kant is my favorite. He is honest about whar reason can and
                                cannot know, and he recognizes that the practical applications of
                                reason are of greater importance to us than the merely theoretical
                                applications. Yet, he does not disrespect theoretical reason either.
                                His view is, in this sense, nicely balanced, and it is kind of
                                existential in this way, don't you think?

                                Hb3g

                                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > Okay.
                                >
                                > To be perhaps even more infuriating, though...I am not a pessimist
                                either, at least in the long view. I agree with Kant and Hegel and
                                Nietzsche, each in their own way, that reason or rationality or just
                                good sense may actually prevail.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > WS
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > -----Original Message-----
                                > From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
                                > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                > Sent: Thu, 1 Nov 2007 5:23 pm
                                > Subject: [existlist] Re: Das last man
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Wil: I wasn't thinking of you, actually, but you are correct
                                >
                                > that "shiny happy people existentialism" is not existentialism. If
                                >
                                > that describes you, I am sorry for that, but I am confident of my
                                >
                                > position vis-a-vis the literature, which goes by the ascription
                                >
                                > of "existentialist" and which has everything to do with the mode of
                                >
                                > thought called the same.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Jim: No, I would not describe myself as a "shiny happy person", and
                                >
                                > I am not disagreeing with your interpretation of the existentialist
                                >
                                > literature.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > My own philosophical outlook is closest to Kierkegaard's but
                                without
                                >
                                > the theism. This is a pessimistic outlook.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Wil: What you mean by "political correctness" eludes me. What
                                >
                                > politics would you like espouse that you feel is too politically
                                >
                                > incorrect, as far as I or anyone else goes? Gulags, extraordinary
                                >
                                > renditions, waterboarding? Doesn't sound like you. Or are you
                                saying
                                >
                                > that it is all-too "political correct" to mention the 'dark night
                                of
                                >
                                > the soul', rather than champion some Prosac inspired crap about how
                                >
                                > a day with a big utilitarian smile is like a day without sunshine?
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Jim: No, my point was that you seemed to be advocating a version of
                                >
                                > political correctness which disallowed (or, at least, discouraged)
                                >
                                > non-existentialist or anti-existentialist viewpoints. My
                                alternative
                                >
                                > was to allow the full range of views, as even the anti-
                                >
                                > existentialist post can be the catalyst for a good discussion.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > 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]
                                >
                              • Herman B. Triplegood
                                CSW: I m wondering, beyond the New Age obscurisms and religion, what ideologies promise one a feel good solution in today s world? In fact, I would argue
                                Message 15 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  CSW: I'm wondering, beyond the New Age obscurisms and religion, what
                                  ideologies promise one a "feel good" solution in today's world? In
                                  fact, I would argue that most of the humanities are littered with
                                  victimology, guilt, and a generally low regard for most (curiously)
                                  humans.

                                  Hb3g: It is odd. One would think that the humanities would be a
                                  humanistic lot. If what you say is true, then, it would appear that
                                  they are, indeed, a bunch of pessimists. As for the "feel good
                                  solution", well, one could look at it two ways, just as one could
                                  look at pessimism two ways. There is blithe optimism that fails to
                                  see there really is an ugly side. But there is also a more realistic
                                  optimism that recognizes that we shape what we experience to some
                                  extent by the attitudes we bring to our experiences. Typically,
                                  people I have known who are realisically optimistic tend to feel
                                  better about themslves and their life and, I maintain, probably do
                                  live better lives. Just as realistically pessimistic people tend not
                                  to be bamboozled so easily.

                                  CSW: We seem to be conditioned by fear and dread.

                                  Hb3g: It is a basic instinct. Usually, whenever something new or
                                  surprising comes along, our initial reaction to it is a fearful one.
                                  Understanding comes later. Often, much later.

                                  CSW: Personally, I don't have a soul -- thankfully sparing me
                                  being "saved" by various fanatics. My view of hopelessness is much
                                  grander than a moment. I simply wonder why, with the universe
                                  eventually coming to either a cold or explosive end (theories vary),
                                  we don't make more of the brief moments of existence.

                                  Hb3g: Yeah, I ain't got one of those either. Thank god! HAHAHA! Okay,
                                  thank fate! Or, whatever! That's better!

                                  CSW: Life is short. You can wallow in misery or you can do something
                                  about it.

                                  Hb3g: Suffering is one of the many problems that just being alive
                                  presents to us. We ought to deal with it instead of just give in to
                                  it. That is one of the things I really like about the whole
                                  Enlightenment scientific attitude. Let's try to mitigate suffering
                                  rather than elevate it and worship it as our punishment for just
                                  being alive. Seneca once said that fate guides those who are willing
                                  and drags the rest along in chains. I think Seneca, of all people,
                                  would have known the truth to this. He had the misfortune of having
                                  to be Nero's mentor.

                                  CSW: Once you know how mortal you are, or if you have generally lived
                                  with that mortality, then you can either decide (free will,
                                  definitely) to end the pain of existence, or you can decide to
                                  confront the absurd and make the most of it.

                                  Hb3g: But is it really absurd? It seems to me that you have leaped
                                  from "pain of existence" to "absurd" here, or, perhaps, from "mortal"
                                  to "absurd", but how, in your thinking, does this really follow? What
                                  would not being absurd even look like on this account? Living
                                  forever? Never having a pain of existence? This sounds an awful lot
                                  like what theological doctrine dangles in front of our face as the
                                  reward for being in conformity with those expectations of us. The
                                  problem with either of these notions, being immortal, and being in a
                                  state of eternal bliss without pain, is that they are impossible.
                                  They, themselves, are what is absurd. They are absurd when they are
                                  held up as the ideals upon which the living of a necessarily mortal
                                  and necessarily often painful life must be based. As such ideals,
                                  they in fact constitute a denial of life, rather than an affirmation
                                  of it. Why? Because they demand that life must "live up to" what life
                                  can never be.

                                  CSW: My free will is to live. Beyond that, once you choose to exist
                                  you are forever moderated by the circumstances of your birth --
                                  genetic, social, familial, and even fortunate circumstances.
                                  Certainly, I had no choice when it came to my physical limitations,
                                  but I do choose to live with them or to wallow in self-pity. I'd
                                  rather exist... cynicism and all.

                                  Hb3g: Yeah, me too. I would rather exist. but I might change my mind
                                  about that if I was withering away from a painful cancer. It is
                                  interesting to observe that it certainly wasn't by means of our free
                                  will that any of us began to live. We didn't have a choice about
                                  that. Also, having a "will to live" isn't necessarily always a "free"
                                  will kind of thing. There is a basic instinct to survive that has
                                  little, if anything at all, to do with our freely deciding anything.
                                  We easily forget that. We like to talk ourselves into believing that
                                  the reason why we continue to live is because we freely choose to do
                                  so. I do not think that this is really the case. We continue to live
                                  because we must. That is what living things, by their very nature,
                                  necessarily, must try to do.

                                  This is life. This is what life does. Where is the freedom? It looks
                                  like necessity to me. But, then again, I tend to believe that when we
                                  come to really understand what freedom is, it looks like necessity.
                                  That seems to be a paradox. But what if it is a true paradox? Kant
                                  thought it was a true paradox. He said that both sides of the
                                  antinomial argument on that point had to be true.

                                  Hb3g
                                • eupraxis@aol.com
                                  Hb3g, [Kant s] view is, in this sense, nicely balanced, and it is kind of existential in this way, don t you think? Kant had a great influence on the seminal
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
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                                    Hb3g,

                                    "[Kant's] view is, in this sense, nicely balanced, and it is kind of
                                    existential in this way, don't you think?"

                                    Kant had a great influence on the seminal thinkers of the 20th Century that
                                    we associate with Existentialism and Phenomenology, but I wouldn't call him an
                                    existentialist.

                                    In my opinion, Existentialism-as-such comes out of a distinct period of
                                    Western European history that was described by its contemporaries as a "crisis" and
                                    scission (witness the 'fin de siecle' themes at the century's turn). I see
                                    Nietzsche's 'Death of God' in that light, for example.

                                    Certainly from the 1840s onwards, the themes of critical breakage are writ
                                    large in most philosophical, political and scientific writers of note, from Marx
                                    and Stirner through Darwin and Rutherford and Freud, Einstein, Joyce and
                                    beyond. But the period between and after the wars was absolutely decisive in the
                                    trajectory of the genre that understood itself as something cohesive and with
                                    the familial associations that make up a trend or 'school'.

                                    Kant sensed his time as one of liberation from medieval backwardness, and as
                                    achieving "enlightenment" (Aufklarung). It was a Progressive and "philosophe"
                                    discourse. The crisis of his time was not his own, but was rather the that of
                                    the faltering medievalism of church and crown. Existentialism's crisis is our
                                    own.

                                    Secondly, Existentialism is essentially anti-formalist (which might strike
                                    someone new to it as odd as he or she is trudging through densely theoretical
                                    texts like Being and Time or Being and Nothingness). The architecture of the
                                    first Critique is anathematic to what Existentialism is all about, as is anything
                                    like a categorical imperative. Heidegger recasts the former's "categories" as
                                    existentialia in B&T, which retains the rationalizing function of the
                                    original while not allowing itself the architectonic of Kant's logic. (I see Sartre's
                                    B&N as more Hegelian than Kantian.)

                                    And yet, once one begins to see older texts through that oddly jaundiced eye
                                    of modernity, it is hard not to recast them as if 'contemporary', especially
                                    when one reads, not as an historian, but as a "user", if I can use that term. I
                                    read Hegel that way, and Kant too.

                                    Wil

                                    In a message dated 11/1/07 8:09:09 PM, hb3g@... writes:


                                    > Reason, or rationality, or just good sense, should prevail. That
                                    > isn't optimism. That is being reasonable -- as well as pragmatic. All
                                    > three that you mention are important for what they have to say about
                                    > this. But Kant is my favorite. He is honest about whar reason can and
                                    > cannot know, and he recognizes that the practical applications of
                                    > reason are of greater importance to us than the merely theoretical
                                    > applications. Yet, he does not disrespect theoretical reason either.
                                    > His view is, in this sense, nicely balanced, and it is kind of
                                    > existential in this way, don't you think?
                                    >
                                    > Hb3g
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >




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