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Re: Das last man

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  • 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 1 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
      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 2 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
        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


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      • 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 3 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
          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 4 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
            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
            >
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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
            >
            >
            >
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            >
            >
            >
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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]
            >
          • 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 5 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
              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 6 of 24 , Nov 1, 2007
                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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