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Re: Relevance of NDEs to Existentialism

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  • louise
    ... some kind of ... fact is, that ... decades, ... of this ... authors. It is an ... and its ... this planet. ... understanding of ... nihilism. [end] ...
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 2 2:36 PM
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      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      >
      > Louise,
      >
      > You wrote: "I am more skeptical than to take your statements for
      some kind of
      > gospel truth, and it is no disrespect to your own learning. The
      fact is, that
      > I consider myself to have been an existentialist for nigh on three
      decades,
      > and deem it reasonable to expect open discussion on the very topic
      of this
      > list, which founds and develops itself in the work of various
      authors. It is an
      > emotional matter, yes, for those of us who care about discourse,
      and its
      > particular responsibilities, toward the countless life-forms on
      this planet."
      >
      > Response: 'Kay. Assuming that you are contending with my
      understanding of
      > Sartre's B&N, show me. Sartre denies any kind of transcendence or
      > otherworldliness. As Bill has put it, he goes right to edge of
      nihilism. [end]
      >

      No, I cannot show you. Am being honest, in declaring myself a Sartre
      neophyte; though I did read B&N many years ago, it has left virtually
      no trace. Many readers of this list will not have read the text. I
      am interested in the possibility that, besides the kind of erudite
      discussion you most prefer, there may be benefit and interest in
      other forms of posting. It should present no difficulty, if there be
      tolerance and adherence to the rules of the list, for precise debate,
      robust argument, inventive literary efforts, personal existential
      narratives, suggested reading lists, and good-humoured banter, to
      find place here. Though that is simply my own interpretation of what
      existlist is about, and it is not exhaustive, even from my own point
      of view. With regard to the specific point you make above, I am
      still seeking to understand the meanings and context of terms
      like 'transcendence' or 'otherworldliness'. I believe that the more
      one questions, if the enquiry be free, that is, conducted without
      aggression, the more may appear to view. Nature is everywhere, in a
      sense, including in the practice of philosophy, an apparently
      abstruse intellectual art, and will reveal most where respect for her
      mysteries prevail. If this seems too mushy for you, so be it. My
      own attitudes have mellowed through sustaining new experiences, and
      my scepticism has evolved and continues to do so. I intend to answer
      only one or two points in each e-mail, for clarity's sake.

      Louise
    • louise
      ... of ... complex. ... seem to you ... that comes ... an essence, ... an act is ... playing the same ... I don t ... You re right. I did not make clear the
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 2 2:55 PM
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        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
        >
        > Louise,

        > You wrote: "I am not a utilitarian, yet I acknowledge the reality
        of
        > consequence. The questions at issue seem to me philosophically
        complex."
        >
        > Response: And this has something to do with what? How does that
        seem to you
        > to be a question currently at issue? A consequence is something
        that comes
        > after, as a result of. The "reality of a consequence" wouldn't be
        an essence,
        > then, would it? If you use a nomological rendering of essence (say,
        an act is
        > preceded by its potential penalties, etc.), then you are still
        playing the same
        > Platonic card: only a god could guarantee in time such a moral law.
        I don't
        > think that is what you mean, though.

        You're right. I did not make clear the context. It was a general
        point, about the consequences of posting any statement at a public
        forum like this. Whatever one writes, is multiply interpreted.
        Perhaps I was just encouraging myself, to take care in saying as
        exactly as possible what I mean. As opposed to the dubious practice
        of considering a general welfare, a form of liberalism to which I
        might be susceptible, and which I distrust extremely. I am, though,
        as you recall, a Nooist, and, as Eduard has recently stated, if you
        want a god you may have one to believe in. Existential
        responsibility, though, might urge caution, about whether or no you
        really know what you are doing, in finding, or choosing, such a god.
        Philosophical discipline is desirable, in order to avoid narrowly
        cultic affiliations which prove destructive. I have confidence in
        Nooism, because of my empiricism, and my respect for learning and
        wisdom.

        Louise


        Otherwise, if a consequence is said to 'have
        > a reality' in the essential sense of the term, that would be like
        saying
        > "down" exists so that falling can happen. Any of these ways of
        thinking are
        > anathematic to existentialism. [end]
      • louise
        ... contending ... under ... wording, existence of an ... statement in ... forum, the ... its ... course. [end] Let s see, first of all you say we were
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 2 3:06 PM
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          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
          >
          > Louise,

          > You wrote: Surely the Platonic Realism against which Sartre was
          contending
          > does not exhaust the relevant meanings of the term, 'essence'?
          >
          > Response: It most certainly does exhaust the meaning of the term
          under
          > discussion, as we were discussing precisely Sartre. [end]
          >
          > You wrote: I agree with you about the inapposite
          wording, 'existence of an
          > essence', yet in my opinion Joe's questioning of Mary's original
          statement in
          > #43828 is perfectly legitimate.
          >
          > Response: I was defending Mary's claim that, "in an existentialism
          forum, the
          > burden is on you to show 1) that essence precedes existence, and 2)
          its
          > relevance." The second part (the relevance part) is moot, of
          course. [end]

          Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre,
          then you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
          general. Am I missing something here, or is this not at least
          implying that Sartre is the only permitted authority regarding the
          interpretation of essence/existence? In regard to his own works,
          fair enough, but the original post referred to an existence/essence
          unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to me
          like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really
          like to understand its provenance. Perhaps that should be a question
          to Mary, except that she already replied to Joe as if he should do
          the work of understanding what she meant.

          Louise
        • eupraxis@aol.com
          Let s see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre, then you quote Mary s response to Joe which invokes existentialism in general. Am I
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 2 3:21 PM
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            "Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre, then
            you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in general. Am I
            missing something here, or is this not at least implying that Sartre is the
            only permitted authority regarding the interpretation of essence/existence? 'In
            regard to his own works, fair enough, but the original post referred to an
            existence/essence unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to
            me like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really like to
            understand its provenance."
            ----
            Response: No, I think you're missing something here. Can you name another
            existentialist author who uses that dyad who is either not referring to Sartre,
            or who is using the dyad in some other novel way? And in any case, whenever
            such a dyad ("existence/essence") is used without any special proviso, wouldn't
            one understand those terms in their usual sense, especially in a philosophical
            list? Finally, can you show me another meaning to these terms that would be
            readily understandable?

            I don't think you would have an easy task with any of that. [end]

            Wil


            In a message dated 3/2/08 5:06:40 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


            > Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely Sartre,
            > then you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
            > general. Am I missing something here, or is this not at least
            > implying that Sartre is the only permitted authority regarding the
            > interpretation of essence/existence? In regard to his own works,
            > fair enough, but the original post referred to an existence/essence
            > unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so far, sounds to me
            > like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should really
            > like to understand its provenance. Perhaps that should be a question
            > to Mary, except that she already replied to Joe as if he should do
            > the work of understanding what she meant.
            >
            > Louise
            >




            **************
            Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

            (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
            2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • louise
            ... Sartre, then ... general. Am I ... Sartre is the ... essence/existence? In ... referred to an ... far, sounds to ... really like to ... another ...
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 2 4:45 PM
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              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
              >
              > "Let's see, first of all you say we were discussing precisely
              Sartre, then
              > you quote Mary's response to Joe which invokes existentialism in
              general. Am I
              > missing something here, or is this not at least implying that
              Sartre is the
              > only permitted authority regarding the interpretation of
              essence/existence? 'In
              > regard to his own works, fair enough, but the original post
              referred to an
              > existence/essence unity (without even mentioning Sartre) which, so
              far, sounds to
              > me like an unexplained, unexamined article of faith. I should
              really like to
              > understand its provenance."
              > ----
              > Response: No, I think you're missing something here. Can you name
              another
              > existentialist author who uses that dyad who is either not
              referring to Sartre,
              > or who is using the dyad in some other novel way? And in any case,
              whenever
              > such a dyad ("existence/essence") is used without any special
              proviso, wouldn't
              > one understand those terms in their usual sense, especially in a
              philosophical
              > list? Finally, can you show me another meaning to these terms that
              would be
              > readily understandable?
              >
              > I don't think you would have an easy task with any of that. [end]
              >
              > Wil

              Wil,

              I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
              questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
              that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
              investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
              territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
              existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
              which admits of description by means of the dyad.

              Louise
            • eupraxis@aol.com
              Louise Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential literature that I know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 2 5:30 PM
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                Louise

                Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential literature that I
                know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
                metaphysical analyses one would otherwise expect from a theist; to wit, some proof that
                God exists. Yet we have sin, fallibility, self-loathing, etc. -- and I am not
                without my sense of depth -- I have heard the bay of the wolf during the
                night, have undergone attacks of dread and regret, have lost myself (my Self) in
                the infinity of nothingness, and the rest of it.

                Some have applied a kind of reverse Anselmian argument to assuage all of
                this; they proffer God by means of the overwhelming vacuity of the eternal. If it
                is that absurd, God must exist. Hence 'Plato' lives on, or has always.

                But I go another route. The only God (Absolute) for me is (at best) Hegel's,
                and it is entirely mundane and apparent. One derives no comfort from Hegel,
                only context. I am probably alone here when I say that Hegel is the first
                existentialist. But I digress.

                Lacan tells us that what we most desire is an illusion. He means that
                reflexively: We want an illusion; and what we think we want is itself illusory.
                Essences and eternal verities are what we most desire; thus they are necessarily
                imaginary. It is like Nietzsche's insight that logic is inherently optimistic.
                From an existentialist point of view, that is a profound idea. Logic may limit
                thought to rationality, but 'belief' in logic means that one lives in a dream,
                nevertheless.

                That is the sense of transcendence that I decry and that Sartre deconstructs.
                To say that existence precedes essence is to say just this.

                Wil



                In a message dated 3/2/08 6:45:45 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:


                > Wil,
                >
                > I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
                > questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
                > that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
                > investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
                > territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
                > existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
                > which admits of description by means of the dyad.
                >
                > Louise
                >




                **************
                Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

                (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
                2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • louise
                Wil, Thanks, Louise ... literature that I ... wit, some proof that ... and I am not ... during the ... (my Self) in ... all of ... eternal. If it ... always.
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 3 3:16 AM
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                  Wil,

                  Thanks,

                  Louise

                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                  >
                  > Louise
                  >
                  > Most (all actually) of the religiously oriented existential
                  literature that I
                  > know, from Kierkegaard through to Ricoeur, conspicuously avoids the
                  > metaphysical analyses one would otherwise expect from a theist; to
                  wit, some proof that
                  > God exists. Yet we have sin, fallibility, self-loathing, etc. --
                  and I am not
                  > without my sense of depth -- I have heard the bay of the wolf
                  during the
                  > night, have undergone attacks of dread and regret, have lost myself
                  (my Self) in
                  > the infinity of nothingness, and the rest of it.
                  >
                  > Some have applied a kind of reverse Anselmian argument to assuage
                  all of
                  > this; they proffer God by means of the overwhelming vacuity of the
                  eternal. If it
                  > is that absurd, God must exist. Hence 'Plato' lives on, or has
                  always.
                  >
                  > But I go another route. The only God (Absolute) for me is (at best)
                  Hegel's,
                  > and it is entirely mundane and apparent. One derives no comfort
                  from Hegel,
                  > only context. I am probably alone here when I say that Hegel is the
                  first
                  > existentialist. But I digress.
                  >
                  > Lacan tells us that what we most desire is an illusion. He means
                  that
                  > reflexively: We want an illusion; and what we think we want is
                  itself illusory.
                  > Essences and eternal verities are what we most desire; thus they
                  are necessarily
                  > imaginary. It is like Nietzsche's insight that logic is inherently
                  optimistic.
                  > From an existentialist point of view, that is a profound idea.
                  Logic may limit
                  > thought to rationality, but 'belief' in logic means that one lives
                  in a dream,
                  > nevertheless.
                  >
                  > That is the sense of transcendence that I decry and that Sartre
                  deconstructs.
                  > To say that existence precedes essence is to say just this.
                  >
                  > Wil
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > In a message dated 3/2/08 6:45:45 PM, hecubatoher@... writes:
                  >
                  >
                  > > Wil,
                  > >
                  > > I'm finding your response helpful, in determining which of my
                  > > questions appear to be based on lack of necessary knowledge, such
                  > > that no useful answers will be forthcoming, and which are worth
                  > > investigating further. It does look to me at present as though the
                  > > territory involved would be Platonic Realism and theistic
                  > > existentialism, if there be any genuine relation between the two
                  > > which admits of description by means of the dyad.
                  > >
                  > > Louise
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > **************
                  > Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.
                  >
                  > (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-
                  campos-duffy/
                  > 2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • jimstuart51
                  Wil, I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and passion. I am
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 3 5:04 AM
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                    Wil,

                    I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you
                    both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and
                    passion.

                    I am not in complete agreement with what you write about Sartre.

                    My understanding is that Sartre's famous expression "existence
                    precedes essence" was to apply to human beings, and only human beings.
                    He introduced this expression in order to contrast human beings with
                    all other entities in the world.

                    Because human beings have absolute freedom, they cannot have an
                    essence as to have an essence is to lack absolute freedom. I (and
                    other human beings who grasp their freedom) choose how to act, and in
                    this choice I create myself anew at each moment of choice. By
                    contrast, animals, plants, trees, chairs, tables, buildings, etc.,
                    lack choice and in these cases we can justifiably speak of such
                    entities having essences.

                    So, on my reading of Sartre, he does not deny essences in toto, he
                    just denies that free individuals like you or me have essences.

                    In this regard Nietzsche is different to Sartre. Nietzsche did, I
                    think, deny essences across the board, even to scientific entities
                    like gold, lead, water, etc. For Nietzsche, human beings were not
                    essentially different to animals, plants, trees, etc., in that all
                    lacked essences.

                    I don't think an existentialist has to deny essences to scientific
                    entities. I view existentialism as a philosophy concerned with the
                    human being and her choices in an inhospitable, purposeless world. I
                    don't think such a view necessarily excludes a belief in logic, nor a
                    belief that scientific entities have essences.

                    Jim
                  • eupraxis@aol.com
                    Jim, Thanks. No, I think it is clear, and not just from B&N, that Sartre denies any kind of transcendent reality, except for the Imaginary itself. This is
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 3 5:47 AM
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                      Jim,

                      Thanks.

                      No, I think it is clear, and not just from B&N, that Sartre denies any kind
                      of transcendent reality, except for the Imaginary itself. This is fundamental
                      to his phenomenology and his artistic work, in my opinion. However, the
                      consequences of "existence preceding essence", which was meant as a slight on the
                      lingering scholasticism of the Academy, is just as you describe it.

                      By the way, there have been all kinds of stories about Sartre's supposed
                      conversion to religion during his decline. They are nonsense, and I know that by
                      the best anecdotal evidence available to me: to wit, I know someone, a great
                      friend and mentor, who was in that loop. To the end, Sartre was a committed
                      atheist.

                      Wil

                      In a message dated 3/3/08 7:05:17 AM, jjimstuart1@... writes:


                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Wil,
                      >
                      > I have enjoyed reading your exchange of posts with Louise. I think you
                      > both make some good points and you both write with decisiveness and
                      > passion.
                      >
                      > I am not in complete agreement with what you write about Sartre.
                      >
                      > My understanding is that Sartre's famous expression "existence
                      > precedes essence" was to apply to human beings, and only human beings.
                      > He introduced this expression in order to contrast human beings with
                      > all other entities in the world.
                      >
                      > Because human beings have absolute freedom, they cannot have an
                      > essence as to have an essence is to lack absolute freedom. I (and
                      > other human beings who grasp their freedom) choose how to act, and in
                      > this choice I create myself anew at each moment of choice. By
                      > contrast, animals, plants, trees, chairs, tables, buildings, etc.,
                      > lack choice and in these cases we can justifiably speak of such
                      > entities having essences.
                      >
                      > So, on my reading of Sartre, he does not deny essences in toto, he
                      > just denies that free individuals like you or me have essences.
                      >
                      > In this regard Nietzsche is different to Sartre. Nietzsche did, I
                      > think, deny essences across the board, even to scientific entities
                      > like gold, lead, water, etc. For Nietzsche, human beings were not
                      > essentially different to animals, plants, trees, etc., in that all
                      > lacked essences.
                      >
                      > I don't think an existentialist has to deny essences to scientific
                      > entities. I view existentialism as a philosophy concerned with the
                      > human being and her choices in an inhospitable, purposeless world. I
                      > don't think such a view necessarily excludes a belief in logic, nor a
                      > belief that scientific entities have essences.
                      >
                      > Jim
                      >
                      >
                      >




                      **************
                      Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

                      (http://living.aol.com/video/how-to-please-your-picky-eater/rachel-campos-duffy/
                      2050827?NCID=aolcmp00300000002598)


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • mary.jo11
                      Although uncomfortable with notions of orthodoxy, I accept this one. The other is nothingness, since it also binds and liberates existential thought. Legal
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 3 7:24 AM
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                        Although uncomfortable with notions of orthodoxy, I accept this one.
                        The other is nothingness, since it also binds and liberates
                        existential thought. Legal definitions of when life begins and ends
                        are less relevant to the existentialist than personal situation. Mary

                        eupraxis@... wrote:

                        To the end, Sartre was a committed atheist.
                      • Exist List Moderator
                        ... Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary of Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some entries and continue
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 5 7:23 PM
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                          On Mar 02, 2008, at 14:13, eupraxis@... wrote:

                          > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any remarks
                          > that
                          > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank me
                          > later).


                          Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary of
                          Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some
                          entries and continue to do so with quotes directly from the thinkers
                          profiled so as to avoid any notion that the definitions are mine or
                          any other "expert's" because it is always best to let the author
                          define his or her own terms.

                          I also note that the same terms were often used in different ways, to
                          different ends, by the authors.

                          Also... I never read anywhere that someone suggested Sartre renounced
                          atheism. That was a curious mention on the list that I skimmed. Wil is
                          definitely correct on this matter, based on the contacts I have had
                          with historians and biographers. I cannot imagine Sartre as anything
                          other than an atheist... just as I can't imagine him ever humble. I
                          would cite "Adieux" as my primary source for Sartre's finals days.

                          - 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
                        • bhvwd
                          ... remarks ... me ... of ... thinkers ... or ... to ... renounced ... is ... had ... anything ... I ... all ... year they appear and youn have seen what you
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 5 7:36 PM
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                            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator
                            <existlist1@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > On Mar 02, 2008, at 14:13, eupraxis@... wrote:
                            >
                            > > I haven't looked at CS's lexicon, and I will leave aside any
                            remarks
                            > > that
                            > > interpret Hegel as an otherworldly theorist for now (no, thank
                            me
                            > > later).
                            >
                            >
                            > Not my lexicon, in general. It is a recovery of The New Dictionary
                            of
                            > Existentialism, a text from the late 1960s. I have expanded some
                            > entries and continue to do so with quotes directly from the
                            thinkers
                            > profiled so as to avoid any notion that the definitions are mine
                            or
                            > any other "expert's" because it is always best to let the author
                            > define his or her own terms.
                            >
                            > I also note that the same terms were often used in different ways,
                            to
                            > different ends, by the authors.
                            >
                            > Also... I never read anywhere that someone suggested Sartre
                            renounced
                            > atheism. That was a curious mention on the list that I skimmed. Wil
                            is
                            > definitely correct on this matter, based on the contacts I have
                            had
                            > with historians and biographers. I cannot imagine Sartre as
                            anything
                            > other than an atheist... just as I can't imagine him ever humble.
                            I
                            > would cite "Adieux" as my primary source for Sartre's finals days.
                            >
                            > - 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
                            >I would go througe the ancient broyhers of the north. In a cold
                            year they appear and youn have seen what you as yet do not recognise.
                            Will they keep you ? This place has its merits if you can fite ice,
                            Bill
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