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Re: Relevance of NDEs to Existentialism

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  • 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 1 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
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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 2 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
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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 3 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
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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 4 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
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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 5 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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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 6 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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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 7 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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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 8 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
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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 9 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
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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 10 of 26 , Mar 5, 2008
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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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