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The problem of existential communication

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  • bbviuyvf
    The problem of existential communication Hell – is Another People, as Jean-Paul Sartre spoke with the words of the heroes of one of his plays. The Another
    Message 1 of 18 , Mar 9 1:08 PM
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      The problem of existential communication

      Hell – is Another People, as Jean-Paul Sartre spoke with the words of
      the heroes of one of his plays. The Another Person always treats me
      like an object; as a subject in-self I am uncognizable, I am a noumen,
      though I can reveal myself as any phenomenon through a series of
      appearances. If the Another person strives to reflect me adequately
      through a series of appearances, then authentic, deep existential
      communication arises between us. If the another person objectivates
      me, then between us unauthentic communication arises, which is used
      by typical representative of a modern society in understanding of the
      another person, "das Man", if to call him by the term of M. Heidegger.
      Society and system require from us the execution of the role, the play
      in being of position, which kills the striving to existencial
      communication in a person and gives birth to neurosis in him.


      Speak about it? Agree? Disagree?
    • mary.jo11
      Having spent many years contemplating this, I ve discovered that my own alterity (internal conflict) and authenticity (conforming to my own truth ) are more
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 10 5:34 AM
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        Having spent many years contemplating this, I've discovered that my
        own alterity (internal conflict) and authenticity (conforming to my
        own "truth") are more problematic than I can fully comprehend. We
        might learn from and appreciate the strangeness of others as long as
        we harbor no illusions of changing them. Changing myself (learning to
        think more clearly, feeling more honestly?)is unfortunately a
        self-absorbing task. Carefully choosing the "right" words is my first
        challenge for "existential communication." If words and ideas
        stimulate (tickle or aggravate) me emotionally, they often change me.
        The conflict (neurosis?) might lead to change or growth of the
        positive kind.

        Or maybe it's chemicals in my drinking water :)

        Mary
      • Exist List Moderator
        ... I think one reason I have a problem with the quest for authenticity, which includes the massive self-help sections at B&N and Borders, is that you
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 10 1:31 PM
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          On Mar 10, 2008, at 7:34, mary.jo11 wrote:

          > Having spent many years contemplating this, I've discovered that my
          > own alterity (internal conflict) and authenticity (conforming to my
          > own "truth") are more problematic than I can fully comprehend.


          I think one reason I have a problem with the "quest" for authenticity,
          which includes the massive "self-help" sections at B&N and Borders, is
          that you don't need a "quest" to be whatever you are. We seem to
          believe "There's more to me than this!" as if what we are is somehow
          deficient and something / someone must be hindering us.

          In the U.S. we have various "religious" leaders (I question their
          faith) promising "meaning" through a mix of Christian Fundamentalism
          and capitalism. (Prosperity through faith, I have heard this nonsense
          called.) If only you find the "real" faith, you will also find
          financial wealth. If you aren't rich, your faith must be wrong.

          At the turn of the 20th century, meaning was promised by the
          communists, the socialists, the fascists, and every other "ists" out
          there. If only *everyone* agreed to the *common good* we would all
          find meaning, or at least be "free" to find our meanings.

          Sorry, but I don't believe anyone else can help me find meaning. In
          fact, I don't even look for meaning or authenticity. I do things, take
          action, and try to be true to what I think is best at any given
          moment. This is closer to Jaspers or Camus, I suppose, than the
          metaphysics of existentialism. Jaspers famously told his students
          "Live."

          I definitely enjoy life more than many of the over-educated, over-
          analytical around me. They always find some new problem with their
          lives, no matter what good news randomly enters their lives.

          Paralysis through self-analysis causes you to pause while the universe
          moves right along.

          I asked one professor who was ranting about the poor graduation rate
          of minorities what she was doing to change things. "I'm speaking out!"
          she answered. The professor might understand herself better than I
          understand myself... but I was busy doing something for those
          students, quietly, not pondering what philosophers wrote.

          Maybe I should read and analyze even more than I do, but then my eyes
          wouldn't be on the world as it is at this moment.

          Do things. It's a simple approach to living and I think the core to
          what many "existential" thinkers tried to tell us.

          - 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
        • mary.jo11
          Amazing. Someone seeks an Existentialism forum and reads simply Live! Do not discuss Existentialism. Do not Analyze or consider the implications of Ambiguity
          Message 4 of 18 , Mar 11 6:30 AM
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            Amazing.
            Someone seeks an Existentialism forum and reads simply "Live!"
            Do not discuss Existentialism.
            Do not Analyze or consider the implications of Ambiguity or Alterity.
            Consider Atheism a curiosity, not essential to Existentialism.
            Empathy or Ethics do not Exist.
            Actual physical or emotional paralysis do not Exist.
            Those who speak, read, write, think, or teach are not actually living.
            We are all the same.
            We are all too bored to bother.
            I am addicted to Nothing.
            Apparently this is the place for a fix.

            Mary
          • Exist List Moderator
            ... Jaspers answer, technically... and an important one. You can spend too much time thinking, while others are busy doing to you, to other, and to the
            Message 5 of 18 , Mar 11 6:40 PM
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              On Mar 11, 2008, at 8:30, mary.jo11 wrote:

              > Amazing.
              > Someone seeks an Existentialism forum and reads simply "Live!"

              Jaspers' answer, technically... and an important one. You can spend
              too much time thinking, while others are busy doing to you, to other,
              and to the general universe. We often lose ourselves, which is a
              problem for academics in particular.

              > Do not discuss Existentialism.

              Actually, the response is existentialism and Continental philosophy --
              a rejection of the Romanticism and faith in "scientific progress" that
              took us right into horrific wars. We forgot that experience, emotion,
              feelings, do matter. Not everything can be rationalized, analyzed, and
              categorized.

              > Consider Atheism a curiosity, not essential to Existentialism.

              Not at all essential, merely a part of Sartrean thought. Tillich?
              Kierkegaard? Buber? Niebuhr? I could list more than a dozen twentieth
              century "social progressives" linked to existentialism who were also
              very religious. Atheism was actual the exception, not the rule. As an
              agnostic, I tire of having to remind people that most of the early
              social activists were also religiously motivated men and women...
              whether I agree with their faiths or not does not matter. They
              believed, and that belief motivated men like Niebuhr to even enter
              U.S. politics to change things. Faith can be a strong force for good,
              not just evil. (We're just more accustomed to/aware of the evils, now.)

              > Empathy or Ethics do not Exist.

              The ethic is to act, not mere ponder. Resist. Rebel. You can't sit and
              wonder forever.

              > Actual physical or emotional paralysis do not Exist.

              Get over the emotional paralysis. If it last and lingers, then there
              are greater issues. These would be issues for Yalom, May, Frankl, and
              other existential psychotherapists / psychiatrists. Frankl famously
              wrote of the paralyzed being the ones who suffered the most in the
              Nazi camps, while he created a purpose for himself, knowing it might
              even be a lie. With a purpose, he could act and react to the situation.

              So yes, I think people spend far too much time drifting into the
              analytical. I'd rather be a pragmatist (though not quite a moral
              relativist as some pragmatists might seem) and act to change my world.
              My actions can define me -- inaction can define others.

              - 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
            • mary.jo11
              You might have forgotten that your conclusion required some analysis or that some people tend to objectivize others. The former is your business, but the
              Message 6 of 18 , Mar 12 5:57 AM
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                You might have forgotten that your conclusion required some analysis
                or that some people tend to objectivize others. The former is your
                business, but the latter is mine. As you said, "We forgot that
                experience, emotion, feelings, do matter. Not everything can be
                rationalized, analyzed, and categorized." Yet you say, "get over it."
                I can live better with the ambiguities of scientific progress, not
                agnosticism. Education is a process and action merely a best guess.

                THE FITTEST LANGUAGE

                moments of joy and terror
                are not balanced
                with the precision
                of a blind watchmaker
                nor blamed on the
                reckless devil's chaplain
                who adapts to survive
                innocent of intent

                science doesn't unweave
                the poetics of a rainbow
                but justly strips the gods
                of shuttle and warped claims
                their sparkling webs
                which trick and trap
                then ungraciously collapse
                when fitter words appear
                explaining why
                life is too short for many
                their meager bliss snuffed out
                or for others too long

                it's not true that everything
                happens for a reason
                there is merely cause
                a humbler palliation

                Mary


                Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:

                > Amazing.
                > Someone seeks an Existentialism forum and reads simply "Live!"

                Jaspers' answer, technically... and an important one. You can spend
                too much time thinking, while others are busy doing to you, to other,
                and to the general universe. We often lose ourselves, which is a
                problem for academics in particular.

                > Do not discuss Existentialism.

                Actually, the response is existentialism and Continental philosophy --
                a rejection of the Romanticism and faith in "scientific progress" that
                took us right into horrific wars. We forgot that experience, emotion,
                feelings, do matter. Not everything can be rationalized, analyzed, and
                categorized.

                > Consider Atheism a curiosity, not essential to Existentialism.

                Not at all essential, merely a part of Sartrean thought. Tillich?
                Kierkegaard? Buber? Niebuhr? I could list more than a dozen twentieth
                century "social progressives" linked to existentialism who were also
                very religious. Atheism was actual the exception, not the rule. As an
                agnostic, I tire of having to remind people that most of the early
                social activists were also religiously motivated men and women...
                whether I agree with their faiths or not does not matter. They
                believed, and that belief motivated men like Niebuhr to even enter
                U.S. politics to change things. Faith can be a strong force for good,
                not just evil. (We're just more accustomed to/aware of the evils, now.)

                > Empathy or Ethics do not Exist.

                The ethic is to act, not mere ponder. Resist. Rebel. You can't sit and
                wonder forever.

                > Actual physical or emotional paralysis do not Exist.

                Get over the emotional paralysis. If it last and lingers, then there
                are greater issues. These would be issues for Yalom, May, Frankl, and
                other existential psychotherapists / psychiatrists. Frankl famously
                wrote of the paralyzed being the ones who suffered the most in the
                Nazi camps, while he created a purpose for himself, knowing it might
                even be a lie. With a purpose, he could act and react to the situation.

                So yes, I think people spend far too much time drifting into the
                analytical. I'd rather be a pragmatist (though not quite a moral
                relativist as some pragmatists might seem) and act to change my world.
                My actions can define me -- inaction can define others.

                - C. S. Wyatt
                I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                that I shall be.
              • jimstuart51
                CSW: In fact, I don t even look for meaning or authenticity. I do things, take action, and try to be true to what I think is best at any given moment. … I
                Message 7 of 18 , Mar 12 6:25 AM
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                  CSW: In fact, I don't even look for meaning or authenticity. I do
                  things, take action, and try to be true to what I think is best at any
                  given moment. … I definitely enjoy life more than many of the
                  over-educated, over-analytical around me. … Paralysis through
                  self-analysis causes you to pause while the universe moves right along.

                  Jim: So, I take it, you don't think it is worth reading Kierkegaard,
                  Nietzsche, Heidegger or Sartre.
                • louise
                  Mary, Is it not needful to examine philosophically (which may include formal analysis of argument) your own claim, that people tend to objectivize others?
                  Message 8 of 18 , Mar 12 6:56 AM
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                    Mary,

                    Is it not needful to examine philosophically (which may include
                    formal analysis of argument) your own claim, that people tend to
                    objectivize others? What does this actually mean? A matter of
                    perception, simply, or of power relations, as in the case of slavery,
                    or criminal abuse? 'Scientific progress' is a phrase that at least
                    on first view seems a little resistant to the concept of ambiguity.
                    Sometimes science is invoked for evil purposes. As an
                    existentialist, my wish is to engage in a world realistic to the
                    perceptions and feelings of others. Nietzsche's discoveries have only
                    reached a wide public in debased form. Most people want nothing to
                    do with a world that has gone beyond good and evil. It is a
                    philosophical world-view, that entails embrace of certain kinds of
                    risk, pain, struggle. One that may easily break a man's health,
                    unless he survives, and becomes stronger. I am often in sympathy
                    with the ordinary person who lives inside a pre-modernist universe of
                    discourse, but in practice such folk generally wish to have little to
                    do with me. What is reality? I still find it to be subjective,
                    though the difference between an active and passive mode of
                    engagement makes the difference between a truly contemplative
                    existence, which may involve also writing, and practical tasks, and
                    on the other hand, a resignation to basically unalterable
                    circumstances. Possibly the emotional paralysis you spoke of would
                    be related to this. The will to live takes many forms.
                    Individuality is, realistically, somewhat a matter of degree, subject
                    to economic and social opportunities, unless in the cases of a
                    traditional religious faith, which might even survive the worst
                    predations of scientific experiment. That would be a sort of
                    martyrdom.

                    Louise

                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "mary.jo11" <ophiuchus@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > You might have forgotten that your conclusion required some analysis
                    > or that some people tend to objectivize others. The former is your
                    > business, but the latter is mine. As you said, "We forgot that
                    > experience, emotion, feelings, do matter. Not everything can be
                    > rationalized, analyzed, and categorized." Yet you say, "get over
                    it."
                    > I can live better with the ambiguities of scientific progress, not
                    > agnosticism. Education is a process and action merely a best guess.
                    >
                    > THE FITTEST LANGUAGE
                    >
                    > moments of joy and terror
                    > are not balanced
                    > with the precision
                    > of a blind watchmaker
                    > nor blamed on the
                    > reckless devil's chaplain
                    > who adapts to survive
                    > innocent of intent
                    >
                    > science doesn't unweave
                    > the poetics of a rainbow
                    > but justly strips the gods
                    > of shuttle and warped claims
                    > their sparkling webs
                    > which trick and trap
                    > then ungraciously collapse
                    > when fitter words appear
                    > explaining why
                    > life is too short for many
                    > their meager bliss snuffed out
                    > or for others too long
                    >
                    > it's not true that everything
                    > happens for a reason
                    > there is merely cause
                    > a humbler palliation
                    >
                    > Mary
                    >
                    >
                    > Exist List Moderator <existlist1@> wrote:
                    >
                    > > Amazing.
                    > > Someone seeks an Existentialism forum and reads simply "Live!"
                    >
                    > Jaspers' answer, technically... and an important one. You can spend
                    > too much time thinking, while others are busy doing to you, to
                    other,
                    > and to the general universe. We often lose ourselves, which is a
                    > problem for academics in particular.
                    >
                    > > Do not discuss Existentialism.
                    >
                    > Actually, the response is existentialism and Continental
                    philosophy --
                    > a rejection of the Romanticism and faith in "scientific progress"
                    that
                    > took us right into horrific wars. We forgot that experience,
                    emotion,
                    > feelings, do matter. Not everything can be rationalized, analyzed,
                    and
                    > categorized.
                    >
                    > > Consider Atheism a curiosity, not essential to Existentialism.
                    >
                    > Not at all essential, merely a part of Sartrean thought. Tillich?
                    > Kierkegaard? Buber? Niebuhr? I could list more than a dozen
                    twentieth
                    > century "social progressives" linked to existentialism who were also
                    > very religious. Atheism was actual the exception, not the rule. As
                    an
                    > agnostic, I tire of having to remind people that most of the early
                    > social activists were also religiously motivated men and women...
                    > whether I agree with their faiths or not does not matter. They
                    > believed, and that belief motivated men like Niebuhr to even enter
                    > U.S. politics to change things. Faith can be a strong force for
                    good,
                    > not just evil. (We're just more accustomed to/aware of the evils,
                    now.)
                    >
                    > > Empathy or Ethics do not Exist.
                    >
                    > The ethic is to act, not mere ponder. Resist. Rebel. You can't sit
                    and
                    > wonder forever.
                    >
                    > > Actual physical or emotional paralysis do not Exist.
                    >
                    > Get over the emotional paralysis. If it last and lingers, then there
                    > are greater issues. These would be issues for Yalom, May, Frankl,
                    and
                    > other existential psychotherapists / psychiatrists. Frankl famously
                    > wrote of the paralyzed being the ones who suffered the most in the
                    > Nazi camps, while he created a purpose for himself, knowing it might
                    > even be a lie. With a purpose, he could act and react to the
                    situation.
                    >
                    > So yes, I think people spend far too much time drifting into the
                    > analytical. I'd rather be a pragmatist (though not quite a moral
                    > relativist as some pragmatists might seem) and act to change my
                    world.
                    > My actions can define me -- inaction can define others.
                    >
                    > - C. S. Wyatt
                    > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
                    > that I shall be.
                    >
                  • mary.jo11
                    Thank you, Louise. Your comments deserve my thoughtful analysis :) Mary louise wrote: Mary, Is it not needful to examine philosophically
                    Message 9 of 18 , Mar 12 7:12 AM
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                      Thank you, Louise. Your comments deserve my thoughtful analysis :)

                      Mary

                      "louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:

                      Mary,

                      Is it not needful to examine philosophically (which may include
                      formal analysis of argument) your own claim, that people tend to
                      objectivize others? What does this actually mean? A matter of
                      perception, simply, or of power relations, as in the case of slavery,
                      or criminal abuse? 'Scientific progress' is a phrase that at least
                      on first view seems a little resistant to the concept of ambiguity.
                      Sometimes science is invoked for evil purposes. As an
                      existentialist, my wish is to engage in a world realistic to the
                      perceptions and feelings of others. Nietzsche's discoveries have only
                      reached a wide public in debased form. Most people want nothing to
                      do with a world that has gone beyond good and evil. It is a
                      philosophical world-view, that entails embrace of certain kinds of
                      risk, pain, struggle. One that may easily break a man's health,
                      unless he survives, and becomes stronger. I am often in sympathy
                      with the ordinary person who lives inside a pre-modernist universe of
                      discourse, but in practice such folk generally wish to have little to
                      do with me. What is reality? I still find it to be subjective,
                      though the difference between an active and passive mode of
                      engagement makes the difference between a truly contemplative
                      existence, which may involve also writing, and practical tasks, and
                      on the other hand, a resignation to basically unalterable
                      circumstances. Possibly the emotional paralysis you spoke of would
                      be related to this. The will to live takes many forms.
                      Individuality is, realistically, somewhat a matter of degree, subject
                      to economic and social opportunities, unless in the cases of a
                      traditional religious faith, which might even survive the worst
                      predations of scientific experiment. That would be a sort of
                      martyrdom.

                      Louise
                    • Aija Veldre Beldavs
                      ... apology, breaking into a two-way public conversation,:) but people who live across cultures are engaged in this all the time. those who participate in
                      Message 10 of 18 , Mar 12 7:16 AM
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                        > Mary,
                        > unless he survives, and becomes stronger. I am often in sympathy
                        > with the ordinary person who lives inside a pre-modernist universe of
                        > discourse, but in practice such folk generally wish to have little to
                        > do with me. What is reality? I still find it to be subjective,
                        > Louise

                        apology, breaking into a two-way public conversation,:) but people who
                        live across cultures are engaged in this all the time.

                        those who participate in communication that is felt by parties involved
                        to be both ways, generally are less interested in accurately labeling
                        someone as pre-modern, modern, post-modern, or whatever than in trying
                        to pick up what they can learn from the other person for their own
                        enlightenment. if one tends toward sympathy with another as someone who
                        could be themselves under x number of conditions, the probability
                        increases that something perceived as a learning experience takes place.

                        aija
                      • mary.jo11
                        Louise, yours was an excellent post.
                        Message 11 of 18 , Mar 12 3:38 PM
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                          Louise, yours was an excellent post.

                          <Is it not needful to examine philosophically (which may include
                          formal analysis of argument) your own claim, that people tend to
                          objectivize others?What does this actually mean? A matter of
                          perception, simply, or of power relations, as in the case of slavery,
                          or criminal abuse?>

                          Yes, probably all of these. Slavery and criminal abuse are extreme
                          examples. My understanding is we are regarded as objects by others
                          when they classify, stereotype, or categorize us. They define us as
                          this or that "thing" with which they can't or won't empathize or feel
                          connection, and thus discriminate. Alterity in this case obstructs a
                          discussion of ethics, because the subject is considered an object.
                          Ironically, even well intentioned, special studies can perpetuate this
                          victimization.

                          <'Scientific progress' is a phrase that at least on first view seems a
                          little resistant to the concept of ambiguity. Sometimes science is
                          invoked for evil purposes.>

                          I could have ambivalence towards a prescribed a course of treatment or
                          subjection to more diagnostics. Ambiguous scientific "progress" might
                          apply to research results that are inconclusive or not fully tested
                          and understood but when applications proceed nevertheless.

                          <As an existentialist, my wish is to engage in a world realistic to
                          the perceptions and feelings of others. Nietzsche's discoveries have
                          only reached a wide public in debased form. Most people want nothing
                          to do with a world that has gone beyond good and evil. It is a
                          philosophical world-view, that entails embrace of certain kinds of
                          risk, pain, struggle. One that may easily break a man's health, unless
                          he survives, and becomes stronger. I am often in sympathy with the
                          ordinary person who lives inside a pre-modernist universe of
                          discourse, but in practice such folk generally wish to have little to
                          do with me. What is reality? I still find it to be subjective, though
                          the difference between an active and passive mode of
                          engagement makes the difference between a truly contemplative
                          existence, which may involve also writing, and practical tasks, and on
                          the other hand, a resignation to basically unalterable circumstances.
                          Possibly the emotional paralysis you spoke of would be related to
                          this. The will to live takes many forms. Individuality is,
                          realistically, somewhat a matter of degree, subject to economic and
                          social opportunities, unless in the cases of a traditional religious
                          faith, which might even survive the worst predations of scientific
                          experiment. That would be a sort of martyrdom.>

                          I have empathy with most of this last section.


                          H O S P I T A L

                          we look down
                          at dumb magazines
                          panic zooms
                          memories down the halls
                          droning in our ears

                          hearts
                          in the waiting room
                          enter their promises
                          and pleas
                          still

                          we sit here
                          guts strung out on a
                          sting
                          cubing our alphabet infinitely
                          clearing our honeycombed throats

                          even at this weary hour
                          regret clings lightly
                          like pollen
                          across shampooed carpet
                          and potted plants

                          withered blossoms
                          sicken the air
                          in the waiting room
                          we come in together
                          and stay alone

                          Mary
                        • louise
                          Mary, I keep returning to this post to consider your words, and find it difficult to make an adequate response. There are so many different genres of
                          Message 12 of 18 , Mar 14 11:46 AM
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                            Mary,

                            I keep returning to this post to consider your words, and find it
                            difficult to make an adequate response. There are so many different
                            genres of discourse and reference here. My own need is to
                            categorise, in certain types of argument, in order to be sure that I
                            am, indeed, thinking. The idea of empathising first is alien to my
                            mode of proceeding, because, at this list, I seek to philosophise in
                            accordance with my own belief-system. In the ordinary flow of life,
                            on the contrary, my first wish is to accommodate myself to others'
                            feelings. The reason that, as my life has developed, with all the
                            strenuous existential dialectic involved, it has become ever more
                            demanding to fit in with the expectations of neighbours,
                            acquaintances and colleagues, is that, in my opinion, society has a
                            growing tendency to justify selective empathy and selective
                            paranoia. I'm aware that this sounds vague, may only ask patience,
                            hopeful that my most simple dream, a permission to abolish those
                            kinds of divisions, to feel and think seamlessly, where contemplation
                            and sympathy and practical responsible thought, whether lateral,
                            analytical, intuitive, or whatever, might be granted. There never
                            seems to be enough time. It is not for want of free hours. Except
                            in the sense that they are so fully booked, recovering from reality.
                            Goodness knows, sometimes, what I am talking about. It is nice to
                            hear from others whether any particular post makes sense, and I do
                            not mind critical comment, where it is basically friendly to the
                            human being at the keyboard. Is that a culpable attitude?

                            Louise


                            - In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "mary.jo11" <ophiuchus@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Louise, yours was an excellent post.
                            >
                            > <Is it not needful to examine philosophically (which may include
                            > formal analysis of argument) your own claim, that people tend to
                            > objectivize others?What does this actually mean? A matter of
                            > perception, simply, or of power relations, as in the case of
                            slavery,
                            > or criminal abuse?>
                            >
                            > Yes, probably all of these. Slavery and criminal abuse are extreme
                            > examples. My understanding is we are regarded as objects by others
                            > when they classify, stereotype, or categorize us. They define us as
                            > this or that "thing" with which they can't or won't empathize or
                            feel
                            > connection, and thus discriminate. Alterity in this case obstructs a
                            > discussion of ethics, because the subject is considered an object.
                            > Ironically, even well intentioned, special studies can perpetuate
                            this
                            > victimization.
                            >
                            > <'Scientific progress' is a phrase that at least on first view
                            seems a
                            > little resistant to the concept of ambiguity. Sometimes science is
                            > invoked for evil purposes.>
                            >
                            > I could have ambivalence towards a prescribed a course of treatment
                            or
                            > subjection to more diagnostics. Ambiguous scientific "progress"
                            might
                            > apply to research results that are inconclusive or not fully tested
                            > and understood but when applications proceed nevertheless.
                            >
                            > <As an existentialist, my wish is to engage in a world realistic to
                            > the perceptions and feelings of others. Nietzsche's discoveries have
                            > only reached a wide public in debased form. Most people want nothing
                            > to do with a world that has gone beyond good and evil. It is a
                            > philosophical world-view, that entails embrace of certain kinds of
                            > risk, pain, struggle. One that may easily break a man's health,
                            unless
                            > he survives, and becomes stronger. I am often in sympathy with the
                            > ordinary person who lives inside a pre-modernist universe of
                            > discourse, but in practice such folk generally wish to have little
                            to
                            > do with me. What is reality? I still find it to be subjective,
                            though
                            > the difference between an active and passive mode of
                            > engagement makes the difference between a truly contemplative
                            > existence, which may involve also writing, and practical tasks, and
                            on
                            > the other hand, a resignation to basically unalterable
                            circumstances.
                            > Possibly the emotional paralysis you spoke of would be related to
                            > this. The will to live takes many forms. Individuality is,
                            > realistically, somewhat a matter of degree, subject to economic and
                            > social opportunities, unless in the cases of a traditional religious
                            > faith, which might even survive the worst predations of scientific
                            > experiment. That would be a sort of martyrdom.>
                            >
                            > I have empathy with most of this last section.
                            >
                            >
                            > H O S P I T A L
                            >
                            > we look down
                            > at dumb magazines
                            > panic zooms
                            > memories down the halls
                            > droning in our ears
                            >
                            > hearts
                            > in the waiting room
                            > enter their promises
                            > and pleas
                            > still
                            >
                            > we sit here
                            > guts strung out on a
                            > sting
                            > cubing our alphabet infinitely
                            > clearing our honeycombed throats
                            >
                            > even at this weary hour
                            > regret clings lightly
                            > like pollen
                            > across shampooed carpet
                            > and potted plants
                            >
                            > withered blossoms
                            > sicken the air
                            > in the waiting room
                            > we come in together
                            > and stay alone
                            >
                            > Mary
                            >
                          • Exist List Moderator
                            I have been reading a lot about the split between analytic and Continental schools of thought. The analytic is what it sounds like, in that it is analytical
                            Message 13 of 18 , Mar 14 6:22 PM
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                              I have been reading a lot about the split between analytic and
                              Continental schools of thought. The analytic is what it sounds like,
                              in that it is "analytical" and "logocentric" -- and something many of
                              the Continental opposed. Phenomenology is about "perception" and not
                              measurable truths. Much of Continental philosophy is dedicated to
                              asking about "truth" and the "social construction of knowledge."

                              Last week I had a lengthy discussion with foreign students. They
                              struggle with the emphasis on empirical, quantitative methods in our
                              social sciences. In my field, this is a comparison between the DSM-IV
                              driven diagnostics and the French use of grounded theory. I have
                              several *recent* French mental health guides that still consider
                              autism a break with reality, caused by the parent relationship.
                              Everything is caused by issues of perception, in these manuals. The
                              U.S. scientists can't wait to use brain images... the French want to
                              talk more to the patient.

                              My "biases" are to use science, while not assuming science gives me
                              meaning. Rorty suggested there was a middle way, that allows for
                              analysis in the U.K. tradition while respecting the more
                              "vague" ("undefined," was his term) allowances of Continental
                              philosophers.

                              "Doing" is what leads to a "leap of faith" for the religious
                              existentialists. There is no analysis possible. Kierkegaard said if
                              you could explain the choice, it wasn't authentic. Nietzsche suggested
                              emotion, desire, and passion were the essence of a person -- something
                              the analytic tradition tried to repress. Science didn't mean men in
                              lab coats, it meant a way of thinking about life. It is the mistaken
                              utopia: "If we could only calculate every variable, we could plan the
                              perfect society." (That's what Hitler thought... logic of a madman.)

                              This rambles a bit, I realize, but I'm quite swamped with the
                              university and other tasks.

                              A great book on my shelf is "Existentialism vs. Marxism" (1960 or so)
                              that was published in Russia. The text argues that Marxism is meant to
                              "scientific" and has no room for all the "authenticity" contemplation
                              of French philosophers. It's curious to see what the Soviets published
                              while being embraced (early on) by Sartre. They really wanted a nice,
                              orderly, planned system... and Continental thought wasn't based on the
                              old traditional logic.

                              Or, as the text argues, "These French, they have too many 'maybes' in
                              their works."

                              I happen to think life is maybe, what if, and absurd chance. None of
                              this "scientific history" for me. Things happen.
                            • mary.jo11
                              Louise, Thank you. I see now my communication was itself an attempt to feel and think seamlessly, where contemplation and sympathy and practical responsible
                              Message 14 of 18 , Mar 15 8:41 AM
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                                Louise,

                                Thank you. I see now my communication was itself an attempt "to feel
                                and think seamlessly, where contemplation and sympathy and practical
                                responsible thought, whether lateral, analytical, intuitive, or
                                whatever, might be granted."

                                People have probably always tended "to justify selective empathy and
                                selective paranoia," but this is likely due to our subjective,
                                individual experiences within our community which perpetuates both
                                selectivity and need for solidarity. Being as we are the intelligent
                                apes, learning to overcome selectivity has been difficult, but it is
                                fast becoming fraught with expedience. Universal empathy and respect
                                are approachable through myriad ambiguities. The writings of Camus and
                                Beavoir remind us there are no absolutes, but there are limits.

                                So, the basically friendly human beings at the keyboard are our
                                neighbours, acquaintances and colleagues in terms of authenticity and
                                ethical behavior. Here, even the pseudononymous can get real.

                                In a spirit of reciprocal altruism, I ask for your patience as well.

                                Mary

                                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:

                                Mary,

                                I keep returning to this post to consider your words, and find it
                                difficult to make an adequate response. There are so many different
                                genres of discourse and reference here. My own need is to
                                categorise, in certain types of argument, in order to be sure that I
                                am, indeed, thinking. The idea of empathising first is alien to my
                                mode of proceeding, because, at this list, I seek to philosophise in
                                accordance with my own belief-system. In the ordinary flow of life,
                                on the contrary, my first wish is to accommodate myself to others'
                                feelings. The reason that, as my life has developed, with all the
                                strenuous existential dialectic involved, it has become ever more
                                demanding to fit in with the expectations of neighbours,
                                acquaintances and colleagues, is that, in my opinion, society has a
                                growing tendency to justify selective empathy and selective
                                paranoia. I'm aware that this sounds vague, may only ask patience,
                                hopeful that my most simple dream, a permission to abolish those
                                kinds of divisions, to feel and think seamlessly, where contemplation
                                and sympathy and practical responsible thought, whether lateral,
                                analytical, intuitive, or whatever, might be granted. There never
                                seems to be enough time. It is not for want of free hours. Except
                                in the sense that they are so fully booked, recovering from reality.
                                Goodness knows, sometimes, what I am talking about. It is nice to
                                hear from others whether any particular post makes sense, and I do
                                not mind critical comment, where it is basically friendly to the
                                human being at the keyboard. Is that a culpable attitude?

                                Louise
                              • C. S. Wyatt
                                ... I am a univ instructor but I also think that intellectual paralysis is a real problem. Too few of my colleagues take action off campus -- beyond writing
                                Message 15 of 18 , Mar 16 9:32 PM
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                                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > CSW: In fact, I don't even look for meaning or authenticity. I do
                                  > things, take action, and try to be true to what I think is best at any
                                  > given moment. … I definitely enjoy life more than many of the
                                  > over-educated, over-analytical around me. … Paralysis through
                                  > self-analysis causes you to pause while the universe moves right along.
                                  >
                                  > Jim: So, I take it, you don't think it is worth reading Kierkegaard,
                                  > Nietzsche, Heidegger or Sartre.
                                  >

                                  I am a univ instructor but I also think that intellectual paralysis is a real problem. Too few
                                  of my colleagues take action off campus -- beyond writing and thinking. Their words are
                                  read by other academics, while I prefer to speak to groups off campus and cause
                                  trouble...

                                  One must balance the intake of external ideas with creating a self through action.

                                  I would write more but I am using a PDA tonight
                                • jimstuart51
                                  CSW, You write: One must balance the intake of external ideas with creating a self through action. Yes, I agree, but the reflection on ideas, particularly
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Mar 16 11:56 PM
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                                    CSW,

                                    You write: "One must balance the intake of external ideas with
                                    creating a self through action."

                                    Yes, I agree, but the reflection on ideas, particularly ideas about
                                    the good life and how best to live should surely come first.

                                    My local hooligans arguably follow Jaspers' injunction to "Live!",
                                    and they certainly act and don't sit at home reading books. But
                                    their actions are unthinking actions with harmful consequences. A
                                    lot of young men would do better if they acted less, and read more.

                                    I agree that academics can go to the opposite extreme, sitting
                                    passively in their ivory towers whilst their society self-destructs
                                    outside their University precinct.

                                    The best philosophers both thought and acted. For those philosophers
                                    who wrote from the heart with passion and intensity, the writing of
                                    their books was a decisive action in itself which had effects beyond
                                    academia. I'm thinking here of such writers as Kierkegaard and
                                    Nietzsche. I agree such philosophers are very different from the
                                    typical timid, passive academic of present day US and UK.

                                    Jim
                                  • C. S. Wyatt
                                    ... The audience of the posts on this list, I would hope, are not your local gang members. Then again, one can never know who is online. Still, I assume most
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Mar 18 12:19 AM
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                                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                                      > I agree that academics can go to the opposite extreme, sitting
                                      > passively in their ivory towers whilst their society self-destructs
                                      > outside their University precinct.
                                      >
                                      > The best philosophers both thought and acted. For those philosophers
                                      > who wrote from the heart with passion and intensity, the writing of
                                      > their books was a decisive action in itself which had effects beyond
                                      > academia. I'm thinking here of such writers as Kierkegaard and
                                      > Nietzsche. I agree such philosophers are very different from the
                                      > typical timid, passive academic of present day US and UK.

                                      The audience of the posts on this list, I would hope, are not your local gang members.
                                      Then again, one can never know who is online. Still, I assume most of our members are
                                      readers / thinkers and probably a great many of us have developed an easy cynicism,
                                      leading to contemplation with resignation that too little change is possible.

                                      I am definitely not timid. I probably should be, but I seem to have a propensity for
                                      creating waves in academic departments. Starting last semester, I developed a "community
                                      service" requirement in my senior-level courses (students are 20-22). Students must
                                      complete a feasibility study for a local non-profit for full credit in the course.

                                      My colleagues didn't know what to make of this. "You're asking students to do volunteer
                                      work? Why? Some of the places are safe." Etc. Etc. Etc.

                                      The students read plenty of books by the time of their senior projects. I want them to see
                                      the local food shelter, the Goodwill store, and the ReUse Center. I want them to
                                      understand class and social situations outside the texts we read. The texts are insufficient
                                      motivators, written in academic prose by men and women who live in relative comfort.

                                      Philosophy needs to be grounded. The French and German schools try to remember this,
                                      while our more analytical approach spends time (curiously enough) deconstructing texts
                                      and telling students there is no objective truth and no moral certainty. Once you volunteer
                                      in a soup kitchen, you become pretty "certain" there is is "right way" to treat people.

                                      My students sometimes hate the project, but enough have told me it reminded them that
                                      they have a larger social duty than making money.

                                      As a libertarian-type, I want / hope people will act and not spend all their time pondering
                                      utopian governments that will not arrive any time soon. I want my students to move
                                      beyond texts, learning to pick and choose what philosophies seem practical and valuable
                                      to them, individually.

                                      Then again... maybe I'm the one out of touch and my colleagues are right when they say,
                                      "The students will just do the work for the grade." I hope they get more than a grade out
                                      of the work. I'm an optimist.

                                      - CSW
                                    • jimstuart51
                                      CSW, What you are requiring of your students sounds really good. I whole- heartedly agree with you that philosophy needs to be grounded , and there is no
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Mar 18 1:17 PM
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                                        CSW,

                                        What you are requiring of your students sounds really good. I whole-
                                        heartedly agree with you that "philosophy needs to be grounded", and
                                        there is no better way of grounding it that working alongside the poor,
                                        the homeless and the non-materialistic.

                                        The reason I challenged your original post (43892) is that you seemed
                                        to be saying that the struggle for self-improvement through the
                                        appropriating of existentialist ideas was a waste of time. ("I have a
                                        problem with the "quest" for authenticity") I probably misinterpreted
                                        what you were trying to say.

                                        I agree that Jaspers' message to "Live!" is important, but, as you say,
                                        it is a message for those who have already spent time reading
                                        philosophy and have wrestled with themselves and the mismatch between
                                        high ideals and actual reality.

                                        Jim
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