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Fate Versus Determinism

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  • Herman B. Triplegood
    Well, I will just throw this into the mix and see what happens. I read something on this list right here a while back, maybe, two or three weeks ago, I am not
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 28, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Well, I will just throw this into the mix and see what happens. I
      read something on this list right here a while back, maybe, two or
      three weeks ago, I am not sure.

      I believe that eupraxis was saying that the thought of fate is a kind
      of care free thought.

      But I am having a bit of trouble with how eupraxis arrives at this
      thought of what fate is.

      Now, the thought of determinism is relaitvely recent. By that, I
      mean, as a thought, it probably hasn't been around for more than four
      or five hundred years. I know that seems like a long time to some of
      us. But, the thought of fate goes back a lot further. It goes back as
      far as Homer, in fact, and, right there, you are probably talking
      about almost three millennia. Fate has been around, as a thought, for
      a long time indeed.

      Now, consider these two things: what Seneca, the tutor of Nero, had
      to say about fate, and, how fate operated in Homer's Illiad.

      Seneca said, and here I am paraphrasing: "Fate guides the willing. It
      drags the rest along in chains."

      In Homer, fate, moira, is even beyond the gods. The gods have no more
      control over the operation of fate than humans do. All of us, whether
      we are ordinary men, heroes, like Achilles, or gods, are subject to
      this inscrutable order of fate. It really is inscrutable. It isn't a
      detrministic mechanism of causality that we may or may not eventually
      understand. It is totally inscrutable. There is no understanding it.

      The thought of fate, as it was originally thought by the Greeks, and
      was later taken up by the Romans, and taken into Shakesperean
      tragedy, carries an ineluctable emotional punch that the relatively
      more modern thought of determinism seems to lack.

      Everyting in nature may very well, as we conceive it to be, subjected
      to a srrict ddterminism of cause and effect. But, with Kant, and
      other Enlightenment thinkers, we can still say that such a thing as
      autonomy, or self-determination, is at least theoretically possible.

      Besides, the thought of determinism does not have that element of
      inscrutability to it that fate has. Sure, what is determined is what
      it is and we cannot, for the most part, change that, although,
      arguably, if one believes in this autonomy thing, one can,
      presumably, change one's own actions. But even that is a questionable
      move once you have picked up Schopenhauer or Hegel or Nietzsche and
      you seriously consider what the real relationship between motive and
      action might actually be.

      The thought of determinism is problematic. But so is the thought of
      freedom. And, finally, the thought of fate is problematic, but, fate
      is problematic by its very nature, in its very essence, for
      existential and personal reasons, whereas, determinism is, so to
      speak, only technically problematic.

      Consider Caesar. What was Caesar's destiny? To become, in his actual
      person, all of Rome. But with what coinage did Caesar have to pay for
      that destiny? His fate. Et tu Brute...

      You see what I mean? Fate packs a punch that determinism lacks. It is
      fate, not determinism, that truly gives me a bad case of the
      existential angst. It gives me the willies. Whereas, determinism,
      well, determinism simply bores me. Determinism is uninteresting.
      Fate, however, is fascinating. It is fascinating all the way to the
      point of being downright terrifying.

      If something is just determined, and that is just blind cause and
      effect, it is what it is, and either I can't really do anything about
      it, except, maybe, just observe it, understand it, and accept it, how
      could having a care have anything to do with that? But, if something
      is my fate, or your fate, or our mutual fate, that is deeply
      personal, and that is profoundly existential. We cannot help but care
      about what our fate is, because, it is my fate, it is your fate, it
      is our fate. It is personal and it is poignant.

      This is the face of fate that really comes out in the ancient Greek
      epics and tragedies, and even in the more modern dramas and tragedies
      such as what we see in Shakespeare, Goethe, Melville, Shelley.
      Faust's fate was that his quest for absolute power over nature would
      destroy him, and probably nature too. Ahab's fate was that the
      creature of nature that he personalized into his nemesis destroyed
      him and his ship. Once again, nature wins. Frankenstein's fate was
      that his own creation destroyed his fame, his family, and his own
      self. Frankenstein is another Faust. These tragedies are fateful,
      terrifying, horrific, and they touch in a very way that the comedy,
      the irony, of determinism cannot. Determinism only disempowers us. It
      does not, like fate, exsitentially threaten us. Determiinism is, when
      you come to think about it, just an accident, a contingency. A six
      mile wide metoer hits the earth and all life is wiped out. Is this
      fate? No. Why? Because it just happened, even though it happened to
      us. Man annihilates himself, and all life on earth, in a apocalyptic
      thermonuclear holocaust. is this just an accident? No. The amnswer
      remains no, even if the nuclear war is triggered by accident. Why?
      Because this is man's undoing of himself. Therefore, it is man;'s
      fate. Remember, that back in the good old days, what instigated the
      intercession of fate was, in almost all cases, pride, or hubris,
      man's forgetfulness that he is not the most powerful force on the
      planet, and certainly not in the universe. Even the unleashing of
      man's awesome power, now, to wage nuclear war, can only result in the
      fate of man, that man would, by his own hand, render himself extinct.
      That would be a true Darwinian oops! Not supposed to happen. But it
      can happen, and it very well might happen. It might even be fated to
      happen. None of us knows. Once we know, it is already too late.

      Fate rattles us to the very core of our being, not only individually,
      but collectively. It is a deeply disturbing thought, quite
      unsettling, and that, right there, is the main reason why
      philosophers have, since the very beginning, picked it up as one of
      their favorite thoughts to think about. We humans are morbid. And
      philosophers, especially, are probably the most morbid of all. Think
      Kierkegaard. We like scary ineluctable things like fate. Think about
      that movie, the Twelve Monkeys. No matter what he did, the holocaust
      happened anyway. There is nothing, really, that is actually care free
      about fate. The thought of fate is a thought full of care and worry,
      and plenty of self-doubt, since, in almost all cases, as is generally
      agreed to by the dramatists and poets, the tragedians, and not a few
      philosophers, our fate is something that we bring upon ourselves.

      I think that we tend to read our contemporary thought of determinism,
      which is a picture of mechanism, something that is indifferent, into
      the ancient thought of fate. But here, we read fate
      anachronistically. We miss the crucial angst that the thought of fate
      carried for the ancient dramatist and tragedian, not to mention
      plenty of actual historical figures, like Achilles (yes, there
      probably really was an Achilles, although, to be sure, he wasn't the
      son of a goddess, since, as we all know, being the moderns that we
      are, there ain't no Santa Claus and there ain't no gods or goddesses
      either), like Caesar, those whose fate became, in historical
      retrospect, one of the signs of their true greatness.

      I am into Leviathan right now. It is depressing, in that peculiarly
      Cartesian sort of way. The way things actually are, the way people
      usually are, is a picture of ugliness and despair. New Orleans,
      August 2005, simply confirms what Hobbes says. Without a strong civil
      authority to enforce law and order, we humnans quite naturally turn
      to the rule, not of law and order, but of terror and violence. There
      is more animal left in us than we would care to admit. Hobbes's
      picture of what man's state of nature might have looked like seems
      far more plausible, to me, than Rousseau's. But, then again,
      Schopenhauer has bewitched me, and I cannot yet shake that creepy
      pessimism thing that has taken hold of me for a whole year now. The
      situation is hopeless. We are collectively doomed. But, I find no
      satisfaction, either, in the daydream fantasy of going out of
      control. (So, don't worry there) There is no license to depravity in
      the midst of such a gripping pessimism. Nor is there a reprieve from
      the banal struggle in a banal kind of non-action. The Buddhism thing
      is a joke. We keep asking for break. But there is no break to be had.
      I tell you, this fate thing really sucks.

      "There's gotta be some way outta this place, said the joker to the
      thief..." Bob Dylan

      Hb3g
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      I believe that eupraxis was saying that the thought of fate is a kind of care free thought. Response: It is an easy thing to do a search on old postings, but
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 28, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        "I believe that eupraxis was saying that the thought of fate is a kind
        of care free thought."

        Response: It is an easy thing to do a search on old postings, but I was
        commenting on Nietzsche's "Amor Fati" or love of fate. I assume that
        you know the phrase in Nietzsche.

        Eupraxis aka Wil


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Herman B. Triplegood <hb3g@...>
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 11:50 am
        Subject: [existlist] Fate Versus Determinism

























        Well, I will just throw this into the mix and see what happens. I

        read something on this list right here a while back, maybe, two or

        three weeks ago, I am not sure.



        I believe that eupraxis was saying that the thought of fate is a kind

        of care free thought.



        But I am having a bit of trouble with how eupraxis arrives at this

        thought of what fate is.



        Now, the thought of determinism is relaitvely recent. By that, I

        mean, as a thought, it probably hasn't been around for more than four

        or five hundred years. I know that seems like a long time to some of

        us. But, the thought of fate goes back a lot further. It goes back as

        far as Homer, in fact, and, right there, you are probably talking

        about almost three millennia. Fate has been around, as a thought, for

        a long time indeed.



        Now, consider these two things: what Seneca, the tutor of Nero, had

        to say about fate, and, how fate operated in Homer's Illiad.



        Seneca said, and here I am paraphrasing: "Fate guides the willing. It

        drags the rest along in chains."



        In Homer, fate, moira, is even beyond the gods. The gods have no more

        control over the operation of fate than humans do. All of us, whether

        we are ordinary men, heroes, like Achilles, or gods, are subject to

        this inscrutable order of fate. It really is inscrutable. It isn't a

        detrministic mechanism of causality that we may or may not eventually

        understand. It is totally inscrutable. There is no understanding it.



        The thought of fate, as it was originally thought by the Greeks, and

        was later taken up by the Romans, and taken into Shakesperean

        tragedy, carries an ineluctable emotional punch that the relatively

        more modern thought of determinism seems to lack.



        Everyting in nature may very well, as we conceive it to be, subjected

        to a srrict ddterminism of cause and effect. But, with Kant, and

        other Enlightenment thinkers, we can still say that such a thing as

        autonomy, or self-determination, is at least theoretically possible.



        Besides, the thought of determinism does not have that element of

        inscrutability to it that fate has. Sure, what is determined is what

        it is and we cannot, for the most part, change that, although,

        arguably, if one believes in this autonomy thing, one can,

        presumably, change one's own actions. But even that is a questionable

        move once you have picked up Schopenhauer or Hegel or Nietzsche and

        you seriously consider what the real relationship between motive and

        action might actually be.



        The thought of determinism is problematic. But so is the thought of

        freedom. And, finally, the thought of fate is problematic, but, fate

        is problematic by its very nature, in its very essence, for

        existential and personal reasons, whereas, determinism is, so to

        speak, only technically problematic.



        Consider Caesar. What was Caesar's destiny? To become, in his actual

        person, all of Rome. But with what coinage did Caesar have to pay for

        that destiny? His fate. Et tu Brute...



        You see what I mean? Fate packs a punch that determinism lacks. It is

        fate, not determinism, that truly gives me a bad case of the

        existential angst. It gives me the willies. Whereas, determinism,

        well, determinism simply bores me. Determinism is uninteresting.

        Fate, however, is fascinating. It is fascinating all the way to the

        point of being downright terrifying.



        If something is just determined, and that is just blind cause and

        effect, it is what it is, and either I can't really do anything about

        it, except, maybe, just observe it, understand it, and accept it, how

        could having a care have anything to do with that? But, if something

        is my fate, or your fate, or our mutual fate, that is deeply

        personal, and that is profoundly existential. We cannot help but care

        about what our fate is, because, it is my fate, it is your fate, it

        is our fate. It is personal and it is poignant.



        This is the face of fate that really comes out in the ancient Greek

        epics and tragedies, and even in the more modern dramas and tragedies

        such as what we see in Shakespeare, Goethe, Melville, Shelley.

        Faust's fate was that his quest for absolute power over nature would

        destroy him, and probably nature too. Ahab's fate was that the

        creature of nature that he personalized into his nemesis destroyed

        him and his ship. Once again, nature wins. Frankenstein's fate was

        that his own creation destroyed his fame, his family, and his own

        self. Frankenstein is another Faust. These tragedies are fateful,

        terrifying, horrific, and they touch in a very way that the comedy,

        the irony, of determinism cannot. Determinism only disempowers us. It

        does not, like fate, exsitentially threaten us. Determiinism is, when

        you come to think about it, just an accident, a contingency. A six

        mile wide metoer hits the earth and all life is wiped out. Is this

        fate? No. Why? Because it just happened, even though it happened to

        us. Man annihilates himself, and all life on earth, in a apocalyptic

        thermonuclear holocaust. is this just an accident? No. The amnswer

        remains no, even if the nuclear war is triggered by accident. Why?

        Because this is man's undoing of himself. Therefore, it is man;'s

        fate. Remember, that back in the good old days, what instigated the

        intercession of fate was, in almost all cases, pride, or hubris,

        man's forgetfulness that he is not the most powerful force on the

        planet, and certainly not in the universe. Even the unleashing of

        man's awesome power, now, to wage nuclear war, can only result in the

        fate of man, that man would, by his own hand, render himself extinct.

        That would be a true Darwinian oops! Not supposed to happen. But it

        can happen, and it very well might happen. It might even be fated to

        happen. None of us knows. Once we know, it is already too late.



        Fate rattles us to the very core of our being, not only individually,

        but collectively. It is a deeply disturbing thought, quite

        unsettling, and that, right there, is the main reason why

        philosophers have, since the very beginning, picked it up as one of

        their favorite thoughts to think about. We humans are morbid. And

        philosophers, especially, are probably the most morbid of all. Think

        Kierkegaard. We like scary ineluctable things like fate. Think about

        that movie, the Twelve Monkeys. No matter what he did, the holocaust

        happened anyway. There is nothing, really, that is actually care free

        about fate. The thought of fate is a thought full of care and worry,

        and plenty of self-doubt, since, in almost all cases, as is generally

        agreed to by the dramatists and poets, the tragedians, and not a few

        philosophers, our fate is something that we bring upon ourselves.



        I think that we tend to read our contemporary thought of determinism,

        which is a picture of mechanism, something that is indifferent, into

        the ancient thought of fate. But here, we read fate

        anachronistically. We miss the crucial angst that the thought of fate

        carried for the ancient dramatist and tragedian, not to mention

        plenty of actual historical figures, like Achilles (yes, there

        probably really was an Achilles, although, to be sure, he wasn't the

        son of a goddess, since, as we all know, being the moderns that we

        are, there ain't no Santa Claus and there ain't no gods or goddesses

        either), like Caesar, those whose fate became, in historical

        retrospect, one of the signs of their true greatness.



        I am into Leviathan right now. It is depressing, in that peculiarly

        Cartesian sort of way. The way things actually are, the way people

        usually are, is a picture of ugliness and despair. New Orleans,

        August 2005, simply confirms what Hobbes says. Without a strong civil

        authority to enforce law and order, we humnans quite naturally turn

        to the rule, not of law and order, but of terror and violence. There

        is more animal left in us than we would care to admit. Hobbes's

        picture of what man's state of nature might have looked like seems

        far more plausible, to me, than Rousseau's. But, then again,

        Schopenhauer has bewitched me, and I cannot yet shake that creepy

        pessimism thing that has taken hold of me for a whole year now. The

        situation is hopeless. We are collectively doomed. But, I find no

        satisfaction, either, in the daydream fantasy of going out of

        control. (So, don't worry there) There is no license to depravity in

        the midst of such a gripping pessimism. Nor is there a reprieve from

        the banal struggle in a banal kind of non-action. The Buddhism thing

        is a joke. We keep asking for break. But there is no break to be had.

        I tell you, this fate thing really sucks.



        "There's gotta be some way outta this place, said the joker to the

        thief..." Bob Dylan



        Hb3g
      • Herman B. Triplegood
        Yes. ... kind ... was ... that ... kind ... four ... as ... for ... It ... more ... whether ... eventually ... subjected ... questionable ... for ... is ...
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 28, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Yes.

          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
          >
          > "I believe that eupraxis was saying that the thought of fate is a
          kind
          > of care free thought."
          >
          > Response: It is an easy thing to do a search on old postings, but I
          was
          > commenting on Nietzsche's "Amor Fati" or love of fate. I assume
          that
          > you know the phrase in Nietzsche.
          >
          > Eupraxis aka Wil
          >
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Herman B. Triplegood <hb3g@...>
          > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 11:50 am
          > Subject: [existlist] Fate Versus Determinism
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Well, I will just throw this into the mix and see what happens. I
          >
          > read something on this list right here a while back, maybe, two or
          >
          > three weeks ago, I am not sure.
          >
          >
          >
          > I believe that eupraxis was saying that the thought of fate is a
          kind
          >
          > of care free thought.
          >
          >
          >
          > But I am having a bit of trouble with how eupraxis arrives at this
          >
          > thought of what fate is.
          >
          >
          >
          > Now, the thought of determinism is relaitvely recent. By that, I
          >
          > mean, as a thought, it probably hasn't been around for more than
          four
          >
          > or five hundred years. I know that seems like a long time to some of
          >
          > us. But, the thought of fate goes back a lot further. It goes back
          as
          >
          > far as Homer, in fact, and, right there, you are probably talking
          >
          > about almost three millennia. Fate has been around, as a thought,
          for
          >
          > a long time indeed.
          >
          >
          >
          > Now, consider these two things: what Seneca, the tutor of Nero, had
          >
          > to say about fate, and, how fate operated in Homer's Illiad.
          >
          >
          >
          > Seneca said, and here I am paraphrasing: "Fate guides the willing.
          It
          >
          > drags the rest along in chains."
          >
          >
          >
          > In Homer, fate, moira, is even beyond the gods. The gods have no
          more
          >
          > control over the operation of fate than humans do. All of us,
          whether
          >
          > we are ordinary men, heroes, like Achilles, or gods, are subject to
          >
          > this inscrutable order of fate. It really is inscrutable. It isn't a
          >
          > detrministic mechanism of causality that we may or may not
          eventually
          >
          > understand. It is totally inscrutable. There is no understanding it.
          >
          >
          >
          > The thought of fate, as it was originally thought by the Greeks, and
          >
          > was later taken up by the Romans, and taken into Shakesperean
          >
          > tragedy, carries an ineluctable emotional punch that the relatively
          >
          > more modern thought of determinism seems to lack.
          >
          >
          >
          > Everyting in nature may very well, as we conceive it to be,
          subjected
          >
          > to a srrict ddterminism of cause and effect. But, with Kant, and
          >
          > other Enlightenment thinkers, we can still say that such a thing as
          >
          > autonomy, or self-determination, is at least theoretically possible.
          >
          >
          >
          > Besides, the thought of determinism does not have that element of
          >
          > inscrutability to it that fate has. Sure, what is determined is what
          >
          > it is and we cannot, for the most part, change that, although,
          >
          > arguably, if one believes in this autonomy thing, one can,
          >
          > presumably, change one's own actions. But even that is a
          questionable
          >
          > move once you have picked up Schopenhauer or Hegel or Nietzsche and
          >
          > you seriously consider what the real relationship between motive and
          >
          > action might actually be.
          >
          >
          >
          > The thought of determinism is problematic. But so is the thought of
          >
          > freedom. And, finally, the thought of fate is problematic, but, fate
          >
          > is problematic by its very nature, in its very essence, for
          >
          > existential and personal reasons, whereas, determinism is, so to
          >
          > speak, only technically problematic.
          >
          >
          >
          > Consider Caesar. What was Caesar's destiny? To become, in his actual
          >
          > person, all of Rome. But with what coinage did Caesar have to pay
          for
          >
          > that destiny? His fate. Et tu Brute...
          >
          >
          >
          > You see what I mean? Fate packs a punch that determinism lacks. It
          is
          >
          > fate, not determinism, that truly gives me a bad case of the
          >
          > existential angst. It gives me the willies. Whereas, determinism,
          >
          > well, determinism simply bores me. Determinism is uninteresting.
          >
          > Fate, however, is fascinating. It is fascinating all the way to the
          >
          > point of being downright terrifying.
          >
          >
          >
          > If something is just determined, and that is just blind cause and
          >
          > effect, it is what it is, and either I can't really do anything
          about
          >
          > it, except, maybe, just observe it, understand it, and accept it,
          how
          >
          > could having a care have anything to do with that? But, if something
          >
          > is my fate, or your fate, or our mutual fate, that is deeply
          >
          > personal, and that is profoundly existential. We cannot help but
          care
          >
          > about what our fate is, because, it is my fate, it is your fate, it
          >
          > is our fate. It is personal and it is poignant.
          >
          >
          >
          > This is the face of fate that really comes out in the ancient Greek
          >
          > epics and tragedies, and even in the more modern dramas and
          tragedies
          >
          > such as what we see in Shakespeare, Goethe, Melville, Shelley.
          >
          > Faust's fate was that his quest for absolute power over nature would
          >
          > destroy him, and probably nature too. Ahab's fate was that the
          >
          > creature of nature that he personalized into his nemesis destroyed
          >
          > him and his ship. Once again, nature wins. Frankenstein's fate was
          >
          > that his own creation destroyed his fame, his family, and his own
          >
          > self. Frankenstein is another Faust. These tragedies are fateful,
          >
          > terrifying, horrific, and they touch in a very way that the comedy,
          >
          > the irony, of determinism cannot. Determinism only disempowers us.
          It
          >
          > does not, like fate, exsitentially threaten us. Determiinism is,
          when
          >
          > you come to think about it, just an accident, a contingency. A six
          >
          > mile wide metoer hits the earth and all life is wiped out. Is this
          >
          > fate? No. Why? Because it just happened, even though it happened to
          >
          > us. Man annihilates himself, and all life on earth, in a apocalyptic
          >
          > thermonuclear holocaust. is this just an accident? No. The amnswer
          >
          > remains no, even if the nuclear war is triggered by accident. Why?
          >
          > Because this is man's undoing of himself. Therefore, it is man;'s
          >
          > fate. Remember, that back in the good old days, what instigated the
          >
          > intercession of fate was, in almost all cases, pride, or hubris,
          >
          > man's forgetfulness that he is not the most powerful force on the
          >
          > planet, and certainly not in the universe. Even the unleashing of
          >
          > man's awesome power, now, to wage nuclear war, can only result in
          the
          >
          > fate of man, that man would, by his own hand, render himself
          extinct.
          >
          > That would be a true Darwinian oops! Not supposed to happen. But it
          >
          > can happen, and it very well might happen. It might even be fated to
          >
          > happen. None of us knows. Once we know, it is already too late.
          >
          >
          >
          > Fate rattles us to the very core of our being, not only
          individually,
          >
          > but collectively. It is a deeply disturbing thought, quite
          >
          > unsettling, and that, right there, is the main reason why
          >
          > philosophers have, since the very beginning, picked it up as one of
          >
          > their favorite thoughts to think about. We humans are morbid. And
          >
          > philosophers, especially, are probably the most morbid of all. Think
          >
          > Kierkegaard. We like scary ineluctable things like fate. Think about
          >
          > that movie, the Twelve Monkeys. No matter what he did, the holocaust
          >
          > happened anyway. There is nothing, really, that is actually care
          free
          >
          > about fate. The thought of fate is a thought full of care and worry,
          >
          > and plenty of self-doubt, since, in almost all cases, as is
          generally
          >
          > agreed to by the dramatists and poets, the tragedians, and not a few
          >
          > philosophers, our fate is something that we bring upon ourselves.
          >
          >
          >
          > I think that we tend to read our contemporary thought of
          determinism,
          >
          > which is a picture of mechanism, something that is indifferent, into
          >
          > the ancient thought of fate. But here, we read fate
          >
          > anachronistically. We miss the crucial angst that the thought of
          fate
          >
          > carried for the ancient dramatist and tragedian, not to mention
          >
          > plenty of actual historical figures, like Achilles (yes, there
          >
          > probably really was an Achilles, although, to be sure, he wasn't the
          >
          > son of a goddess, since, as we all know, being the moderns that we
          >
          > are, there ain't no Santa Claus and there ain't no gods or goddesses
          >
          > either), like Caesar, those whose fate became, in historical
          >
          > retrospect, one of the signs of their true greatness.
          >
          >
          >
          > I am into Leviathan right now. It is depressing, in that peculiarly
          >
          > Cartesian sort of way. The way things actually are, the way people
          >
          > usually are, is a picture of ugliness and despair. New Orleans,
          >
          > August 2005, simply confirms what Hobbes says. Without a strong
          civil
          >
          > authority to enforce law and order, we humnans quite naturally turn
          >
          > to the rule, not of law and order, but of terror and violence. There
          >
          > is more animal left in us than we would care to admit. Hobbes's
          >
          > picture of what man's state of nature might have looked like seems
          >
          > far more plausible, to me, than Rousseau's. But, then again,
          >
          > Schopenhauer has bewitched me, and I cannot yet shake that creepy
          >
          > pessimism thing that has taken hold of me for a whole year now. The
          >
          > situation is hopeless. We are collectively doomed. But, I find no
          >
          > satisfaction, either, in the daydream fantasy of going out of
          >
          > control. (So, don't worry there) There is no license to depravity in
          >
          > the midst of such a gripping pessimism. Nor is there a reprieve from
          >
          > the banal struggle in a banal kind of non-action. The Buddhism thing
          >
          > is a joke. We keep asking for break. But there is no break to be
          had.
          >
          > I tell you, this fate thing really sucks.
          >
          >
          >
          > "There's gotta be some way outta this place, said the joker to the
          >
          > thief..." Bob Dylan
          >
          >
          >
          > Hb3g
          >
        • jimstuart51
          Hb3g, You draw a careful distinction between the modern conception of determinism and the ancient conception of fate. I can agree with you about this
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 29, 2008
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            Hb3g,

            You draw a careful distinction between the modern conception of
            determinism and the ancient conception of fate.

            I can agree with you about this distinction, but I do not think it is
            really relevant to Nietzsche's idea of `amor fati'. I say this
            because I do not think Nietzsche thought of fate in the way the
            Ancient Greeks did.

            So I can agree with you when you write:

            << I think that we tend to read our contemporary thought of
            determinism, which is a picture of mechanism, something that is
            indifferent, into the ancient thought of fate. But here, we read fate
            anachronistically. We miss the crucial angst that the thought of fate
            carried for the ancient dramatist and tragedian, not to mention
            plenty of actual historical figures, like Achilles … >>

            So, yes, the Ancient Greeks, with their tragic outlook on life,
            influenced by the writings of Homer and their contemporary
            dramatists, felt a certain angst when considering their own fates.
            But Nietzsche was very different from the morbid Greeks, and the
            morbid Kierkegaard and the morbid Schopenhauer. Nietzsche was the
            very opposite of morbid. He welcomed fate with open and joyous arms.
            He rejoiced in the so-called tragedy of life – he loved life exactly
            the way it was, whilst the Ancient Greeks, Kierkegaard and
            Schopenhauer wished that life was different. The Ancient Greeks and
            Schopenhauer cursed their fate, Nietzsche rejoiced in his fate to the
            extent of willing its eternal recurrence.

            Here are two passages where Nietzsche expresses this view:

            "I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary
            in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful.
            Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war
            against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to
            accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And
            all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer."
            (Gay Science, Book 4, Section 276)

            "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one
            wants nothing to be other than it is, not in the future, not in the
            past, not in all eternity. Not merely to endure that which happens of
            necessity, still less to dissemble it – all idealism is
            untruthfulness in the face of necessity – but to love it." (EH,
            Hollingdale, 68)

            So I agree with Wil's assessment: For Nietzsche, the thought of fate
            is a kind of care free thought. Nietzsche says `Yes' to the way
            things have been, are and will be. He is not concerned about the
            future, as he is happy to accept and embrace whatever will come to
            pass.

            He also claimed not to be concerned about the suffering in the world.
            He was distrustful of those who claimed to want to change the world
            for the better.

            Jim
          • Herman B. Triplegood
            Hi Jim: The only problem I have with the care free angle on amor fati is that care free seems to be kind of indifferent. But, Nietzsche s expression of
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 29, 2008
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              Hi Jim:

              The only problem I have with the "care free" angle on amor fati is
              that "care free" seems to be kind of indifferent. But, Nietzsche's
              expression of amor fati is certainly not indifferent, it is
              positively affirmative.

              If, by "care free" one means "freedom from one's cares, in spite of
              the fact that one still has them," yes, I can go there. But that
              isn't really the normal meaning of "care free" in its everyday usage.

              Revisit the passage in Zarathustra where the ugliest man in the world
              gives voice to the thought of the eternal return. The pathos in this
              passage, I think, clearly shows that it is anything but indifferent,
              and, for that reason, I think, "care free" kind of misses the point
              of it.

              But, I know what you are driving at, and it is absolutely correct.
              Nietzsche is beyond pessimism. He is beyond morbid Schopenhauer,
              beyond morbidity itself. This cannot be indifference, and so, to my
              mind, it cannot really be "care free" in the normal sense. Exuberant?
              You bet. Affirmative? Right on. Stubborn in the face of adversity? No
              doubt about it.

              Nietzsche is probably the profoundest stoic I have ever read, but, he
              is stoic in a deeply affirmative sense, not in a sense of being
              indifferent. Think about Seneca's epigram. The willing one could not
              actually be guided by his fate, if he were, in fact, just indifferent
              to it. It is the Epicurean, not the Stoic, who is indifferent to this
              fate.

              But, maybe this is just my axe to grind, right here. I am a very pro-
              stoic kind of guy, and I tend to believe that just about all
              philosophers, even the existentialist ones, even Ayn Rand, are really
              just stoics deep down inside. Stoicism is, really, a pervasive
              psychological orientation, and it is very characteristic of our
              modernity. The thing that is missed, I think, is that, on a
              superficial reading of the orientation, stoicism is incorrectly
              characterized as just being emotionally detached, or indifferent. You
              know, the typical Mr. Spock thing, before he was lost in the second
              movie, and found in the third movie. But, that unemotional detachment
              picture is a very superficial reading of stoicism. Boethius was one
              of the arch-stoics, but, one certainly does not get this feeling of
              emotional detachment from his Consolation of Philosophy. It is full
              of passion. Philosophy itself is personified as a woman, a goddess.
              I, personally, imagine Lady Philosophy to be not just beatific, not
              only beautiful, but even erotic, in fact, downright seductive. There
              is emotional resolution, there in Boethius, yes, but not detachment.
              I see basically the same kind of psychodynamic in Nietzsche as I see
              in Boethius. It is fully passionate, but deeply stoic; therefore, it
              is truly philosophical. Both men were imprisoned. Boethius was really
              and truly thrown into prison. Nietzsche was imprisoned within his
              solitude, and his sickness. Both men found passion in their reason.
              Both men embraced their fate, and positively affirmed it. Neither man
              was indifferent to his predicament.

              Hb3g

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Hb3g,
              >
              > You draw a careful distinction between the modern conception of
              > determinism and the ancient conception of fate.
              >
              > I can agree with you about this distinction, but I do not think it
              is
              > really relevant to Nietzsche's idea of `amor fati'. I say this
              > because I do not think Nietzsche thought of fate in the way the
              > Ancient Greeks did.
              >
              > So I can agree with you when you write:
              >
              > << I think that we tend to read our contemporary thought of
              > determinism, which is a picture of mechanism, something that is
              > indifferent, into the ancient thought of fate. But here, we read
              fate
              > anachronistically. We miss the crucial angst that the thought of
              fate
              > carried for the ancient dramatist and tragedian, not to mention
              > plenty of actual historical figures, like Achilles … >>
              >
              > So, yes, the Ancient Greeks, with their tragic outlook on life,
              > influenced by the writings of Homer and their contemporary
              > dramatists, felt a certain angst when considering their own fates.
              > But Nietzsche was very different from the morbid Greeks, and the
              > morbid Kierkegaard and the morbid Schopenhauer. Nietzsche was the
              > very opposite of morbid. He welcomed fate with open and joyous
              arms.
              > He rejoiced in the so-called tragedy of life – he loved life
              exactly
              > the way it was, whilst the Ancient Greeks, Kierkegaard and
              > Schopenhauer wished that life was different. The Ancient Greeks and
              > Schopenhauer cursed their fate, Nietzsche rejoiced in his fate to
              the
              > extent of willing its eternal recurrence.
              >
              > Here are two passages where Nietzsche expresses this view:
              >
              > "I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is
              necessary
              > in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful.
              > Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage
              war
              > against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want
              to
              > accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation.
              And
              > all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-
              sayer."
              > (Gay Science, Book 4, Section 276)
              >
              > "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one
              > wants nothing to be other than it is, not in the future, not in the
              > past, not in all eternity. Not merely to endure that which happens
              of
              > necessity, still less to dissemble it – all idealism is
              > untruthfulness in the face of necessity – but to love it." (EH,
              > Hollingdale, 68)
              >
              > So I agree with Wil's assessment: For Nietzsche, the thought of
              fate
              > is a kind of care free thought. Nietzsche says `Yes' to the way
              > things have been, are and will be. He is not concerned about the
              > future, as he is happy to accept and embrace whatever will come to
              > pass.
              >
              > He also claimed not to be concerned about the suffering in the
              world.
              > He was distrustful of those who claimed to want to change the world
              > for the better.
              >
              > Jim
              >
            • mary.jo11
              How fortunate for you. Mary Herman B. Triplegood wrote: But, maybe this is just my axe to grind, right here. I am a very pro- stoic kind of guy,
              Message 6 of 9 , May 1, 2008
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                How fortunate for you.

                Mary

                "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...> wrote:

                But, maybe this is just my axe to grind, right here. I am a very pro-
                stoic kind of guy, and I tend to believe that just about all
                philosophers, even the existentialist ones, even Ayn Rand, are really
                just stoics deep down inside. Stoicism is, really, a pervasive
                psychological orientation, and it is very characteristic of our
                modernity.
              • bhvwd
                ... of The Scream . Upon mounting it on the wall with all the other masks from all over the western hemisphere, I noticed it was one of the two non stoic
                Message 7 of 9 , May 1, 2008
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                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "mary.jo11" <ophiuchus@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > How fortunate for you.
                  >
                  > Mary
                  > Mary, We just returned from California and purchased a wall mask
                  of " The Scream". Upon mounting it on the wall with all the other
                  masks from all over the western hemisphere, I noticed it was one of
                  the two non stoic representations. The other highly animated mask was a
                  Mexican modern mask. All the rest were highly stoic with fixed
                  expressions of centered passivity.
                  I do not put this forth as science but as observation as the
                  selections were only rough approximations of what we thought
                  representative of the peoples we have encountered in our travels. It
                  seems the more ancient the culture of the mask the more stoney the
                  face. Only the very modern Mexican and the supposed" existential
                  scream " deviated from the fixed faced stoics. I do not attempt
                  stoicism and the expression of my existential mood is highly motovated.
                  If our art mirrors our life we existentialists are wildly expressive
                  relative to our older philosophical predecissors. I think we are the
                  first philosophy to identify our situation as dire and horrifying. We
                  do not que up ,all stone faced. Bill
                  > "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
                  >
                  > But, maybe this is just my axe to grind, right here. I am a very pro-
                  > stoic kind of guy, and I tend to believe that just about all
                  > philosophers, even the existentialist ones, even Ayn Rand, are really
                  > just stoics deep down inside. Stoicism is, really, a pervasive
                  > psychological orientation, and it is very characteristic of our
                  > modernity.
                  >
                • jimstuart51
                  Hb3g, Yes, it all depends what one takes `care free to mean. I also think it matters how one interprets `being indifferent . I think there is one sense in
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 1, 2008
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                    Hb3g,

                    Yes, it all depends what one takes `care free' to mean.

                    I also think it matters how one interprets `being indifferent'. I
                    think there is one sense in which Nietzsche was not indifferent to
                    existence, and another sense in which he was indifferent to existence.

                    Like you say, he was not indifferent to existence in the sense that
                    he passionately said `yes' to existence, rejoicing in the fact that
                    he was alive and the world was the way it was.

                    However, in another sense, I would say that he was indifferent to
                    existence in that he had no desire to change things. (He also had no
                    desire to try to stop other people trying to change things.) He did
                    not wrestle with his own fate, he was happy with the way things were.

                    So, in sum, Nietzsche was not indifferent to existence as a whole -
                    as you say he positively affirmed existence with a great passion. He
                    was, however, indifferent to the details of existence – he was not a
                    person to go out of his way to bring about change. He seemed
                    remarkably indifferent to the lives of other people.

                    One other point: You write "Nietzsche was imprisoned within his own
                    solitude, and his sickness." I think this is misleading. Nietzsche
                    did not choose to suffer from ill health, but he certainly did choose
                    to live his middle years (up until his breakdown) in solitude. So
                    perhaps at times, Nietzsche was imprisoned by his ill health, but I
                    do not think his solitude constituted a prison in any sense.

                    But these are fairly minor points. I think that in the main we agree
                    in our interpretations of Nietzsche.

                    Jim
                  • mary.jo11
                    ... I think we are the first philosophy to identify our situation as dire and horrifying. We do not que up ,all stone faced. Bill Indeed. I see existentialism
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 1, 2008
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                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "bhvwd" <v.valleywestdental@...> wrote:

                      I think we are the first philosophy to identify our situation as dire
                      and horrifying. We do not que up ,all stone faced. Bill

                      Indeed. I see existentialism as the antithesis of stoicism, which is
                      little more than the will to ignorance of anything beyond our local
                      situation.

                      Mary
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