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The absurd from a theistic point of view; there-is-hope

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  • a_living_breathing_being
    Well, for me I value meaning at the very get-go, I find it to be a central aspect of living; integral to all my hopes and dreams. As to whether meaning is
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 31, 2008
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      Well, for me I value meaning at the very get-go, I find it to be a
      central aspect of living; integral to all my hopes and dreams. As to
      whether meaning is part of the universal fabric, I cannot say yes for
      sure, but I speculate that there is so much we do not understand
      about the universe to dogmatically rule it out altogether; as so many
      seem to do here. I do not have a rational defence for claiming
      intrinsic meaning, but rather speculate that there is a transcendent
      dimension beyond time and space; but I'll admit, this is a pure leap
      of speculation and not a statement of fact at all. I ponder higher
      intelligence, and this become very important to me. Yet I know there
      are things I do not understand and cannot explain; a deep sense of
      mystery; yet, all of this feeds my forward-sense-of-trust, my hopes
      and my longings.

      Further, if it is true that as-one-being-for-myself, I have the
      amazing potential to create my own reality, and even if it is not
      essential that I do so, the freedom to imbue reality still lies
      within me; and that is what I do, even if others are caught in the
      trap of despair, or oblivious, or when nihilist tendency that come
      out of existentialism run on about there being no meaning 'at all'; I
      don't know that to be true.

      So really, it does not matter if seeking meaning is a pointless
      activity to someone else, because it is something 'I've-decide-to-do-
      for-myself' as I create my own reality; anyway, the pursuit itself
      keeps me in a state of aliveness and awareness, in excitement,
      hopeful, happy, and expectant; so valuing meaning at every point of
      possibility is in itself full of great worth; and the sub/unconscious
      part of me is reawakened, moving me towards discovery. I am inspired
      toward a bright kind of opinion, respect for life and interest in
      everything around me; bring about an ecstasis known to the ancient
      Greeks as 'glory'; where you are beyond yourself, outside yourself.

      Yet, in the limited act of constructing meaning, I believe that even
      atheist will agree that it is not entirely a worthless enterprise;
      but renders even to them a sense of illusory importance as they
      complete their days upon the earth as insignificant being. (paradox)

      And one last thought; in the ecstasis of doxa, the absurd can
      evaporate into pure wonder; what transcends meaning is not some
      mesmerizing and spellbound conceptual subjectivity about the absurd,
      but it's binary opposite as well - the sublime.

      So my friends, do not get stuck in your perceptual preoccupations
      with negation, lack, meaninglessness, nothingness, forelorness,
      anxiety, fear, despair, angst and self pity; but turn to the clear
      provisional path of beauty, hope, love, remembering, and the positive
      opportunity to make a difference in the world you are of.
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      Oh brother! WIl In a message dated 8/1/08 12:39:41 AM, a_living_breathing_being@yahoo.com ... ************** Get fantasy football with free live scoring. Sign
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 1, 2008
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        Oh brother!

        WIl

        In a message dated 8/1/08 12:39:41 AM, a_living_breathing_being@...
        writes:


        > Well, for me I value meaning at the very get-go, I find it to be a
        > central aspect of living; integral to all my hopes and dreams. As to
        > whether meaning is part of the universal fabric, I cannot say yes for
        > sure, but I speculate that there is so much we do not understand
        > about the universe to dogmatically rule it out altogether; as so many
        > seem to do here. I do not have a rational defence for claiming
        > intrinsic meaning, but rather speculate that there is a transcendent
        > dimension beyond time and space; but I'll admit, this is a pure leap
        > of speculation and not a statement of fact at all. I ponder higher
        > intelligence, and this become very important to me. Yet I know there
        > are things I do not understand and cannot explain; a deep sense of
        > mystery; yet, all of this feeds my forward-sense- mystery; yet, all
        > and my longings.
        >
        > Further, if it is true that as-one-being- Further, if it is true
        > amazing potential to create my own reality, and even if it is not
        > essential that I do so, the freedom to imbue reality still lies
        > within me; and that is what I do, even if others are caught in the
        > trap of despair, or oblivious, or when nihilist tendency that come
        > out of existentialism run on about there being no meaning 'at all'; I
        > don't know that to be true.
        >
        > So really, it does not matter if seeking meaning is a pointless
        > activity to someone else, because it is something 'I've-decide- activ
        > for-myself' as I create my own reality; anyway, the pursuit itself
        > keeps me in a state of aliveness and awareness, in excitement,
        > hopeful, happy, and expectant; so valuing meaning at every point of
        > possibility is in itself full of great worth; and the sub/unconscious
        > part of me is reawakened, moving me towards discovery. I am inspired
        > toward a bright kind of opinion, respect for life and interest in
        > everything around me; bring about an ecstasis known to the ancient
        > Greeks as 'glory'; where you are beyond yourself, outside yourself.
        >
        > Yet, in the limited act of constructing meaning, I believe that even
        > atheist will agree that it is not entirely a worthless enterprise;
        > but renders even to them a sense of illusory importance as they
        > complete their days upon the earth as insignificant being. (paradox)
        >
        > And one last thought; in the ecstasis of doxa, the absurd can
        > evaporate into pure wonder; what transcends meaning is not some
        > mesmerizing and spellbound conceptual subjectivity about the absurd,
        > but it's binary opposite as well - the sublime.
        >
        > So my friends, do not get stuck in your perceptual preoccupations
        > with negation, lack, meaninglessness, nothingness, forelorness,
        > anxiety, fear, despair, angst and self pity; but turn to the clear
        > provisional path of beauty, hope, love, remembering, and the positive
        > opportunity to make a difference in the world you are of.
        >




        **************
        Get fantasy football with free live scoring. Sign up for
        FanHouse Fantasy Football today.

        (http://www.fanhouse.com/fantasyaffair?ncid=aolspr00050000000020)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Aija Veldre Beldavs
        ... sometimes i go to the local UU fellowship or church. some unitarian universalists identify themselves as Christians, others are atheists, agnostics, or
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 1, 2008
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          a_living_breathing_being:

          > So really, it does not matter if seeking meaning is a pointless
          > activity to someone else, because it is something 'I've-decide-to-do-
          > for-myself' as I create my own reality; anyway, the pursuit itself
          > keeps me in a state of aliveness and awareness, in excitement,
          > hopeful, happy, and expectant; so valuing meaning at every point of
          > possibility is in itself full of great worth; and the sub/unconscious
          > part of me is reawakened, moving me towards discovery. I am inspired
          > toward a bright kind of opinion, respect for life and interest in
          > everything around me; bring about an ecstasis known to the ancient
          > Greeks as 'glory'; where you are beyond yourself, outside yourself.

          > And one last thought; in the ecstasis of doxa, the absurd can
          > evaporate into pure wonder; what transcends meaning is not some
          > mesmerizing and spellbound conceptual subjectivity about the absurd,
          > but it's binary opposite as well - the sublime.

          sometimes i go to the local UU fellowship or church. some unitarian
          universalists identify themselves as Christians, others are atheists,
          agnostics, or have roots or affinity with other religions including Far
          Eastern, pagan, "refugees" from mainstream western religions. the
          perceived commonality is a need for spiritual togetherness and sharing.

          a very shaken family close to me is a member of the Knoxville UU church
          where last Sunday a gunman came in and shot seven people, killing two,
          while children were putting on the play "Annie." at the candlelight
          vigils held all over the country, representatives from other faiths came
          to express support, and the children who were in the play sang
          "Tomorrow." uu faith is nonprescriptive and non-dogmatic and some
          participate in interfaith councils.

          the indigenous (if you will neo-pagan although it is NOT New Age, having
          indefinitely old and non-western roots) baltic spiritual way is also a
          way rather than faith - no enforceable prescriptive beliefs or dogma.
          the texts used are seen as =poetry constructed by humans= (therefore not
          authoritative but true for the singer and anyone who relates to the
          song) commenting on nature, including human nature.

          daina-songs as collected in the past centuries were created and sung
          mostly by women. the perspective is biased strongly to anti-violence,
          acceptance (not passive or aggressive, but assertive) of rhythms of life
          and death of their group within nature and in relation to others, and
          inherently pro-tolerance in that everything is a part of diverse nature.
          meaning is seen in the smallest of things, a blade of grass or drop of
          water on it, not only the sky. animals associated with witchcraft or the
          devil in the medieval west, such as snakes and toads, are not seen as
          disgusting or evil, but as an emanations of nature. the deities are
          poetry for the forces and laws of nature, neither absolutely good nor
          bad, but existing and situational.

          a uu or a baltic pagan may certainly identify with existentialism, or
          aspects of it. however, people do not live by one system of philosophy
          alone to say nothing of practice. i at least would find helpful if
          either classic existentialists might be in imaginary dialogue with say
          physicist David Bohm or neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, or (i think even
          better) a living existentialist would go on further by updating to
          current findings in the natural (such as neurobiology) or social
          sciences (such as psychology or anthropology), systems of thought with
          impact today.

          this, for instance, is what a retired professor of neurobiology of
          Estonian roots sympathetic to indigenous nature religions did two weeks
          ago at the local UU church by sharing his own experiences: as a science
          skeptic he described and situated his personal years of yogi training
          and summarized what may be relevant in other knowledge systems today.
          (haven't asked permission to share more specifics on this list.)

          aija
        • Aija Veldre Beldavs
          at random, just pulling something out of today s NYT what a known journalist came to learn from his background in natural farming that causes him to be against
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 1, 2008
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            at random, just pulling something out of today's NYT what a known
            journalist came to learn from his background in natural farming that
            causes him to be against factory farming of living beings with feelings:

            "Pigs were more troubling because of their unforgettable characters and
            obvious intelligence. To this day, when tucking into a pork chop, I
            always feel as if it is my intellectual equal."

            "The 150 geese knew that something dreadful was happening and would
            cower in a far corner of the barn, and run away in terror as I
            approached. Then I would grab one and carry it away as it screeched and
            struggled in my arms.

            Very often, one goose would bravely step away from the panicked flock
            and walk tremulously toward me. It would be the mate of the one I had
            caught, male or female, and it would step right up to me, protesting
            pitifully. It would be frightened out of its wits, but still determined
            to stand with and comfort its lover."

            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/31/opinion/31kristof.html

            aija
          • a_living_breathing_being
            Dear Aija Veldre Beldavs, How utterly beautiful does this writer write, how gentle; I am envious and I am touched by it. A.L.B.B.
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 1, 2008
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              Dear Aija Veldre Beldavs,

              How utterly beautiful does this writer write, how gentle; I am envious
              and I am touched by it. A.L.B.B.
              >
              >
              > at random, just pulling something out of today's NYT what a known
              > journalist came to learn from his background in natural farming that
              > causes him to be against factory farming of living beings with feelings:
              >
              > "Pigs were more troubling because of their unforgettable characters and
              > obvious intelligence. To this day, when tucking into a pork chop, I
              > always feel as if it is my intellectual equal."
              >
              > "The 150 geese knew that something dreadful was happening and would
              > cower in a far corner of the barn, and run away in terror as I
              > approached. Then I would grab one and carry it away as it screeched and
              > struggled in my arms.
              >
              > Very often, one goose would bravely step away from the panicked flock
              > and walk tremulously toward me. It would be the mate of the one I had
              > caught, male or female, and it would step right up to me, protesting
              > pitifully. It would be frightened out of its wits, but still determined
              > to stand with and comfort its lover."
              >
              > http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/31/opinion/31kristof.html
              >
              > aija
              >
            • Knott
              ... Why is it interesting to make a difference ? I wonder if making one make you just more-or-less leave an imprint like a dirty, greasy fingerprint on a
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 3, 2008
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                > So my friends, do not get stuck in your perceptual preoccupations
                > with negation, lack, meaninglessness, nothingness, forelorness,
                > anxiety, fear, despair, angst and self pity; but turn to the clear
                > provisional path of beauty, hope, love, remembering, and the positive
                > opportunity to make a difference in the world you are of.

                Why is it interesting to "make a difference"? I wonder if making one
                make you just more-or-less leave an imprint like a dirty, greasy
                fingerprint on a glass, than something admirable...like something I
                cannot think of or define.

                You see, I think there is, as you say in this missive something and
                mostly everything we cannot understand, and that really the pursuit of
                understanding it, is, currently, absurd. I am not saying one should
                stop, but that certainly one should admit to making a minimalist notch
                in the notion of the idea that they have furthered the pursuit than
                that they have made a monumental notch -- be they Albert Einstein or
                Alfred E. Newman...and some the more realistic claim that they've made
                no notch at all...or can't really define what the notch looks like.

                I am not sure beauty is bound to "making a difference" any more than
                beauty is bound to something being universally 'beautiful'. I put less
                and less hope in what communally seems to be a vision for what should
                be, than a vision for what simply seems right, good, pleasing, faint,
                placid, simple, benign, and 'interesting'.

                Knott E. Newman, PhDuh
              • Jewel
                ... Why is it interesting to make a difference ? I wonder if making one make you just more-or-less leave an imprint like a dirty, greasy fingerprint on a
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 4, 2008
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                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Knott" <knott12@...> wrote:

                  Why is it interesting to "make a difference"? I wonder if making one
                  make you just more-or-less leave an imprint like a dirty, greasy
                  fingerprint on a glass, than something admirable...like something I
                  cannot think of or define.

                  You see, I think there is, as you say in this missive something and
                  mostly everything we cannot understand, and that really the pursuit of
                  understanding it, is, currently, absurd. I am not saying one should
                  stop, but that certainly one should admit to making a minimalist notch
                  in the notion of the idea that they have furthered the pursuit than
                  that they have made a monumental notch -- be they Albert Einstein or
                  Alfred E. Newman...and some the more realistic claim that they've made
                  no notch at all...or can't really define what the notch looks like.

                  I am not sure beauty is bound to "making a difference" any more than
                  beauty is bound to something being universally 'beautiful'. I put less
                  and less hope in what communally seems to be a vision for what should
                  be, than a vision for what simply seems right, good, pleasing, faint,
                  placid, simple, benign, and 'interesting'.
                  **********

                  Your perspective is very interesting and traditionally relevant to
                  absurd/existentialism/nihilism discussion. And certainly I don't want
                  to be told I should make a difference. How do we gauge it? Duration?
                  What it encourages or defeats? Are we actually helping with our ideas
                  and actions? Can we act or not act with/out impunity? What are clean
                  hands?

                  In my own way of thinking, I find that to "know" what constitutes
                  "difference" is in several ways analogous to the no-hair theorem of
                  physicist John Wheeler. We can't determine which specific type of star
                  became the black hole. It seems to be there but it looks like nothing.

                  Jewel
                • bartleyoreg@aol.com
                  the first thing I think of when reading these posts, what does make a difference mean?? I would like to get a little personal when talking about this.? I am a
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 4, 2008
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                    the first thing I think of when reading these posts, what does make a difference mean?? I would like to get a little personal when talking about this.? I am a hospice volunteer, the other day when working at a hospice residential home, the mother of a patient came up to me, with tears in her eyes to thank me for being there.? I had done nothing at all with the young man that is dying. Yet this woman was it seems to me so graceful that strangers were doing what they could to help ease the suffering of her son and to listen to her pain that she had to thank me.? This morning a co-worker is in between apartments, she has to stay with her daughter until the new place is ready for her.? She is very unhappy about this for a number of reasons.? I offer her my place for a week, since I will be out of town.? Again she was so graceful.? Again I did nothing.? So are acts of small kindness differences in the world, are they absurd and meaningless?? There are times that existentialism seems to argue that small acts of kindness are absurd if we think there meaningful.?? But then I am only a middle brow in thinking.
                    Michael ?


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Jewel <s1syfuss_stone@...>
                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 9:06 am
                    Subject: [existlist] making a difference?






                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Knott" <knott12@...> wrote:

                    Why is it interesting to "make a difference"? I wonder if making one
                    make you just more-or-less leave an imprint like a dirty, greasy
                    fingerprint on a glass, than something admirable...like something I
                    cannot think of or define.

                    You see, I think there is, as you say in this missive something and
                    mostly everything we cannot understand, and that really the pursuit of
                    understanding it, is, currently, absurd. I am not saying one should
                    stop, but that certainly one should admit to making a minimalist notch
                    in the notion of the idea that they have furthered the pursuit than
                    that they have made a monumental notch -- be they Albert Einstein or
                    Alfred E. Newman...and some the more realistic claim that they've made
                    no notch at all...or can't really define what the notch looks like.

                    I am not sure beauty is bound to "making a difference" any more than
                    beauty is bound to something being universally 'beautiful'. I put less
                    and less hope in what communally seems to be a vision for what should
                    be, than a vision for what simply seems right, good, pleasing, faint,
                    placid, simple, benign, and 'interesting'.
                    **********

                    Your perspective is very interesting and traditionally relevant to
                    absurd/existentialism/nihilism discussion. And certainly I don't want
                    to be told I should make a difference. How do we gauge it? Duration?
                    What it encourages or defeats? Are we actually helping with our ideas
                    and actions? Can we act or not act with/out impunity? What are clean
                    hands?

                    In my own way of thinking, I find that to "know" what constitutes
                    "difference" is in several ways analogous to the no-hair theorem of
                    physicist John Wheeler. We can't determine which specific type of star
                    became the black hole. It seems to be there but it looks like nothing.

                    Jewel






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Exist List Moderator
                    ... I dislike the whole Make a Difference sloganeering approach to life. It s right up there with WWJD and Thousand Points of Light as sources for
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 4, 2008
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                      On Aug 04, 2008, at 11:06, Jewel wrote:

                      > Your perspective is very interesting and traditionally relevant to
                      > absurd/existentialism/nihilism discussion. And certainly I don't want
                      > to be told I should make a difference. How do we gauge it? Duration?
                      > What it encourages or defeats? Are we actually helping with our ideas
                      > and actions? Can we act or not act with/out impunity? What are clean
                      > hands?


                      I dislike the whole "Make a Difference" sloganeering approach to life.
                      It's right up there with "WWJD" and "Thousand Points of Light" as
                      sources for meaning.

                      I've been told I must enjoy what I do, in terms of "making a
                      difference" in the lives of students, parents, and educators. I
                      suppose there's some merit to what I do, but in all seriousness I
                      study what interests me and simply hope it interests a few other
                      people. I don't try to make people love what I study and I don't
                      honestly believe it matters in a universal sense -- it matters to me,
                      and me alone.

                      Sure, it's interesting to ponder my external influence on lives. But,
                      it is not my primary drive. Much like House or Sherlock Holmes, it is
                      the puzzle I love. If others benefit from my curious nature, so be it.

                      - 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
                    • louise
                      ... a difference mean?? I would like to get a little personal when talking about this.? I am a hospice volunteer, the other day when working at a hospice
                      Message 10 of 10 , Aug 10, 2008
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                        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, bartleyoreg@... wrote:
                        >
                        > the first thing I think of when reading these posts, what does make
                        a difference mean?? I would like to get a little personal when
                        talking about this.? I am a hospice volunteer, the other day when
                        working at a hospice residential home, the mother of a patient came
                        up to me, with tears in her eyes to thank me for being there.? I had
                        done nothing at all with the young man that is dying. Yet this woman
                        was it seems to me so graceful that strangers were doing what they
                        could to help ease the suffering of her son and to listen to her pain
                        that she had to thank me.? This morning a co-worker is in between
                        apartments, she has to stay with her daughter until the new place is
                        ready for her.? She is very unhappy about this for a number of
                        reasons.? I offer her my place for a week, since I will be out of
                        town.? Again she was so graceful.? Again I did nothing.? So are acts
                        of small kindness differences in the world, are they absurd and
                        meaningless?? There are times that existentialism seems to argue that
                        small acts of kindness are absurd if we think there meaningful.?? But
                        then I am only a middle brow in thinking.
                        > Michael ?

                        Michael,
                        Some days have passed since you first sent this post, which has such
                        a quiet honesty amid the intellectual ferment and careful
                        deliberations which often prevail at the list, and set a not entirely
                        gentle tone, that I should like to thank you for the expressiveness.
                        This morning I was reading in Plato's dialogues, and came across a
                        passage in the "Theaetetus", explaining to me what seemed like the
                        same insights offered by Nietzsche, but in a more quietly
                        contemplative mode, that I could more readily 'hear', concerning how
                        some ways of thinking are better, not more true. Absurdity I suspect
                        emerges from the condition of our bodies, our health in the broadest
                        sense, which the mind then interprets in a creative or abstract
                        fashion, encouraging or surrendering the will, to go on with courage,
                        or to succumb, in various ways. I think the acts of small kindness
                        you describe are absolutely meaningful, because subjective, and
                        unforced.
                        Louise
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