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Re: [existlist] The absurd from a theistic point of view; there-is-hope

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  • 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 1 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.
      >




      **************
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    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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