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  • Rose Lieberman
    Hello. My name is Rose, I m 60, I live in rural upstate New York. I have no background in philosophy. My first exposure to existentialism was in catholic
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 3, 2008
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      Hello. My name is Rose, I'm 60, I live in rural upstate New York.

      I have no background in philosophy. My first exposure to existentialism was in catholic high school and I immediately read The Plague. Not a clue! But there was something about existentialism that struck a chord. Now, more than a few decades later, I am just beginning to understand what that chord was.

      And before anyone gets all excited, I know being depressed or suffering from depression doesn't make one an existentialist, but I do believe that my longstanding depression - now pretty much history - was not just a biochemical process. It was also a reflection of the deepening awareness of the disparity between the romanticised propaganda I was raised in and what, for me, was real. I do believe a sort of depression follows when one doesn't have the tools to deal with that epiphany, or even the academic knowledge to give one the words.

      In any event, here I am, at 60, finally understanding certain things about myself, about my perceptions, and above all, the driving force of reason or rationality that's been the source of dread and burgeoning sense of freedom - to use, perhaps incorrectly, some of the words I'm coming across in investigating existentialism.

      On another note, I looked at this group's FAQ, in the definitions section and I have two comments or suggestions. If they are inappropriate, please help me understand. That's what I'm here for, after all.

      1. Under nihilism, perhaps at the end of that definition, you could put "Compare anarchy." Because it sounded like anarchy to me and then when I went to anarchy, it pretty much sounded the same as nihilism.

      2. Under nausea, could you define within the explanation of nausea, the word solipsistic, or, perhaps, add the word solipsism to the lexicon.

      QUESTION: Oh, and could you please explain what solipsism is to me. My Collegiate dictionary isn't helping.

      QUESTION: Also, if anyone could suggest some "easy" forays into learning more about existentialism and nihilism and, perhaps, philosophy, in general.

      Even though I am out of my depth in this group, I'm glad to be here.

      Rose

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      Rose, Hello. Another recovering Catholic. That s always good to see. Solipsism is sometimes a hot issue here. We have a prodigal member by the name of Knott
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 3, 2008
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        Rose,

        Hello. Another recovering Catholic. That's always good to see.

        Solipsism is sometimes a hot issue here. We have a prodigal member by the name of Knott who represents that position, or thinks that he does. Solipsism is the result of a radical skepticism such that all that one affirms as real is oneself. The problems with such a position are many.

        Nausea is the reaction one often has when confronting the Real. It is one of those basic experiences in the wake of the realization that one is a natural object, that we are stuff, a meal to microbes. Religion and some philosophy represses that apprehension and substitutes for its 'finite ubiquity' an "other-worldly" realm of permanence and succor, the transcendent, the Ideal World. The moment when I first understood the ramifications of Heidegger's Being and Time resulted in several moments of dry heaving (fortunately it was before lunch). Heidegger exploited the radically-dismal in order to render Being as a saving concept. A shameless motivation, if you ask me. Just another want-to-be priest, he.

        Nihilism, in the sense spoken about by Nietzsche and those after him, is a reaction to the implausibility of God which rejects ALL meaning as well, almost in an act of spite. That is why Nietzsche says that Christianity was a poison. But nihilism is also the result of system-building atop its own repression. Thus modern religion is all the more nihilistic the more it tries to convince itself that it still matters.

        Wil







        -----Original Message-----
        From: Rose Lieberman <lapis@...>
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, 3 Oct 2008 10:20 am
        Subject: [existlist] New to Group

























        Hello. My name is Rose, I'm 60, I live in rural upstate New York.



        I have no background in philosophy. My first exposure to existentialism was in catholic high school and I immediately read The Plague. Not a clue! But there was something about existentialism that struck a chord. Now, more than a few decades later, I am just beginning to understand what that chord was.



        And before anyone gets all excited, I know being depressed or suffering from depression doesn't make one an existentialist, but I do believe that my longstanding depression - now pretty much history - was not just a biochemical process. It was also a reflection of the deepening awareness of the disparity between the romanticised propaganda I was raised in and what, for me, was real. I do believe a sort of depression follows when one doesn't have the tools to deal with that epiphany, or even the academic knowledge to give one the words.



        In any event, here I am, at 60, finally understanding certain things about myself, about my perceptions, and above all, the driving force of reason or rationality that's been the source of dread and burgeoning sense of freedom - to use, perhaps incorrectly, some of the words I'm coming across in investigating existentialism.



        On another note, I looked at this group's FAQ, in the definitions section and I have two comments or suggestions. If they are inappropriate, please help me understand. That's what I'm here for, after all.



        1. Under nihilism, perhaps at the end of that definition, you could put "Compare anarchy." Because it sounded like anarchy to me and then when I went to anarchy, it pretty much sounded the same as nihilism.



        2. Under nausea, could you define within the explanation of nausea, the word solipsistic, or, perhaps, add the word solipsism to the lexicon.



        QUESTION: Oh, and could you please explain what solipsism is to me. My Collegiate dictionary isn't helping.



        QUESTION: Also, if anyone could suggest some "easy" forays into learning more about existentialism and nihilism and, perhaps, philosophy, in general.



        Even though I am out of my depth in this group, I'm glad to be here.



        Rose



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






















        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Rose Lieberman
        Wil, thanks for all that. I actually almost understood it all. (Almost because I m still not sure about solipsistic. Are you saying that the individual
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 3, 2008
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          Wil, thanks for all that. I actually almost understood it all. (Almost because I'm still not sure about solipsistic. Are you saying that the individual believes self is real and everything and everyone an illusion? Or, self is the only vehicle for experience and outside of one's own experience we can know nothing, so therefore I and whatever I experience are the only real things in the universe?)

          I definitely understand the "nausea" as a reaction to the real. I've experienced it myself. Then a long silence, a grieving sort of crying jag, more silence, then tv, then Ben & Jerry's! Then struggling to let more things go.

          Heidegger sounds like one of the Jehovah's Witnesses who came by my door one day. I made some polite comment about how I saw things and his reaction was: "But aren't you afraid of spending eternity in hell?" And of course my response argued whether that was the way god wanted me - a scared faithless believer? And they both looked at each other and almost in concert agreed that they would rather not be in hell, so they would elect to be believers. Oh, well.

          Oh, and I especially liked your nihilism explanation regarding modern religion as being all the more nihilistic the more it tries to convince itself that it still matters. But of course, they don't know they're being nihilistic, they still think they're deepening their faith and understanding. (Right?)

          Sometimes I feel like I must be more nihilistic, as I question the relevance of anything and everything, but then when I look at those definitions in the FAQ I could be falling into a sort of existential vacuum - which sounds more like a psychological condition, as opposed to a knowing or a conclusion based on rational thought.

          Then I look at the blurb about Frankl: "According to Viktor Frankl, the existential vacuum is apparently a concomitant of industrialization. When neither instinct nor social tradition direct man toward what he ought to do, soon he will not even know what he wants to do, and the existential vacuum results." I can understand this in a very real way.

          I say this because it's when I'm living the "camping life", living around the woodstove, off-the grid, etc. - which we have done and I feel the need to return to - I feel at peace. Not because of the lack of noise and interruption, but because of living in the moment, being present in my own life, being literally and figuratively responsible for it on a daily basis.

          Later,

          Rose

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        • eupraxis@aol.com
          Are you saying that the individual believes self is real and everything and everyone an illusion? Or, self is the only vehicle for experience and outside of
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 3, 2008
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            "Are you saying that the individual believes self is real and everything and everyone an illusion? Or, self is the only vehicle for experience and outside of one's own
            experience we can know nothing, so therefore I and whatever I
            experience are the only real things in the universe?"

            Either position could called solipsistic. Silly, eh?

            Wil












            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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