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Re: [existlist] What triggered existentialism?

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  • eupraxis@aol.com
    Rose, This is also a question that has been in some dispute here over the years. I, personally, would understand the matter this way: what we normally identify
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 4, 2008
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      Rose,

      This is also a question that has been in some dispute here over the years. I,
      personally, would understand the matter this way: what we normally identify
      as "existentialist" reflects the crisis in European (or Western, etc.) thought
      after the collapse of 19th Century systems, the decline of religious authority
      in theoretical matters, the insistence on secular answers to crises in
      values, and finally the future of philosophy between and after the wars.

      That said, you can find many of the perennial questions of Existentialism in
      older times. Lucretius, Augustine, Erasmus, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Marlow and
      Hegel come to mind (certainly in no order here).

      Wil

      In a message dated 10/4/08 6:48:20 AM, lapis@... writes:


      >
      >
      >
      > Could the philosophy of existentialism have been created before it was? Say,
      > the 17th or 15th century? Or could it only be a product of its time? And if
      > so, what was it about its time that created it?
      >
      > War? The state of religion? Or did it logically follow another philosophy?
      > Or is it simply the personal awareness of a single person that rang true for
      > others?
      >
      > Rose
      >
      >
      >




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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • louise
      Rose, These are fruitful questions. What is called by the name of existentialism constitutes a subject for academic study, yet also represents a body of texts
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 5, 2008
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        Rose,

        These are fruitful questions. What is called by the name of
        existentialism constitutes a subject for academic study, yet also
        represents a body of texts that might inspire an individual to take up
        a new direction in the manner of living life, or indeed simply provide
        interest, an engagement of feeling. In Kierkegaard's sense, to
        reduplicate in one's own existence the ideas understood by one's
        intellect, in effect to close the gap, between head and heart, or to
        hold them in dynamic tension beneath a third, spiritual term, the realm
        of the divine, is how I might best describe a philosophical discipline
        which in one form or another has been part of the Western, and possibly
        not only the Western, tradition, for two and a half millennia. Yet I
        remain dissatisfied with my own description. Still in search of a less
        abstract apprehension. Any description this brief is likely to be
        perilously vague, anyway.

        Louise

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Rose Lieberman" <lapis@...> wrote:
        >
        > Could the philosophy of existentialism have been created before it
        was? Say, the 17th or 15th century? Or could it only be a product of
        its time? And if so, what was it about its time that created it?
        >
        > War? The state of religion? Or did it logically follow another
        philosophy? Or is it simply the personal awareness of a single person
        that rang true for others?
        >
        > Rose
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • tom
        Maybe the term existensialism like the term God , the term subconcious etc is a word that can never be fully defined. And any value a person might obtain
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 5, 2008
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          Maybe the term "existensialism" like the term "God", the term "subconcious" etc is a word that can never be fully defined. And any value a person might obtain from it would be reflected in the integration of head and heart rather than fitting in to any solidly defined definition. The term "Tao" in eastern thought is again a reference to something that probably never could be fully defined, and if it it ever reached that point where it could be fully defined, it would no longer represent the fertile frontier for growth and integration. I read a Carl Jung quote in regard the subconcious that in affect said that "the term subconcious like the terms God and the Devil refer to things of which we dont know too much about".
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: louise
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 3:36 PM
          Subject: [existlist] Re: What triggered existentialism?


          Rose,

          These are fruitful questions. What is called by the name of
          existentialism constitutes a subject for academic study, yet also
          represents a body of texts that might inspire an individual to take up
          a new direction in the manner of living life, or indeed simply provide
          interest, an engagement of feeling. In Kierkegaard's sense, to
          reduplicate in one's own existence the ideas understood by one's
          intellect, in effect to close the gap, between head and heart, or to
          hold them in dynamic tension beneath a third, spiritual term, the realm
          of the divine, is how I might best describe a philosophical discipline
          which in one form or another has been part of the Western, and possibly
          not only the Western, tradition, for two and a half millennia. Yet I
          remain dissatisfied with my own description. Still in search of a less
          abstract apprehension. Any description this brief is likely to be
          perilously vague, anyway.

          Louise

          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Rose Lieberman" <lapis@...> wrote:
          >
          > Could the philosophy of existentialism have been created before it
          was? Say, the 17th or 15th century? Or could it only be a product of
          its time? And if so, what was it about its time that created it?
          >
          > War? The state of religion? Or did it logically follow another
          philosophy? Or is it simply the personal awareness of a single person
          that rang true for others?
          >
          > Rose
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • devogney
          ... term subconcious etc is a word that can never be fully defined. And any value a person might obtain from it would be reflected in the integration of head
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 5, 2008
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            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Maybe the term "existensialism" like the term "God", the
            term "subconcious" etc is a word that can never be fully defined. And
            any value a person might obtain from it would be reflected in the
            integration of head and heart rather than fitting in to any solidly
            defined definition. The term "Tao" in eastern thought is again a
            reference to something that probably never could be fully defined,
            and if it it ever reached that point where it could be fully
            defined, it would no longer represent the fertile frontier for growth
            and integration. I read a Carl Jung quote in regard the subconcious
            that in affect said that "the term subconcious like the terms God and
            the Devil refer to things of which we dont know too much about".
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: louise
            > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 3:36 PM
            > Subject: [existlist] Re: What triggered existentialism?
            >
            >
            > Rose,
            >
            > These are fruitful questions. What is called by the name of
            > existentialism constitutes a subject for academic study, yet also
            > represents a body of texts that might inspire an individual to
            take up
            > a new direction in the manner of living life, or indeed simply
            provide
            > interest, an engagement of feeling. In Kierkegaard's sense, to
            > reduplicate in one's own existence the ideas understood by one's
            > intellect, in effect to close the gap, between head and heart, or
            to
            > hold them in dynamic tension beneath a third, spiritual term, the
            realm
            > of the divine, is how I might best describe a philosophical
            discipline
            > which in one form or another has been part of the Western, and
            possibly
            > not only the Western, tradition, for two and a half millennia.
            Yet I
            > remain dissatisfied with my own description. Still in search of a
            less
            > abstract apprehension. Any description this brief is likely to be
            > perilously vague, anyway.
            >
            > Louise
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Rose Lieberman" <lapis@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Could the philosophy of existentialism have been created before
            it
            > was? Say, the 17th or 15th century? Or could it only be a product
            of
            > its time? And if so, what was it about its time that created it?
            > >
            > > War? The state of religion? Or did it logically follow another
            > philosophy? Or is it simply the personal awareness of a single
            person
            > that rang true for others?
            > >
            > > Rose
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Herman B. Triplegood
            It started with Kant. The first philosopher, ever, to seriously take on the conundrum of human freedom plus human finitude. I have said it before, and I will
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 5, 2008
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              It started with Kant. The first philosopher, ever, to seriously take
              on the conundrum of human freedom plus human finitude. I have said it
              before, and I will say it again. What Kant was really all about
              cashes out, ultimately, inevitably, into existentialism.

              Hb3g

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Rose Lieberman" <lapis@...> wrote:
              >
              > Could the philosophy of existentialism have been created before it
              was? Say, the 17th or 15th century? Or could it only be a product
              of its time? And if so, what was it about its time that created it?
              >
              > War? The state of religion? Or did it logically follow another
              philosophy? Or is it simply the personal awareness of a single
              person that rang true for others?
              >
              > Rose
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • tom
              If one of the criteria of existensialism is the idea that whatever we put our faith in, it is I that have placed that faith; it might be argued that
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 9, 2008
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                If one of the criteria of existensialism is the idea that whatever we put our faith in, it is I that have placed that faith; it might be argued that existensialism could not have emerged until after the printing press and the industrial revolution. I recall reading the Marshal Mccluan book of media being the means or such a number of years ago, and he maintained that the printing press and literacy to a large extent created the concept of the individual. Protestanism, and its reliance on reading your bible replaced the right hemisphere experience of Catholic liturgy and sacraments with the left hemisphere experience of the individual alone reading and reflecting. Also the industrial revolution replaced a predestined life as a peasant with the various possibilities of being a tradesman or merchant. A few years ago, I read a George Soros book in which he differentiated between traditional and critical thinking, as well as the difference between an organic and an open society. The concept of choice, so pertinent to existensialism, only becomes a reality as economic, social, and political evolution transforms organic socities into open ones, and traditional thinking into critical thinking. The quote from "Tale of Two Cities" "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times" is a relection of that shift, although obviously the French Revolution made the dichotomy more extreme. The resistance to westernization prevalent in the mideast is to a large extent rooted in the fear of the negative aspects of a change from an organic to an open society, and the consequent change from the family being the focus to the individual.
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Rose Lieberman
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 6:46 AM
                Subject: [existlist] What triggered existentialism?


                Could the philosophy of existentialism have been created before it was? Say, the 17th or 15th century? Or could it only be a product of its time? And if so, what was it about its time that created it?

                War? The state of religion? Or did it logically follow another philosophy? Or is it simply the personal awareness of a single person that rang true for others?

                Rose

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





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • chris lofting
                ... The shift from symmetric thinking (social thinking and dream state expression) to anti-symmetric (parts thinking) and on into asymmetric thinking
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 9, 2008
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                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of tom
                  > Sent: Friday, 10 October 2008 8:55 AM
                  > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [existlist] What triggered existentialism?
                  >
                  > If one of the criteria of existensialism is the idea that
                  > whatever we put our faith in, it is I that have placed that
                  > faith; it might be argued that existensialism could not have
                  > emerged until after the printing press and the industrial
                  > revolution. I recall reading the Marshal Mccluan book of
                  > media being the means or such a number of years ago, and he
                  > maintained that the printing press and literacy to a large
                  > extent created the concept of the individual. Protestanism,
                  > and its reliance on reading your bible replaced the right
                  > hemisphere experience of Catholic liturgy and sacraments with
                  > the left hemisphere experience of the individual alone
                  > reading and reflecting. Also the industrial revolution
                  > replaced a predestined life as a peasant with the various
                  > possibilities of being a tradesman or merchant. A few years
                  > ago, I read a George Soros book in which he differentiated
                  > between traditional and critical thinking, as well as the
                  > difference between an organic and an open society. The
                  > concept of choice, so pertinent to existensialism, only
                  > becomes a reality as economic, social, and political
                  > evolution transforms organic socities into open ones, and
                  > traditional thinking into critical thinking. The quote from
                  > "Tale of Two Cities" "It was the best of times. It was the
                  > worst of times" is a relection of that shift, although
                  > obviously the French Revolution made the dichotomy more
                  > extreme. The resistance to westernization prevalent in the
                  > mideast is to a large extent rooted in the fear of the
                  > negative aspects of a change from an organic to an open
                  > society, and the consequent change from the family being the
                  > focus to the individual.

                  The shift from symmetric thinking (social thinking and dream state
                  expression) to anti-symmetric (parts thinking) and on into asymmetric
                  thinking (mediation) brings out education systems that focus on high
                  precision (differentiating). What this does is fragment general symmetry
                  into local symmetries - i.e. the multitude of individuals but now as
                  conscious beings and so open to self-regulating if 'allowed'. This brings
                  out the transcendence/transform dichotomy where transformation is
                  shape-shifting and so adapting to a context without change of inner 'being'.
                  OTOH transcendence will bring out total change or more so the assertion of
                  one's own context to replace any existing context with something considered
                  'better'.

                  In most social revolutions the focus is more on distortion of symmetry
                  rather than breakage, fragmentation within the box that eventually leads to
                  a re-integrating of the fragments into some 'better fit' order but will
                  within the enclosure of the original symmetry. This is adaptive change such
                  that the egalitarians overthrow the aristocrats who overthrow the
                  egalitarians etc - this is reflected in current times with the
                  nationalisation and so socialisation of capitalist institutions being an
                  'instinctive' response to the problems with those institutions. However,
                  what is currently starting to emerge is a focus on hybrid forms where the
                  capitalist/socialist dichotomy is self-referenced to elicit from the middle
                  of that dichotomy variations on the themes and so choices beyond the 'basic
                  two that appear to not work 'as is''.

                  That said, there is a bias in these choices to increase in regulations and
                  so a falling back upon restrictions of individual freedom for the sake of
                  the collective.

                  The brain dynamic is more so OSCILLATIONS across
                  left-hemisphere/right-hemisphere as well as front/back where such
                  oscillations reflect a brain trying to deal with the new/complex and so
                  derive a language with which to perform and represent mediation - what is
                  implied is that the existing set of responses to stimuli does not work in
                  the current local context and so refinements or new habits need to be made.

                  Thus consciousness is a product of oscillations where left-brain bias is
                  more anti-symmetric (differentiating, part, mechanistic) and right-brain
                  bias is more symmetric (integrating, whole, organic) and oscillation links
                  these elements into an asymmetric dichotomy that is self-referenced (the
                  oscillations).

                  The more educated one is the more differentiating (also brings out the
                  front/back dynamic where frontal lobes etc cover anticipatory behaviours)
                  and so the more expressive of consciousness and sense of self. The richness
                  of well-developed language requires high level differentiations and so a
                  COMPETITIVE context overall where such introduces pressures to make finer
                  and finer distinctions and develop better and better technologies and so
                  develop from there.

                  This focus on distinction-making creates borders and so lets loose what
                  lives on borders - complexity/chaos dynamics and so the availability of
                  'emergences' that can elicit transcending over transforming. Existentialism
                  appears to have emerged as a consequence of the fragmentation of general
                  symmetries and development (training) of individual consciousness to a level
                  where questions are raised with regard to the level of proactive individual
                  experiences and assessments when compared to the reactive natures of our
                  social beings (symmetric thinking etc)

                  Some of the roots of existentialism can be identified in ancient Asian
                  perspectives free of their religious exaggerations (secular Taoism, Zen
                  Buddhism etc) with their focus on a way of living (and so on doing rather
                  than being). The discipline involved, when taken to extreme will NATURALLY
                  convert doing into being since the object/relationships dynamic is grounded
                  in all of our species where local context elicits biases that form into
                  cultural groups with their own languages. These languages will derive
                  specialist forms due to self-referencing and so cover the range of
                  being/doing. TO map out the sameness across all of these specialisations,
                  and so expressed differences, requires consideration of the general
                  methodology used across the species in deriving meaning.

                  Chris.
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