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RE: [existlist] What triggered existentialism?

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  • chris lofting
    ... The shift from symmetric thinking (social thinking and dream state expression) to anti-symmetric (parts thinking) and on into asymmetric thinking
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 9 9:15 PM
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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

      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

      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.

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