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Underlying questions

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  • louise
    Now, roughly speaking, existentialism declares that existence precedes essence, and Platonism that essence precedes existence. I believe both are true, and
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2009
      Now, roughly speaking, existentialism declares that existence precedes essence, and Platonism that essence precedes existence. I believe both are true, and that this doubleness, when it reaches consciousness, is called schizophrenia by medics, theorists and the general public. In not understanding its value and its ontological basis, they see it as a problem to be treated or persecuted, and so turn beautiful possibilities into miserable withdrawal, or to a penchant for ugly, defiant behaviour, and, in the worst cases, murders of obscene brutality.

      The man or woman with 'depth' has established, in the course of living, an essence which is distinctive, so that an individuality is emergent, characterised, perhaps, by generosity of social feeling or an ethical or religious wisdom. To write about the phenomenon categorially is to isolate strands which in existence are not separable. Religious wisdom often manifests in generous feeling, though the sociality of the religious man tends to have a different quality from that of the humanist.

      Nevertheless, in referring to Platonism, I am writing of a much more primal meaning for 'essence' than simply attributes of a human personality. I am suggesting that there is a fundamental ground of Being which manifests in the human condition, and that this ground often slumbers, so to speak, beneath the relative superficialities of practical existence, and, even, beneath 'social depth' also. Schizophrenia links the conscious mind to this ground of Being, without there being any choice, nor any available knowledge of what is happening, save for that which is gleaned by professionals and amateurs through painstaking external observation and experimentation, together with consultation with the 'patient's' subjectivity. I am asserting that there is something more possible to us - an ontological understanding of the relationship between the schizophrenic condition, and time itself. Yes, old father Time. He's been around a while, and knows all about 'depth'. And, believe me, if you only have a poor human brain and it comes into contact with those ancient depths, it's time to send out a distress call. I would call that 'prayer'.

      So, to summarise my thesis: there is an eternal essential reality which is ontologically prior to the existence which is made possible by each instance of a new human life ( otherwise known as 'having a baby' :-) ). Existentialism posits that essence is created by the existing human by action and reflection upon action, whereas Platonism (which has profoundly influenced theology) asserts that essence is already given, that remembering and teaching is needful, in order to recover that essence.

      Furthermore, if there is a fundamental ground of Being, it seems likely that the condition schizophrenia may pertain to the entire world of sentient creatures. An elephant has life, perhaps, rather than existence, but so, probably, do many human beings, if the examined existentialist life is not for them. Who knows what is the true essence of an elephant? Tell me that, someone. Maybe not at existlist, though. Be happy, be free, and please accept an invitation to explore a new philosophy for the twenty-first century.


      ... whose neurons struggle with pain
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