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[existlist]Re:Existenialism

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  • tom
    The quote that humans tend to live in the realm of sense rather than intellect to me is not the fall from grace. I read a Quote from Carl Jung where he
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2009
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      The quote that humans tend to live in the realm of sense rather than intellect to me is not the fall from grace. I read a Quote from Carl Jung where he speculated that before man had language or rationality, he was already doing things necesary for survival like any animal species. Of course, the acquisition of rationality and laguage was a big factor in increasing human survival; and for that reason natural selection supported it. I interpret the myth of eating from the tree of knowledge, and the fall from grace as the split in the human body mind that the acquisition of rationality caused. What we consider an athletic superstar for a human in terms of speed, agility, strength for body weight etc is probably operating at a fairly average level or less for an animal. I'd guess many 3 legged dogs could outrun most or all superstar running backs. If a man could jump for his size proportionately to a cat, he could jump to the top of a 2 story building. Various birds and animals are instinctively connected to subtle forces in nature which gives the homing pidgeon an instinctive sense of where home is.

      We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.


      Albert Einstein
      Interestingly, I have heard Einstein is said to have enjoyed taking long walks, but had a bad habit of getting lost[unlike a homing pidgeon or an aboriginal person]. I don't think it is a coincidence that psychology has often been described as the Jewish science. The fact that as measured by IQ tests the Jewish DNA pool is much more intelligent I suspect made them more prone to things like neurosis[original sin] in the mythological framework. In my opinion, the next step for humanity will include integrating the intellectual side of human nature with the instinctual, sensory motor aspects of our nature; thereby passing through what in JudeoChristian myth was called original sin, and in Freud's words "Civilization and its discontents". Certainly in Buddhist, Taoist and other Eastern traditions, such integration was accomplished through things like martial arts and yoga.

      Tom



      C:

      Well, here's the thing about those things in common. All of the philosophers are looking at the same situation. The human situation. Right? So, it just stands to reason that we are going to see a lot of similarities.

      What I am saying is that the experience of having fallen short of the ideal, or of not measuring up to the ideal, is a fundamental human experience. It is no wonder, then, that philosophers of all ages have identified that experience and appreciated its importance.

      About those authentic existences.

      They are the Platonic forms, and, for both Plato and Plotinus, form, essence, is more real than just matter, or just things. From their point of view, way back when, essence really does precede existence.

      But we are using borrowed terms here. What essence and existence meant to the Greeks was much richer than what those terms mean to us now

      Hb3g

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, ccorey@... wrote:
      >
      > My research has lead me to Plotinusâ?T fifth Ennead, ninth Tractate, where he speaks of the potential for an authentic existence and an awakening of intelligence unfounded in man during his period.
      >
      > His first speaks of this in the first aphorism. He says that human beings have the tendency to live in the realm of sense rather than intellect. He speaks of man as one of the heavier birds, which have incorporated much from the earth but are so weighted down that they cannot fly high for all the wings nature has given them. However, others do indeed lift themselves a little above the earth in aspiration for authenticity and intelligence but they do not have enough power to see the highest and so in despair they fall back to the ground, upon those actions and options of the lower from which they still seek to escape. Is this not similar to Heideggerâ?Ts conception of the life most of us lead, as an ordinary self, not genuine, not authentic, but inauthentic, what he calls the das Man self? And this despair that Plotinus speaks of when not able to take hold of ourselves, could this be taken as the sickness unto death Kierkegaard speaks of?
      >
      > Plotinus asks â?owhat principle is the giver of wisdom to the soul?â? He answers, â?othe principle of intellect.â? But intellect can be taken in quite a few ways. One most importantly, the intellect of the soul, as I have already mentioned which can be more or less translated into the intelligence of being. Does this not make sense? A metaphysics, or better yet, an ontology that, in his strivings, finds his authenticity of existence. Plotinus goes on to say that this intellect of the soul is only reachable via â?oa look inward beyond general intellect.â? Is this not the suggestion Kierkegaard presents us with? That passion is the highest state of subjectivity and subjectivity or inwardness the highest truth attainable?
      >
      > In addition, Plotinus says we are supposed to exist in actuality, looking to nothing else, self-complete. Anything thing contrary to this internal self-actualization must be put aside. We must make ourselves â?oAuthentic Beings,â? says Plotinus. If my understanding is correct, Authenticity is primary in what Plotinus calls, the â?oIntellectual-Principle.â? Once one has made himself an â?oAuthentic Beingâ? his model cannot be simply copied, man becomes a living archetype, primal, and the essence of the â?oIntellectual-Principle.â? If this is an allusion to the intellect of being or intellect â?oasâ? being, many or better yet, most, existential philosophers and psychotherapists will be found to share this view with Plotinusâ?T.
      >
      > He in fact goes on to verify my suggested allusion, â?othe intellectual principal is itself authentic existence, not a knower knowing them in some sphere foreign to it. The Authentic Beings, thus, exist neither before nor after it: it is the primal legislator to being, or rather, it is itself the law of Being. Thus it is true that intellectual and Being are identical; in the immaterial the knowledge of the thing is the thing. And this is the meaning of the dictum, â?oI sought myself,â? namely as one of the Beings.â?
      >
      > â?oIf the Intellectual-Principle were envisaged as preceeding Being, it would at once become a principle whose expression, its intellectual Act, achieves and engenders the beings: but, since we are compelled to think of existence as preceding Intellective essence, we can but think that the beings are...â? Let me stop here. There is enough said to see somewhat of an anticipation of Sartreâ?Ts famous words that â?oexistence is freedom, and existence precedes essence.â? That we are thrown into this world, naked, and alone before God and the whole world. Plotinus does not go this far but if he sees humans as having their being prior to their gradually collected intellect, isnâ?Tt existentialism on the same philosophical page as this bright one student of Ammonius?
      >
      > Is this not true anticipation of the existential anti-doctrine or an existential contribution prior to the one Kierkegaard presents us with in his postscript? Worthy of entertainment? I think so.
      >
      > -c-
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...>
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:54:44 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Too many themes
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yes Tom:
      >
      > Now think about this. It is explained most succinctly by Aristotle.
      >
      > Two kinds of good.
      >
      > 1. A dog, or some other animal, is missing a leg. This is not good. Why? Because having four legs (if it is a dog) is natural for that animal. We know that something and that this is "not right". So, you have a "good" that is a present state, a normal state, what is natural, and, in a sense, that is a perfection achieved. It is how we understand such things as well being and not being well, health versus disease, etcetera.
      >
      > 2. But there is another kind of good, another kind of perfection, that is higher than the natural. We see it, most clearly, in ourselves. I am a normal human. I have both my hands, both my feet, and I am well, i.e., in a state of relatively good health, not a state of disease. But is all of this "good" really enough for a human? There is something more. A good not yet present, and never fully present, toward which I, as a human, may strive. To know. To understand. To be learned. To attain to insight. To pursue wisdom. To find love. Etcetera.
      >
      > The first kind of good, the lower good, is always attainable. Every living organism, any organized whole in nature, is just such a good.
      >
      > The second kind of good, the higher good, is an infinite project or task. It is never completely realizable. But we feel compelled to go after it.
      >
      > And yet, both are "the good". Both are a state of perfection. What the Greeks realized is this. That the actual existence of good number 1 tells us that good number 2 isn't just a pipe dream. It matters. It is important. And, in fact, if it weren't for the remote possibility of a type 2 good, type 1 goods probably would not exist.
      >
      > But the type 2 good is always just a possibility. It is always remote and in the future. It is always what Aristotle described as a final cause. A teleology. The type 1 goods, too, are also teleologies, final causes. But they are actual. Realized. Not just possible.
      >
      > Every living organism, especially the rational ones, like us, is standing proof that the possibility of the good, in the realm of nature, is not just a "remote" possibility, but a possibility that can actually be attained and has been attained.
      >
      > Notwithstanding the fact that the higher goods are difficult to attain, that the highest good is, so to speak, asymptotic, the existence of these lower goods is positive proof that the good, overall, is a really real thing.
      >
      > See what I mean?
      >
      > This is pretty much where all of that emanation style top down thinking of the Greeks (Plato and Plotinus more so than Aristotle) came from. The remote possibility, although remote, although a possibility, and not yet an actuality, is, in some deep sense, a reality. And, it is a source, for us, but not in the sense of being a source we actually came from, but a source toward which we are always ineluctably moved.
      >
      > But it is natural, from the common sense naive and naturalistic point of view, to confuse this future kind of source, rooted, as it is, in pure possibility, with a natural genesis, and to interpret our present state, with its lower level goods, as a fall from that state of perfection or grace.
      >
      > What has happened, with the taking hold of evolutionary thinking, beginning with the Enlightenment, is the total rejection of that naive and naturalistic confusion of the future source with a past one. It is odd, to me, that this same naive and naturalistic confusion underlies all of our so-called fundamentalistic theologies, i.e, that the belief in a spiritual creation actually borrows from our unreflective experience of genesis in the natural order.
      >
      > What has not happened, yet, is that the true ontological implications of the evolutionary genesis of form, and of the good as the ultimate teleology of form, has not been delineated by anybody. That I know of anyway. Perhaps Bergson's Creative Evolution is a right step in that direction. But there is much work to be done. And, as it turns out, the Greeks, in spite of their completely understandable naturalistic confusion of the two kinds of source, have much insight to give us, precisely, in the area of nature. They were far more perceptive than we realize, when it comes to the depth of their insights into nature; this is especially the case, I think, with Aristotle. His so-called physics, and all of his biology, isn't science, as we understand science; it is a metaphysics of nature, with the emphasis placed upon the importance of the genesis and dissolution of form as it is found in nature. But the evolutionary perspective is only just barely still a nascent hunch there.
      >
      > Hb3g
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , "devogney" <tsmith17_midsouth1@> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Herman,
      > >
      > > I am on the same page with you. I think it is quite possible that both the Greeks and Darwin are partly right. Because natural selection has played a huge role in the evolution of biological organisms does not necesarily preclude other forces at work; and the evolution of the cosmos can not be as easily described as determined by natural selection. I forget his name right now,{though I'd guess you Greek scholars would know, but an ancient Greek came up with a theory of the atom thousands of years before science did, which I understand is very close to agreeing with the scientific theory developed in modern times.
      > >
      > > Tom
      > >
      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com , "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Louise:
      > > >
      > > > One of the "disconnects" that I keep running into, reading Plato, and especially Plotinus, is exactly this:
      > > >
      > > > Emanation versus evolution.
      > > >
      > > > Is it all top down? Or bottom up?
      > > >
      > > > It really does help to keep in mind that Plato is no Darwin. Neither is Plotinus. Both really are "talking up" the whole emanation bit.
      > > >
      > > > To the hilt.
      > > >
      > > > When they say "higher" they really do mean where we came from and from whence we have fallen.
      > > >
      > > > Sound familiar? It ought to. Those two Greeks are the very source of that whole dogma.
      > > >
      > > > But, they aren't all bad. And they aren't all wrong either. There are pearls in that there muck and mire.
      > > >
      > > > But, I think I will "leave it" right there. I am skating on thin ice... An existentialism list might not be the appropriate place in which to open up that whole can of worms about the emanation versus evolution thing.
      > > >
      > > > It brings up pretty much everything that existentialism is NOT about.
      > > >
      > > > Whether or not there ever was good or evil in the world, or truth or beauty, before we all came along to do OUR good or OUR evil, is, to the existentialist, an absurd question to ask.
      > > >
      > > > I get that much. And I think I understand the existentialist's point. There is such a thing as being "too cosmic" about the value of the good, or the beautiful, or the true, all of which are, after all, preeminently human concerns.
      > > >
      > > > I don't know about the rest of you, and your pets, but my dog hasn't said "I think therefore I am" as yet. And I don't think she ever will.
      > > >
      > > > Only a "mad metaphysicist" could loose sleep over such a conundrum as whether there is any cosmic objectivity to our high ideals.
      > > >
      > > > I, for one, think there is. But this is not the place to promote that opinion.
      > > >
      > > > I am, after all, a transcendentalist, in all of those "noble" or maybe "horrible" senses of that word; yes, I am a "tranny" to my dying breath, an ontological cross-dresser, with Coleridge and Thoreau, Rumi and Plato, Plotinus and Gibran, not to mention Swendenborg, sitting right there on my nightstand, easily accessible to me, for that little bit of bed time reading that comes before the dreaming.
      > > >
      > > > Oh well...
      > > >
      > > > Romantics are damned hard to kill. We burn them and flay them. But they keep coming back!
      > > >
      > > > Hb3g



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