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Re: [existlist] Re: Polly's Brave New World

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  • Herman
    Hi Hb3g, ... I understand and accept what you are saying,.................. except your last line. Uncertainty about the future doesn t have an opposite. No
    Message 1 of 100 , Feb 14 2:08 PM
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      Hi Hb3g,

      On 14 February 2010 17:43, hb3g@... <hb3g@...> wrote:
      > Well, freedom really has no meaning, absent the facticity or contingency of situation. So, in one sense, yes, whether one happens to be born a man or a woman does have a direct bearing upon what possibilities are available, and yet, on the other hand, our being free means it is at least possible for us to transcend such contingency. Not necessarily easy, mind you, but possible. Obviously, Sartre does not want us to come away from reading him thinking that the freedom about which he is talking is somehow just a void state of pure possibilities only. The only possibilities are the concrete ones. The others can be safely ignored as not really relevant to the situation. I think uncertainty is a sign that freedom is there and that possibilities can be actualized, or not.

      I understand and accept what you are saying,.................. except
      your last line.

      Uncertainty about the future doesn't have an opposite. No matter how
      much we cloak ourselves in an attitude of certainty about the future,
      factually we are unable to predict it, factually we are uncertain. We
      do not know which of our possibilities will be actualised, all we can
      do is wait and see (without even knowing whether there will be a
      future). I still don't see how that amounts to freedom, but I am happy
      to drop it if you are so inclined.

      Polly


      >
      > Hb3g
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
      >>
      >> HI Hb3g,
      >>
      >> On 14 February 2010 00:34, hb3g@... <hb3g@...> wrote:
      >> > Why can't we get past the male/female dichotomy?
      >> >
      >> > I don't mean literally of course. There will always be boys and girls, men and women. That duality is a biological fact, and an essential part of our psychology and culture. Nobody can really deny that. Nor can they deny that physiologically and behaviorally the male tends to be the more aggressive. But there are notable exceptions, too, brought about by cultural, environmental and even physiological variables, that make even this a not so hard and fast rule, and sometimes people simply choose freely not to fit into the stereotypical role.
      >> >
      >> > But both men and women are people. Individuals. Sovereign. Rational.
      >> >
      >> > (hopefully)
      >> >
      >> > Replacing patriarchy with matriarchy, or even vice versa, hardly seems satisfactory to me. Besides, I am not even sure that our social order, here in America right now, is either one of those two things. Why should a patriarchy/matriarchy dichotomy even be relevant to today's >issues?
      >>
      >> I think you're saying that technically gender has no relevant role to
      >> play in the world today, and I agree with that.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> >
      >> > This dichotomy really misses the one most important fundamental fact about all human beings, namely, their freedom to choose who they want to be.
      >> >
      >> > Isn't that the existentialist take right there? That, for better or for worse, whether we make good decisions, or bad ones, and whether or not our decisions are relatively constrained, or relatively free, we are still, and always, the ones who make ourselves who or what we are. No matter what.
      >> >
      >>
      >> I think it was JPS who said that freedom is what you do with what has
      >> been done to you. Of necessity, any practical freedom is always
      >> already constrained by the reality of others. Any radical freedom I
      >> might have is in the realm of imagination only. I am free to think
      >> whatever I will. I am not free in practice to constitute myself
      >> however I see fit.
      >>
      >>
      >> > I'm not talking about a human essence here. Or a human nature.
      >> >
      >> > Philosophy, by its very nature, should be a way of thinking, living, acting, that eschews all appeals to any kind of authority, whatsoever. That's what underlies, I think, the ancient spirit of philosophical skepticism. With modern day existentialism that anti-authoritarian philosophical modus operandi comes more fully into focus.
      >> >
      >> > It all comes down to the freedom thing, and that is, it seems to me, a pretty important thing for philosophy. I think it should be the main thing for philosophy. Maybe even the only thing.
      >> >
      >> > But it isn't only freedom from authority that we must talk about, and freedom from ideologies, and theoretical constructs, metaphysical and methodological prejudices, that shackle us, but freedom for real sovereignty, true autonomy, and authentic humanity. These are things that we should not just take for granted. Because we can lose them, and we can lose sight of them. On the other hand, we must necessarily pursue this freedom if we are to be truly human. It neither happens by accident, nor necessarily.
      >> >
      >> > We are, so to speak, condemned to this freedom of ours. It is what defines us. But it is no definition, in the traditional sense of the word. It is an existence that is not an essence. But, nevertheless, it has its own most intimate kind of meaning, and that is a meaning that is just for us, and for nothing else but us.
      >> >
      >>
      >> I understand what you are saying, but given the reality of the inertia
      >> of past acts, we always find ourselves in concrete situations, and not
      >> in a void state of pure possibilities only. We are in the present as
      >> our accumulated, absolute past, with the absolute, accumulated past of
      >> others.
      >>
      >>
      >> >
      >> > It is a strange kind of absolute that seems to contain its own contingencies, or, as Sartre would say, its own exigencies. What it is, is not a what at all. It defies all whatness. That, right there, I think, sets it apart from, and makes it very different from, both the theoretical and >the pragmatic.
      >>
      >> As to the future, it certainly condemns us to uncertainty, but how
      >> does that qualify as freedom?
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> >
      >> > Hb3g
      >> >
      >> > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
      >> >>
      >> >> Hi Polly,
      >> >>
      >> >> Thank you for your post 50871. I was more interested, however, in what you did not say, than in what you did say.
      >> >>
      >> >> I shall just focus on this section from the end of you post.
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >> Polly: Now imagine all men gone. Which wars will still have occurred? And which are still impending?
      >> >>
      >> >> Jim: I whole-heartedly agree. I am in favour of replacing patriarchy with matriarchy.
      >> >>
      >> >> Polly: I have put forward my proposal on how to achieve that. How do you propose to achieve it?
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >> Response: You may have put forward your proposal, but it was put forward in a rather ambiguous way, and you have failed in subsequent posts to clarify exactly what your proposal entails.
      >> >>
      >> >> This was your original formulation of your solution to over-population, male aggression, male violence, war and rape:
      >> >>
      >> >> "The solution: like-minded people must act to reach such a critical mass, that it will become possible to sterilise everyone at birth. This will allow the reason of a world group to become the pre-eminent agent of selection, as opposed to the ability of the individual to play genetic lotteries." (50838)
      >> >>
      >> >> Since then, I, and others, have been trying to get you to say exactly the form `sterilisation at birth' would take. So let me ask you again:
      >> >>
      >> >> Q1: By `sterilisation' do you mean castration of all male babies so they cannot procreate and cannot ever engage in penetrative sex?
      >> >>
      >> >> A related question follows from this remark of yours in the same post:
      >> >>
      >> >> "But the world has outgrown the need for a sexuality predicated on dominance, with the default mode of reproduction amounting to rape."
      >> >>
      >> >> In response to this statement, I ask again:
      >> >>
      >> >> Q2: In your view, does all heterosexual penetrative sex `amount to rape'?
      >> >>
      >> >> I feel that unless you answer these two questions unambiguously, then there is no point in continuing our conversation.
      >> >>
      >> >> However, to avoid you criticising me for a similar amount of evasion, let me take this opportunity to put forward my own solution to the related problems of male dominance, male aggression and male violence.
      >> >>
      >> >> In effect, my solution is implied by what I write in my neglected post 50867 ("Male violence is cultural").
      >> >>
      >> >> There I wrote:
      >> >>
      >> >> "If male violence is predominantly cultural (or, perhaps better, `environmental'), as I claim, then there can be more hope that, with increasing prosperity, education and social equality, male aggression and violence can be drastically reduced."
      >> >>
      >> >> I admit this is the standard socialist response to the ills of the world. By creating a just, egalitarian society, in which attention and care is extended to all citizens, the foundation of a culture can be established where violence is clearly recognized for the evil it is. Violence will come to be condemned by the majority, and not condoned by the majority as is the case in much of the world today.
      >> >>
      >> >> I think better education for all is another strategy for the reduction of violence. As I said in my post 50867, I think uneducated, inarticulate males are more aggressive and violent than educated, articulate males.
      >> >>
      >> >> Finally, I think philosophy itself has a role to play in reducing violence. Following Socrates, I think philosophy is above all else concerned with self-knowledge. And the more a person can gain self-knowledge, the less he or she will engage in dysfunctional behaviour like trying to dominate others, either through purely psychological manipulation or through physical threats and actual violence.
      >> >>
      >> >> You made no comment on a significant passage from my post 50856:
      >> >>
      >> >> "I also agree that the will to dominate is a bad character trait of most men. In my experience most men are control freaks. Not all. And if a man recognises this bad character trait in himself, he is on the road to changing for the better. I am optimistic that men can change themselves for the better. They just have to recognise that they have a problem in the first place, and many (most?) don't make this first step."
      >> >>
      >> >> My solution is no `quick fix': If followed, it will be a long haul with set backs along the way. Your solution is quite literally a `short cut', but I think it reflects an unjustified pessimism about man's capabilities for reform and self-improvement. Your solution reminds me of the quick fix to the problem of unhappiness: give the depressed person Prozac. I prefer the slow fix of the talking cure which attempts to address the existential root of the problem.
      >> >>
      >> >> Jim
      >> >>
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > ------------------------------------
      >> >
      >> > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
      >> >
      >> > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >>
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
      >
      > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Herman
      Hi Hb3g, ... I understand and accept what you are saying,.................. except your last line. Uncertainty about the future doesn t have an opposite. No
      Message 100 of 100 , Feb 14 2:08 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Hb3g,

        On 14 February 2010 17:43, hb3g@... <hb3g@...> wrote:
        > Well, freedom really has no meaning, absent the facticity or contingency of situation. So, in one sense, yes, whether one happens to be born a man or a woman does have a direct bearing upon what possibilities are available, and yet, on the other hand, our being free means it is at least possible for us to transcend such contingency. Not necessarily easy, mind you, but possible. Obviously, Sartre does not want us to come away from reading him thinking that the freedom about which he is talking is somehow just a void state of pure possibilities only. The only possibilities are the concrete ones. The others can be safely ignored as not really relevant to the situation. I think uncertainty is a sign that freedom is there and that possibilities can be actualized, or not.

        I understand and accept what you are saying,.................. except
        your last line.

        Uncertainty about the future doesn't have an opposite. No matter how
        much we cloak ourselves in an attitude of certainty about the future,
        factually we are unable to predict it, factually we are uncertain. We
        do not know which of our possibilities will be actualised, all we can
        do is wait and see (without even knowing whether there will be a
        future). I still don't see how that amounts to freedom, but I am happy
        to drop it if you are so inclined.

        Polly


        >
        > Hb3g
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
        >>
        >> HI Hb3g,
        >>
        >> On 14 February 2010 00:34, hb3g@... <hb3g@...> wrote:
        >> > Why can't we get past the male/female dichotomy?
        >> >
        >> > I don't mean literally of course. There will always be boys and girls, men and women. That duality is a biological fact, and an essential part of our psychology and culture. Nobody can really deny that. Nor can they deny that physiologically and behaviorally the male tends to be the more aggressive. But there are notable exceptions, too, brought about by cultural, environmental and even physiological variables, that make even this a not so hard and fast rule, and sometimes people simply choose freely not to fit into the stereotypical role.
        >> >
        >> > But both men and women are people. Individuals. Sovereign. Rational.
        >> >
        >> > (hopefully)
        >> >
        >> > Replacing patriarchy with matriarchy, or even vice versa, hardly seems satisfactory to me. Besides, I am not even sure that our social order, here in America right now, is either one of those two things. Why should a patriarchy/matriarchy dichotomy even be relevant to today's >issues?
        >>
        >> I think you're saying that technically gender has no relevant role to
        >> play in the world today, and I agree with that.
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> >
        >> > This dichotomy really misses the one most important fundamental fact about all human beings, namely, their freedom to choose who they want to be.
        >> >
        >> > Isn't that the existentialist take right there? That, for better or for worse, whether we make good decisions, or bad ones, and whether or not our decisions are relatively constrained, or relatively free, we are still, and always, the ones who make ourselves who or what we are. No matter what.
        >> >
        >>
        >> I think it was JPS who said that freedom is what you do with what has
        >> been done to you. Of necessity, any practical freedom is always
        >> already constrained by the reality of others. Any radical freedom I
        >> might have is in the realm of imagination only. I am free to think
        >> whatever I will. I am not free in practice to constitute myself
        >> however I see fit.
        >>
        >>
        >> > I'm not talking about a human essence here. Or a human nature.
        >> >
        >> > Philosophy, by its very nature, should be a way of thinking, living, acting, that eschews all appeals to any kind of authority, whatsoever. That's what underlies, I think, the ancient spirit of philosophical skepticism. With modern day existentialism that anti-authoritarian philosophical modus operandi comes more fully into focus.
        >> >
        >> > It all comes down to the freedom thing, and that is, it seems to me, a pretty important thing for philosophy. I think it should be the main thing for philosophy. Maybe even the only thing.
        >> >
        >> > But it isn't only freedom from authority that we must talk about, and freedom from ideologies, and theoretical constructs, metaphysical and methodological prejudices, that shackle us, but freedom for real sovereignty, true autonomy, and authentic humanity. These are things that we should not just take for granted. Because we can lose them, and we can lose sight of them. On the other hand, we must necessarily pursue this freedom if we are to be truly human. It neither happens by accident, nor necessarily.
        >> >
        >> > We are, so to speak, condemned to this freedom of ours. It is what defines us. But it is no definition, in the traditional sense of the word. It is an existence that is not an essence. But, nevertheless, it has its own most intimate kind of meaning, and that is a meaning that is just for us, and for nothing else but us.
        >> >
        >>
        >> I understand what you are saying, but given the reality of the inertia
        >> of past acts, we always find ourselves in concrete situations, and not
        >> in a void state of pure possibilities only. We are in the present as
        >> our accumulated, absolute past, with the absolute, accumulated past of
        >> others.
        >>
        >>
        >> >
        >> > It is a strange kind of absolute that seems to contain its own contingencies, or, as Sartre would say, its own exigencies. What it is, is not a what at all. It defies all whatness. That, right there, I think, sets it apart from, and makes it very different from, both the theoretical and >the pragmatic.
        >>
        >> As to the future, it certainly condemns us to uncertainty, but how
        >> does that qualify as freedom?
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> >
        >> > Hb3g
        >> >
        >> > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
        >> >>
        >> >> Hi Polly,
        >> >>
        >> >> Thank you for your post 50871. I was more interested, however, in what you did not say, than in what you did say.
        >> >>
        >> >> I shall just focus on this section from the end of you post.
        >> >>
        >> >>
        >> >> Polly: Now imagine all men gone. Which wars will still have occurred? And which are still impending?
        >> >>
        >> >> Jim: I whole-heartedly agree. I am in favour of replacing patriarchy with matriarchy.
        >> >>
        >> >> Polly: I have put forward my proposal on how to achieve that. How do you propose to achieve it?
        >> >>
        >> >>
        >> >> Response: You may have put forward your proposal, but it was put forward in a rather ambiguous way, and you have failed in subsequent posts to clarify exactly what your proposal entails.
        >> >>
        >> >> This was your original formulation of your solution to over-population, male aggression, male violence, war and rape:
        >> >>
        >> >> "The solution: like-minded people must act to reach such a critical mass, that it will become possible to sterilise everyone at birth. This will allow the reason of a world group to become the pre-eminent agent of selection, as opposed to the ability of the individual to play genetic lotteries." (50838)
        >> >>
        >> >> Since then, I, and others, have been trying to get you to say exactly the form `sterilisation at birth' would take. So let me ask you again:
        >> >>
        >> >> Q1: By `sterilisation' do you mean castration of all male babies so they cannot procreate and cannot ever engage in penetrative sex?
        >> >>
        >> >> A related question follows from this remark of yours in the same post:
        >> >>
        >> >> "But the world has outgrown the need for a sexuality predicated on dominance, with the default mode of reproduction amounting to rape."
        >> >>
        >> >> In response to this statement, I ask again:
        >> >>
        >> >> Q2: In your view, does all heterosexual penetrative sex `amount to rape'?
        >> >>
        >> >> I feel that unless you answer these two questions unambiguously, then there is no point in continuing our conversation.
        >> >>
        >> >> However, to avoid you criticising me for a similar amount of evasion, let me take this opportunity to put forward my own solution to the related problems of male dominance, male aggression and male violence.
        >> >>
        >> >> In effect, my solution is implied by what I write in my neglected post 50867 ("Male violence is cultural").
        >> >>
        >> >> There I wrote:
        >> >>
        >> >> "If male violence is predominantly cultural (or, perhaps better, `environmental'), as I claim, then there can be more hope that, with increasing prosperity, education and social equality, male aggression and violence can be drastically reduced."
        >> >>
        >> >> I admit this is the standard socialist response to the ills of the world. By creating a just, egalitarian society, in which attention and care is extended to all citizens, the foundation of a culture can be established where violence is clearly recognized for the evil it is. Violence will come to be condemned by the majority, and not condoned by the majority as is the case in much of the world today.
        >> >>
        >> >> I think better education for all is another strategy for the reduction of violence. As I said in my post 50867, I think uneducated, inarticulate males are more aggressive and violent than educated, articulate males.
        >> >>
        >> >> Finally, I think philosophy itself has a role to play in reducing violence. Following Socrates, I think philosophy is above all else concerned with self-knowledge. And the more a person can gain self-knowledge, the less he or she will engage in dysfunctional behaviour like trying to dominate others, either through purely psychological manipulation or through physical threats and actual violence.
        >> >>
        >> >> You made no comment on a significant passage from my post 50856:
        >> >>
        >> >> "I also agree that the will to dominate is a bad character trait of most men. In my experience most men are control freaks. Not all. And if a man recognises this bad character trait in himself, he is on the road to changing for the better. I am optimistic that men can change themselves for the better. They just have to recognise that they have a problem in the first place, and many (most?) don't make this first step."
        >> >>
        >> >> My solution is no `quick fix': If followed, it will be a long haul with set backs along the way. Your solution is quite literally a `short cut', but I think it reflects an unjustified pessimism about man's capabilities for reform and self-improvement. Your solution reminds me of the quick fix to the problem of unhappiness: give the depressed person Prozac. I prefer the slow fix of the talking cure which attempts to address the existential root of the problem.
        >> >>
        >> >> Jim
        >> >>
        >> >
        >> >
        >> >
        >> >
        >> > ------------------------------------
        >> >
        >> > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
        >> >
        >> > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
        >> >
        >> >
        >> >
        >> >
        >>
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!
        >
        > Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/existYahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
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