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zen and existentialism!!!

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  • james tan
    .... quote: just came across two intresting articles on zen and existentialism...although these are two diff philosophies one can t fail to note the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 2, 2002
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      ....

      quote:

      just came across two intresting articles on zen and
      existentialism...although these are two diff
      philosophies one can't fail to note the similarities
      in thought and conclusion...here's the gist of it-

      Zen is the peculiarly Chinese way of accomplishing the
      Buddhist goal of seeing the world just as it is, that
      is, with a mind that has no grasping thoughts or
      feelings (Sanskrit trishna). This attitude is called
      "no-mind" (Chinese wu-hsin), a state of consciousness
      wherein thoughts move without leaving any trace.
      Unlike other forms of Buddhism, Zen holds that such
      freedom of mind cannot be attained by gradual practice
      but must come through direct and immediate insight
      (Chinese tun-wu; Japanese satori). Thus, Zen abandons
      both theorizing and systems of spiritual exercise and
      communicates its vision of truth by a method known as
      direct pointing. Its exponents answer all philosophic
      or religious questions by nonsymbolic words or
      actions; the answer is the action just as it is, and
      not what it represents. Typical is the reply of the
      Zen master Yao-shan, who, on being asked "What is the
      Way [of Zen]?" answered, "A cloud in the sky and water
      in the jug!" Zen students prepare themselves to be
      receptive to such answers by sitting in meditation
      (Japanese za-zen) while they simply observe, without
      mental comment, whatever may be happening.

      Western interest in Zen dates from the publication of
      the first authoritative account of the subject in
      English, Essays in Zen Buddhism by the Japanese
      scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki. After World War II and the
      occupation of Japan, a great interest in Zen developed
      in Europe and the U.S., notably among artists,
      philosophers, and psychologists. It had a special
      appeal for abstract and nonobjective painters and
      sculptors. Philosophers have noted its affinities with
      the thought of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig
      Wittgenstein, with the theory of general semantics of
      the American scientist and writer Alfred Korzybski,
      and, to some extent, with existentialism as propounded
      by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

      Subjectivity

      All existentialists have followed Kierkegaard in
      stressing the importance of passionate individual
      action in deciding questions of both morality and
      truth. They have insisted, accordingly, that personal
      experience and acting on one's own convictions are
      essential in arriving at the truth. Thus, the
      understanding of a situation by someone involved in
      that situation is superior to that of a detached,
      objective observer. This emphasis on the perspective
      of the individual agent has also made existentialists
      suspicious of systematic reasoning. Kierkegaard,
      Nietzsche, and other existentialist writers have been
      deliberately unsystematic in the exposition of their
      philosophies, preferring to express themselves in
      aphorisms, dialogues, parables, and other literary
      forms. Despite their antirationalist position,
      however, most existentialists cannot be said to be
      irrationalists in the sense of denying all validity to
      rational thought. They have held that rational clarity
      is desirable wherever possible, but that the most
      important questions in life are not accessible to
      reason or science. Furthermore, they have argued that
      even science is not as rational as is commonly
      supposed. Nietzsche, for instance, asserted that the
      scientific assumption of an orderly universe is for
      the most part a useful fiction.

      any comments...

      unquote.


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    • Bill Harris
      James, You sneeky mother. When Nietzsche spoke of the limitations of science, he spoke of an infant dicipline. The idea of order was not scientific it is a
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 2, 2002
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        James, You sneeky mother. When Nietzsche spoke of the limitations of
        science, he spoke of an infant dicipline. The idea of order was not
        scientific it is a value judgement outside the rhelm of science. It came
        from the era of the crystal spheres and though it may have been at the
        cutting edge in the middle ages science does not search for order, it
        searches for reproducable expermental results. Questions of human relations
        are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about in
        our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
        not? so for me I am thinking of changing my personal answer to philosophic
        question One: Who/ What am I , from"I am a member of the species Homo
        Sapiens" to, I am a living repository of a possible permutation of the
        molocule DNA" Bill
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 10:29 AM
        Subject: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!


        >
        >
        >
        > ....
        >
        > quote:
        >
        > just came across two intresting articles on zen and
        > existentialism...although these are two diff
        > philosophies one can't fail to note the similarities
        > in thought and conclusion...here's the gist of it-
        >
        > Zen is the peculiarly Chinese way of accomplishing the
        > Buddhist goal of seeing the world just as it is, that
        > is, with a mind that has no grasping thoughts or
        > feelings (Sanskrit trishna). This attitude is called
        > "no-mind" (Chinese wu-hsin), a state of consciousness
        > wherein thoughts move without leaving any trace.
        > Unlike other forms of Buddhism, Zen holds that such
        > freedom of mind cannot be attained by gradual practice
        > but must come through direct and immediate insight
        > (Chinese tun-wu; Japanese satori). Thus, Zen abandons
        > both theorizing and systems of spiritual exercise and
        > communicates its vision of truth by a method known as
        > direct pointing. Its exponents answer all philosophic
        > or religious questions by nonsymbolic words or
        > actions; the answer is the action just as it is, and
        > not what it represents. Typical is the reply of the
        > Zen master Yao-shan, who, on being asked "What is the
        > Way [of Zen]?" answered, "A cloud in the sky and water
        > in the jug!" Zen students prepare themselves to be
        > receptive to such answers by sitting in meditation
        > (Japanese za-zen) while they simply observe, without
        > mental comment, whatever may be happening.
        >
        > Western interest in Zen dates from the publication of
        > the first authoritative account of the subject in
        > English, Essays in Zen Buddhism by the Japanese
        > scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki. After World War II and the
        > occupation of Japan, a great interest in Zen developed
        > in Europe and the U.S., notably among artists,
        > philosophers, and psychologists. It had a special
        > appeal for abstract and nonobjective painters and
        > sculptors. Philosophers have noted its affinities with
        > the thought of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig
        > Wittgenstein, with the theory of general semantics of
        > the American scientist and writer Alfred Korzybski,
        > and, to some extent, with existentialism as propounded
        > by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.
        >
        > Subjectivity
        >
        > All existentialists have followed Kierkegaard in
        > stressing the importance of passionate individual
        > action in deciding questions of both morality and
        > truth. They have insisted, accordingly, that personal
        > experience and acting on one's own convictions are
        > essential in arriving at the truth. Thus, the
        > understanding of a situation by someone involved in
        > that situation is superior to that of a detached,
        > objective observer. This emphasis on the perspective
        > of the individual agent has also made existentialists
        > suspicious of systematic reasoning. Kierkegaard,
        > Nietzsche, and other existentialist writers have been
        > deliberately unsystematic in the exposition of their
        > philosophies, preferring to express themselves in
        > aphorisms, dialogues, parables, and other literary
        > forms. Despite their antirationalist position,
        > however, most existentialists cannot be said to be
        > irrationalists in the sense of denying all validity to
        > rational thought. They have held that rational clarity
        > is desirable wherever possible, but that the most
        > important questions in life are not accessible to
        > reason or science. Furthermore, they have argued that
        > even science is not as rational as is commonly
        > supposed. Nietzsche, for instance, asserted that the
        > scientific assumption of an orderly universe is for
        > the most part a useful fiction.
        >
        > any comments...
        >
        > unquote.
        >
        >
        > __________________________________________________
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        > Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
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        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
        > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
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      • Eduard Alf
        james, Your reference to Zen in relation to Existentialism is quite true. Which is what I mentioned before, in that Existentialism is not a complete
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 2, 2002
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          james,

          Your reference to Zen in relation to Existentialism is quite true. Which is
          what I mentioned before, in that Existentialism is not a complete philosophy
          in itself. It is a sort of starting point. In making yourself by your
          choices, you also create a supplementary philosophy, or at least adopt one
          that is already available.

          Zen was not fully adopted into Japan [from China] until the 12th century.

          eduard
          -----Original Message-----
          From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
          Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 11:29 AM
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!





          ....

          quote:

          just came across two intresting articles on zen and
          existentialism...although these are two diff
          philosophies one can't fail to note the similarities
          in thought and conclusion...here's the gist of it-

          Zen is the peculiarly Chinese way of accomplishing the
          Buddhist goal of seeing the world just as it is, that
          is, with a mind that has no grasping thoughts or
          feelings (Sanskrit trishna). This attitude is called
          "no-mind" (Chinese wu-hsin), a state of consciousness
          wherein thoughts move without leaving any trace.
          Unlike other forms of Buddhism, Zen holds that such
          freedom of mind cannot be attained by gradual practice
          but must come through direct and immediate insight
          (Chinese tun-wu; Japanese satori). Thus, Zen abandons
          both theorizing and systems of spiritual exercise and
          communicates its vision of truth by a method known as
          direct pointing. Its exponents answer all philosophic
          or religious questions by nonsymbolic words or
          actions; the answer is the action just as it is, and
          not what it represents. Typical is the reply of the
          Zen master Yao-shan, who, on being asked "What is the
          Way [of Zen]?" answered, "A cloud in the sky and water
          in the jug!" Zen students prepare themselves to be
          receptive to such answers by sitting in meditation
          (Japanese za-zen) while they simply observe, without
          mental comment, whatever may be happening.

          Western interest in Zen dates from the publication of
          the first authoritative account of the subject in
          English, Essays in Zen Buddhism by the Japanese
          scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki. After World War II and the
          occupation of Japan, a great interest in Zen developed
          in Europe and the U.S., notably among artists,
          philosophers, and psychologists. It had a special
          appeal for abstract and nonobjective painters and
          sculptors. Philosophers have noted its affinities with
          the thought of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig
          Wittgenstein, with the theory of general semantics of
          the American scientist and writer Alfred Korzybski,
          and, to some extent, with existentialism as propounded
          by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

          Subjectivity

          All existentialists have followed Kierkegaard in
          stressing the importance of passionate individual
          action in deciding questions of both morality and
          truth. They have insisted, accordingly, that personal
          experience and acting on one's own convictions are
          essential in arriving at the truth. Thus, the
          understanding of a situation by someone involved in
          that situation is superior to that of a detached,
          objective observer. This emphasis on the perspective
          of the individual agent has also made existentialists
          suspicious of systematic reasoning. Kierkegaard,
          Nietzsche, and other existentialist writers have been
          deliberately unsystematic in the exposition of their
          philosophies, preferring to express themselves in
          aphorisms, dialogues, parables, and other literary
          forms. Despite their antirationalist position,
          however, most existentialists cannot be said to be
          irrationalists in the sense of denying all validity to
          rational thought. They have held that rational clarity
          is desirable wherever possible, but that the most
          important questions in life are not accessible to
          reason or science. Furthermore, they have argued that
          even science is not as rational as is commonly
          supposed. Nietzsche, for instance, asserted that the
          scientific assumption of an orderly universe is for
          the most part a useful fiction.

          any comments...

          unquote.


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        • james tan
          bill, ain t ur mother, nor sneeky. recently there seems to be some debate concerning whether morals are objective or subjective. u said: Questions of human
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 4, 2002
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            bill,

            ain't ur mother, nor sneeky.

            recently there seems to be some debate concerning whether morals are
            objective or subjective. u said: "Questions of human relations
            are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about in
            our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
            not?" unquote. i think you hit the nail of its head concerning the issue of
            whether moral is absolute and objective. another side issue is this: there
            is a severe lack of clarity in the way words like 'objective' and
            'subjective' is used. between george and eduard on this issue of morality, i
            tend to sympathise with george's view, although sometimes i think my only
            disagreement with eduard is a matter of the way he use or understand words
            such as 'objective', 'absolute', etc. if we take the scientific method as
            being objective, i agree with you that when it comes to human affairs, be it
            morality or depression, esp to understand human behaviours, subjectivity is
            a better construct than objectivity.

            imagine the old universe.....dust, planets, stars, matters, moving at high
            velocity across vast space, for millions and billions of years. imagine
            their 'loneliness'. those dust is concerned with morality and goodness?
            objective morality is to be found in this cosmos from the time beginning
            from which man draw their moral codes? are those dust lonely? is there a
            purpose to those cosmic travelling? these questions bring out one point:
            there is a distinction between human and the rest of the universe. the law
            of gravity applies to all object that possess mass, all objects, the dust,
            planets, including the body of humans. this is objective, perhaps absolutely
            true; it doesn't matter what we feel about it. if one man jump from the
            world trade center for whatever reasons (nature is not interested in those
            reasons), we may feel tragic, and his mother and girlfriends may cry, but
            the law of gravity will not stop its effect just because of its tragic
            nature. words like 'lonely', 'tragic', action like crying or any human
            action, suggest one thing that is not in nature objectively: that is,
            values, meaning, purpose. to say that something is tragic, or wrong, or
            good, or immoral, brave, etc, etc, is to presuppose values. nature herself
            has no such values; it does not give a hoot whether eduard is a coward or
            not. and values are inherently non-objective; it is only relative to human.
            it is something humanly constituted, for a purpose. purpose is also
            non-objective. the print u see on the screen now are composed of electrons
            shooting, it can be weighed by physicists, the intensity of light reflected
            measured by instruments, etc, but which scientific instuments can give us
            the meaning of the words? and for that matter, any actions of humans? i
            agree with u, bill, that no scientific theories or instuments can tell us
            'objectively' meaning. beauty is in the eyes of the beholders, not inherent
            in nature herself, and meaning is in the minds of list members. eduard will
            see a squirrel crawling up a tree eating his fruit, and think it beautiful;
            some other guy may think it disgusting and hateful. i and my friend will see
            a girl with a certain outstanding feature; he will think she is dashingly
            beautiful for that, while i may think it spoils the whole face. is there a
            'right' answer? nature has made her this way, but beauty is in the eyes of
            beholders. ie, it is relative to the person seeing it. ie, it is subjective.
            what is objective, though, is that she HAS that feature.

            morality serves a purpose: it is a construct (meaning it is human invented,
            not inherent in nature, and man only perceive through constructs, which may
            varies from culture to culture, man to man, and any commonality is just a
            matter of degree, not absolutely) to keep society of fellow humans in order,
            ultimately to serve the evolution, if not the maintainence, of human
            species. as such, it is again subjective. let take another example. jim may
            use wood for burning to keep the winter cold away, or to make a hut in the
            wilderness, others may use it for making papers, but there is no correct
            function built into the wood. in the sense that nature has no intrinsic aims
            or goals of its own, there is no purpose. but morality serves a human
            purpose. (in a sense, morality is not even the business of god, for the
            simple reason that he is not human and living among us as humans even if he
            exists). morality differs among cultures and this alone hint at the
            subjectiveness of it. perhaps for eduard, murder, for an example, is
            absolutely and objectively wrong; well, good for him and socieity. his
            so-called objectivity is the subjectivity of eduard. but make no mistake
            about it: not everybody impute or constitute or construct the way he does
            about murder. i will even overlook all the 'unless'. eduard may think those
            who disagree that murder is absolutely and objectively morally wrong is
            mistaken; but in the final analysis, at the end of the day, and in a sense
            (no offense meant), what eduard think does not matter. he can think all he
            wants, say all he wants, assert all he wants (this list is composed, in a
            large proportion, of subjective assertions), whatever is produced out of his
            'system' is something that matters only to him, whatever statements he make
            about the world or universe. or morality.

            kierkeggard said: truth is subjectivity. and i think it is precisely because
            of any subjective nature that make it meaningful to one as an individual.
            (this is not to say that i endorse killing, it is just a idle chat on the
            nature of morality and killing). do the objective research and inquiries of
            physicists and scientists really affect the conflicts that we as individuals
            face in our daily lives? does kant's concern about synthetic a priori has
            any bearing on the choices we make as individuals? can the proofs of god's
            existences by catholic theologians provide us with faith? coming to think of
            it, although at one time i used to scorn at the christian's reliance on
            faith, i have a different outlook now. it is not that bad, for the simple
            reason that it is their faith which make their lives meaningful
            (subjectively) and passionate (i mean, the ones who understood the real
            significance of their faith; not every so-called christians do). every
            system of thoughts have their points of departure, or premises and
            assumption, and it is in the nature of premises to be beyond verification.
            even for pure maths of number theory, they have axioms which themselves
            cannot be proven but have to be assumed before the rest can be proved. for
            the existentialists, it is human freedom and the intentionality of human
            consciousness. for the christian it is christ the god and saviour. for
            shakespheare's play "lear", we have to accept lear's inexplicable conduct at
            the beginning of the play. why is one thing assumed over another? is there
            any objective reason for it? ultimately, it is subjectivity, expressed in
            one's choice, a discontinuity of reason and objectivity, kierkegaard's leap
            of faith.

            to the extent that sometimes we attribute human quality to non human things.
            color may be 'warm' or 'cold', a musical note 'sharp', a landscape
            'melancholy'. and dear eduard will say the universe has a 'purpose' and
            morality 'objectivity'. a little confusion will not kill anyway; for with
            the intellectual confusion, the aesthetic joy of seeing squirrel running
            around is still possible. one don't have to know the biology of pregnancy to
            get pregnant. passion will do, which to kierkeggard is more important than
            knowledge, the subjective passion over the objective knowledge. imagine a
            'scholar' who talk, teach, educate about making love but never get down to
            making love itself; what a sorry sight of a pathetic man.

            zen is one of those area which appreciate the importance of the subjective.
            u don't see these zen masters analysing and deducing; instead, they simply
            describe what exist, to them subjectively experienced. they do not care much
            about the theories and prejudice of society or culture of how things
            'should' be, but how things is. they are not worried about being charged for
            lack of objectivity as a scientist would. for them, there isn't much of a
            distinction between objectivity and subjectivity. no theories, no hope, no
            idea of a absolute essence of how thing ought to be, no faith, no desires,
            they see things just as they are.

            you said: am a member of the species Homo Sapiens" to, I am a living
            repository of a possible permutation of the molocule DNA" unquote. no, i
            would rather say....you are you. lets forget about theories, about
            evolution, about genetics, about being american, about.....you are not
            evolved, you just are.

            james.






            From: "Bill Harris" <bhvwd@...>
            Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
            Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!
            Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 14:33:32 -0600

            James, You sneeky mother. When Nietzsche spoke of the limitations of
            science, he spoke of an infant dicipline. The idea of order was not
            scientific it is a value judgement outside the rhelm of science. It came
            from the era of the crystal spheres and though it may have been at the
            cutting edge in the middle ages science does not search for order, it
            searches for reproducable expermental results. Questions of human relations
            are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about in
            our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
            not? so for me I am thinking of changing my personal answer to philosophic
            question One: Who/ What am I , from"I am a member of the species Homo
            Sapiens" to, I am a living repository of a possible permutation of the
            molocule DNA" Bill
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
            To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 10:29 AM
            Subject: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!


            >
            >
            >
            > ....
            >
            > quote:
            >
            > just came across two intresting articles on zen and
            > existentialism...although these are two diff
            > philosophies one can't fail to note the similarities
            > in thought and conclusion...here's the gist of it-
            >
            > Zen is the peculiarly Chinese way of accomplishing the
            > Buddhist goal of seeing the world just as it is, that
            > is, with a mind that has no grasping thoughts or
            > feelings (Sanskrit trishna). This attitude is called
            > "no-mind" (Chinese wu-hsin), a state of consciousness
            > wherein thoughts move without leaving any trace.
            > Unlike other forms of Buddhism, Zen holds that such
            > freedom of mind cannot be attained by gradual practice
            > but must come through direct and immediate insight
            > (Chinese tun-wu; Japanese satori). Thus, Zen abandons
            > both theorizing and systems of spiritual exercise and
            > communicates its vision of truth by a method known as
            > direct pointing. Its exponents answer all philosophic
            > or religious questions by nonsymbolic words or
            > actions; the answer is the action just as it is, and
            > not what it represents. Typical is the reply of the
            > Zen master Yao-shan, who, on being asked "What is the
            > Way [of Zen]?" answered, "A cloud in the sky and water
            > in the jug!" Zen students prepare themselves to be
            > receptive to such answers by sitting in meditation
            > (Japanese za-zen) while they simply observe, without
            > mental comment, whatever may be happening.
            >
            > Western interest in Zen dates from the publication of
            > the first authoritative account of the subject in
            > English, Essays in Zen Buddhism by the Japanese
            > scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki. After World War II and the
            > occupation of Japan, a great interest in Zen developed
            > in Europe and the U.S., notably among artists,
            > philosophers, and psychologists. It had a special
            > appeal for abstract and nonobjective painters and
            > sculptors. Philosophers have noted its affinities with
            > the thought of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig
            > Wittgenstein, with the theory of general semantics of
            > the American scientist and writer Alfred Korzybski,
            > and, to some extent, with existentialism as propounded
            > by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.
            >
            > Subjectivity
            >
            > All existentialists have followed Kierkegaard in
            > stressing the importance of passionate individual
            > action in deciding questions of both morality and
            > truth. They have insisted, accordingly, that personal
            > experience and acting on one's own convictions are
            > essential in arriving at the truth. Thus, the
            > understanding of a situation by someone involved in
            > that situation is superior to that of a detached,
            > objective observer. This emphasis on the perspective
            > of the individual agent has also made existentialists
            > suspicious of systematic reasoning. Kierkegaard,
            > Nietzsche, and other existentialist writers have been
            > deliberately unsystematic in the exposition of their
            > philosophies, preferring to express themselves in
            > aphorisms, dialogues, parables, and other literary
            > forms. Despite their antirationalist position,
            > however, most existentialists cannot be said to be
            > irrationalists in the sense of denying all validity to
            > rational thought. They have held that rational clarity
            > is desirable wherever possible, but that the most
            > important questions in life are not accessible to
            > reason or science. Furthermore, they have argued that
            > even science is not as rational as is commonly
            > supposed. Nietzsche, for instance, asserted that the
            > scientific assumption of an orderly universe is for
            > the most part a useful fiction.
            >
            > any comments...
            >
            > unquote.
            >
            >
            > __________________________________________________
            > Do You Yahoo!?
            > Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
            > http://greetings.yahoo.com
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > _________________________________________________________________
            > Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
            > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
            >
            > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
            > existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >









            _________________________________________________________________
            Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com
          • Bill Harris
            James, thank you for the excellent post. Gems like that can lift a fellows consciousness. I was reading Poe and found a reference to a transcendental state in
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 4, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              James, thank you for the excellent post. Gems like that can lift a fellows
              consciousness. I was reading Poe and found a reference to a transcendental
              state in which he could realise a pureness of being, not thought, not
              emotion, but perfect being. He claimed that every other thought he had
              constructed could be reduced to language. Yet that "state" was exempt from
              linguistic intrepretation. Agape, the buddist contemplative state, auto
              hypnosis, transcendental meditation, rapture all come down to a good
              feeling. They do not take us beyond or give us extraoidinary powers. They
              are complimentary mental states from which we can gain personal benefits,
              but beyond that they are dead ends. I suppose I would encounter less
              objection to drug enduced euphoria being limited, but I consider it to be
              personally limitless since it can lead to death. I think just being, even in
              a state of great pleasure, does not feed the bulldog. Bill
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
              To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 4:55 AM
              Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!


              > bill,
              >
              > ain't ur mother, nor sneeky.
              >
              > recently there seems to be some debate concerning whether morals are
              > objective or subjective. u said: "Questions of human relations
              > are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about in
              > our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
              > not?" unquote. i think you hit the nail of its head concerning the issue
              of
              > whether moral is absolute and objective. another side issue is this: there
              > is a severe lack of clarity in the way words like 'objective' and
              > 'subjective' is used. between george and eduard on this issue of morality,
              i
              > tend to sympathise with george's view, although sometimes i think my only
              > disagreement with eduard is a matter of the way he use or understand words
              > such as 'objective', 'absolute', etc. if we take the scientific method as
              > being objective, i agree with you that when it comes to human affairs, be
              it
              > morality or depression, esp to understand human behaviours, subjectivity
              is
              > a better construct than objectivity.
              >
              > imagine the old universe.....dust, planets, stars, matters, moving at high
              > velocity across vast space, for millions and billions of years. imagine
              > their 'loneliness'. those dust is concerned with morality and goodness?
              > objective morality is to be found in this cosmos from the time beginning
              > from which man draw their moral codes? are those dust lonely? is there a
              > purpose to those cosmic travelling? these questions bring out one point:
              > there is a distinction between human and the rest of the universe. the law
              > of gravity applies to all object that possess mass, all objects, the dust,
              > planets, including the body of humans. this is objective, perhaps
              absolutely
              > true; it doesn't matter what we feel about it. if one man jump from the
              > world trade center for whatever reasons (nature is not interested in those
              > reasons), we may feel tragic, and his mother and girlfriends may cry, but
              > the law of gravity will not stop its effect just because of its tragic
              > nature. words like 'lonely', 'tragic', action like crying or any human
              > action, suggest one thing that is not in nature objectively: that is,
              > values, meaning, purpose. to say that something is tragic, or wrong, or
              > good, or immoral, brave, etc, etc, is to presuppose values. nature herself
              > has no such values; it does not give a hoot whether eduard is a coward or
              > not. and values are inherently non-objective; it is only relative to
              human.
              > it is something humanly constituted, for a purpose. purpose is also
              > non-objective. the print u see on the screen now are composed of electrons
              > shooting, it can be weighed by physicists, the intensity of light
              reflected
              > measured by instruments, etc, but which scientific instuments can give us
              > the meaning of the words? and for that matter, any actions of humans? i
              > agree with u, bill, that no scientific theories or instuments can tell us
              > 'objectively' meaning. beauty is in the eyes of the beholders, not
              inherent
              > in nature herself, and meaning is in the minds of list members. eduard
              will
              > see a squirrel crawling up a tree eating his fruit, and think it
              beautiful;
              > some other guy may think it disgusting and hateful. i and my friend will
              see
              > a girl with a certain outstanding feature; he will think she is dashingly
              > beautiful for that, while i may think it spoils the whole face. is there a
              > 'right' answer? nature has made her this way, but beauty is in the eyes of
              > beholders. ie, it is relative to the person seeing it. ie, it is
              subjective.
              > what is objective, though, is that she HAS that feature.
              >
              > morality serves a purpose: it is a construct (meaning it is human
              invented,
              > not inherent in nature, and man only perceive through constructs, which
              may
              > varies from culture to culture, man to man, and any commonality is just a
              > matter of degree, not absolutely) to keep society of fellow humans in
              order,
              > ultimately to serve the evolution, if not the maintainence, of human
              > species. as such, it is again subjective. let take another example. jim
              may
              > use wood for burning to keep the winter cold away, or to make a hut in the
              > wilderness, others may use it for making papers, but there is no correct
              > function built into the wood. in the sense that nature has no intrinsic
              aims
              > or goals of its own, there is no purpose. but morality serves a human
              > purpose. (in a sense, morality is not even the business of god, for the
              > simple reason that he is not human and living among us as humans even if
              he
              > exists). morality differs among cultures and this alone hint at the
              > subjectiveness of it. perhaps for eduard, murder, for an example, is
              > absolutely and objectively wrong; well, good for him and socieity. his
              > so-called objectivity is the subjectivity of eduard. but make no mistake
              > about it: not everybody impute or constitute or construct the way he does
              > about murder. i will even overlook all the 'unless'. eduard may think
              those
              > who disagree that murder is absolutely and objectively morally wrong is
              > mistaken; but in the final analysis, at the end of the day, and in a sense
              > (no offense meant), what eduard think does not matter. he can think all he
              > wants, say all he wants, assert all he wants (this list is composed, in a
              > large proportion, of subjective assertions), whatever is produced out of
              his
              > 'system' is something that matters only to him, whatever statements he
              make
              > about the world or universe. or morality.
              >
              > kierkeggard said: truth is subjectivity. and i think it is precisely
              because
              > of any subjective nature that make it meaningful to one as an individual.
              > (this is not to say that i endorse killing, it is just a idle chat on the
              > nature of morality and killing). do the objective research and inquiries
              of
              > physicists and scientists really affect the conflicts that we as
              individuals
              > face in our daily lives? does kant's concern about synthetic a priori has
              > any bearing on the choices we make as individuals? can the proofs of god's
              > existences by catholic theologians provide us with faith? coming to think
              of
              > it, although at one time i used to scorn at the christian's reliance on
              > faith, i have a different outlook now. it is not that bad, for the simple
              > reason that it is their faith which make their lives meaningful
              > (subjectively) and passionate (i mean, the ones who understood the real
              > significance of their faith; not every so-called christians do). every
              > system of thoughts have their points of departure, or premises and
              > assumption, and it is in the nature of premises to be beyond verification.
              > even for pure maths of number theory, they have axioms which themselves
              > cannot be proven but have to be assumed before the rest can be proved. for
              > the existentialists, it is human freedom and the intentionality of human
              > consciousness. for the christian it is christ the god and saviour. for
              > shakespheare's play "lear", we have to accept lear's inexplicable conduct
              at
              > the beginning of the play. why is one thing assumed over another? is there
              > any objective reason for it? ultimately, it is subjectivity, expressed in
              > one's choice, a discontinuity of reason and objectivity, kierkegaard's
              leap
              > of faith.
              >
              > to the extent that sometimes we attribute human quality to non human
              things.
              > color may be 'warm' or 'cold', a musical note 'sharp', a landscape
              > 'melancholy'. and dear eduard will say the universe has a 'purpose' and
              > morality 'objectivity'. a little confusion will not kill anyway; for with
              > the intellectual confusion, the aesthetic joy of seeing squirrel running
              > around is still possible. one don't have to know the biology of pregnancy
              to
              > get pregnant. passion will do, which to kierkeggard is more important than
              > knowledge, the subjective passion over the objective knowledge. imagine a
              > 'scholar' who talk, teach, educate about making love but never get down to
              > making love itself; what a sorry sight of a pathetic man.
              >
              > zen is one of those area which appreciate the importance of the
              subjective.
              > u don't see these zen masters analysing and deducing; instead, they simply
              > describe what exist, to them subjectively experienced. they do not care
              much
              > about the theories and prejudice of society or culture of how things
              > 'should' be, but how things is. they are not worried about being charged
              for
              > lack of objectivity as a scientist would. for them, there isn't much of a
              > distinction between objectivity and subjectivity. no theories, no hope, no
              > idea of a absolute essence of how thing ought to be, no faith, no desires,
              > they see things just as they are.
              >
              > you said: am a member of the species Homo Sapiens" to, I am a living
              > repository of a possible permutation of the molocule DNA" unquote. no, i
              > would rather say....you are you. lets forget about theories, about
              > evolution, about genetics, about being american, about.....you are not
              > evolved, you just are.
              >
              > james.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > From: "Bill Harris" <bhvwd@...>
              > Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
              > Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!
              > Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 14:33:32 -0600
              >
              > James, You sneeky mother. When Nietzsche spoke of the limitations of
              > science, he spoke of an infant dicipline. The idea of order was not
              > scientific it is a value judgement outside the rhelm of science. It came
              > from the era of the crystal spheres and though it may have been at the
              > cutting edge in the middle ages science does not search for order, it
              > searches for reproducable expermental results. Questions of human
              relations
              > are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about in
              > our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
              > not? so for me I am thinking of changing my personal answer to
              philosophic
              > question One: Who/ What am I , from"I am a member of the species Homo
              > Sapiens" to, I am a living repository of a possible permutation of the
              > molocule DNA" Bill
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
              > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
              > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 10:29 AM
              > Subject: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!
              >
              >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ....
              > >
              > > quote:
              > >
              > > just came across two intresting articles on zen and
              > > existentialism...although these are two diff
              > > philosophies one can't fail to note the similarities
              > > in thought and conclusion...here's the gist of it-
              > >
              > > Zen is the peculiarly Chinese way of accomplishing the
              > > Buddhist goal of seeing the world just as it is, that
              > > is, with a mind that has no grasping thoughts or
              > > feelings (Sanskrit trishna). This attitude is called
              > > "no-mind" (Chinese wu-hsin), a state of consciousness
              > > wherein thoughts move without leaving any trace.
              > > Unlike other forms of Buddhism, Zen holds that such
              > > freedom of mind cannot be attained by gradual practice
              > > but must come through direct and immediate insight
              > > (Chinese tun-wu; Japanese satori). Thus, Zen abandons
              > > both theorizing and systems of spiritual exercise and
              > > communicates its vision of truth by a method known as
              > > direct pointing. Its exponents answer all philosophic
              > > or religious questions by nonsymbolic words or
              > > actions; the answer is the action just as it is, and
              > > not what it represents. Typical is the reply of the
              > > Zen master Yao-shan, who, on being asked "What is the
              > > Way [of Zen]?" answered, "A cloud in the sky and water
              > > in the jug!" Zen students prepare themselves to be
              > > receptive to such answers by sitting in meditation
              > > (Japanese za-zen) while they simply observe, without
              > > mental comment, whatever may be happening.
              > >
              > > Western interest in Zen dates from the publication of
              > > the first authoritative account of the subject in
              > > English, Essays in Zen Buddhism by the Japanese
              > > scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki. After World War II and the
              > > occupation of Japan, a great interest in Zen developed
              > > in Europe and the U.S., notably among artists,
              > > philosophers, and psychologists. It had a special
              > > appeal for abstract and nonobjective painters and
              > > sculptors. Philosophers have noted its affinities with
              > > the thought of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig
              > > Wittgenstein, with the theory of general semantics of
              > > the American scientist and writer Alfred Korzybski,
              > > and, to some extent, with existentialism as propounded
              > > by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.
              > >
              > > Subjectivity
              > >
              > > All existentialists have followed Kierkegaard in
              > > stressing the importance of passionate individual
              > > action in deciding questions of both morality and
              > > truth. They have insisted, accordingly, that personal
              > > experience and acting on one's own convictions are
              > > essential in arriving at the truth. Thus, the
              > > understanding of a situation by someone involved in
              > > that situation is superior to that of a detached,
              > > objective observer. This emphasis on the perspective
              > > of the individual agent has also made existentialists
              > > suspicious of systematic reasoning. Kierkegaard,
              > > Nietzsche, and other existentialist writers have been
              > > deliberately unsystematic in the exposition of their
              > > philosophies, preferring to express themselves in
              > > aphorisms, dialogues, parables, and other literary
              > > forms. Despite their antirationalist position,
              > > however, most existentialists cannot be said to be
              > > irrationalists in the sense of denying all validity to
              > > rational thought. They have held that rational clarity
              > > is desirable wherever possible, but that the most
              > > important questions in life are not accessible to
              > > reason or science. Furthermore, they have argued that
              > > even science is not as rational as is commonly
              > > supposed. Nietzsche, for instance, asserted that the
              > > scientific assumption of an orderly universe is for
              > > the most part a useful fiction.
              > >
              > > any comments...
              > >
              > > unquote.
              > >
              > >
              > > __________________________________________________
              > > Do You Yahoo!?
              > > Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
              > > http://greetings.yahoo.com
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > _________________________________________________________________
              > > Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com
              > >
              > >
              > >
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              > > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
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            • Eduard Alf
              Bill, james just doesn t get it. All this talk of physics and dust and people falling out of the WTC. My position is that there are some ethics that are
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 4, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                Bill,

                james just doesn't get it. All this talk of physics and dust and people
                falling out of the WTC.

                My position is that there are some ethics that are common to all societies.
                A mother's love for her child. The desire for happiness. The restriction
                that you should not go out killing others of the society. A society which
                condones arbitrary killing of its members is society which will fail.

                Of course we could argue this forever. The difficulty lies in the words.
                My interpretation of "subjective" is something whose determination rests
                with the individual. I may see a pen as red, you may see it as blue. A
                statement of "the pen is red" is purely subjective. I interpret things that
                are "absolute" are those things which are outside the individual. That is
                of the society into which the individual is thrown. They are statements of
                conduct that exist prior to your own existence. Societies that are
                successful do not tolerate arbitrary killing. Such would be in
                contradiction to the objectives of the society itself. If the moral were
                subjective, then you would find the alternative of "thou shalt kill".

                If we are get into Zen, then this is a good example. Surely the whole focus
                of Zen is towards the objective and away from the subjective. james says
                that for Zen there is an "appreciation for the subjective". Yet even a
                cursory examination of this philosophy indicates that the idea is to release
                oneself from the subjective. That is, to experience what is there by
                itself. The whole idea of the Koans; "One hand clapping". "What do you do
                when you see the Buddha". "What was your face before you were born"; are to
                release the student from the subjective. In releasing from the subjective,
                what is it that the student finally sees? Surely it is the objective.

                But then I really don't expect to have a discussion which focuses
                specifically on the issue at hand. It is easier to divert it towards dust
                and what not.

                I object to the statement that, "whatever is produced out of his 'system' is
                something that matters only to him". This is only another tactic to avoid
                the issue. I can only presume that james is not aware that the moral
                commandment of "thou shalt not kill" happens to be a basic tenant of the
                Judo-Christian religion.

                It is interesting that james himself has seen fit to resort to a simplistic
                moral statement ... "you are not evolved, you just are". Actually I kind of
                like it.

                eduard
                -----Original Message-----
                From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 5:56 AM
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!


                bill,

                ain't ur mother, nor sneeky.

                recently there seems to be some debate concerning whether morals are
                objective or subjective. u said: "Questions of human relations
                are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about in
                our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
                not?" unquote. i think you hit the nail of its head concerning the issue
                of
                whether moral is absolute and objective. another side issue is this: there
                is a severe lack of clarity in the way words like 'objective' and
                'subjective' is used. between george and eduard on this issue of morality,
                i
                tend to sympathise with george's view, although sometimes i think my only
                disagreement with eduard is a matter of the way he use or understand words
                such as 'objective', 'absolute', etc. if we take the scientific method as
                being objective, i agree with you that when it comes to human affairs, be
                it
                morality or depression, esp to understand human behaviours, subjectivity
                is
                a better construct than objectivity.

                imagine the old universe.....dust, planets, stars, matters, moving at high
                velocity across vast space, for millions and billions of years. imagine
                their 'loneliness'. those dust is concerned with morality and goodness?
                objective morality is to be found in this cosmos from the time beginning
                from which man draw their moral codes? are those dust lonely? is there a
                purpose to those cosmic travelling? these questions bring out one point:
                there is a distinction between human and the rest of the universe. the law
                of gravity applies to all object that possess mass, all objects, the dust,
                planets, including the body of humans. this is objective, perhaps
                absolutely
                true; it doesn't matter what we feel about it. if one man jump from the
                world trade center for whatever reasons (nature is not interested in those
                reasons), we may feel tragic, and his mother and girlfriends may cry, but
                the law of gravity will not stop its effect just because of its tragic
                nature. words like 'lonely', 'tragic', action like crying or any human
                action, suggest one thing that is not in nature objectively: that is,
                values, meaning, purpose. to say that something is tragic, or wrong, or
                good, or immoral, brave, etc, etc, is to presuppose values. nature herself
                has no such values; it does not give a hoot whether eduard is a coward or
                not. and values are inherently non-objective; it is only relative to
                human.
                it is something humanly constituted, for a purpose. purpose is also
                non-objective. the print u see on the screen now are composed of electrons
                shooting, it can be weighed by physicists, the intensity of light
                reflected
                measured by instruments, etc, but which scientific instuments can give us
                the meaning of the words? and for that matter, any actions of humans? i
                agree with u, bill, that no scientific theories or instuments can tell us
                'objectively' meaning. beauty is in the eyes of the beholders, not
                inherent
                in nature herself, and meaning is in the minds of list members. eduard
                will
                see a squirrel crawling up a tree eating his fruit, and think it
                beautiful;
                some other guy may think it disgusting and hateful. i and my friend will
                see
                a girl with a certain outstanding feature; he will think she is dashingly
                beautiful for that, while i may think it spoils the whole face. is there a
                'right' answer? nature has made her this way, but beauty is in the eyes of
                beholders. ie, it is relative to the person seeing it. ie, it is
                subjective.
                what is objective, though, is that she HAS that feature.

                morality serves a purpose: it is a construct (meaning it is human
                invented,
                not inherent in nature, and man only perceive through constructs, which
                may
                varies from culture to culture, man to man, and any commonality is just a
                matter of degree, not absolutely) to keep society of fellow humans in
                order,
                ultimately to serve the evolution, if not the maintainence, of human
                species. as such, it is again subjective. let take another example. jim
                may
                use wood for burning to keep the winter cold away, or to make a hut in the
                wilderness, others may use it for making papers, but there is no correct
                function built into the wood. in the sense that nature has no intrinsic
                aims
                or goals of its own, there is no purpose. but morality serves a human
                purpose. (in a sense, morality is not even the business of god, for the
                simple reason that he is not human and living among us as humans even if
                he
                exists). morality differs among cultures and this alone hint at the
                subjectiveness of it. perhaps for eduard, murder, for an example, is
                absolutely and objectively wrong; well, good for him and socieity. his
                so-called objectivity is the subjectivity of eduard. but make no mistake
                about it: not everybody impute or constitute or construct the way he does
                about murder. i will even overlook all the 'unless'. eduard may think
                those
                who disagree that murder is absolutely and objectively morally wrong is
                mistaken; but in the final analysis, at the end of the day, and in a sense
                (no offense meant), what eduard think does not matter. he can think all he
                wants, say all he wants, assert all he wants (this list is composed, in a
                large proportion, of subjective assertions), whatever is produced out of
                his
                'system' is something that matters only to him, whatever statements he
                make
                about the world or universe. or morality.

                kierkeggard said: truth is subjectivity. and i think it is precisely
                because
                of any subjective nature that make it meaningful to one as an individual.
                (this is not to say that i endorse killing, it is just a idle chat on the
                nature of morality and killing). do the objective research and inquiries
                of
                physicists and scientists really affect the conflicts that we as
                individuals
                face in our daily lives? does kant's concern about synthetic a priori has
                any bearing on the choices we make as individuals? can the proofs of god's
                existences by catholic theologians provide us with faith? coming to think
                of
                it, although at one time i used to scorn at the christian's reliance on
                faith, i have a different outlook now. it is not that bad, for the simple
                reason that it is their faith which make their lives meaningful
                (subjectively) and passionate (i mean, the ones who understood the real
                significance of their faith; not every so-called christians do). every
                system of thoughts have their points of departure, or premises and
                assumption, and it is in the nature of premises to be beyond verification.
                even for pure maths of number theory, they have axioms which themselves
                cannot be proven but have to be assumed before the rest can be proved. for
                the existentialists, it is human freedom and the intentionality of human
                consciousness. for the christian it is christ the god and saviour. for
                shakespheare's play "lear", we have to accept lear's inexplicable conduct
                at
                the beginning of the play. why is one thing assumed over another? is there
                any objective reason for it? ultimately, it is subjectivity, expressed in
                one's choice, a discontinuity of reason and objectivity, kierkegaard's
                leap
                of faith.

                to the extent that sometimes we attribute human quality to non human
                things.
                color may be 'warm' or 'cold', a musical note 'sharp', a landscape
                'melancholy'. and dear eduard will say the universe has a 'purpose' and
                morality 'objectivity'. a little confusion will not kill anyway; for with
                the intellectual confusion, the aesthetic joy of seeing squirrel running
                around is still possible. one don't have to know the biology of pregnancy
                to
                get pregnant. passion will do, which to kierkeggard is more important than
                knowledge, the subjective passion over the objective knowledge. imagine a
                'scholar' who talk, teach, educate about making love but never get down to
                making love itself; what a sorry sight of a pathetic man.

                zen is one of those area which appreciate the importance of the
                subjective.
                u don't see these zen masters analysing and deducing; instead, they simply
                describe what exist, to them subjectively experienced. they do not care
                much
                about the theories and prejudice of society or culture of how things
                'should' be, but how things is. they are not worried about being charged
                for
                lack of objectivity as a scientist would. for them, there isn't much of a
                distinction between objectivity and subjectivity. no theories, no hope, no
                idea of a absolute essence of how thing ought to be, no faith, no desires,
                they see things just as they are.

                you said: am a member of the species Homo Sapiens" to, I am a living
                repository of a possible permutation of the molocule DNA" unquote. no, i
                would rather say....you are you. lets forget about theories, about
                evolution, about genetics, about being american, about.....you are not
                evolved, you just are.

                james.


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • james tan
                bill, yeap. james. ps: i think i was carried away trying to illustrate the differences between the constructs of being subjective and objective . some could
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 4, 2002
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                  bill,

                  yeap.

                  james.

                  ps: i think i was carried away trying to illustrate the differences between
                  the constructs of being 'subjective' and 'objective'. some could understand,
                  some just cannot (which they project by saying i'm the one who cannot get
                  it, which doesn't matter, does it? afterall, it is his subjectivity that
                  matter to him personally, and that is really what matters, to him. all is
                  happy.)


                  From: "Bill Harris" <bhvwd@...>
                  Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!
                  Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 13:15:57 -0600

                  James, thank you for the excellent post. Gems like that can lift a fellows
                  consciousness. I was reading Poe and found a reference to a transcendental
                  state in which he could realise a pureness of being, not thought, not
                  emotion, but perfect being. He claimed that every other thought he had
                  constructed could be reduced to language. Yet that "state" was exempt from
                  linguistic intrepretation. Agape, the buddist contemplative state, auto
                  hypnosis, transcendental meditation, rapture all come down to a good
                  feeling. They do not take us beyond or give us extraoidinary powers. They
                  are complimentary mental states from which we can gain personal benefits,
                  but beyond that they are dead ends. I suppose I would encounter less
                  objection to drug enduced euphoria being limited, but I consider it to be
                  personally limitless since it can lead to death. I think just being, even in
                  a state of great pleasure, does not feed the bulldog. Bill
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
                  To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 4:55 AM
                  Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!


                  > bill,
                  >
                  > ain't ur mother, nor sneeky.
                  >
                  > recently there seems to be some debate concerning whether morals are
                  > objective or subjective. u said: "Questions of human relations
                  > are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about
                  in
                  > our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
                  > not?" unquote. i think you hit the nail of its head concerning the issue
                  of
                  > whether moral is absolute and objective. another side issue is this:
                  there
                  > is a severe lack of clarity in the way words like 'objective' and
                  > 'subjective' is used. between george and eduard on this issue of
                  morality,
                  i
                  > tend to sympathise with george's view, although sometimes i think my only
                  > disagreement with eduard is a matter of the way he use or understand
                  words
                  > such as 'objective', 'absolute', etc. if we take the scientific method as
                  > being objective, i agree with you that when it comes to human affairs, be
                  it
                  > morality or depression, esp to understand human behaviours, subjectivity
                  is
                  > a better construct than objectivity.
                  >
                  > imagine the old universe.....dust, planets, stars, matters, moving at
                  high
                  > velocity across vast space, for millions and billions of years. imagine
                  > their 'loneliness'. those dust is concerned with morality and goodness?
                  > objective morality is to be found in this cosmos from the time beginning
                  > from which man draw their moral codes? are those dust lonely? is there a
                  > purpose to those cosmic travelling? these questions bring out one point:
                  > there is a distinction between human and the rest of the universe. the
                  law
                  > of gravity applies to all object that possess mass, all objects, the
                  dust,
                  > planets, including the body of humans. this is objective, perhaps
                  absolutely
                  > true; it doesn't matter what we feel about it. if one man jump from the
                  > world trade center for whatever reasons (nature is not interested in
                  those
                  > reasons), we may feel tragic, and his mother and girlfriends may cry, but
                  > the law of gravity will not stop its effect just because of its tragic
                  > nature. words like 'lonely', 'tragic', action like crying or any human
                  > action, suggest one thing that is not in nature objectively: that is,
                  > values, meaning, purpose. to say that something is tragic, or wrong, or
                  > good, or immoral, brave, etc, etc, is to presuppose values. nature
                  herself
                  > has no such values; it does not give a hoot whether eduard is a coward or
                  > not. and values are inherently non-objective; it is only relative to
                  human.
                  > it is something humanly constituted, for a purpose. purpose is also
                  > non-objective. the print u see on the screen now are composed of
                  electrons
                  > shooting, it can be weighed by physicists, the intensity of light
                  reflected
                  > measured by instruments, etc, but which scientific instuments can give us
                  > the meaning of the words? and for that matter, any actions of humans? i
                  > agree with u, bill, that no scientific theories or instuments can tell us
                  > 'objectively' meaning. beauty is in the eyes of the beholders, not
                  inherent
                  > in nature herself, and meaning is in the minds of list members. eduard
                  will
                  > see a squirrel crawling up a tree eating his fruit, and think it
                  beautiful;
                  > some other guy may think it disgusting and hateful. i and my friend will
                  see
                  > a girl with a certain outstanding feature; he will think she is dashingly
                  > beautiful for that, while i may think it spoils the whole face. is there
                  a
                  > 'right' answer? nature has made her this way, but beauty is in the eyes
                  of
                  > beholders. ie, it is relative to the person seeing it. ie, it is
                  subjective.
                  > what is objective, though, is that she HAS that feature.
                  >
                  > morality serves a purpose: it is a construct (meaning it is human
                  invented,
                  > not inherent in nature, and man only perceive through constructs, which
                  may
                  > varies from culture to culture, man to man, and any commonality is just a
                  > matter of degree, not absolutely) to keep society of fellow humans in
                  order,
                  > ultimately to serve the evolution, if not the maintainence, of human
                  > species. as such, it is again subjective. let take another example. jim
                  may
                  > use wood for burning to keep the winter cold away, or to make a hut in
                  the
                  > wilderness, others may use it for making papers, but there is no correct
                  > function built into the wood. in the sense that nature has no intrinsic
                  aims
                  > or goals of its own, there is no purpose. but morality serves a human
                  > purpose. (in a sense, morality is not even the business of god, for the
                  > simple reason that he is not human and living among us as humans even if
                  he
                  > exists). morality differs among cultures and this alone hint at the
                  > subjectiveness of it. perhaps for eduard, murder, for an example, is
                  > absolutely and objectively wrong; well, good for him and socieity. his
                  > so-called objectivity is the subjectivity of eduard. but make no mistake
                  > about it: not everybody impute or constitute or construct the way he does
                  > about murder. i will even overlook all the 'unless'. eduard may think
                  those
                  > who disagree that murder is absolutely and objectively morally wrong is
                  > mistaken; but in the final analysis, at the end of the day, and in a
                  sense
                  > (no offense meant), what eduard think does not matter. he can think all
                  he
                  > wants, say all he wants, assert all he wants (this list is composed, in a
                  > large proportion, of subjective assertions), whatever is produced out of
                  his
                  > 'system' is something that matters only to him, whatever statements he
                  make
                  > about the world or universe. or morality.
                  >
                  > kierkeggard said: truth is subjectivity. and i think it is precisely
                  because
                  > of any subjective nature that make it meaningful to one as an individual.
                  > (this is not to say that i endorse killing, it is just a idle chat on the
                  > nature of morality and killing). do the objective research and inquiries
                  of
                  > physicists and scientists really affect the conflicts that we as
                  individuals
                  > face in our daily lives? does kant's concern about synthetic a priori has
                  > any bearing on the choices we make as individuals? can the proofs of
                  god's
                  > existences by catholic theologians provide us with faith? coming to think
                  of
                  > it, although at one time i used to scorn at the christian's reliance on
                  > faith, i have a different outlook now. it is not that bad, for the simple
                  > reason that it is their faith which make their lives meaningful
                  > (subjectively) and passionate (i mean, the ones who understood the real
                  > significance of their faith; not every so-called christians do). every
                  > system of thoughts have their points of departure, or premises and
                  > assumption, and it is in the nature of premises to be beyond
                  verification.
                  > even for pure maths of number theory, they have axioms which themselves
                  > cannot be proven but have to be assumed before the rest can be proved.
                  for
                  > the existentialists, it is human freedom and the intentionality of human
                  > consciousness. for the christian it is christ the god and saviour. for
                  > shakespheare's play "lear", we have to accept lear's inexplicable conduct
                  at
                  > the beginning of the play. why is one thing assumed over another? is
                  there
                  > any objective reason for it? ultimately, it is subjectivity, expressed in
                  > one's choice, a discontinuity of reason and objectivity, kierkegaard's
                  leap
                  > of faith.
                  >
                  > to the extent that sometimes we attribute human quality to non human
                  things.
                  > color may be 'warm' or 'cold', a musical note 'sharp', a landscape
                  > 'melancholy'. and dear eduard will say the universe has a 'purpose' and
                  > morality 'objectivity'. a little confusion will not kill anyway; for with
                  > the intellectual confusion, the aesthetic joy of seeing squirrel running
                  > around is still possible. one don't have to know the biology of pregnancy
                  to
                  > get pregnant. passion will do, which to kierkeggard is more important
                  than
                  > knowledge, the subjective passion over the objective knowledge. imagine a
                  > 'scholar' who talk, teach, educate about making love but never get down
                  to
                  > making love itself; what a sorry sight of a pathetic man.
                  >
                  > zen is one of those area which appreciate the importance of the
                  subjective.
                  > u don't see these zen masters analysing and deducing; instead, they
                  simply
                  > describe what exist, to them subjectively experienced. they do not care
                  much
                  > about the theories and prejudice of society or culture of how things
                  > 'should' be, but how things is. they are not worried about being charged
                  for
                  > lack of objectivity as a scientist would. for them, there isn't much of a
                  > distinction between objectivity and subjectivity. no theories, no hope,
                  no
                  > idea of a absolute essence of how thing ought to be, no faith, no
                  desires,
                  > they see things just as they are.
                  >
                  > you said: am a member of the species Homo Sapiens" to, I am a living
                  > repository of a possible permutation of the molocule DNA" unquote. no, i
                  > would rather say....you are you. lets forget about theories, about
                  > evolution, about genetics, about being american, about.....you are not
                  > evolved, you just are.
                  >
                  > james.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > From: "Bill Harris" <bhvwd@...>
                  > Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Subject: Re: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!
                  > Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 14:33:32 -0600
                  >
                  > James, You sneeky mother. When Nietzsche spoke of the limitations of
                  > science, he spoke of an infant dicipline. The idea of order was not
                  > scientific it is a value judgement outside the rhelm of science. It came
                  > from the era of the crystal spheres and though it may have been at the
                  > cutting edge in the middle ages science does not search for order, it
                  > searches for reproducable expermental results. Questions of human
                  relations
                  > are rarely reducable to scientific methods and so we must scurry about
                  in
                  > our isms to try to explain the vain workings of our own minds. Fun, is it
                  > not? so for me I am thinking of changing my personal answer to
                  philosophic
                  > question One: Who/ What am I , from"I am a member of the species Homo
                  > Sapiens" to, I am a living repository of a possible permutation of the
                  > molocule DNA" Bill
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
                  > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 10:29 AM
                  > Subject: [existlist] zen and existentialism!!!
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > ....
                  > >
                  > > quote:
                  > >
                  > > just came across two intresting articles on zen and
                  > > existentialism...although these are two diff
                  > > philosophies one can't fail to note the similarities
                  > > in thought and conclusion...here's the gist of it-
                  > >
                  > > Zen is the peculiarly Chinese way of accomplishing the
                  > > Buddhist goal of seeing the world just as it is, that
                  > > is, with a mind that has no grasping thoughts or
                  > > feelings (Sanskrit trishna). This attitude is called
                  > > "no-mind" (Chinese wu-hsin), a state of consciousness
                  > > wherein thoughts move without leaving any trace.
                  > > Unlike other forms of Buddhism, Zen holds that such
                  > > freedom of mind cannot be attained by gradual practice
                  > > but must come through direct and immediate insight
                  > > (Chinese tun-wu; Japanese satori). Thus, Zen abandons
                  > > both theorizing and systems of spiritual exercise and
                  > > communicates its vision of truth by a method known as
                  > > direct pointing. Its exponents answer all philosophic
                  > > or religious questions by nonsymbolic words or
                  > > actions; the answer is the action just as it is, and
                  > > not what it represents. Typical is the reply of the
                  > > Zen master Yao-shan, who, on being asked "What is the
                  > > Way [of Zen]?" answered, "A cloud in the sky and water
                  > > in the jug!" Zen students prepare themselves to be
                  > > receptive to such answers by sitting in meditation
                  > > (Japanese za-zen) while they simply observe, without
                  > > mental comment, whatever may be happening.
                  > >
                  > > Western interest in Zen dates from the publication of
                  > > the first authoritative account of the subject in
                  > > English, Essays in Zen Buddhism by the Japanese
                  > > scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki. After World War II and the
                  > > occupation of Japan, a great interest in Zen developed
                  > > in Europe and the U.S., notably among artists,
                  > > philosophers, and psychologists. It had a special
                  > > appeal for abstract and nonobjective painters and
                  > > sculptors. Philosophers have noted its affinities with
                  > > the thought of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig
                  > > Wittgenstein, with the theory of general semantics of
                  > > the American scientist and writer Alfred Korzybski,
                  > > and, to some extent, with existentialism as propounded
                  > > by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.
                  > >
                  > > Subjectivity
                  > >
                  > > All existentialists have followed Kierkegaard in
                  > > stressing the importance of passionate individual
                  > > action in deciding questions of both morality and
                  > > truth. They have insisted, accordingly, that personal
                  > > experience and acting on one's own convictions are
                  > > essential in arriving at the truth. Thus, the
                  > > understanding of a situation by someone involved in
                  > > that situation is superior to that of a detached,
                  > > objective observer. This emphasis on the perspective
                  > > of the individual agent has also made existentialists
                  > > suspicious of systematic reasoning. Kierkegaard,
                  > > Nietzsche, and other existentialist writers have been
                  > > deliberately unsystematic in the exposition of their
                  > > philosophies, preferring to express themselves in
                  > > aphorisms, dialogues, parables, and other literary
                  > > forms. Despite their antirationalist position,
                  > > however, most existentialists cannot be said to be
                  > > irrationalists in the sense of denying all validity to
                  > > rational thought. They have held that rational clarity
                  > > is desirable wherever possible, but that the most
                  > > important questions in life are not accessible to
                  > > reason or science. Furthermore, they have argued that
                  > > even science is not as rational as is commonly
                  > > supposed. Nietzsche, for instance, asserted that the
                  > > scientific assumption of an orderly universe is for
                  > > the most part a useful fiction.
                  > >
                  > > any comments...
                  > >
                  > > unquote.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > __________________________________________________
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                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
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