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Re: [existlist] Re: Self / Other

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  • Herman
    Hi Jim, It is good to be corresponding again. ... Sartre delivered no ethics, and certainly in Being and Nothingness considered such to be impossible given
    Message 1 of 67 , Apr 2, 2011
      Hi Jim,

      It is good to be corresponding again.

      On 2 April 2011 21:24, Jim <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > Herman,
      >
      > I have been following your discussion with Mary with interest, and I agree
      > with you both that these issues of becoming an individual and/or belonging
      > to a group are fundamental existential issues which should be confronted.
      >
      > I struggled to fully understand what you were saying in your two posts of
      > yesterday, particularly your references to Sartre. Here are some of the
      > things you wrote:
      >
      > << But, siding with Sartre, becoming an individual seems to be THE
      > fundamental project. He doesn't refer to it as becoming an individual. For
      > him, it is man trying to become God. To me, that is the same.
      >
      > I am saying that the practice of becoming an individual is fundamentally
      > flawed, and I am agreeing with you that it is impossible to achieve. The
      > embarkation on that project is unethical.
      >
      >
      > The category Self is no more than an instance of the category Other.
      >
      > There is, in reality, no privileged access to Self that justifies
      > demarcation from Other.
      >
      > Sartre was very precisely accurate in noticing that all phenomena are
      > Other, in their structural dependence on negation. >>
      >
      > In your first paragraph above you seem to be saying that Sartre approved of
      > the project of becoming an individual, but in the rest of the quotes above
      > you seem to be saying that it is completely wrong-headed to try to become an
      > individual, as in reality there is no Self, so the attempt to become a Self
      > is incoherent. (Perhaps we need to distinguish between what we mean by
      > `individual' and what we mean by `Self'. Are you using them as synonyms?)
      >

      Sartre delivered no ethics, and certainly in Being and Nothingness
      considered such to be impossible given it's method (phenomenology). So, I
      didn't mean to suggest that Sartre approved of anything, including of the
      fundamental project of becoming God or self, he merely observed it to be in
      progress everywhere. He also analysed this to be an impossible, even absurd,
      quest.

      "Individual" can be meaningful in terms of identity. Neither "individual' or
      "self" are meaningful in the context of agency, because agency isn't
      meaningful, IMO.


      > From my reading of the main existentialist authors I find quite a strong
      > argument for the human being to detach himself from his heritage, his
      > cultural background, and become his own person.
      >
      >
      I arrive at a different emphasis from mainly FN and JPS; recognition of
      absurdity leads to acceptance, of either eternal recurrence in the case of
      the older FN, or the superfluity of being-for-itself in the younger JPS




      > Kierkegaard and Nietzsche both rejected just about all of their own
      > cultural backgrounds, preferring the way of the solitary, living in
      > isolation from groups and the prevailing social community. For both
      > Kierkegaard and Nietzsche the herd mentality was pathetic.
      >
      > Heidegger spoke of extracting oneself from the `they', although both him
      > and Sartre did endorse at some points in their lives, aligning oneself with
      > a political movement.
      >
      > Sartre argued that existence precedes essence, and that we should not
      > identify ourselves with our past life (the being-in-itself) but rather at
      > each moment we have the freedom to create ourselves anew (the
      > being-for-itself).
      >

      I agree with your synopsis until here, where I would just like to add that
      any such freedom to create ourselves is also a necessity, simply because
      there are no values or meanings that are given ie in-itself. In Sartre's
      words, we are condemned to be free, or to paraphrase, we HAVE TO make it
      all up as we go along. So, we are dealing with a freedom that is a
      necessity. Contradiction? Paradox?



      >
      > In the sense that at every moment we start again from scratch, I suppose it
      > is true to say that for Sartre there is no Self. However I think Sartre did
      > distinguish between Self and Other � without the gaze of the Other we would
      > not feel shame.
      >

      I acknowledge what you are saying. But I rather got the feeling from Sartre
      that the attempt to try to be be oneself is a manifestation of bad faith,
      because in the mode of pure reflection there is simply and only the
      spontaneous upsurge of events. The authentic being isn't a being.


      >
      > Further I don't think that Sartre's distinction between being-in-itself and
      > being-for-itself, necessarily supports your own view that all is one.
      >
      >
      True enough. But Sartre does acknowledge the pre-reflective, and that is the
      domain where I pitch that unity to be. But once in the territory of the
      reflective, I stand on the shoulders of any authority that may emanate from
      the likes of the Buddha, Hume and Sartre, and observe with them that a self
      is not to be found.




      > Jim
      >
      > P.S. No doubt Wil will correct me if I have misrepresented Sartre here.
      >

      Cheers

      Herman


      >
      >
      >


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    • Herman
      Thanks for your thoughts, Bill, Mary and Jim, Much appreciated. Cheers Herman ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Message 67 of 67 , Apr 23, 2011
        Thanks for your thoughts, Bill, Mary and Jim,

        Much appreciated.

        Cheers

        Herman

        On 24 April 2011 03:30, Jim <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > Herman,
        >
        > I wonder if you have read Schopenhauer on music. My guess is you have and
        > you agree with his take on music. He argues that music connects us with the
        > underlying oneness of ultimate reality, whereas language and science are
        > part of the veil of Maya. For Schopenhauer conceptual thought is bad because
        > it is all part of the will-to-live, whereas music is not at all part of
        > conceptual thought, but is more like a direct intuition of
        > reality-in-itself.
        >
        > So for Schopenhauer only music without lyrics would be considered untainted
        > by our concepts and reasoning abilities.
        >
        > Music has been a positive presence in my life. Like Bill I prefer
        > contemporary popular music to classical music, although I appreciate
        > different genres of music.
        >
        > As a teenager I identified with the punk movement that developed in the UK
        > in the late seventies. Then music was all about rebellion and distancing
        > oneself from the boring and hypocritical establishment.
        >
        > I still prefer music with an edge to it, but I appreciate more calm
        > harmonies rather than just the rebel yells these days.
        >
        > Jim
        >
        > P.S. Louise, I don't know what kind of music you like these days, but I
        > wonder if you would like P. J. Harvey's latest release "Let England Shake".
        > The subject matter makes me think you may enjoy it.
        >
        >
        >


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