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RE: [existlist] existentialism

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  • Dave Hall
    Bill: I can agree with your reasoning and conclusion here, but that most humans live healthier lives today is presumption and from analysis of paleolithic
    Message 1 of 275 , Jan 3, 2002
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      Bill:

      I can agree with your reasoning and conclusion here, but that most humans
      live healthier lives today is presumption and from analysis of paleolithic
      evidence even doubtful. Physical health appears to have declined in
      correspondence with a rise in civilization, populations and religious
      institutionalism, and evidence is substantial that coronary and immuno
      disease, including diabetes, which encompass "most" causes of premature
      non-accident-related death, are tied directly to neolithic changes in diet
      and way of life.

      In regard to comfort, I will suggest that while some of us may have gained a
      high degree of affluence, in many regions of the world where indigenous
      populations subsisted for tens of thousands of years in relative equilibrium
      and independence we find starvation and misery on a vast scale.

      In surveying the past, we might conclude that the foundation stones of
      civilization have thus far been (1) warfare and slavery, (2) authority
      worship and religious repression, and (3) corporationism and environmental
      destruction.

      The rise of the western-style 'way of thinking' has also driven many peoples
      -- most around the world -- into a cruel kind of desperation in which their
      traditional, individualistic and communal subsistence methods, perhaps not
      excess-driven, but self-regulable and sustainable, have been outlawed by
      external political forces (and various moralizing ideologies).

      But in general I think you are correct: westernizing progress will continue
      its unabated rise, either until its cost becomes too great and complex to
      sustain with finite resources, even through war and repression, or until
      some other effect quite outside the boundaries of human control intervenes
      and devastates.

      -Dave

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Bill Harris [mailto:bhvwd@...]
      Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 9:47 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism



      George, I think of the billions of years we were becoming, yet we were not
      as yet. If I owe any fealty, I would not be indebted to another mans moral
      code, but to the trillions of organisms on the phylogenetic ladder. Their
      lives and deaths gave me my chance to live. Most modern men live healthier,
      more comfortable lives than their hunter, gatherer ancestors. The
      cromagnons with fire and social structure, lived better lives than the
      austrailopithacines. In a cosmic view, which we are only beginning to grasp,
      all of this is meaningless. The thrust, until cateclism obviates, is
      progress. Bill
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "George Walton" <george@...>
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 4:33 PM
      Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism


      > Bill,
      >
      > I keep waiting for Eduard to give me---"straight forward"---an objective
      moral accounting of any human interaction. He fails [in my own humble
      opinion] to properly differentiate an existentially persuasive point of view
      from an essential one.
      >
      > For example, is infanticide objectively immoral? That it is illegal in
      almost all cultural jurisdictions.....that it is repugnant to most people [I
      would certainly never condone it]....that it is generally proscribed
      ethically in virtually all societies? Sure, no argument there. Ah, but if
      someone gives birth and chooses to kill the new born; if they are never
      caught and choose not to be bothered by the act.....is it Immoral? No, of
      course not.
      >
      > The sort of moral strictures idealists seek to envelop would only be
      objectively immoral if the act could be construed as a Sin [or, perhaps, a
      la Ayn Rand/Objectivism and their secular/ideological ilk] as Irrational. In
      other words, given an omniscient and omnipotent moral perspective [which
      most folks call either God or Reason] an act would be judged in a
      Transcendental manner-----over and above the legal and/or societal
      consequences we might engender in acting out what is construed as either
      illegal or immoral by the community at large.
      >
      > Nihilism is not about "no meaning" so much as meaning that is bursting at
      the seams----as varied as each individual vantage point. We might, for
      example, go to the grocery store and be confronted with over 50 different
      kinds of toothpaste we can choose to buy. That decision is a piece of cake,
      however, compared to, say, picking out a moral perspective that is "right"
      for you regarding the death penalty....or abortion....or gun control...or
      human sexuality....or human freedom. It is precisely to obviate the "agony
      of choice in the face of uncertainty" that precipitates, in my view, the
      intellectual bankruptcy that subsumes our ceaselessly "becoming" in BEING
      itself.
      >
      > We BE dead for billions and billions and billions of year. So, why BE
      alive, as well, in that teeny tiny blink of an eye before? Kind of obvious,
      eh? It's a lot less scary that way!!!!!!!
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Bill Harris <bhvwd@...>
      > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 2:22 PM
      > Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism
      >
      >
      > > George, I like your approach, mess him up right away. If he becomes
      totally
      > > confused he may be forced to think himself out of it. Bill
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
      > > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > > Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 3:04 PM
      > > Subject: RE: [existlist] existentialism
      > >
      > >
      > > > George,
      > > >
      > > > I think Jim's question was fairly straight forward in wishing to know
      the
      > > > meaning of "existentialism". Perhaps it is a bit too early to
      introduce
      > > him
      > > > to the convoluted fashion of our discussion on this list. Perhaps it
      > > would
      > > > be better to wait until he is addicted and then throw, eggs,
      grapefruit,
      > > > abortion and fat US Presidents at him.
      > > >
      > > > eduard
      > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > From: George Walton [mailto:george@...]
      > > > Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 3:29 PM
      > > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > > > Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > jas...
      > > >
      > > > To ask what existentialism "means" is to more or less miss the point
      of
      > > > what it is trying to convey about meaning itself: it's existential.
      > > >
      > > > Think of it, if you will, like this:
      > > > 1.. You and a friend are having breakfast together. You are eating
      > > eggs
      > > > and she is eating a grapefruit. Another friend approaches the table
      and
      > > asks
      > > > what you are eating. You both say grapefruit. Now, unless you are
      about
      > > 299
      > > > pins short of a perfect game in the old noggin', you would never call
      a
      > > > grapefruit "eggs". Clearly, in a culture where English is the shared
      > > > language, the sounds "cereal" and "eggs" denote different things. The
      > > > connotative element, in other words, is all but non-existent re the
      > > sharing
      > > > of information [meaning] in this context.
      > > > 2.. After you have cleared the table, you exclaim, "man, those
      were
      > > the
      > > > best eggs I ever tasted!" Your friend says, "hey, that was the best
      > > > grapefruit I ever tasted too!". Then you get into an argument over
      whether
      > > > eggs taste better than grapefruit. Here, the denotative element is
      > > "taste".
      > > > Save for those rare few who do not, medically, have the capacity to
      taste,
      > > > it is not like folks who share the English language as a way of
      > > > communicating meaning about the world around them will hear the
      word-sound
      > > > "taste" and be all that far off as to what it means regarding the food
      > > they
      > > > eat. Ah, but the connotative parameters here revolve around the word
      > > "best".
      > > > How exactly would you go about demonstrating objectively, essentially,
      > > > scripturally, truthfully, ontologically, metaphysically, empirically,
      > > > rationally, telelogically, epistemologically etc. that eggs or
      grapefruit
      > > > taste "best"? It's a matter of...well....individual taste, eh?
      > > > 3.. Later in the day, you are watching a video and one of the
      > > characters
      > > > has an abortion. Next thing you know, you're embroiled in a heated
      > > > discussion with your friend as to whether or not an abortion is
      "moral".
      > > > Again, there is a denotative and a connotative element that can be
      > > expressed
      > > > in any discussion about what words "mean" here. As an objective
      medical
      > > > procedure, few will insist that having an abortion means "harvesting
      > > grapes"
      > > > or "tuning the engine of a lawn mower". As a moral issue, however, you
      may
      > > > as well be arguing over whether eggs taste better than grapefruit. It
      will
      > > > never be resolved because, sans God [or His Her It's equivalent] there
      is
      > > > simply no vantage point by/from which to denote a moral continuum. At
      > > best,
      > > > all you can say is, "well, based on my own experiences and how I have
      come
      > > > to understand what they mean, I believe..."
      > > > Philosophy, I suppose, is useful as a sort of epistemological
      > > referee---a
      > > > technical advisor regarding the relationship between human language
      and
      > > how
      > > > we use it to denote and connote "meaning" about "out in the world".
      > > > Technically, in other words, it lets us know that, if someone says,
      "all
      > > > U.S. Presidents have been short, fat, Islamic lesbians from Alpha
      Centuri"
      > > > we are not likely to say, "well, I guess in an essentially meaningless
      and
      > > > absurd world, that's one possibility".
      > > >
      > > > Ah, but regarding how we ought to circumscribe any human
      relationship
      > > > "morally", it is essentially futile. As is science.
      > > >
      > > > Uh, at least so far?
      > > >
      > > > George
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > > From: jascook12 <JCOOK12@...>
      > > > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > > > Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 1:47 PM
      > > > Subject: [existlist] existentialism
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Could someone please explain what existentialism means?
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
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    • mary.jo11
      Also, Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, and Todd Olivier s biography of Camus. Mary
      Message 275 of 275 , Jan 4, 2008
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        Also, Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, and Todd Olivier's biography of
        Camus.

        Mary
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