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Re: [existlist] existentialism

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  • Bill Harris
    Dave, I would wonder what fraction of the worlds population can have the kind of conversation we are having? How many have the knowledge base and liberty of
    Message 1 of 275 , Jan 3, 2002
      Dave, I would wonder what fraction of the worlds population can have the
      kind of conversation we are having? How many have the knowledge base and
      liberty of expression to think or care about matters beyond survival. How
      many are mired in religous stupidity or mental sloth. To the distaste of
      many I would think myself in competition with these individuals. It is not
      my job to shepard them through life. Those that propose such responsibility
      often make their own way by feigning stewardship of the unfortunates. Life
      is still competative with winners and losers. Already the weapons of the
      20th century are eclipsed by high tech systems. Space command is not even
      known to most of the worlds inhabitants. It hangs like an invisible sword
      over our heads. What might happen to primative slash and burn populations
      if their ancient lifestyle threatens modern man? Is that moral, should we
      let them destroy the capacity of the forest to produce oxygen? Should we
      feed ,house and medicate them? Will fire come from the night sky with the
      rest of the world never to know? Bill
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Dave Hall" <daveh@...>
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 1:53 PM
      Subject: RE: [existlist] existentialism


      > 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
        Also, Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, and Todd Olivier's biography of
        Camus.

        Mary
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