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Re: [existlist] Re: shaping nothing

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  • christopher arthur
    This does seem somehow to be related to shunyata , as Eduard mentioned Buddhist nothingness. In the mahayana vehicle, the goal of meditation is to contemplate
    Message 1 of 67 , May 1, 2013
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      This does seem somehow to be related to "shunyata", as Eduard mentioned
      Buddhist nothingness. In the mahayana vehicle, the goal of meditation is
      to contemplate emptiness, or effectively, not to think at all, to
      realize that all "concepts and phenomena are empty of any reality and
      that self and the other are egoless". Ultimately the goal of Buddhism is
      by the four noble truths, essentially meaning that suffering is real and
      there is a way to end it. We might consider that the intention is that
      living being suffer by confusion of not seeing things as they really
      are, and then by embracing shunyata they can become enlightened and
      cease to suffer for it...the anxiety of nothingness.


      Mary a écrit :
      >
      > Two of the quotes that jump out at me from my notes. This first
      > relates to what Sartre considered as the anxiety created by nothingness.
      >
      > "The question looms in moments of great despair when things tend to
      > lose all their weight and all meaning becomes obscured. It is present
      > in moments of rejoicing, when all things around us are transfigured
      > and seem to be there for the first time...The question is upon us in
      > boredom when we are equally removed from despair and joy, and
      > everything about us seems so hopelessly commonplace that we no longer
      > care whether anything is or is not." (Heidegger)
      >
      > "He who has not, as it were, looked into the abyss of absolute Nothing
      > will completely overlook the eminently positive content of the
      > realization that there is something rather than no things." (Max Scheler)
      >
      > This seems to jibe with what I grasp of Zizek's thought such as these
      > from his latest book:
      >
      > ...the task is not to denounce them [appearing things] as "merely illusory
      > appearances"...but that of discerning the conditions of possibility of
      > this
      > appearing of things, of their "transcendental genesis": what does such an
      > appearing suppose, what must always-already have taken place for things to
      > appear to us the way they do? (p.9)
      >
      > ...how can appearance emerge in reality?...Insofar as the gap between
      > essence
      > and appearance is inherent to appearance, in other words, insofar as
      > essence is
      > nothing but appearance reflected into itself, appearance is appearance
      > against
      > the background of nothing—everything that appears ultimately appears
      > out of
      > nothing (or, to put it in terms of quantum physics, all entities arise
      > out of
      > the quantum vacillations of the void). Appearance is nothing in
      > itself; it is
      > just an illusory being, but this illusory being is the only being of
      > essence...
      > (p.37)
      >
      > ...The answer to "Why is there Something rather than Nothing" is thus
      > that there
      > IS only Nothing, and all processes take place "from Nothing through
      > Nothing to
      > Nothing." (p.38)
      >
      > ...beyond the veil of appearances, there is only what the subject puts
      > there...
      > (p.168)...
      > [Zizek's ideas about subject-self) are also very interesting.]
      >
      > ...with regard to the tension between essence and appearance, the fact
      > that
      > essence has to appear not only means that essence generates or
      > mediates its
      > appearances, but that the difference between essence and appearance is
      > internal
      > to appearance: essence has to appear within the domain of appearances,
      > as a hint
      > that "appearances are not all" but are "merely appearances." (p..469)...
      >
      > Nothing implies freedom to not only script our lives, as eduard
      > suggests, but how to better organize our society and institutions.
      > Responsibility for how we shape Nothing is ours.
      >
      > Mary
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>,
      > "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Mary et al,
      > >
      > > I have got as far as page 86 of Jim Holt's book, so I'll offer a few
      > simple thoughts.
      > >
      > > First I am enjoying reading Holt's book, but I do find it a bit
      > uneven, as he seems to jump about from philosophy to science and back
      > again as he tackles different aspects of the subject in a rather
      > disjointed way.
      > >
      > > I did however like his clear distinction between nothing and
      > nothingness on page 47:
      > >
      > > << As the logicians remind us, nothing is not a name; it is mere
      > shorthand for "not anything." To say, for example, that "nothing is
      > greater than God" is not to talk about a super-divine entity; it is
      > simply to say that there is not anything greater than God.
      > "Nothingness," by contrast, is indeed a name. It designates an
      > ontological option, a possible reality, a conceivable state of
      > affairs: that in which nothing exists. >>
      > >
      > > I was interested in his account of how the dominant view before
      > about 1940 was that the universe was eternal, i.e. it had no
      > beginning, and had been much the same `forever'. When the first
      > evidence of a `big bang' to start the universe was published many
      > scientists and atheists were unhappy – only the Pope seemed pleased
      > about it! Now, we just accept the idea of the Big Bang without batting
      > an eyelid.
      > >
      > > One thing Holt wrote was that our universe may have `popped' out of
      > another universe. Perhaps it makes more sense to talk of our universe
      > popping out of another universe, than our universe with (our) space
      > and time popping out of literally nothing.
      > >
      > > Given space and time are part of our universe, it doesn't strictly
      > make sense to talk of other universes existing `before' ours. However
      > if the concept of other universes causally independent of ours, each
      > with their own `space and times', then perhaps the idea of something
      > existing forever – the old eternal idea – can be resurrected.
      > >
      > > Certainly to me, it makes more sense to conceive of our universe
      > popping out of something else, than popping out of nothing at all.
      > >
      > > Jim
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>, "Mary" <josephson45r@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Jim,
      > > >
      > > > Any estimate on how soon we'll be able to discuss Nothing from
      > various philsophical and scientific perspectives?
      > > >
      > > > Mary
      > >
      >
      >
    • eduardathome
      I still get the feeling that it is words for the sake of words. Take for example your statement of .... Since to be a living being has diversity within
      Message 67 of 67 , May 10, 2013
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        I still get the feeling that it is words for the sake of words.

        Take for example your statement of ....

        "Since to be a living being has "diversity within itself", e.g., human
        beings are living beings, it cannot be the same as pure being".

        You have prior defined things "pure" as having no diversity. Therefore it
        goes without saying that a living being which is also defined as "diversity"
        within itself cannot be "pure" being.

        But, you could just as easily say that diversity is inherent to being and
        thus an attribute of pure being. Afterall, living is action, otherwise you
        are dead. Action itself is diverse in that it can vary. If it doesn't
        vary, you are back to "dead". Therefore, living which is known by its
        diversity is pure being.

        We eventually come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as pure
        being, because we define it in a fashion as to make it impossible.

        I don't think "nothingness" is about the end or beginning of something. I
        think "nothingness" is a mental state or state of mind in which one tries to
        deal with the absence of something. That is, something that one's brain
        expects to be there, but cannot find anything at that location. I think
        that is the meaning of Sartre's néant as not being. Of course I could be
        wrong and I am biased by my philosophy of Nooism which poses that everything
        we think of is resolvable down to mental states. The anxiety comes from not
        finding the thing that is supposed to be there. The expectation is that
        Pierre would be seated in chair #3. Since he isn't there, or rather his
        "not-being" is there leads to anxiety. In the end, it has very little to do
        with the real world presence or absence of Pierre, but only the way in which
        our brains try to conceptualize Pierre.

        eduard

        -----Original Message-----
        From: christopher arthur
        Sent: Saturday, May 04, 2013 2:34 PM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: shaping nothing

        Eduard,

        Maybe the intention is to say that the absolute distinction of Being and
        Nothing is made while one becomes the other, but otherwise they are the
        same. Also he seems to say that the process already happened, so that
        they are no longer in a state of becoming, and therefore always
        presently the same.

        Somehow this reminds me of the Timaeus of Plato where Socrates, with his
        friends, is discussing the beginning of the universe, and they stop to
        make the point to distinguish "between that which always is and never
        becomes from that which is always becoming but never is." In these
        cases what can we say about beginnings and endings, or is there no
        anxiety of nothingness here because we cannot find the ends of such things?

        One question to ask is whether we can feel what pure being is by trying
        to generalize from examples of being...like a human being or a living
        being. Since to be a living being has "diversity within itself", e.g.,
        human beings are living beings, it cannot be the same as pure being.
        But then, why don't we eventually come to the conclusion that there is
        no such thing as pure being? Maybe we're supposed to think that there
        is a little bit of pure being in everything.

        chris

        eduardathome a écrit :
        >
        >
        > One gets the feeling that this is just words for the sake of words.
        >
        > “Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same”.
        >
        > “... on the contrary, they are not the same, that they are absolutely
        > distinct”.
        >
        > eduard
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Mary
        > Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2013 11:07 AM
        > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: [existlist] Re: shaping nothing
        >
        > Hello Jim,
        >
        > The Zizek quotes are from "Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of
        > Dialectical Materialism" Verso 2012.
        >
        > If what we experience are appearances expressing universal ideas,
        > though something, they appear out of nothing. However, illusory being
        > is the only being we have. Something and Nothing both exist as
        > necessary conditions for one another. Nothing is often capitalized to
        > indicate the concept rather than the feeling of nothingness associated
        > with existential anxiety. Previous to reading Hegel I thought absolute
        > Nothing was merely theoretical and only Being was, but my current
        > understanding of Nothing is derived from Hegel's Science of Logic
        > quoted as follows:
        >
        > A. BEING
        > Being, pure being, without any further determination. In its
        > indeterminate immediacy it is equal only to itself. It is also not
        > unequal relatively to an other; it has no diversity within itself nor
        > any with a reference outwards. It would not be held fast in its purity
        > if it contained any determination or content which could be
        > distinguished in it or by which it could be distinguished from an
        > other. It is pure indeterminateness and emptiness. There is nothing to
        > be intuited in it, if one can speak here of intuiting; or, it is only
        > this pure intuiting itself. Just as little is anything to be thought
        > in it, or it is equally only this empty thinking. Being, the
        > indeterminate immediate, is in fact nothing, and neither more nor less
        > than nothing.(Hegel, Science of Logic §132)
        >
        > B. NOTHING
        > Nothing, pure nothing: it is simply equality with itself, complete
        > emptiness, absence of all determination and content —
        > undifferentiatedness in itself. In so far as intuiting or thinking can
        > be mentioned here, it counts as a distinction whether something or
        > nothing is intuited or thought. To intuit or think nothing has,
        > therefore, a meaning; both are distinguished and thus nothing is
        > (exists) in our intuiting or thinking; or rather it is empty intuition
        > and thought itself, and the same empty intuition or thought as pure
        > being. Nothing is, therefore, the same determination, or rather
        > absence of determination, and thus altogether the same as, pure being.
        > (§133)
        >
        > C. BECOMING
        > Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same. What is the
        > truth is neither being nor nothing, but that being — does not pass
        > over but has passed over — into nothing, and nothing into being. But
        > it is equally true that they are not undistinguished from each other,
        > that, on the contrary, they are not the same, that they are absolutely
        > distinct, and yet that they are unseparated and inseparable and that
        > each immediately vanishes in its opposite. Their truth is therefore,
        > this movement of the immediate vanishing of the one into the other:
        > becoming, a movement in which both are distinguished, but by a
        > difference which has equally immediately resolved itself. (§134)
        >
        > Mary
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:existlist%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi Mary,
        > >
        > > I struggle to make sense of the Zizek quotes – which of his books
        > are you quoting from?
        > >
        > > In particular the following quote does not seem satisfactory to me:
        > >
        > > ...The answer to "Why is there Something rather than Nothing" is
        > thus that there IS only Nothing, and all processes take place "from
        > Nothing through Nothing to Nothing." (p.38)
        > >
        > > Surely this is not correct. I know there is something – myself, my
        > family, my keyboard, my desk, my flat, my work colleagues. So Zizek is
        > wrong to say there is only nothing.
        > >
        > > And why does he spell nothing with a capital `N'?
        > >
        > > A perplexed Jim
        > >
        >
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