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THE EXISTENTIAL NEWS - Vol. 1, #1

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  • Lewis Vella
    THE EXISTENTIAL NEWS A Philosophical Week in Review Volume 1, #1 Hello all, In the past week much has been claimed about this side or that, on how green the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2002
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      THE EXISTENTIAL NEWS

      'A Philosophical Week in Review'
      Volume 1, #1



      Hello all,

      In the past week much has been claimed about this side
      or that, on how green the grass should be across the
      river bank, and oh what delight it has been to
      experience in a flash the inside/outside,
      dark-side/light-side of the moon. And while all this
      was said and done, some are still with us, others,
      dead and gone.

      "All good people agree,
      And all good people say,
      All nice people, like Us, are We
      And everyone else is They:
      But if you cross over the sea,
      Instead of over the way
      You may end by (think of it!) looking on
      We
      As only a sort of They"
      Kipling
      (excerpt from 'We and They')

      As did the songster some years ago in 'Jesus Christ
      Superstar" shouted:'What's the fuss? Tell me what'sa
      happening!" so now must I, that is, in addressing many
      of the issues that have now transpired, since my
      allegation of one C. Bobo, and one S.Mirsky, having
      conspired to create a 'palace of ideas' out of various
      group discourses here on the internet, much of which
      -- if I may here add -- ends up, whether they are
      conscious of it or not, distorting our understanding
      of a collective consciousness and the good that comes
      with that consciousness, e.g., the grace, justice and
      miracle of being. Here, though, I should qualify my
      interpretation of being, as that issue in itself was
      well brought up by zooink in both [Sartre@yahoogroups]
      and [WisdomForum@yahoogroups].

      Being, for me, means the understanding of our inner
      beings: 'inner being' being not the being that
      manifests itself in the world of phenomenon, but
      rather the ultimate being or spirit behind such
      phenomenon. I say 'ultimate' not to confuse this inner
      being with the idea of a being or 'will' which
      Schopenhauer attributes the change of phenomenon in
      space and time to. That type of being is great for
      dogma, I would say, but it is not so much the being
      that seem to mystify current discussions. Where
      Schopenhaur's 'will' may in fact 'be', being is the
      conscious understanding of why such a will exists.
      Here I agree with Merleau Ponty when he states that
      for Pascal being is a blind thing, spirit is
      volubility, thus leaving only room for mystical action
      with no dogmatic content. In this regard Kierkegaard's
      faith is not in being. As Merleau Ponty puts it so
      brilliantly in 'Sense and Non-Sense', "Perhaps in the
      end the religeon of God-made-man arrives an
      unavoidable dialectic at an anthropology and not a
      theology."

      The possibility of anthropologic dialectic is probably
      my main concern, and the original reason why I posted
      my previous enquiries related to social change on
      these lists (see either thread: 'B's Aim of Improving
      Standards: 'Voices' In My Head, Maybe?' or 'Reasoning
      Metaphysics' -- depending on what list you search).
      Since then I've been accused of being, amongst other
      things, a panhandler, a misguided individual, an
      elitist, a charlatan, a thief, a lazy, self-pitying,
      good-for-nothin', a phoney socialist not interested in
      change but rather my own self-centeredness, not to
      mention, above all, my 'disrespect for everyone'. But
      this is all beside the point, I must say. The point
      being that this, if anything, shows that there must
      indeed be a dialectic we are caught up here in 21st
      century, and it is not so much an ideological one,
      say, for example, capitalism vs socialism, nor even a
      national one as in one State vs. another State, but
      rather a spiritual one reaching the threshold of each
      of our individual consciousnesses, dividing the self
      between the archetypical pros and cons of both the
      'protectionist' and 'totalitarian' views of a State,
      both of which, I would say, contrary to C. Bobo's
      interpretation, are, at once, of itself and of the
      making of a moral, solitary man (for a briefing of the
      schism of these two so-called 'views of State' see the
      quotations from Popper's 'Society and its
      Discontents', provided by C. Bobo in
      [WisdomForum@yahoogroups] on Jan 29).

      Through this rather cut-and-dried analysis of the
      State and its two presumed possible forms, Bobo
      concludes that we "should look for values in (our)
      fellow individual citizens, not in our country at
      large, or the /state." But if it's true that every
      individual must adapt to his environment, how can we
      expect the individual to be of any value if he is
      brought up by a State that takes no interest in his
      values, that is, other than of his person or body.
      Such a nation would only breed a nation of ciphers.
      But as I have yet to know of any such nation, I would
      disagree with this type of logic that would have us
      believe 1+1 always =2,
      when in truth one should know that one is relative to
      space and always transient in time, where one sooner
      represents a half without the other than a consummated
      whole. In the context of our present world, though,
      the illusory one is much more applicable, as this is
      the one which reason can manipulate. This is the one
      that began with the Fall and continues to wear the
      crown of history upon its head. Without this one there
      would be no other, which, again, is just another way
      of saying as long as their are others who crave power,
      there shall always be this one, that is, the dishonest
      ones who would like you to believe that their's is the
      only
      way and who thus dismiss every alternative way as
      being against them. To be honest with oneself though
      is not to be committed to any one cause but rather to
      delve completely in to the unknown, that leap of faith
      that carries us onward to the one boundless and
      infinite One of ones.

      So make no mistake. Man is not divided by the State.
      On the contrary, he is the State's flesh and blood.
      His being is as much a part of himself as it is a part
      of the expansive State. Let us therefore never forget
      Saint Simon's law of progress: "All we can do is to
      obey this law with understanding, taking into account
      the course it prescribes for us instead of being
      blindly pushed by it." To put it another way, what we
      find in the consciousness of civilization we can call
      the present state of man. This, however, does not
      necessarily imply that the State itself, that is,
      man's legislated State is in harmony with its
      civilization, for man bing what he is, that is, being
      in a state of constant flux, he soon finds that what
      was once good for him is now bad for him. It makes
      good sense, then, that should the consciousness of
      civilization one day find its evolution being halted
      by the present legislated State it, by all means,
      should rise above this State and change it for the
      everyone's better. Indeed, not to do so would be a
      crime against humanity, and very much against Comte's
      positive philosophy: "Ideas of order and progress are,
      in social physics, as rigorously inseparable as the
      ideas of organization and life in biology."

      To put this all in perspective I'd be best to quote
      Oyund Olsholt in [sorenkeirkegaard@yahoogroups] on
      Jan. 27th:

      "It is praiseworthy to desire honesty in all affairs,
      and it is a real shame that we live in societies that
      so blatantly encourage deceitfulness and dishonesty on
      the part of the individual.
      What to do? Well, take the job at McDonalds if you
      have to, but don't stop talking and posting. Try to
      make people realise that they are all truth-seeking
      and wisdom-searching individuals. Generate awareness!
      (Besides: what could be more in the spirit of
      Kierkegaard?)"

      My question to this, however, is: if Kierkegaard was
      poor would he have accepted working at McDonalds, that
      is, if he was coerced to do so by the prevailing
      political system at whatever particular moment he
      happen to fall into? And if he had, would he still
      consider himself a Christian? Or would this be another
      one of those situations where to call yourself a true
      Christian is to also admit you are not a Christian?
      My guess is that a poor, authentic Kierkegaard born of
      the day would not accept the job at McDonalds, but
      would rather stage a passive Ghandi-like resistance to
      whatever exploitative condition was responsible for
      this type of coercion. On the other hand, I sometimes
      wonder if ever there could be such a person as a 'poor
      Kierkegaard'? -- If maybe such a consciousness can
      only be but a modern era, Christian by-product of
      aristocratic privilege?

      In this same way I also wonder whether
      Buddha-consciousness is at all capable of an authentic
      Western experience, if the schism between East and
      Wast also has its own divine dialectic, which cannot
      reach a synthesis in our present state of being. Such
      a condition, I think, would be compatible with the
      belief of a predestined evolution which
      quasiphilosopher in [Sartre@yahoogroups] seemed to
      have suggested also of Pascal, when stating Pascal is
      not recognized as an existentialist, that he believed
      strongly in predestination.

      My contention, though, is that the two (existentialism
      and predestination) may coexist, that the present
      state of man's consciousness, having not yet reached
      it divine capacity, must still be under the illusion
      (or under the spell of Maya, as the Indians prefer to
      call it), and so thinks he has an existential choice,
      when perhaps the whole Christian journey is but a
      pre-destined plan of man becoming conscious of this
      illusion and, finally, surrendering himself to God
      (the self-dissolution of his ego) wherefrom he no
      longer participates in a sort of choice making, but
      allows an unobstructed fate to decide his outcome.
      Balzac depicts this type of conscious revelation very
      well in the character of 'Louis Lambert' (also the
      title of the novel, and usually accompanying
      'Seraphita' in a certain volume of his 'Human Comedy'
      series). Balzac's Christian revelation here is not at
      all much different than zooink's Tao quote from Bk 1
      #10 in [WisdomForum@yahoogroups]: "Do that which
      consist in taking no action, and order will prevail."
      Yet there still remains what I would have to call a
      swerve in the way these two doctrines perceive the
      trancendent. It is like they are speaking to each
      other from opposing realms, which, again, I atrribute
      to an anthropologic dialectic. Balzac's and perhaps
      Kierkegaard's Christian revelation presents for the
      unenlightened man a instrumental way to become
      enlightened, whereas the Buddhist way, or the way of
      the Tao, presents a hypothetical enlightened
      consciousness critiquing the existence of the
      unenlightened. Or to put it more simply, the Buddha
      went into the forest, whereas Christ walked out of it.


      Looking at these two forms of communicating the divine
      we can see that even in human consciousness there must
      be some kind of innate dialectical schism regarding
      the process of enlightenment. Perhaps this can be
      attributed to language itself, that is, at least, with
      regard to any communication process towards
      enlightenment, for as some linguistic structuralists
      would like us to believe, language itself is
      dialectical, in that to say one thing we must at the
      same time negate something else. Unlike any
      explication, however, the mystical experience, I
      believe is a process that comes about on its own, when
      an individual comes to a living understanding, or
      maybe rather some sort of consummation with a higher
      state of consciousness -- what Eastern spiritualist
      refer to as reaching a higher chakra.

      Chakras, then, I imagine, must be akin to the
      spiritual stages each Christian soul must go through
      according to Kierkegaard. But unlike what Tommy
      Beavitt at [Sartre@yahoogroups] suggested on Jan 29, I
      don't see these stages to be understood as some kind
      of chronological order of initiation to suit
      conveniently man's earthly purposes. In fact, in the
      higher stages I don't think time is even relevant. And
      should the Eastern idea of reincarnation lend us some
      creedence, then it is also possible that some souls do
      not experience all the stages in a single lifetime,
      that death is not necessarily trancendence, but maybe
      merely transference. Also, I find Beavitt's idea of
      transcendence, as something more appropriate for the
      dead to contemplate, to be a very anthropomorphic view
      of the divine, a view that gives itself over better to
      the idea of good and evil and monotheism, rather that
      a timeless, all-consuming, pantheistic consciousness
      encapsulating all within and without.

      Copyright: 2002 Lewis Vella

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