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THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES - Vol. 1, #4

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  • Lewis Vella
    THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES A Philosophical(?)View from Scratch Volume 1, #4 Hello all, jean-paul sartre s being and nothingness suggests the possibility of an
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 10 1:59 PM
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      THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES

      'A Philosophical(?)View from Scratch'
      Volume 1, #4

      Hello all,

      "jean-paul sartre's 'being and nothingness' suggests
      the possibility of an action for the first time
      authentic in that it refuses to be deflected from its
      immediate purpose by consideration for a non-existent
      Absolute or Essence, which echo nietzsche's
      thought....
      sartre is the last kind of person who would tell u
      what u ought to do, his 'being and notheingness'
      precludes any possible defense of normative ethics.
      this attitude of sartre is the nihilism we have seen
      in kierkegaard, nietzsche, heidegger, camus, de
      beauvoir. to all of them, there can be no ultimate
      justification for normative ethics. what concerned
      heidegger, for example, is authenticity, i.e., the
      manner in which u make those choices, and not the
      choice itself.... i.e., what normative system of
      values one chooses is not open to judgment, but
      whether or not he choses it in freedom is open to
      judgment. It doesn't matter if one is muslim or
      christian or a nazi, the concern for the
      existentialist is whether u are forced (by tradition
      or cultural and social expectation or parental
      pressure, or religious authority, or political
      demands, or whatnots...), or, whether u choose it
      freely, congruently with your sense of who u are. a
      person cannot, therefore, make a wrong choice of
      values, but he can make his choice wrongly.
      kierkegaard said: it is not what u choose, but how u
      choose that is important. in 'ethics of ambiguity', de
      beauvoir said: to will oneself moral, and to will
      oneself free are one and the same thing. although
      existentialism does not tell us what to do (it must be
      obvious by now why this is so), it is not empty; for
      it says not only we are free, we must act, i.e. must
      commit ourselves.... Is it then possible to criticize
      hitler or bin laden?" - james tan:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/762

      Since each person is an on-going subjective creation
      in the already existing world he interprets, we, as
      the other -- the collective, or the individual --
      cannot truly criticize another person's actions. The
      possibility of criticizing one's own behavior,
      however, is always available to us, and indeed when we
      look back in history to notorious figures like Hitler
      and ask exactly how is it such wills manifest
      themselves so adamantly, we are quite likely, by the
      vicarious experience alone, to become much more
      critical with ourselves even though we may never
      understand the reason why history created such men. In
      this way one may begin to confront his own principles,
      perhaps asking himself again how is it that this type
      of leadership did in fact come to be, while at the
      same time being in total neglect of some of the
      fundamental concepts he presently believes in, say,
      for example, the idea of a cosmic unity founded on the
      Gaya Principle, or just the inherent conscience
      expected of, or apparent in, the consensual reality of
      any given time or place. As such, he should then see
      in himself the need to evolve a personal ethics or
      value system which will help prevent the recurrence of
      any potential or emerging fascist state.

      An existence so experienced must then involve more to
      the understanding of ethics than what the nihilists
      have stated previously, more than just the required
      act of free choice, but also an accompanying
      responsibility in shaping that choice to suit one's
      own normative value system. For in agreeing with
      Sartre's optimism and accepting his highest confidence
      that the authentically-free man will choose to be
      humane, that is, without the need to be ordered,
      instructed or forced by man or nature, does not such
      an existentialist place the onus on himself to thereby
      formulate an ethics which justifies his action, if
      indeed he wishes to sustain the semblance of freedom
      he has so far attained? If, as Merleau Ponty suggests,
      man is thrown into his situation without a choice,
      does he not then find that to be the most free he must
      at once somehow assimilate the essence of himself with
      the established order of the day, and thus declare the
      highest road to freedom? And would not committing
      himself to any such lower road be an act of outright
      self-betrayal, a substitution of good faith for bad?
      Here, I would say, the existential question divides
      like a fork, splitting itself between the one
      defending his honour in the hope that all and sundry
      may understand him in whatever the circumstance -- the
      existentialist whose good faith is not only in all
      that encompases himself, but also in all that
      encompasses outside himself, his micro-macrocosmic
      relationship with the entire unraveling universe ---
      and the other existentialist of a fatalistic,
      nihilistic nature who may just the same have good
      faith in himself but not necessarily with the universe
      surrounding him. This latter type of good faith, which
      is exclusive to one's own being, will eventually turn
      against itself if it is not prepared to confront the
      universe.

      In this respect I find myself more inclined to accept
      Merleau-Ponty's way of thinking that that of Sartre's.
      The nihilism we tend to associate with Sartre seems to
      become self-defeating when on the one hand he
      precludes any self-defense of any 'a-priori-given'
      values, and, on the other hand, he expects man will
      choose to be humane as well as human. For to become
      humane man must attempt to establish what humane is.
      He must not only tear down present false ideologies
      and biases to set himself free, but he is also using
      those same old false ideologies and biases in the
      process of setting himself free. Thus his ultimate
      responsibility to free himself most effectively would
      be in the constant enriching of his understanding of
      the prevailing ideologies and their biases. Again,
      James Tan captured this well in the previously noted
      message:
      "ponty re-introduces hegel's notion of 'sittlichkeit'
      as a substitute for both the notion of 'given values'
      and sartre and kiekegaard's exaggerated notion of
      existential choice. to ponty, one cannot, in sartre's
      terms, 'wrench himself away' from his situation, but
      must always make less-than-absolute choices within the
      perspective and the prejudicial atmosphere of his
      situation."

      In moving onward from Sartre, then, I nonetheless find
      myself falling into 'Moore's Paradox', saying to
      myself: Sartre, but I do not believe that Sartre. In
      this I am stating that there is a subtle contradiction
      with the means and the ends of Sartre's philosophy.
      Theoretically, his philosophy should have no ends, but
      since the man himself is in fact dead so must his
      philosophy have an end. Whether he was conscious of
      this paradox while he was alive, I'm not sure. I don't
      think he was, though, unless, for him, this notion was
      all a part of the absurd. If that was the case, then I
      can see his necessity to redeem his philosophy through
      art. For, within this paradox, those who place their
      faith in the humane must begin at once to convey the
      principles of right action, either in the more
      systematic form of a treatise, as G. W. Moore
      (1837-1958) attempted in 'Principia Ethica', or just
      in the aesthetic form of a work of art. Interesting to
      note is how these two forms begin to converge once
      they approach their highest essences.

      In Moore we see it best outside his Cambridge academic
      circles, where he was "an inspiration to the
      Bloomsbury group of writers and artists, who took as a
      mode of their way of life what he had declared in his
      Principia Ethica, 1903 (2nd rev edn 1993), to be the
      two things that are intrinsically good, namely 'the
      pleasures of human intercourse and the enjoyment of
      beautiful objects'. There are, he argued no absolute
      rules of conduct: right action is that which promotes
      what is intrinsically good, and prevents intrinsic
      evils, which, in Moore's view, fall into three main
      classes: consciousness of pain, hatred or contempt of
      what is good or beautiful, and the love, admiration or
      enjoyment of what is evil or ugly."*

      Then, of course, there was Schopenhauer, whose line
      between the philosophical and the literary becomes so
      thin we can hardly make it out anymore, and which, in
      retrospect, we must ask ourselves exactly how much of
      the end result was technique, and how much was actual
      revelation. To quote Andreas Weis in Nr. 3116,
      04-March-02: http://www.schopenhauer.org/members :
      "First we humans seek objective knowledge.... But
      isn't it necessary to cut the power supply...in order
      to achieve higher knowledge, knowledge beside ones
      individual will and besides the principle of
      sufficient reason? I think Schopenhauer has some
      interesting lessons regarding the subject, for example
      that the subject is not only a individual subject of
      willing, but also a supraindividual subject of pure
      knowing.
      And yes persevering through suffering is the road to
      salvation, obviously individual suffering leads to
      that supraindividual attitude independent of your
      former character."

      Suffering as such though, I would say, must also be of
      a good faith to the self within and without the
      cosmological whole, and not at all exclusive to any
      given doctrine, culture, government, society, or
      religion. In this way the pain of suffering transforms
      itself into something resembling more the pleasure
      Nietzsche found in exercising his own will:
      "Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue (--in
      every superior moral system it appears as a weakness
      --); going still further, it has been called the
      virtue, the source and foundation of all other virtues
      -- but let us always bear in mind that this was from
      the standpoint of a philosophy that was nihilistic,
      and upon whose shield the denial of life was
      inscribed. Schopenhauer was right in this: that by
      means of pity life is denied, and made worthy of
      denial -- pity is the technic of nihilism. Let me
      repeat: this depressing and contagious instinct stands
      against all those instincts which work for the
      presevation and enhancement of life: in the role of
      protector of the miserable, it is prime agent in the
      promotion of decadence -- pity persuades to
      extinction.... Of course, one doesn't say
      'extinction': one says 'the other world', or 'God,' or
      'the true life,' or Nirvana, salvation,
      blessedness.... This innocent rhetoric, from the realm
      of religious-ethical balderdash, appears a good deal
      less innocent when one reflects upon the tendency that
      it conceals beneath sublime words: the tendency to
      destroy life. Schopenhauer was hostile to life: that
      is why pity appeared to him as a virtue.... Aristotle,
      as every one knows, saw in pity a sickly and dangerous
      state of mind, the remedy for which was an occasional
      purgative: he regarded tragedy as that purgative. The
      instinct of life should prompt us to seek some means
      of puncturing any such pathological and dangerous
      accumulation of pity as that appearing in
      Schopenhauer's case (and also, alack, in that of our
      whole literary decadence, from St. Petersburg to
      Paris, from Tolstoy to Wagner), that it may burst and
      be discharged...." **

      Otherwise the will shall be burdened by an unnecessary
      guilt, substituting its creative positive power for an
      enclosed negativity, wherein one is prone to apologize
      for his or her own existence:
      http://groups. yahoo.com/group/sartre/message/3863
      In the message above, Melinda moves wisely, in a
      single stroke, from the negative to the positive. In
      first apologizing for her ignorance, she immediately
      reasserts her freedom in her adjoining statement:
      "Then we go from there", thereby not attaching herself
      to any existing values but creating her values as she
      goes on.
      "Let us not under-estimate this fact: the we
      ourselves, we free spirits, are already a
      'transvaluation of all values,' a visualized
      declaration of war and victory against all the old
      concepts of 'true' and 'not true'.***
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/778

      In Sartre's technical-philosophical description, or
      definition, of existentialism, we can't help but
      describe being as preceding essence. However, once we
      come to a solid understanding of why this is, we then
      can pursue the idea of existing for oneself, for the
      one and only sake on one's original true self, as in
      the case of and inexplicable but somewhat intuitive
      understanding of essence existing prior to being --
      that is the seat of the soul, at last, proclaiming
      itself free, and coming to be:
      "A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of
      our personal need and defense. In every other case it
      is a source of danger. That which does not belong to
      our life menaces it; a virtue which has its roots in
      mere respect for the concept of 'virtue,' as Kant
      would have it, is pernicious. 'Virtue,' 'duty,' 'good
      for its own sake,' goodness grounded upon
      impersonality or a notion of universal validity --
      these are all chimeras, and in them one finds only an
      expression of the decay, the last collapse of life,
      the Chinese spirit of Konigsberf. Quite the contrary
      is demanded by the most profound laws of
      self-preservation and of growth: to wit, that every
      man find his own virtue, his own categorical
      imperative. A nation goes to pieces when it confounds
      its duty with the general concept of duty. Nothing
      works a more complete and penetrating disaster than
      every 'impersonal duty, every sacrifice before the
      Moloch of abstraction."****

      Copyright: 2002 Lewis Vella

      * 'Dictionary of Philosphy', Thomas Mautner, Penquin,
      1997 - p. 363
      ** 'The Anti-Christ', Friedrich Nietzsche, tr. by H.
      L. Mencken, See Sharp Press, AZ, 1999 - p.p. 24-25
      *** ibid - p. 29
      **** ibid - p.p. 27-28

      THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES is registered trademark of the
      author. Comments on its contents may be forwarded
      appropriately to any of the mailing lists noted in the
      reception box at th top of this page (free yahoogroups
      membership is required). All other enquires may be
      sent to LewisVella@....

      BACK ISSUES of 'THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES':

      Volume 1, #1:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/518
      Volume 1, #2:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/662
      Volume 1, #3:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/746

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    • Lewis Vella
      Re: THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES - Vol. 1, #4 On Mar 12, Jay Kendall wrote in schopenhauer V1 #998 ... PLEASE NOTE, the following quotation was not my own, but the
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 14 5:00 PM
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        Re: THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES - Vol. 1, #4
        On Mar 12, Jay Kendall wrote in schopenhauer V1 #998

        >Lewis Vella wrote:

        PLEASE NOTE, the following quotation was not my own,
        but the words of James Tan, excerpted from his message
        recorded in its entirety at:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/761
        Lewis

        > > sartre is the last kind of person who would tell u
        > > what u ought to do, his 'being and nothingness'
        > > precludes any possible defense of normative
        ethics.
        > > this attitude of sartre is the nihilism we have
        > > seen in kierkegaard, nietzsche, heidegger, camus,
        > > de beauvoir. to all of them, there can be no
        > > ultimate


        > Didn't you say before that you found Sartre
        > extremely boring, and stopped reading him after a
        > couple of pages? That wouldn't necessarily prevent
        > you from getting the gist of what he says from
        > secondary sources, but you need to come to terms
        > with the words you use, such as "nihilist".

        Lewis now replies:

        For starters, you, Jay, are confusing my initial
        quotation of James Tan for my own words. My words that
        follow his in my latest edition of the TIMES state the
        contrary, that the individual has a two-fold moral
        responsibility or ethic, first, to be true to himself
        --as does Sartre's philosophy state -- and second, to
        understand his relationship with the Other, that is,
        the implications of one's absolute self in
        relationship
        with all the world's other absolute selves, some
        six-billion-plus interpretations. Neglecting the
        latter responsibility, that is to neglect the holistic
        model I referred to originally, would lead inevitably
        to the nihilism (and 'the extreme boredom') we find in
        Sartre's novel 'Nausea'. My contention is that Sartre
        used the art form of the novel to show the innate
        need for a moral system, that is, if man is to accept
        peacefully, within himself, his relationship with his
        fellow man and the sometimes chaotic, sometimes
        harmonious, rhythm of the universe without.

        > You also drag in a long Nietzsche quote to group
        > Schopenhauer as nihilist, champion of the weak
        > and effete. What rubbish! Nihilism means "denial of
        > the existence of any basis for knowledge or truth."
        > It doesn't mean denial of normative (norm-based)
        > ethics, but of any basis at all for ethics. I think
        > Sartre lays out a very plausible basis of ethics,
        > quite compatible with some points in Schopenhauer.
        > The basis is: what YOU decide is true, when you
        reach
        > the point in life when you are capable of deciding.
        > Then that ethics becomes a measure of YOUR
        > performance, and no one else's. Morality means
        > self-criticism, not judgementalism directed at
        > others. Can you see the parallel with Schopenhauer?
        > Or haven't you read him either?

        Indeed, I do see the parallel. That's exactly why I
        drew on their final means of resorting to art. Without
        the literary experience that offers a semblance of the
        transcendent, their philosophy would come to a
        nihilistic dead end. To accept Plato's daemon,
        Schopenhauer's intelligible innate character you are
        born with, or Sartre's one way ticket, automatically
        creates a moral ethic serving exclusively the
        individual's will regardless of any other, save for
        the compassion one might have for the other, but,
        still, the act of denying oneself for another can be
        considered just as much a self-satisfying desire as
        would the act of denouncing the other. Hence,
        Schopenhauer and Sartre's philosophy as a
        self-contained system can't help but self-defeat
        itself. The only system that can truly justify itself
        is one that is constantly in the process of creating
        itself, as was Nietzsche and his Superman ideas.
        Nietzsche's morals were the most reputable because
        they
        were not systematically justified, but where
        demonstrated as a means and end in one. Only in
        retrospect, because Nietzsche's written words are no
        longer Nietzsche's but rather someone's interpretation
        of Nietzsche's words, can one call Nietzsche
        nihilistic. But such an interpretation, being merely a

        semiotic effect founded not on Nietzsche the person
        but on the words Nietzsche left behind, can be shaped
        virtually into whatever one pleases, be it nihilism,
        anarchism, solipsism, communism, socialism, fascism,
        capitalism, or what have you. Granted, one may say
        the same thing of Schopenhauer's or Sartre's written
        words, but we can't say that of their systems, we
        can't say whatever we like about their systems once we
        commit
        ourselves to the logic that allows for these systems
        to come into being in
        the first place.

        > Schopenhauer's concept of "eternal justice" doesn't
        > give you any right to the pursuit of happiness, as
        > the Declaration of Independence declares.
        > Eternal justice only obliges you not to deny
        > anybody else's pursuit of happiness. In other words,
        > morality means all obligations, no rights. That
        ain't > nihilism. Nietzsche called it slave morality,
        but
        > that's an entirely different issue. Schopenhauer
        > doesn't seem to me like anybody's slave.

        He and Sartre actually become enslaved by art, whereas
        Nietzsche decided just to live his art through, as
        must any true artist do to this day, that is, if he
        indeed wishes to liberate himself eternally -- though,
        admittedly so, his work, or rather any original work
        he should leave behind, in whole or in part, cannot be
        guaranteed to stand the test of time, overcome the
        differences of others, and continue the same
        liberating force it once served its creator.

        > You also allude to some issue of whether one
        > chooses one's values freely, which didn't sound
        > right. My take on Sartre is that you always DO
        > choose freely, but only once in life, and what you
        do
        > afterwards is determined by that choice. This is
        > similar to the notion in Schopenhauer that your
        > intelligible character, which you were born with,
        > somehow represents a free choice, which then impels
        > you on a determined course. Except that, in Sartre,
        > it occurs circumstantially in life, when you reach
        > the age of reason. But there is the same correlation
        > of freedom with necessity. It's similar to the
        > following commentary on Plato's idea that there is
        an > original free choice behind all of the apparent
        > determinism which governs what we become in life:
        >
        > "Yet, there is still another "form" of man, the
        > ultimate one, the one that most truly can be called
        > idea, the one that is outside time and space, the
        > one that is "outside" the "muthos", justice. How is
        > this "form" shown in the dialogue? By the summary of
        > the first part of the Republic at the beginning,that
        > is, outside the muthos! And this one is not given in

        > advance. Each one of us has to decide by himself
        > whether or not he wants to "participate" in it.
        > Becoming is not developing an initial thrust,
        > it is choosing what we want to become, within the
        > bounds of anagk� (that sets limits to the
        > demiourgosas well) and of the "laws" of the
        > "subsidiary" forms we participate in (matter, body,
        > soul)."

        http://plato-dialogues.org/email/950907_1.htm

        > The problem is your misunderstanding of what
        > nihilism means. Nihilism usually refers to a
        > cynical attitude toward, or despair of there being
        > a basis for, ethics or morality. This becomes an
        > excuse to pursue either expedience, or wanton
        > destruction for its own sake. If you had read
        > anything in, or about, Sartre, you would know that
        > he wasn't like that at all. Are you?

        Indeed, Sartre wasn't that nihilistic-like, but you
        see now it is YOU committing that misdemeanor you note
        below -- of noting the person instead of the
        philosophy. As for me, it is obvious, by the two-fold
        moral ethic I noted above and implied previously in
        the TIMES, that I'm not nihilistic. At least in my
        mind I'm not. but that don't mean you or anyone else
        might not see it that way, hence, my moral need for a
        conversation with you, and anyone else who I should
        believe may be misinterpreting me -- at least as long
        as I feel its worth my time, or maybe find it fit for
        the TIMES.

        > Another thing wrong with your statement above is
        > that you categorize Sartre among others as a "kind
        > of person" instead of dealing with his philosophy.

        Again, that was James Tan, the person I was quoting,
        not me.

        > Indeed, I think "philosopher" is the kind of
        > person he is. But that says nothing at all about
        > his philosophy.
        > Jay

        It was their art that was liberating, not their
        philosophy, their philosophy was actually
        incarcerating them, and although their art, in
        retrospect, manages seemingly to escape the manacles
        of their philosophy, we shall never know for certain
        if the actual Sartre or Schopenhauer did in fact
        escape those manacles.

        Lewis





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      • Bill Harris
        Lewis, Let us go back to roots. Nihil, Latin: nothing. So we have nothingism a great place for you to ramble about in to our endless boredom. Bill ... From:
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 15 8:10 AM
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          Lewis, Let us go back to roots. Nihil, Latin: nothing. So we have nothingism
          a great place for you to ramble about in to our endless boredom. Bill
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Lewis Vella" <lewisvella@...>
          To: <sartre@yahoogroups.com>
          Cc: <wisdomforum@yahoogroups.com>; <sorenkierkegaard@yahoogroups.com>;
          <schopenhauer@yahoogroups.com>; <nietzschediscussion@yahoogroups.com>;
          <plato-republic@yahoogroups.com>; <socialism@yahoogroups.com>;
          <fallenworld@yahoogroups.com>; <zarathustra@yahoogroups.com>;
          <euroknowledge@yahoogroups.com>; <artapre@yahoogroups.com>;
          <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 7:00 PM
          Subject: [existlist] Re: THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES - Vol. 1, #4


          > Re: THE EXISTENTIAL TIMES - Vol. 1, #4
          > On Mar 12, Jay Kendall wrote in schopenhauer V1 #998
          >
          > >Lewis Vella wrote:
          >
          > PLEASE NOTE, the following quotation was not my own,
          > but the words of James Tan, excerpted from his message
          > recorded in its entirety at:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WisdomForum/message/761
          > Lewis
          >
          > > > sartre is the last kind of person who would tell u
          > > > what u ought to do, his 'being and nothingness'
          > > > precludes any possible defense of normative
          > ethics.
          > > > this attitude of sartre is the nihilism we have
          > > > seen in kierkegaard, nietzsche, heidegger, camus,
          > > > de beauvoir. to all of them, there can be no
          > > > ultimate
          >
          >
          > > Didn't you say before that you found Sartre
          > > extremely boring, and stopped reading him after a
          > > couple of pages? That wouldn't necessarily prevent
          > > you from getting the gist of what he says from
          > > secondary sources, but you need to come to terms
          > > with the words you use, such as "nihilist".
          >
          > Lewis now replies:
          >
          > For starters, you, Jay, are confusing my initial
          > quotation of James Tan for my own words. My words that
          > follow his in my latest edition of the TIMES state the
          > contrary, that the individual has a two-fold moral
          > responsibility or ethic, first, to be true to himself
          > --as does Sartre's philosophy state -- and second, to
          > understand his relationship with the Other, that is,
          > the implications of one's absolute self in
          > relationship
          > with all the world's other absolute selves, some
          > six-billion-plus interpretations. Neglecting the
          > latter responsibility, that is to neglect the holistic
          > model I referred to originally, would lead inevitably
          > to the nihilism (and 'the extreme boredom') we find in
          > Sartre's novel 'Nausea'. My contention is that Sartre
          > used the art form of the novel to show the innate
          > need for a moral system, that is, if man is to accept
          > peacefully, within himself, his relationship with his
          > fellow man and the sometimes chaotic, sometimes
          > harmonious, rhythm of the universe without.
          >
          > > You also drag in a long Nietzsche quote to group
          > > Schopenhauer as nihilist, champion of the weak
          > > and effete. What rubbish! Nihilism means "denial of
          > > the existence of any basis for knowledge or truth."
          > > It doesn't mean denial of normative (norm-based)
          > > ethics, but of any basis at all for ethics. I think
          > > Sartre lays out a very plausible basis of ethics,
          > > quite compatible with some points in Schopenhauer.
          > > The basis is: what YOU decide is true, when you
          > reach
          > > the point in life when you are capable of deciding.
          > > Then that ethics becomes a measure of YOUR
          > > performance, and no one else's. Morality means
          > > self-criticism, not judgementalism directed at
          > > others. Can you see the parallel with Schopenhauer?
          > > Or haven't you read him either?
          >
          > Indeed, I do see the parallel. That's exactly why I
          > drew on their final means of resorting to art. Without
          > the literary experience that offers a semblance of the
          > transcendent, their philosophy would come to a
          > nihilistic dead end. To accept Plato's daemon,
          > Schopenhauer's intelligible innate character you are
          > born with, or Sartre's one way ticket, automatically
          > creates a moral ethic serving exclusively the
          > individual's will regardless of any other, save for
          > the compassion one might have for the other, but,
          > still, the act of denying oneself for another can be
          > considered just as much a self-satisfying desire as
          > would the act of denouncing the other. Hence,
          > Schopenhauer and Sartre's philosophy as a
          > self-contained system can't help but self-defeat
          > itself. The only system that can truly justify itself
          > is one that is constantly in the process of creating
          > itself, as was Nietzsche and his Superman ideas.
          > Nietzsche's morals were the most reputable because
          > they
          > were not systematically justified, but where
          > demonstrated as a means and end in one. Only in
          > retrospect, because Nietzsche's written words are no
          > longer Nietzsche's but rather someone's interpretation
          > of Nietzsche's words, can one call Nietzsche
          > nihilistic. But such an interpretation, being merely a
          >
          > semiotic effect founded not on Nietzsche the person
          > but on the words Nietzsche left behind, can be shaped
          > virtually into whatever one pleases, be it nihilism,
          > anarchism, solipsism, communism, socialism, fascism,
          > capitalism, or what have you. Granted, one may say
          > the same thing of Schopenhauer's or Sartre's written
          > words, but we can't say that of their systems, we
          > can't say whatever we like about their systems once we
          > commit
          > ourselves to the logic that allows for these systems
          > to come into being in
          > the first place.
          >
          > > Schopenhauer's concept of "eternal justice" doesn't
          > > give you any right to the pursuit of happiness, as
          > > the Declaration of Independence declares.
          > > Eternal justice only obliges you not to deny
          > > anybody else's pursuit of happiness. In other words,
          > > morality means all obligations, no rights. That
          > ain't > nihilism. Nietzsche called it slave morality,
          > but
          > > that's an entirely different issue. Schopenhauer
          > > doesn't seem to me like anybody's slave.
          >
          > He and Sartre actually become enslaved by art, whereas
          > Nietzsche decided just to live his art through, as
          > must any true artist do to this day, that is, if he
          > indeed wishes to liberate himself eternally -- though,
          > admittedly so, his work, or rather any original work
          > he should leave behind, in whole or in part, cannot be
          > guaranteed to stand the test of time, overcome the
          > differences of others, and continue the same
          > liberating force it once served its creator.
          >
          > > You also allude to some issue of whether one
          > > chooses one's values freely, which didn't sound
          > > right. My take on Sartre is that you always DO
          > > choose freely, but only once in life, and what you
          > do
          > > afterwards is determined by that choice. This is
          > > similar to the notion in Schopenhauer that your
          > > intelligible character, which you were born with,
          > > somehow represents a free choice, which then impels
          > > you on a determined course. Except that, in Sartre,
          > > it occurs circumstantially in life, when you reach
          > > the age of reason. But there is the same correlation
          > > of freedom with necessity. It's similar to the
          > > following commentary on Plato's idea that there is
          > an > original free choice behind all of the apparent
          > > determinism which governs what we become in life:
          > >
          > > "Yet, there is still another "form" of man, the
          > > ultimate one, the one that most truly can be called
          > > idea, the one that is outside time and space, the
          > > one that is "outside" the "muthos", justice. How is
          > > this "form" shown in the dialogue? By the summary of
          > > the first part of the Republic at the beginning,that
          > > is, outside the muthos! And this one is not given in
          >
          > > advance. Each one of us has to decide by himself
          > > whether or not he wants to "participate" in it.
          > > Becoming is not developing an initial thrust,
          > > it is choosing what we want to become, within the
          > > bounds of anagkè (that sets limits to the
          > > demiourgosas well) and of the "laws" of the
          > > "subsidiary" forms we participate in (matter, body,
          > > soul)."
          >
          > http://plato-dialogues.org/email/950907_1.htm
          >
          > > The problem is your misunderstanding of what
          > > nihilism means. Nihilism usually refers to a
          > > cynical attitude toward, or despair of there being
          > > a basis for, ethics or morality. This becomes an
          > > excuse to pursue either expedience, or wanton
          > > destruction for its own sake. If you had read
          > > anything in, or about, Sartre, you would know that
          > > he wasn't like that at all. Are you?
          >
          > Indeed, Sartre wasn't that nihilistic-like, but you
          > see now it is YOU committing that misdemeanor you note
          > below -- of noting the person instead of the
          > philosophy. As for me, it is obvious, by the two-fold
          > moral ethic I noted above and implied previously in
          > the TIMES, that I'm not nihilistic. At least in my
          > mind I'm not. but that don't mean you or anyone else
          > might not see it that way, hence, my moral need for a
          > conversation with you, and anyone else who I should
          > believe may be misinterpreting me -- at least as long
          > as I feel its worth my time, or maybe find it fit for
          > the TIMES.
          >
          > > Another thing wrong with your statement above is
          > > that you categorize Sartre among others as a "kind
          > > of person" instead of dealing with his philosophy.
          >
          > Again, that was James Tan, the person I was quoting,
          > not me.
          >
          > > Indeed, I think "philosopher" is the kind of
          > > person he is. But that says nothing at all about
          > > his philosophy.
          > > Jay
          >
          > It was their art that was liberating, not their
          > philosophy, their philosophy was actually
          > incarcerating them, and although their art, in
          > retrospect, manages seemingly to escape the manacles
          > of their philosophy, we shall never know for certain
          > if the actual Sartre or Schopenhauer did in fact
          > escape those manacles.
          >
          > Lewis
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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