the unproblematic soul

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:21 pm

Moreno wrote:you completely missed me here. For example, I was not raising the rape example as an example of objective morals, I was raising it as a showing what I think you are doing is inconsistent.


I am inconsistent because we are not able to be wholly consistent in framing arguments that revolve around these relationships out in the world. But we can be wholly consistent in saying, "John raped Mary", if in fact John raped Mary. And I will probably be consistent until the day I die in contending that "rape is immoral". I believe this to be true. But I also believe that is not the same thing as demonstrating that, objectively, rape is in fact immoral. After all, all some selfish bastard has to do is insist it is not immoral because nothing can be immoral if it gratifies him. You need God here in my view.

Moreno wrote:To use another example.....

If someone believes people should not speak, and they say this to people, there is a problem.

But please reread my previous post, using this one for help.

I am pointing out a contradiction between your position and what you do.


There is a problem because the "eating and having your cake" and the "hypocrisy" is embodied empirically in the fact of speaking itself.

But suppose someone says, "from this day forth it is immoral for you and I to speak to others". And she does not in fact speak to others. But she does punish me for doing so. How does she go about demonstrating this is just? She can demonstrate that I spoke to others [because I did] but not that I ought not to have. And she can have her own reasons for that.

But, yes, I suspect that, by and large, we are talking past each other here. I think we are after different things. That someone is imposing a double standard or being a hypocrite can often be clearly shown. But so what? What generates the fiercest conflicts of course are those narratives that come into conflict regarding which behaviors we must never be hypocritical about. If John says rape is immoral and then rapes someone, well, duh? But if John says rape is immoral objectively and everyone is required to think like this...what then?

Is there a way that we must think about it in order to be deemed rational and moral human beings? Is there a completely unproblematic argument to support this? An argument that obviates "conflicting goods" and "selfish bastards" in a Godless world?

It is always about "is/ought" here to me because I am only interested in philosophy insofar as it is able to tell me, "how ought I to live out in the world with others?" And, in turn, what is this "I" that I bandy about in places like this? Where does it come from? How does it unfold?

But, then, that's just "me". Me and my priorities.

Moreno wrote:If John says it is bad to hit Mary and then hits Mary regularly, we can point out his hypocrisy. If you argue that certainty is not really possible and make statements of certainty, there is a problem. If you say that there can be no demonstrating one philosophical position is objectively better than another and then engage in communicative acts to demonstrate precisely this about your position in relation to others, there is a problem.


It is a problem only if you insist on making it one. If I note that everything I opine about these behaviors out in the world is predicated on the truthfulness of the assumptions I make about them then I am qualifying what I mean by certainty. I am interpolating Wittgenstein's conjectures regarding what [perhaps] can and cannot be said wholly or fully with language. Including this. Language becomes a quicksand here. The more words we use in trying to explain ourselves the deeper into a misunderstanding we can go.

Moreno wrote:Well, it makes no sense to assume that the best solution we can have is in the midpoint between the two positions. If you look at the example I had with the Eskimoes, the result of the films was vastly closer to the Eskimoes wishes than the state officials. If the stance had been, let's aim for a compromise, the result would have been quite different, and from my perspective, and from that of the natives, really rather poor.


But my conjectures here revolve around those who insist there is but one objective moral stance to take and those willing to acknowledge there may well be no objective truth here at all.

Moreno wrote: I think the insights of your position work as heuristics guiding actions, but do not work as a philosophical position stated and contrasted with others, for the reasons the author of the above work, moved further and further away from advocacy work, cultural interpreter work, or any work where he stated a position. He makes clear the experiences that shifted him away from such positions and explains this not in terms of truth value, but in practical terms.
They do not work.


Give us some concrete examples of this. What does not work?


Moreno wrote: The natives did not want to have their kids sent away to boarding schools. The government officials said they did not have the money to organize it another way. Nothing changed. The government officials, given their modes of communication did not understand how important this issue was to the Eskimoes. Given their ideas about normal culture, they did not understand what the villages lost. Nothing changed when they argued. The government officials lacked the respect and ability to empathize and further the ability to understand that their values might not fit these other people. The films which were not arguments or discussions or assertions of truths - for the most part - but rather expressions of desire and emotion, wants and what was suffered, bypassed the government officials inadequacies. That was on this issue. Here basically what the natives wanted came to pass completely, not a compromise, once a different kind of communicative act took place.


But is this "different kind of communicative act" in the best interest of the children? What sort of education will they receive if it revolves almost entirely around preserving the "normal culture" of the past?

A better way perhaps is the approach that certain Amish groups take: Rumspringa.

From the ReligiousTolerance.org website:

Teens aged 16 and older are allowed some freedom in behavior. It is a interval of a few years while they remain living at home, yet are somewhat released from the intense supervision of their parents. Since they have not yet been baptized, they have not committed to follow the extremely strict behavioral restrictions and community rules imposed by the religion. Depending upon the behavioral rules of their particular community, they may be allowed to date, go out with their friends, visit the outside world, go to parties, drink alcoholic beverages, wear jeans, etc. The intent of rumspringa is to make certain that youth are giving their informed consent if they decide to be baptized.

What real alternatives are the Alaskan children given? Isn't everyone else doing the deciding for them?

Moreno wrote:I think presenting your position, here, in a debate forum is very much like the loggerheads situation where you present your culture and Mo or I present ours. Mo's philosophy with an objective morality that can be demonstrated - this according to him - suffers no hypocrisy. Of course one can present what is right and then demonstrate this rightness. Your position on the other hand, is hypocritical when presented in a debate format as happens here.


I don't agree. In fact, I think it would please folks like Mo if I did frame it in this manner. Why? Because it might be argued that either one side is right and the other wrong or that they are both right from their own side. What I argue instead is that morality is constantly shifting and changing over time. And from the perspectives of daseins ever rooted in contingency chance and change.

I suggest that the potential for hypocrisy is always rooted in dasein -- in the prolematic mind -- because "I" never knows when value judgments in the here and now will be uprooted in a circumstantial landslide down the road in the there and later.

And what "worked" when moral narratives came into conflict?


Moreno wrote:Between the sides: the revelation of the thinking and emotions of the other side. There were all sorts of effect inside each side, given the participatory community processes involved in the making of the films and as each new film, within the community, inspired and affected future ones.


That's a good thing. It is important that to the best of our ability we try to to empathize with others. But there are obvious limitations to that.

And those making these choices are no less dasein. And they are no less likely to bump into folks who decide instead that, "no, there is only one entirely objective truth: mine." Or "ours".

Then it comes down to who has the power to enforce a particular agenda.

They could "get away with it" only until they bumped into a moral value they did not share.


Moreno wrote:No, you really are not understanding me. I mean get away with it because it is not hypocritical for a deontologist or objective moralist to try to demonstrate the rightness of their position. This doesn't mean they are right or will not come to loggerheads. But the act of trying to demonstrate the rightness is not hypocritical.


I have absolutely nothing against any deontologist content merely to articulate her arguments and try to persuade others to share them. My concern is in pointing out how historically many, "it is your duty and your obligation as a good citizen to..." kind of folks were not content to stop there.

And the rest as they say really is history.

Deontological thinking is always potentially dangerous because it holds the very real possibility of becoming politically autocratic. The hypocrisy here revolves around not allowing others to argue for conflicting moral obligations. And that is often deadly for democracy.

Moreno wrote:Sometimes in history it has been very good that some people have refused to compromise about certain things. This is also true in smaller struggles all the time.


And who gets to say when it is one of those times? As long as someone is willing to acknowledge this will always be just a point of view rooted in dasein I am willing to concede that, with respect to some behaviors, it may as well be [for all practical purposes] as though there were objective truths here. Given the size of the consensus, for example.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Ben JS » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:25 am

Please read this:

[quote="Joe Schmoe"][quote="iambiguous"]If I say that "human existence is essentially meaningless" how do I express this in such a way I am not construed as conveying that this is essentially meaningful?
[/quote]

Can you not say that "Human existence is objectively meaningless". Then add, "This is subjectively meaningful for me". The reason the objective meaningless of human existence is relevant to anyone is because we are all human, and we have a vested interest in what is to be human since we have to endure it.[/quote]

Now:

[quote="iambiguous"]Is there a way that we must think about it in order to be deemed rational and moral human beings? Is there a completely unproblematic argument to support this? An argument that obviates "conflicting goods" and "selfish bastards" in a Godless world? [/quote]

Morality is an extension of our subjective values. Rationality is just efficiently, effectively and consistently working to the benefit of these subjective values or assumptions.

The unproblematic soul has chosen their subjective values and (often) rationally makes the extension to base their actions and path through life on these assumptions.

Now, to your question...

To obviate 'conflicting goods', one must find common ground. It's fair to assume everyone wants to be alive, otherwise they would have killed themselves. So everything that protects life should rationally be the interest of all people. Therefore, an argument against violence : "If we condone violence, we condone violence upon you. Do you want this?" This can be extended to all common ground attributes.

I would consider 'Selfish bastards' to be irrational, based on the argument above. I must define what I see as the 'Selfish bastard'. A SB is someone who has absolutely no consideration for the well being of others. This is harmful to the common ground, shared by all humanity.

To obviate 'Selfish Bastards', one must cure them of their irrationality OR dismiss them as being incurable (which is inaccurate) and therefore ignore their assessment of reality. If we do the latter, then they are not in conflict of the unproblematic soul's argument for morality and rationality.

And, now the argument itself. The Zeitgeist Movement(.com) is about how to extend about the assumed mutual interests shared by people. If they stray from the principles, they could be considered immoral and irrational.

EDIT: I sense this post will be ignored. That makes me a sad Panda... =(
Last edited by Ben JS on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ben wrote:I think it is eloquently fitting that my farewell thread should be so graciously hijacked by such blatant penis waving. It condenses my entire ILP experience into one very manageable metaphor.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Moreno » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:50 am

iambiguous wrote:
Moreno wrote:you completely missed me here. For example, I was not raising the rape example as an example of objective morals, I was raising it as a showing what I think you are doing is inconsistent.


I am inconsistent because we are not able to be wholly consistent in framing arguments that revolve around these relationships out in the world. But we can be wholly consistent in saying, "John raped Mary", if in fact John raped Mary. And I will probably be consistent until the day I die in contending that "rape is immoral". I believe this to be true. But I also believe that is not the same thing as demonstrating that, objectively, rape is in fact immoral. After all, all some selfish bastard has to do is insist it is not immoral because nothing can be immoral if it gratifies him. You need God here in my view.

Moreno wrote:To use another example.....

If someone believes people should not speak, and they say this to people, there is a problem.

But please reread my previous post, using this one for help.

I am pointing out a contradiction between your position and what you do.


There is a problem because the "eating and having your cake" and the "hypocrisy" is embodied empirically in the fact of speaking itself.

But suppose someone says, "from this day forth it is immoral for you and I to speak to others". And she does not in fact speak to others. But she does punish me for doing so. How does she go about demonstrating this is just? She can demonstrate that I spoke to others [because I did] but not that I ought not to have. And she can have her own reasons for that.

But, yes, I suspect that, by and large, we are talking past each other here. I think we are after different things. That someone is imposing a double standard or being a hypocrite can often be clearly shown. But so what? What generates the fiercest conflicts of course are those narratives that come into conflict regarding which behaviors we must never be hypocritical about. If John says rape is immoral and then rapes someone, well, duh? But if John says rape is immoral objectively and everyone is required to think like this...what then?

Is there a way that we must think about it in order to be deemed rational and moral human beings? Is there a completely unproblematic argument to support this? An argument that obviates "conflicting goods" and "selfish bastards" in a Godless world?

It is always about "is/ought" here to me because I am only interested in philosophy insofar as it is able to tell me, "how ought I to live out in the world with others?" And, in turn, what is this "I" that I bandy about in places like this? Where does it come from? How does it unfold?

But, then, that's just "me". Me and my priorities.

Moreno wrote:If John says it is bad to hit Mary and then hits Mary regularly, we can point out his hypocrisy. If you argue that certainty is not really possible and make statements of certainty, there is a problem. If you say that there can be no demonstrating one philosophical position is objectively better than another and then engage in communicative acts to demonstrate precisely this about your position in relation to others, there is a problem.


It is a problem only if you insist on making it one. If I note that everything I opine about these behaviors out in the world is predicated on the truthfulness of the assumptions I make about them then I am qualifying what I mean by certainty. I am interpolating Wittgenstein's conjectures regarding what [perhaps] can and cannot be said wholly or fully with language. Including this. Language becomes a quicksand here. The more words we use in trying to explain ourselves the deeper into a misunderstanding we can go.

Moreno wrote:Well, it makes no sense to assume that the best solution we can have is in the midpoint between the two positions. If you look at the example I had with the Eskimoes, the result of the films was vastly closer to the Eskimoes wishes than the state officials. If the stance had been, let's aim for a compromise, the result would have been quite different, and from my perspective, and from that of the natives, really rather poor.


But my conjectures here revolve around those who insist there is but one objective moral stance to take and those willing to acknowledge there may well be no objective truth here at all.

Moreno wrote: I think the insights of your position work as heuristics guiding actions, but do not work as a philosophical position stated and contrasted with others, for the reasons the author of the above work, moved further and further away from advocacy work, cultural interpreter work, or any work where he stated a position. He makes clear the experiences that shifted him away from such positions and explains this not in terms of truth value, but in practical terms.
They do not work.


Give us some concrete examples of this. What does not work?


Moreno wrote: The natives did not want to have their kids sent away to boarding schools. The government officials said they did not have the money to organize it another way. Nothing changed. The government officials, given their modes of communication did not understand how important this issue was to the Eskimoes. Given their ideas about normal culture, they did not understand what the villages lost. Nothing changed when they argued. The government officials lacked the respect and ability to empathize and further the ability to understand that their values might not fit these other people. The films which were not arguments or discussions or assertions of truths - for the most part - but rather expressions of desire and emotion, wants and what was suffered, bypassed the government officials inadequacies. That was on this issue. Here basically what the natives wanted came to pass completely, not a compromise, once a different kind of communicative act took place.


But is this "different kind of communicative act" in the best interest of the children? What sort of education will they receive if it revolves almost entirely around preserving the "normal culture" of the past?

A better way perhaps is the approach that certain Amish groups take: Rumspringa.

From the ReligiousTolerance.org website:

Teens aged 16 and older are allowed some freedom in behavior. It is a interval of a few years while they remain living at home, yet are somewhat released from the intense supervision of their parents. Since they have not yet been baptized, they have not committed to follow the extremely strict behavioral restrictions and community rules imposed by the religion. Depending upon the behavioral rules of their particular community, they may be allowed to date, go out with their friends, visit the outside world, go to parties, drink alcoholic beverages, wear jeans, etc. The intent of rumspringa is to make certain that youth are giving their informed consent if they decide to be baptized.

What real alternatives are the Alaskan children given? Isn't everyone else doing the deciding for them?

Moreno wrote:I think presenting your position, here, in a debate forum is very much like the loggerheads situation where you present your culture and Mo or I present ours. Mo's philosophy with an objective morality that can be demonstrated - this according to him - suffers no hypocrisy. Of course one can present what is right and then demonstrate this rightness. Your position on the other hand, is hypocritical when presented in a debate format as happens here.


I don't agree. In fact, I think it would please folks like Mo if I did frame it in this manner. Why? Because it might be argued that either one side is right and the other wrong or that they are both right from their own side. What I argue instead is that morality is constantly shifting and changing over time. And from the perspectives of daseins ever rooted in contingency chance and change.

I suggest that the potential for hypocrisy is always rooted in dasein -- in the prolematic mind -- because "I" never knows when value judgments in the here and now will be uprooted in a circumstantial landslide down the road in the there and later.

And what "worked" when moral narratives came into conflict?


Moreno wrote:Between the sides: the revelation of the thinking and emotions of the other side. There were all sorts of effect inside each side, given the participatory community processes involved in the making of the films and as each new film, within the community, inspired and affected future ones.


That's a good thing. It is important that to the best of our ability we try to to empathize with others. But there are obvious limitations to that.

And those making these choices are no less dasein. And they are no less likely to bump into folks who decide instead that, "no, there is only one entirely objective truth: mine." Or "ours".

Then it comes down to who has the power to enforce a particular agenda.

They could "get away with it" only until they bumped into a moral value they did not share.


Moreno wrote:No, you really are not understanding me. I mean get away with it because it is not hypocritical for a deontologist or objective moralist to try to demonstrate the rightness of their position. This doesn't mean they are right or will not come to loggerheads. But the act of trying to demonstrate the rightness is not hypocritical.


I have absolutely nothing against any deontologist content merely to articulate her arguments and try to persuade others to share them. My concern is in pointing out how historically many, "it is your duty and your obligation as a good citizen to..." kind of folks were not content to stop there.

And the rest as they say really is history.

Deontological thinking is always potentially dangerous because it holds the very real possibility of becoming politically autocratic. The hypocrisy here revolves around not allowing others to argue for conflicting moral obligations. And that is often deadly for democracy.

Moreno wrote:Sometimes in history it has been very good that some people have refused to compromise about certain things. This is also true in smaller struggles all the time.


And who gets to say when it is one of those times? As long as someone is willing to acknowledge this will always be just a point of view rooted in dasein I am willing to concede that, with respect to some behaviors, it may as well be [for all practical purposes] as though there were objective truths here. Given the size of the consensus, for example.


I give up, I am afraid. You were closer to responding to my points, but in generally missed them. For example. I was NOT suggesting you assert your position like Mo does. That doesn't make any sense, in fact.

But, really, to the best of my knowledge I presented my points fairly clearly and you missed more than 90%. I haven't experienced that before here. Even the people who hate my ideas tend to respond much more to the points I am making. This was like I was speaking in a different language.

But perhaps, metaphorically, that's the case. Who knows. I do have to stop, however.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:57 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:Morality is an extension of our subjective values. Rationality is just efficiently, effectively and consistently working to the benefit of these subjective values or assumptions.


"Being rational" makes sense to me when your aim is to act out the value judgment you have chosen. For example, if you choose capitalism over socialism there are clearly more rather than less rational [unproblematic] ways to go about owning and operating an investment bank.

But is capitalism more or less rational [unproblematic] than socialism as a moral foundation?

And where do our "subjective value judgments" reside here if not in dasein? Do they reside instead in "the truth"?

Joe Schmoe wrote:To obviate 'conflicting goods', one must find common ground.


But the conflicting goods remain. They are merely subsumed in the compromise. What I am curious about is the extent to which philosophers can make the need for compromise go away.

Instead "out in the world we live in" we find a greater or a lesser consensus revolving around particular behaviors. For example, there is a considerable consensus among the folks in my culture that committing cold blooded murder is immoral. But then some anti-abortionists insist that abortion itself is no less than cold blooded murder. Or should be thought of as such.

"Common ground" applications are no less rooted out in particular worlds viewed in particular ways.

My argument is that philosophically we can't make this go away. We can devise arguments like the "Golden Rule" but we can't show why arguments that reject it are necessarily irrational.

Instead, we rationalize what we believe. If, for example, someone argues we should not execute prisoners because we would not want to be executed ourselves, an advocate of the death penality might insist, "yes, but we did did rape and then murder an innocent mother of 4".

Joe Schmoe wrote:I would consider 'Selfish bastards' to be irrational, based on the argument above. I must define what I see as the 'Selfish bastard'. A SB is someone who has absolutely no consideration for the well being of others. This is harmful to the common ground, shared by all humanity.


Okay, the selfish bastard notes your objection and continues to act in accordance with his own selfish desires. His only concern is in not getting caught; he knows others do not share his point of view.

Again, watch the film Goodfellas [or the HBO series The Sopranos] and imagine their reaction to your argument.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:00 pm

Moreno wrote:
I give up, I am afraid.


Yes, that happens over and over and over again in these posts. We can't even convince others to grasp the issues the way we do let alone to agree with our point of view.

But that makes sense to me. There are always multiply ways in which to understand the meaning of the words we use. And once we entangle the words in all of the differing ways in which we can understand ourselves out in the world...

But that is considerably less the case with things that are able to be understood objectively as in fact true.

Moreno wrote:But, really, to the best of my knowledge I presented my points fairly clearly and you missed more than 90%. I haven't experienced that before here. Even the people who hate my ideas tend to respond much more to the points I am making.


That is probably because I am not a "real philosopher". I am concerned only with making distinctions between what real philosophers can demonstrate is true unproblematically for everyone [short of going all the way out to the end of the Cartesian limb] and what can only be a point of view rooted in the world of conflicting human behaviors rooted in conflicting value judgments rooted in conflicting narratives rooted in dasein.

Language can note what is true at times and note what is only opinion at other times.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Tue May 01, 2012 7:09 pm

Sam Harris from The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason:

A belief is a lever that, once pulled, moves almost everything else in a person's life. Are you a scientist? A liberal? A racist? These are merely species of belief in action. Your beliefs define your vision of the world; they dictate your behavior; they determine your emotional responses to other human beings. If you doubt this, consider how your experience would suddenly change if you came to believe one of the following propositions:

You have only two weeks to live.
You've just won a lottery prize of one hundred million dollars.
Aliens have implanted a receiver in your skull and are manipulating your thoughts.

These are mere words---until you believe them. Once believed, they become part of the very apparatus of your mind, determining your desires, fears, expectations, and subsequent behavior.


Is this true? And if it is true -- if one believes it is true -- the question for those who grapple with it philosophically is this: to what extent can we shape our beliefs based on a rational pursuit of knowledge? And to what extent are our beliefs far too complex to be reduced to this?

Is this something we can understand fully? Or, instead, is what we imagine we understand fully merely a manifestation of what we have come to believe is true [as dasein] over the years? How can we untangle and then differentiate the two vantage points [intellectual trajectories] reasonably? And what if we can't?

Even more intriguing, perhaps, what are the roles that emotional and psychological states [and the unconscious id, the naked ape] play in propelling us to embrace particular beliefs; in order to [among other things] achieve the sort of equillibrium and equanimity generally associated with feeling grounded in that which is perceived as ever true.

Might not these questions [ultimately] be inextricably and inexplicably bewildering, impenetrable; so much so that many feel compelled to obviate them once and for all by subsuming their point of view in one or another transcending confessional? And doesn't that seem to be far more important than whatever particular point of view it happens to be?

It certainly would explain some of the extreme, fanatical behavior we have seen rationalized by men and women down through the centuries. They do these things -- build death camps, fly jet planes into buildings, turn themselves into bombs, embrace one or another enlightenment, worship and adore all manner of hopelessly conflicting Gods, reduce human relationships down to all manner of hopelessly conflicting ideologies, embrace all manner of hopelessly conflicting philosophies of life -- because it feels comforting, ameliorative to believe that what they think and do is...necessary.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 02, 2012 6:29 pm

Keith Ansell Pearson from How to Read Nietzsche:

...from first to last, Nietzsche can be found wrestling with the meaning of his cheerfulness. The German word in The Gay Science is Heiterkeit, used ironically in the sense of 'that's going to be fun', as for example, when out on a walk, you watch a huge black cloud approaching and foresee getting drenched. You go on the walk even though you know that risks are involved. The way in which Nietzsche presents his cheerfulness...clearly contains something of this sense, indicating a spirit of adventure and fearlessness with regard to the pursuit of knowledge.

There are black clouds and then there are the black clouds. Dispel the one inside your head and the ones you see out on the horizon are nearly always much easier to conquer and dispense with. But sooner or later you will happen upon a cloud so tumultuous -- so utterly pitch black -- that all the cheerfulness in the world won't put even a dent in it; let all alone lance it.

Nietzsche recognizes the death of God liberates us from any deontological duties or obligations. We are free to plot our own way. Or far freer than those who feel compelled to justify what they do as being in accordance with either God or His secular equivalent.

But as to whether this will instill cheerfulness in us is always predicated on the profoundly problematic nature of the black clouds at hand. We all have our own unique breaking point. Sometimes we shrink the clouds and sometimes the clouds shrink us. Thus cheerfulness is usually a psychological state born out of experience and not a philosphical platform upon which we order experience like someone conducting an orchaestra.

Nietzsche was said to be a yes man. He said yes to life. He said yes to adventure...to the fearless exploration of human existence. Indeed, the ubermensch would be inconceivable if he or she did not embrace life and living to the utmost. But you can only manage to sustain philosophical and psychological cheerfulness [whilst conquering the world] when the world is not in the midst of conquering you instead.

In other words, philosophy, it might be said, revolves around reflecting on where you happen to find yourself situated inside this problematic tug of war. Great philosophy, on the other hand, revolves around the moment you realize it is you who are tugging at both ends of the rope. You are the rope in fact. Or, for some of us [those embedded in the most tumultuous and blackest of clouds], what is left of it.

So: is that a more or a less "knowledgable" assessment of Nietzsche's "cheerful" human condition?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 16, 2012 2:09 am

Nathan Scott in Mirrors of Man in Existentialism:

It is said of a certain self-portrait in the nude by sixteenth-century German painter Albrecht Durer that he sent it to his physician with the message: 'Right there, the spot colored yellow, where my finger's pointing---that's where it hurts.' And in the period following World War I something of the same sort began to be said, with ever increasing urgency, by poets like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats; by novelists like Franz Kafka and James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner; by dramatists like Eugene O'Neill and Bertolt Brecht. Nor was this pervasive sense of crisis being expressed only in imaginative literature: it is also very much to be felt in the great classic painting and sculpture of the twentieth century. Those strange double-faced creatures, for example, which Picasso was producing...look out at a world as if they are aghast at what they see; or, again, the figures that were produced by a sculpter like Giacometti seem, in their fragile slenderness and delicacy, to express a sense of man as one helpless and naked and utterly vulnerable. And the strange new music...the music of Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern and Edgard Verese...appeared also, in its eerie disonance, to be singing out a similar vision. Indeed, even the new science of the period---the physics, say, of Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr---was beginning to represent the world as influenced by factors beyond the reach of reason. And the sense of the human situation as something absurd and insecure was, of course, being expressed most emphatically by the new psychology of Freud.

In turn, it is within this context that one must approach the philosophy of existentialism. It is situated historically, to be sure. But to what extent does the trajectory of all the disciplines above reflect a point of view regarding human interaction that transcends history...culture...political economy?

There was a time, of course, when most thought the "function" of philosophy revolved around the rational pursuit of wisdom. Know thyself. But in this day and age philosophers seem better suited to negociate and to collaborate pragmatically on a journey into and through the irrational instead. And, perhaps, to suggest that, in many crucial respects, there are no exits out. There is only coming up with particular strategies for dealing with it.

In one sense, however, the historical figures within the existential movement seemed unable to extricate their philosophy from the enlightened clutches of Logos. Instead, they spoke of human existence as being authentic or inauthentic. The crisis we faced was thought to revolve around choosing a bona fide freedom. So, what was projected to be a solution to the metaphysical mess started by Plato and Aristotle simply became another problem no one could resolve.

The crisis, in other words, still whirls around living our lives...and not in knowing what that means.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby James S Saint » Wed May 16, 2012 2:32 am

The Philosopher is not merely the one who proposes questions for which there are no reasonable answers, nor the one who proposes answers for which there are no reasonable uses, but the one who proposes useful answers for which there are no reasonable questions.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 16, 2012 6:57 pm

James S Saint wrote:The Philosopher is not merely the one who proposes questions for which there are no reasonable answers, nor the one who proposes answers for which there are no reasonable uses, but the one who proposes useful answers for which there are no reasonable questions.


A few concrete examples of this please.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 16, 2012 6:57 pm

James S Saint wrote:The Philosopher is not merely the one who proposes questions for which there are no reasonable answers, nor the one who proposes answers for which there are no reasonable uses, but the one who proposes useful answers for which there are no reasonable questions.


A few concrete examples of this please.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Thu May 31, 2012 7:44 pm

Fernando Pessoa from The Book of Disquiet:

Sadly I write in my quiet room, alone as I have always been, alone as I always will be. And I wonder if my apparently negligible voice might not embody the essense of thousands of voices, the longing for self-expression of thousands of lives, the patience of millions of souls resigned like my own to their daily lot, their useless dreams, and their hopeless hopes. In these moments my heart beats faster because I'm conscious of it.....I feel a religous force within me, a species of prayer, a kind of public outcry. But my mind quickly puts me in my place...I remember I'm on the fourth floor of the Rua dos Douradores, and I take a drowsy look at myself. I glance up from this half-written page at life, futile and without beauty, and at the cheap cigarette I'm about to extinguish in the ashtray beyond the fraying blotter. Me in this fourth-floor room, interrogating life!, saying what souls feel!, writing prose like a genius or a famous author! Me, here, a genius!...

Does anyone really know where to draw the line between the sublimnity of exqusitely crafted words -- words conveying startlingly original insights -- and the banality of a life lived from day to day? Is there a way to reconcile the mind and the matter at hand? You have an ass to wipe, a car to repair, a bill you can't to pay and a disease to contain; you have a lover to win back, a job you will lose, a son in Afghanistan and a family to keep from falling apart at the seams. What can your philosophical wisdom do to make your aim truer when your neighor is a son of a bitch or the govenment is on a reactionary rampage or you can't seem to keep your emotional and psychological impulses anchored to the straight and narrow path of rational discourse?

How seriously can you take what you think you know about the world you live in? How close are you from encountering an existential abyss that starts it all unraveling thread by thread?

If you are lucky, of course, you are able to live comfortably enough to keep all of these calamities at bay. You have the resources and the recreation necessary to ponder the Big Questions and actually imagine you have discovered answers to them.

Theoretically.

On the other hand, how honest are you about the gap betweeen the way everything seems to fit together philosophically in post after post and how everything else seems to be so much more disshevelled, muddled, bedraggled and dilapidated when you flit back and forth between work, home, commminity and all the other minefields that comprise the unending obligations of human interaction?

The ones you encounter before it all comes to an end forever...

What draws me to Pessoa is how his writing is never far removed from the work-a-day world of his actual existence. He brings you into it and you recognize how it mirrors in some important respects the way most of our own lives actually unfold: off the page and --thump! -- down on the ground. Or in a ditch. Or a gutter. You are in the cracks and crevises with him and you see how all platitudes and bromides and bullshit and ignorance and arrogance and stupidiity and boredom and uncertainty and ambiguity and social obligations and personal responsibilites sometimes rip your peace of mind into fucking shreds. You respond only because you feel compelled to...not because it actually allows you to resolve anything. You write because not to is even more unbearable.

Does any of this "real life shit" come out in the work of those considered to be the Great Minds of philosophy? Sure, from a few. But most seem to be analyzing a world that bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to one most of us live in. Pessoa takes you through his days---the good, the bad, the ugly. You see the sublime and the banal side by side and he more or less leaves it up to you to make the distinction. You walk away from his work [the poetry and the prose] knowing you are reading about an actual human life. And you see it becoming entangled in itself and you come to appreciate how your own existential quagmires are pretty much the same.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Ben JS » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:12 am

That's a beautiful quote which as you say, drew me in also.

I relate to you iam. As Pessoa says, it is the journey of millions. I think nihilism can be associated with deep honesty and integrity. I think that it's honest because of how closely it relates to our everyday lives. Nihilism isn't detached, it is in heart of existence. Staring into all the bullshit of Life and being constructively critical, even if that means more pain.

I've never read a philosophical book in my life. Yet, I've came to the same place as many before me. What does that mean? Either we've found the same insight, or made the same mistake. But since we're reducing, instead of constructing, the only possible mistake we could have made is that what we reduced from is a mistake, and when we reduce life, could anything in life be a mistake?

I say existence is honest, therefore, reducing existence is honest and relevant.

But here in lies the question. What happens after you reduce everything to the heart of relevance? Well, you have the ultimate foundation. What do you do with the foundation? You build. You reconstruct everything you've demolished in the process of finding the foundation.

You now know why everything is as it is, and now you react to that. Not to all the bullshit in life, but to the foundation. You live or die according to the foundation.

Does this make sense?
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ben wrote:I think it is eloquently fitting that my farewell thread should be so graciously hijacked by such blatant penis waving. It condenses my entire ILP experience into one very manageable metaphor.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:17 pm

From Colin Wilson's, The Outsider:

The last words in Nijinsky's diary are an affirmation:

'My little girl is singing: "Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah". I do not understand its meaning, but I feel what she wants to say. She wants to says that everything is not horror, but joy'

The Outsider's problem is to balance this against Van Gogh's last words: Misery will never end. It is a question no longer of philosophy, but of religion.

...we are back at Pessimism, and we could conveniently begin by mentioning the Shakespearean type:

'As flies to foolish boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport...'

It is the uncertainty of life, of how man can set up any aim or belief when he is not certain whether he will 'breathe out the very breath he now breathes in'. A lesser known example than Gloucester's lines is the Duke's speech from Beddoes's Death's Jest Book:

'The look of the world's a lie, a face made up
O'er graves and fiery depths, and nothing's true
But what is horrible. If man could see
The perils and diseases that he elbows
Each day he walks a mile, which catch at him,
Which fall behind and graze him as he passes,
Then would he know that life's a single pilgrim
Fighting unarmed among a thousand soldiers'

...most of these poets of the late nineteenth century were only 'half in love with easeful death'; the other half clung firmly to life and complained about it's futility. None of them...goes as far as Wells in Mind At the End of Its Thether. But follow their pessimism further, press it to the limits of complete sincerity, and the result is a completely life denying nihilism that is actually a danger to life. When Van Gogh's 'misery will never end' is combined with Evan Strowde's 'nothing is worth doing', the result is a kind of spiritual syphillis that can hardly stop short of death or insanity. Conrad's stroy Heart of Darkness deals with a man who has brought himself to this point. He dies murmuring 'the horror, the horror'. Conrad's narrator comments: 'I wasn't arguing with a lunatic either...His intelligence was perfectly clear; concentrated...upon himself a horrible intensity; yet clear...But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within himself...and it had gone mad: he had summed up; he had judged; 'The horror'. He was a remarkable man.'


What justifies a pessimistic point of view? For most, of course, it is a profoundly circumstantial question; they are pessimistic because their actual lives are a misery; a falling down into one existential pothole after another. Why would they not be pessimistic?

But what of those "lost souls" who, more or less, anchor their brooding in philosophy? The folks who cannot in fact ever fall deeply in love or shoot the moon in Vegas because, in a world perceived to be essentially absurd and meaningless -- a world that ends inevitably in death and oblivion -- "what possible difference can it make what I do?"

From Mark T. Conard in Woody Allen and Philosophy:

'I think what it boils down to, really, is that I hate reality. And, you know, unfortunately, it's the only place where we can get a good steak dinner' Woody Allen

Other than sex and art, the one thing that the characters in Woody Allen's movies talk about is the meaning of life, in one form or another. So, throughout Allen's body of films and writing, is there a consistent position on the meaning and value of life that's expressed by his characters? Despite all the jokes and gags in his work...I think the answer is yes, there is a position on the issue, and it's that life is inherently and utterly meaningless. What's more, in the end Allen seems to tell us that, instead of discovering or creating real meaning and value [through relationships and artistic creativity, for example], all we can ever really hope to do is distract ourselves from or disceive ourselves about, the meaninglessless of our lives, the terrifying nature of the universe, and the horrible anticipation of our own personal annihilation in death.



Well, I can live with that, sure. But then I would imagine others might be rather incredulous. I mean, what an unenlightened point of view!!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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