the unproblematic soul

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the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:53 pm

Emile Cioran from On the Heights of Despair:

My tremendous admiration for enthusiasts stems from my inability to comprehend how there can be such men in a world where death, nothingness, sadness, and despair keep sinister company. It makes one wonder, to see people who are never desparate.

And:

The enthusiast is preeminantly an unproblematic person. He understands many things without ever knowing the agonizing doubts and chaotic sensitivity of the problematic man. The latter cannot solve anything, because nothing satisfies him. You will find in him neither the enthusiast's gift of abandon, his naive irrationality, nor the charming paradox of love in its purest state. The biblical myth of knowledge as sin is the most profound myth ever invented. The enthusiast's euphoria is due to the fact that he is unaware of the tragedy of knowledge. Why not say it? True knowledge is the most tenebrous darkness. I would gladly exchange all of the harrowing problems of this world for sweet, un-selfconscious naivete. The spirit does not elevate you; it tears you apart.

Of course, the one thing the unproblematic soul generally shows very little enthusiasm for is being in problematic discussions like this one. Instead, he/she has adopted either a practical or an idealistic methodology for dealing with things like death and destruction and sadness and despair...or contingency and chance and change...or uncertainty and confusion and ambiguity. So, it is not likely we will ever encounter many we can vigorously challenge...philosophically? They are, after all, virtually immune to the existential probe by now.

Know thyself. The unexamined life is not worth living. The truth will set you free. And yet more than just a handful of folks have located an actual heart of darkness in the very attempt to probe these things with both eyes open. In other words, the more they probed the more fractured and fragmented their knowledge of "reality" became.

And it is not a question here of whether Cioran's speculations are rational. Who knows, right? They certainly appear to be rational to him. And to me. Instead, it is more a question of whether or not the unproblematic souls can demonstrate this point of view is irrational; that, say, it is not a perspective a reasonable man or woman would accept.

My own admiration for the unproblematic soul stems more from the awe I feel towards someone who -- in this world -- is actually able to sustain the illusion that there is, indeed, a way to keep the pieces from becoming even more fractured and fragmented than they already are.

How do they do that?
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Dan~ » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:55 am

Defense mechanisms of the mind outrank "truth".
Staying happy is necissary for living and being active.
Therefor it is something that is valued higher than truth.

People live in a cencored religious dream.
It can get to be complicated but the basics are these:
Lies can appear to be more true or more useful than the actual truth.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby fuse » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:57 am

Emile Cioran wrote:True knowledge is the most tenebrous darkness. [...] The spirit does not elevate you; it tears you apart.

That's a load of shit. Cioran undoubtedly makes that judgment on the assumption that he is one who has attained "true knowledge." But maybe true knowledge tends not toward either darkness or lightness, and maybe Cioran never knew true knowledge.

Now I can get on board with the notion that the more one seeks, the more one probes, the more fragmented reality becomes for him. BUT Cioran's "tragedy of knowledge" is just a miserable pessimism. He can have it if he wants, but it will not be a notion that I choose develop. Like nihilism. I deny that there is inherent (objective) meaning and that is the extent of my nihilism. Others may choose to paint the world as meaningless and themselves as mere objects occupying its space, but I do not choose to develop that view of the world. Thinking like that tends to "make it so." I think it is important to look at worldview as prophesy. It becomes destiny. If on all occasions I am preoccupied with the aspects in which things are pointless or not as meaningful as they appear then I undercut my own motivations and desires to participate..to live. For that reason, I choose not to develop that view of the world.

Emile Cioran wrote:The enthusiast is preeminantly an unproblematic person. He understands many things without ever knowing the agonizing doubts and chaotic sensitivity of the problematic man.

Why couldn't one be an enthusiast who is also not one-dimensional, who also knows doubt and the anxiety of sensitivity but who strives to recognize the good in it, or the strength that can become of it?

If you subscribe to Cioran's view, "the unproblematic soul" basically means "the less developed soul". Because he says that spirit (soul) does not elevate, it tears apart. So obviously it's going to work out for him that the "problematic soul" has a more developed spirit and therefore more internal conflict and tragedy in life. I just don't subscribe to Cioran's sketch of true knowledge..
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:37 pm

fuse wrote:
Emile Cioran wrote:True knowledge is the most tenebrous darkness. [...] The spirit does not elevate you; it tears you apart.


That's a load of shit. Cioran undoubtedly makes that judgment on the assumption that he is one who has attained "true knowledge." But maybe true knowledge tends not toward either darkness or lightness, and maybe Cioran never knew true knowledge.

Now I can get on board with the notion that the more one seeks, the more one probes, the more fragmented reality becomes for him. BUT Cioran's "tragedy of knowledge" is just a miserable pessimism. He can have it if he wants, but it will not be a notion that I choose develop. Like nihilism. I deny that there is inherent (objective) meaning and that is the extent of my nihilism. Others may choose to paint the world as meaningless and themselves as mere objects occupying its space, but I do not choose to develop that view of the world. Thinking like that tends to "make it so."


I agree, that is certainly one way to look at it. Cioran's reaction to the world around him is subjunctive. In the end it can only reflect his own point of view based on his own experiences. And this will either make sense to you or it will not. Cioran is merely speculating that the deeper you go into "reality" the more fractured and fragmented you become.

And since that was the case with me as well, I agree with him. If you do not agree however you are certainly not "wrong". At least not necessarily. You are obligated only to show how one can probe deep into the cracks and the crevices of human interaction and not think and feel this way.

And it certainly can be done. For example, you can equate a fractured and fragmented point of view with...freedom. Your options increase significantly if you are not bound to, say, a religious or ideological framework. Right? It's all rooted in dasein, not physics.
My point is merely to suggest philosophers cannot read Cioran and insist his point of view is unreasonable. Let alone irrational.

Emile Cioran wrote:The enthusiast is preeminantly an unproblematic person. He understands many things without ever knowing the agonizing doubts and chaotic sensitivity of the problematic man.


fuse wrote:Why couldn't one be an enthusiast who is also not one-dimensional, who also knows doubt and the anxiety of sensitivity but who strives to recognize the good in it, or the strength that can become of it?


One can be. If nothing else, one can be an enthusiastic nihilist. Or one can find existential meaning in any number of experiential interactions. After all, "out in the world" the permutations are endless. And Cioran's own foul disposition was rooted for years in chronic insomnia. It pummeled him with a truly debilitating misery.

fuse wrote:If you subscribe to Cioran's view, "the unproblematic soul" basically means "the less developed soul". Because he says that spirit (soul) does not elevate, it tears apart. So obviously it's going to work out for him that the "problematic soul" has a more developed spirit and therefore more internal conflict and tragedy in life. I just don't subscribe to Cioran's sketch of true knowledge..


I don't agree. That is the sort of prescriptive language that tries to transcend dasein and root language of this sort in some measure of hierarchy. As though to say, "the way I think about these things is more enlightened."

From my vantage point, it's really only a matter of falling into a circumstantial hole that matches Cioran's subjunctive point of view. The "spirit"/"soul" is no less embodied in dasein.

But, again, I see your point and I respect it. Cioran does project himself [as do I at times] as someone who seems to insist, "this is how I think and feel and if you don't, you are not in possession of true knowledge."

That is bullshit. But, then, for many, the deeper they do go "underground" the less it can seem that way.
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby fuse » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:21 am

iambiguous,

Okay. Still, Cioran is pretty clearly implying that: "the way I think about these things is more enlightened" and "this is how I think and feel and if you don't, you are not in possession of true knowledge." If further knowledge always serves to fragment and complicate (though this is not clearly the case) what is necessarily tragic about comlexity?

Cioran's tone is objective: The enthusiast's euphoria is due to the fact that he is unaware of the tragedy of knowledge. Why not say it? True knowledge is the most tenebrous darkness. He's saying that if you don't understand the tragedy of knowledge then you are ignorant.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:59 pm

fuse wrote: iambiguous,

Okay. Still, Cioran is pretty clearly implying that: "the way I think about these things is more enlightened" and "this is how I think and feel and if you don't, you are not in possession of true knowledge." If further knowledge always serves to fragment and complicate (though this is not clearly the case) what is necessarily tragic about comlexity?


All he can do is put the pieces together in a manner that makes the most sense. And the manner in which he does so seems to revolve around a whole that can never be more than the subjunctive sum of those particular parts. And he has acknowledged that his writing is at times a bundle of contradictions.

Here is how Cioran put it himself:

How a philosopher becomes a poet is like a drama. You fall from a world of abstractions into a whirlwind of feelings, into all of the fantastic shapes and figures entangled in the soul. How could the actor of a complicated drama of the soul in which, all at once, erotic anticipation clashes with metaphysical anxiety, fear of death with desire for innocence, total renunciation with paradoxical heroism, despair with pride, forebodings of madness with longings for anonymity, screams with silence, apiration with nothingness----how could he still go on philosophizing in a systematic way? There are men who started in the world of abstract forms and ended in absolute confusion. Therefore they can only philosophize poetically.

And thus, obviously, knowledge of some things will always be more inherently ambiguous than knowledge of other things.

Complexity per se isn't necessarily tragic. But when complexity and contradiction innundate your search for answers pertaining to things that pummel you, this can readily become the center of the universe. But, again, it is always rooted in dasein.

Here is a snapshot of his particular dasein:

Emile Cioran in The Heights of Despair:

Truly instense and irrevocable despair cannot be objectified except in grotesque expressions, because the grotesque is the absolute negation of serenity, that state of purity, transcendence, and lucidity so different from the chaos and nothingness of despair. Have you ever had the brutal and amazing satisfaction of looking at yourself in the mirror after countless sleepless nights? Have you suffered the torment of insomnia, when you count the minutes for nights on end, when you feel alone in this world, when your drama seems to be the most important in history and history ceases to have meaning, ceases to exist? When the most terrifying flames grow in you and your existence appears unique and and isolated in a world made only for the consumation of your agony?


fuse wrote:Cioran's tone is objective: The enthusiast's euphoria is due to the fact that he is unaware of the tragedy of knowledge. Why not say it? True knowledge is the most tenebrous darkness. He's saying that if you don't understand the tragedy of knowledge then you are ignorant.


Cioran's tone is subjunctive. Well, it is to me. And the unproblematic soul is often one that stays on the surface when the quest for knowledge revolves around a sense of self or around value judgments that come into conflict. At least that has been my own experience in discussing this with the most rabid of enthusiasts. These are [to me] the folks who insist there really is a way to understand themselves and the world around them by embracing one or another God or one or another philosophy or one or another moral and political dogma or one or another meaning of life.
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Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:05 pm

duplicate post
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

Thomas Hardy


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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby finishedman » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:28 am

iambiguous wrote: … the more they probed the more fractured and fragmented their knowledge of "reality" became.

The basic questions concerning ourselves or reality, if that's what you call it, and, we may add, questions about the meaning of life, are the self. And these questions try to maintain themselves as the self. And, moreover, they do not allow for any complete answer, for the answer would put an end to the questioner which equates to placing the continuity of the self in jeopardy. In fact, the same thought process which created the original separation between the thinker and the world would endlessly keep asking further questions about whatever answer is given.

Anyway, there cannot be any `experience' of unity or union with reality and constant attempts to do so is the crux of the frustration of fragmentation and separation. A claim to any experience presupposes not only an awareness of the experience as an object, but also a recognition of it as an experience. And these conditions are enough to destroy any possibility of there being a unity, let alone an experience of unity, because any recognition implies a duality or division between the subject and the object. How can there be an experience of unity where there is a subject left out of the object of experience?

When the self is not occupied with its continuity through the constant utilization of thought, there is no separation from a ‘reality.’ Without thought there, there is no concern whether reality is there or not. Life goes on in accordance with whatever reality is being encountered at the moment. It’s just when past experiences are extracted from memory, brought forth into consciousness and compared with the present, a separation occurs between the thinking self and the world. This creates an illusion in that what is presently the case is not the case in the mind. The thought of a different reality resulting from a past pleasurable experience being brought into the mind has destroyed the possibility of coming to terms with the reality of the world exactly the way it is. Anything that avoids the world as it is now is denying the only reality there is.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:03 pm

finishedman wrote:When the self is not occupied with its continuity through the constant utilization of thought, there is no separation from a ‘reality.’ Without thought there, there is no concern whether reality is there or not. Life goes on in accordance with whatever reality is being encountered at the moment...


And this, in my view, is why Gods are invented---whether consciously or subconsciously. Many manage to convince themselves [or are indoctrinated as children to believe] there is a point of view that is always occupied continually with reality. The real reality. The reality of Commandments and Sins. And, in believing in God, they are tuned in to this reality. Then, when face with the complexity of human interactions that beget conflict, they need but ask themselves, "what would ______ do?"

Secularists then substitute Reason for God. But, psychologically, it's basically the same defense mechanism. Minus eternal Salvation of course. Which is why religion will almost certainly never go away. You can't beat immortality as an incentive to join, right?
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

Thomas Hardy


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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:24 pm

Emile Cioran from On the Heights of Despair:

My soul is chaos, how can it be at all? There is everything in me: search and you will find out. I am a fossil dating from the beginning of the world: not all of its elements have completely cystalized, and initial chaos still shows through. I am absolute contradiction, climax of antinomies, the last limit of tension; in me anything is possible, for I am he who at the supreme moment, in front of absolute nothingness, will laugh.

Perhaps. Or perhaps he will cry out in terror and despair. Or whimper. Or scoff. Or go about the business of living his life indifferent to all that is not somethingness, instead.

It is never a question, however, of whether any particular reaction from any particular man in any particular circumstantial context is more or less authentic or appropriate. After all, underlying all such reactions is the essential [and, perhaps, ontologically incomprehensible] chaos of human existence.

You will read Cioran's words and "own" a reaction to them from within an incalcuable, ineluctable constellation of idiosyncratic variables that may or may not resonate for others.

In other words, realistically we react to the world around us not from a rational philosophical vantage point so much as from within an ever swirling kaleidoscopic jumble of subjunctive moods.

And what is a mood but a mental state that combines the biological parameters of human evolution with the reasoning mind within the ebb and flow of emotional and psychological states; all embedded, in turn, in the ebb and flow of a particular existential trajectory enscounced in the ebb and flow of enormously complex circumstantial contexts. All of which evolve and change over time until the ebb and flow ends abruptly [and for all time] in oblivion.

So: how are we to penetrate the inherent [and largely immanent] ambiguity and caprice of human imagination, intuition, and subjectivity with logic and epistemology? I would suspect we will never be able to. And why would we even want to? If we explain everything then everything becomes predictable. And if everything becomes predictable then is not human freedom exposed as an illusion?

Along a more conventional philosophical route, Simon Critchley considers this antinomy in his Oxford VSI series book Continental Philosophy. In particular, Chapter 7, "Scientism versus Obscurantism".

After previously discussing the manner in which both Rudolf Carnap [and the analytic philosophers] and Martin Heidegger [and the phenomenologists] saw each other's point of view as reflections of metaphysical gibberish, he then explores the relationship between science and philosophy and alienation:

From a Continental perspective, the adoption of scientism in philosophy fails to grasp the critical and emancipatory function of philosophy: that is, it fails to see the possible complicity between a scientific conception of the world and what Nietzsche saw as nihilism. It fails fundamentally to see the role that science and technology play in the alienation of human beings from the world. This alienation can happen in a number of ways, whether through turning the world into a causally determined realm of objects that stand against the isolated human subject, or through turning those objects into empty commodities that can be surveyed or traded with indifference.

The good news, however, is that until scientists can unravel the extrordinary mystery that emanates up from out of human minds [and moods], I doubt we have much to fear from them. As long as philosophers acknowledge that human phenomenal interaction is not on par with, say, the interaction of celestial bodies, our freedom will remain more or less intact---embodied [and embedded] in an alienation of a completely different sort.

On the other hand, others argue this alienation is not really any less disquieting, discomfitting, disconcerting and/or despairing than the doom and gloom generally associated with nihilism.

The lesser of two predicaments, perhaps?

Probably. But the alienation that seems inherent in nihilism at least embraces human consciousness as subject [groping about for meaning from the cradle to the grave] rather than object [classified, tagged and then put on the shelf].

In other words, which rendition is the least alienating?

Too close to call, no doubt. And always reflecting the profoundly problematic proclivities of dasein.
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby fuse » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:31 am

Cioran wrote:My soul is chaos, how can it be at all? There is everything in me: search and you will find out. I am a fossil dating from the beginning of the world: not all of its elements have completely cystalized, and initial chaos still shows through. I am absolute contradiction, climax of antinomies, the last limit of tension; in me anything is possible, for I am he who at the supreme moment, in front of absolute nothingness, will laugh.

He sounds kinda dramatic and unstable here. But I guess that's not out of place in a text On the Heights of Despair.

Hard to tell what, if anything, he's trying to get at.

iambiguous wrote:It is never a question, however, of whether any particular reaction from any particular man in any particular circumstantial context is more or less authentic or appropriate. After all, underlying all such reactions is the essential [and, perhaps, ontologically incomprehensible] chaos of human existence.

You will read Cioran's words and "own" a reaction to them from within an incalcuable, ineluctable constellation of idiosyncratic variables that may or may not resonate for others.

In other words, realistically we react to the world around us not from a rational philosophical vantage point so much as from within an ever swirling kaleidoscopic jumble of subjunctive moods.

Good stuff, iam. I follow you. However, it appears to me that some "reactions" are more than mere reactions. We do have the capacity to reflect, plan, and then (re)act.

Likewise, it's possible to make a distinction between feelings and emotions, setting aside the word feelings on the one hand to mean those purely spontaneous and involuntary impulses/attitudes we have and the word emotions on the other to mean the way we respond to and carry our feelings. Or something like that. All this to say- I do believe there is a sensical way to observe and measure authenticity and personal responsibility.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:26 am

fuse wrote:
Cioran wrote:My soul is chaos, how can it be at all? There is everything in me: search and you will find out. I am a fossil dating from the beginning of the world: not all of its elements have completely cystalized, and initial chaos still shows through. I am absolute contradiction, climax of antinomies, the last limit of tension; in me anything is possible, for I am he who at the supreme moment, in front of absolute nothingness, will laugh.

He sounds kinda dramatic and unstable here. But I guess that's not out of place in a text On the Heights of Despair.

Hard to tell what, if anything, he's trying to get at.


Cioran was a subjunctivist. He understood the extent to which some aspects of human interaction can never really be gotten to. They can only be endured in a jumble of mental, emotional and psychological reactions rooted in a clearly [at times] precarious world of ambiguity and uncertainty.

Thus:

You will read Cioran's words and "own" a reaction to them from within a...constellation of idiosyncratic variables that may or may not resonate for others.

fuse wrote:...it appears to me that some "reactions" are more than mere reactions. We do have the capacity to reflect, plan, and then (re)act.


This is true. And what we do here [in a philosophy venue] is to deliberate -- as rationally as we are able -- on the extent to which being reasonable rather than rash is applicable in any particular set of circumstances.

I'm all for embracing an intelligent approach to human interaction. But what are the limits of intellect when points of view clash?
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

Thomas Hardy


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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:35 pm

James Edwards, The Plain Sense of Things:

When the call of conscience comes, provoked by whatever event of conflict or breakdown in one's ordinary identity, one must in some way or other own up to oneself; that is own up to those constitutive social practives into which one has been 'thrown' by one's history....There are two major ways in which 'owning' of oneself can occur. The first is what Heidegger calls 'inauthenticity'. The inauthentic response is one that claims some sort of metaphysical warrant for identifying oneself with some particular set of one's constituitive social practices....

The alternative response...is what Heidegger calls 'authenticity'. Here too Dasein recognizes its 'lostness in they' into which it has been thrown, but in this case it does not respond to its 'falling' by concealing....the contingency of its thrownness. Nor is authenticity any.....attempt to escape from that contingency. Authentic Dasein is still and always the 'they-self'.


The existential hero, in other words. Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the mountain along with all the rest of us...but pausing from time to time to [after it rolls back down] to acknowledge [in a self- congratulatory manner] that, unlike the others, he is aware of the essential futility of it all...but it is that awareness itself that makes him heroic as he starts in on rolling the damn thing up again.

It's just one more academic pea under one more academic shell to me. It's Sartre's "being a useless passion and knowing it or being a useless passion and not knowing it". And then slapping a badge that says AUTHENTIC to your shirt if you are one of the few "courageous" enough to go on despite the brute, naked facticity of all human interactions in a godless universe that ends for each of us one by one in eternal nothingness.

Where, in fact, Martin is deeply enscounced right now on his way back to being "star stuff". Where, in all due time, we will be ourselves.

In my view, it is basically a con game. Both intellectual and psychological. It's a way to reconfigure the absurdity of human existence into something other than what it is: ultimately meaningless and ultimately absurd. And the supreme irony regarding Heideigger is where he "chose" to embed his own "authenticity": In the Third Reich! Ah, but at least he contemplated "I" and "they" profoundly and prodigously. If you are going to embrace authenticity why not go all the way and write A Philosophy about it!!

What is human conscience? It is rooted [like so much else] in our biological and psychological predispositons [as a species]. Then depending on your own particular ethnological parameters [and the staggering importance of childhood acculturation] nurture molds it into any number of infinite permutations. It revolves by and large around some manifestation of the Golden Rule. And, most important of all: around political economy [power]. The historical evolution of political economy is, in fact, a 100 times more important than philosophy in reconfiguring it from decade to decade to decade.

In my view, the world is wallowing in human suffering precisely because we still insist on talking about human relationships as though Authentic and Inauthentic behavior wasn't just philosophical/religous bullshit. Only when philosophers finally come to acknowledge the role of philosophy is less figuring out how to bring us all together and more in figuring out how, instead, to keep us from becoming ever more fragmented, will it be more than just the scholastic endeavor that [in my own opinion] it is: Ontic...or ontological? Being...or becoming? for-itself....or in-itself? empirical....or rational? phenomona...or noumena?

Problematic...or unproblematic.

Always, it seems, either either or or.
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:49 pm

Emil Cioran:

In the fact of being born there is such an absense of necessity that, when you think about it a little more than usual, you are left -- ignorant of how to react -- with a foolish grin.

You've seen them on National Geographic or on Nature: the colonies!

The camera takes you inside the termite nest. Literally millions of tiny bugs going about the business of, well, going about the business of....

Period. Existence qua existence. Everything reduced down to merely sustaining life from day to day.

Imagine then an entity able to peer down onto and into any given human colony. The first thing they might note, of course, is how we strive to point out, in turn, the profound difference between a termite colony and, say, the folks going about the business "of" in, say, New York City. True enough.

I suspect however that once the novelty of the complexity wore off, the observer might, instead, begin to note the parallels so much more clearly than we do.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:25 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how, given human history to date and the manner in which the daily newsmedia horrifically reveal the apoplectic world we live in still, the more unproblematic souls continue to speculate [philosophically] as to whether members of our species come into the world "innately good or bad".

Especially given the fact that so much human suffering is caused precisely by folks hell bent on molding all the bad people into reasonable facsimiles of themselves----the good people.

Or, to put it another way, what is almost always overlooked by those of the rationalist persuasion is the deeply profound and mysterious relationship between, say, the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia in the human brain.

Indeed, the MIT "news office" web site speculates about it as follows:

Our brains have evolved a fast, reliable way to learn rules such as "stop at red" and "go at green." Dogma has it that the "big boss" lobes of the cerebral cortex, responsible for daily and long-term decision-making, learn the rules first and then transfer the knowledge to the more primitive, large forebrain region known as the basal ganglia, buried under the cortex.

Although both regions are known to be involved in learning rules that become automatic enough for us to follow without much thought, no one had ever determined each one's specific role.


And:

....researchers speculate that perhaps the faster learning in the basal ganglia allows us (and our primitive ancestors who lacked a prefrontal cortex) to quickly pick up important information needed for survival. The prefrontal cortex then monitors what the basal ganglia have learned. Its slower, more deliberate learning mechanisms allow it to gather a more judicious 'big picture' of what is going on by taking into account more history and thereby exert executive control over behavior.....

Ah, but the catch here of course is that historically, culturally and experientially there have always been any number of conflicting and contradictory environmental contexts out of which this astondingly complex interaction might occur.

And that in my view is where rationalization comes in. Virtually any human behavior can be rationalized.

If, for example, the Koran says it is wrong for Islamic jihadists to kill innocent men, women and children, the ones who, say, lob missles into Israel justify what they do by pointing out that every Israeli citizen is required to perform military duty.

So no one is really innocent, right?

Same with the infidels in the World Trade Center. They worked in a building construed by Al Queda types to be the belly of the Crusader beast. And, given the nature of the global economy, that's not altogether irrational, is it?

But the key point ultimately revolves around survival. The world has to be chopped up so that those who have the power to prosper have a better chance at making sure their progeny are able to follow in their footsteps. And that power takes many forms. But they can't actually come out and admit that, of course. Especially not to themselves. Instead, they invaribly employ folks like ideologues, imams, priests and neo-conservative political philosophers who sagaciously spin out these lofty narratives in order to make it all seem so axiomatically lofty.

That is where the more problematic souls come in: to expose this.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:33 pm

From Lipstick Taces by Greil Marcus:

The shock of punk is no longer in its thuggery, misogny, racism, homophobia, its yearning for the final solutions to questions it barely asked, in negation's empowerment of every fraud and swindle. 'The punk stance,' Lester Bangs wrote in 1979, 'is riddled with self-hate, which is always reflexive, and anytime you conclude that life stinks and the human race mostly amounts to a pile of shit, you've got the perfect breeding ground for fascism.'

On the other hand:

Today so many years later, the shock of punk is that every good punk record can still sound like the greatest thing you've ever heard. 'A Boring Life,' 'One Chord Wonders,' X-ray Spec's 'Oh Bondage, Up yours!,' the Sex Pistol singles, the Clash's 'Complete Control,'----the power in these bits of plastic, the tension between the desire that fuels them and the fatalism waiting to block each beat, the laughter and surprise in the voices, the confidence of the music, all these things are shocking now because, in its two or three minutes, each is absolute. You can't place one record above the other, not while you're listening; each one is the end of the world, the creation of the world, complete in itself.

And:

The punks who made records in 1977 didn't know what chords came next---and they hurled themselves at social facts. The sense that a social fact could be addressed by a broken chord produced music that changed one's sense of what music could be, and thus changed one's sense of the social fact: it could be destroyed.


In fact, doesn't much of our day to day interaction revolve around trying to come up with the existential equivalent of which chords come next? Aren't we always confronted with that next descision: what ought I to think and feel and do...here and now?

Punk perhaps might be thought of as but one more reaction to what happens when it begins to dawn on someone there really is no way [deontologically] to resolve that. It's not necessarily the right way or the wrong way to react. It's simply a particular reaction that makes sense from a particular point of view ensconced in a particular circumstantial swirl.

In other words, as a reaction to life it is really as legitimate as any other; as, for example, yours and mine.

Still, it is always fascinating how music can dissolve the fragmented chaos of human existence and distill it down ["in its two or three minutes"] to an absolute sense of reality. That this is no less true of punk is particularly ironic. Here you have the Johnny Rottens snarling that "life stinks and the human race mostly amounts to a pile of shit" and all the while embracing this no less passionaitely -- as an anthem -- than others might embrace pop culture or celebrity or consumption or God or socialism or the American dream. Or, admittedly, fascism.

On the other hand, Zbigniew Brezinski, that quintessential purveyor of the American Dream, once snarled himself at those who revel in chaos and negation. He called them, "the death rattle of the historical irrelevants."

But then Brezinski will soon be historically [ontologically?] irrelevant himself, right? He'll be dead. In fact, in a few hundred years it will almost be as though he had never been born at all.

And no less so than, say, Johnny Rotten.

Perhaps the two of them might then consider sitting down together to discuss the meaning of that. They can, among other things, connect the dots between Malcolm McLaren and the war in Vietnam. Who knows, they may actually succeed in discovering that which Heidgegger, Kant, Descartes, Plato and so many other philosophers utterly failed to grasp: the nature of Being itself.

The actual unproblematic thing-in-itself Being.

In other words, I'm guessing, something analogous to nihilism.
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:11 am

From The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

Since every step I took in life brought me into horrifying contact with the New, and since every new person I met was a new living fragment of the unknown that I placed on my desk for my frightful daily meditation, I decided to abstain from everything, to go forward to nothing, to reduce action to a minimum, to make it hard for people and events to find me, to prefer the art of abstinence, and to take abdication to unprecedented heights. That's how badly life terrifies and tortures me.

Sort of reminds one of Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener. But then that was, "the story of Wall Street".

How does one react to this point of view? Can it be construed as a reasonable philosophy of life? Or is it more reflective of a psychologism?...a subjunctive mood? Perhaps a neurosis?

A pathology?

Could you imagine yourself thinking thoughts like this? Does it make sense to think like this? Is it the wrong way to view one's existence?

Think of it, perhaps, like this: it is less a matter of whether this describes you and more a matter of how, given the right set of circumstances, this is how you may well describe yourself some day. And, if and when you do, reflecting on it will almost certainly be among the last things you would do. What's the point?

And yet Pessoa has, in fact, chosen not to abstain from reflection...from writing this down.

He still clings to that, right?
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:19 pm

Emile Cioran from On the Heights of Despair:

I witness pain, old age and death, and I know that they cannot be overcome; but why should I spoil another's enjoyment with my knowledge? Suffering and the consciousness of its inescapabilty lead to renunciation; yet nothing would induce me, not even if I were to become a leper, to condemn another's joy. There is much envy in every act of condemnation.

This is not necessarily a philosophy of life, of course. It is, perhaps, more a mere conjecture, a psychological snapshot, a story that might one day become a philosophy of life given the right [wrong] set of circumstances.

It all depends on just how wide the gap is between what you endure and what you imagine another doesn't. And, as with most things, you may eventually reach a point where you change your mind.

I ought to know. I have changed my own lots of times.

And doesn't it invariably come down to what you imagine another is feeling joyful about? If, say, it revolves precisely around what is making you feel miserable the envy can easily transfigure into rage. Then all bets are off.

Yet Cioran seems intent here to focus the beam on what we know. As though he is willing to spare others his nihilisitic bent...a philosophy of life that might desecreate or obviate their joy. Or their illusions. Perhaps however he was not aware that, regarding the overwhelming preponderance of men and women you will ever meet, nothing we can know philosophically could be more irrelevant to either sadness or joy.

Or, instead, was that his point?

In any event, it makes you wonder: are they the lucky ones?
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Moreno » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:22 pm

iambiguous wrote:And it is not a question here of whether Cioran's speculations are rational. Who knows, right? They certainly appear to be rational to him. And to me. Instead, it is more a question of whether or not the unproblematic souls can demonstrate this point of view is irrational; that, say, it is not a perspective a reasonable man or woman would accept.
Would or could? Would implies causation. A reasonable person coming in contact with this perspective would accept it. This means to have another perspective is to be unreasonable, or? Could is not a problem for me. Of course confusion, doubt and ambivalance are natural responses to our situation. I no longer think that prioritizing such states is good, nor to I see at root those who do managing to evade absolute committment via acts and interactions to a specific lifestyle.

My own admiration for the unproblematic soul stems more from the awe I feel towards someone who -- in this world -- is actually able to sustain the illusion that there is, indeed, a way to keep the pieces from becoming even more fractured and fragmented than they already are.
Would it be indelicate to point out that saying it is an illusion like this is making an ontological claim without qualitification? I'll leave it to others to decide if I have been unfair.

Of course, I notice you did not say - they are deluded. But then you found a way to say this, or I am missing something?

Does the eye tend to stray towards examples of that reinforce the idea that not having problems is a dead end?

How do they do that?
Do you want to end fragmentation or do you see fragmentation as part of the least pernicious solution?
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:14 pm

Moreno wrote:
iambiguous wrote:And it is not a question here of whether Cioran's speculations are rational. Who knows, right? They certainly appear to be rational to him. And to me. Instead, it is more a question of whether or not the unproblematic souls can demonstrate this point of view is irrational; that, say, it is not a perspective a reasonable man or woman would accept.
Would or could? Would implies causation. A reasonable person coming in contact with this perspective would accept it. This means to have another perspective is to be unreasonable, or? Could is not a problem for me. Of course confusion, doubt and ambivalance are natural responses to our situation. I no longer think that prioritizing such states is good, nor to I see at root those who do managing to evade absolute committment via acts and interactions to a specific lifestyle.


They would not accept it because in their own minds no rational man or woman can accept it.

Where things become problematic however is in devising an argument "out in the world" that would in fact demonstrate how a rational mind must reject it.

This is where we all draw the line -- in different places as dasein -- between what is true for all and what is not. The "unproblematic souls" simply include many, many more relationships in the either/or category than do the "problematic souls".

These relationships are then integrated into a whole truth by way of God or by way of Reason.

My own admiration for the unproblematic soul stems more from the awe I feel towards someone who -- in this world -- is actually able to sustain the illusion that there is, indeed, a way to keep the pieces from becoming even more fractured and fragmented than they already are.


Moreno wrote:Would it be indelicate to point out that saying it is an illusion like this is making an ontological claim without qualitification? I'll leave it to others to decide if I have been unfair.


Yes, you are right. But I have noted this connundrum many times before. And it revolves around the gap between certain words and the world we live in. 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?

Instead, it is just my opinion [as dasein] that the unproblematic soul's point of view is an illusion. If you accept my premises regarding what can or cannot be construed in an unproblematic manner then you will agree with me. But I do not mean to convey that my premises are necessarily more rational. In fact, my point is just the opposite: to suggest these things may never be wholly known objectively.

Moreno wrote:Of course, I notice you did not say - they are deluded. But then you found a way to say this, or I am missing something?


In existential terms, one might say they are living their lives in an "inauthentic" manner. In other words, they are objectifying relationships that can only be understood and expressed as points of view. But in suggesting this I can then be charged with objectification myself, right?

Again, the ambiguity here revolves around Wittgenstein's intimation that there are things we can and cannot encompass wholly in language. Then we argue about what is and what is not problematic. I just insist these arguments be taken out into the world. And that, when they are, I find human relationships are considerably more problematic with respect to value judgments and identity.

Moreno wrote:Do you want to end fragmentation or do you see fragmentation as part of the least pernicious solution?


What in the world does this mean though? "Fragmentation" and "least pernicious solutions" regarding what?

Let's bring it down to earth and discuss it.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Ben JS » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:17 am

How do they do that?

The enthusiast's euphoria is due to the fact that he is unaware of the tragedy of knowledge.


OR

The enthusiast may decide that the experience of Life is rewarding enough to overcome the despair. The enthusiast may conclude that objectivity is irrelevant, for when we die, there is nothing to hold us to account. So whilst the enthusiast will be confronted with despair, they will be soothed by their choices and understandings.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Moreno » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:07 pm

Iam, pardon my rather snotty first post in this thread. I was posting quickly, and, well, sometimes, perhaps even often I am snotty. Let's see if I can make some headway in explaining my reactions to your stance, so at least we have a better place to agree to disagree.
iambiguous wrote:Yes, you are right. But I have noted this connundrum many times before. And it revolves around the gap between certain words and the world we live in. 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?
Let me use an extreme example: rape. And to be clear: I am not suggesting that your position is remotely immoral in the ways I think rape is.

How can I demonstrate that I am against rape when I have just raped a woman? or perhaps more clearly, via the act of raping a woman?

Well, you can't.

So on one level, I react to your position as cake and eat it too. IOW you allow yourself to react to other people's positions - for example MO's - in a series of acts, acts that include unqualified statements about 'the ways things are' and acts that are designed to point of the wrongness of his ideas. At other points in time, you make disclaimers about the absoluteness of your position - and even these are implicitly presented as part of what makes your position better. So two things in this last bit. The occasional meta-positional disclaimer is part of the position and part of what supposedly makes it better than other positions that do not have this disclaimer. This being problematic since the meta-position is being used in the same kinds of power dynamics it supposedly is seeking to avoid, or perhaps better put concern you elsewhere and which you see as problematic. Then, to me, occasional disclaimers do not change the interpersonal acts they refer to. Hence my cake and eat it too assessment.

Another way to look at this would be to say: if you spoke about your position less and spoke not at all about the positions of others, you could like LIVE your position with consistency. You could be an example of it, perhaps.

But once you enter debate, implicitly and explicitly compare and contrast your position with others, you end up in, I think, hypocrisy. And in precisely the same dynamics you are trying to avoid through the position you have.

Again, using a harsh example, where the behavior is immoral to highlight my point...

You can't hit women regularly, and then occasionally say that you really didn't mean to and that hitting women is wrong, and via this disclaimer manage to extricated yourself from the acts of hitting along the way. It is fair, I think, to say that that person has not really worked through their own relationship to hitting woman and their own philosophical position on the issue.

There are no qualified acts. If were think of your position as transcendent, which I think it is an attempt on your part to be, it may give the illusion that your statements of position and belief are not unqualified and not absolute like the communicative acts of others are or intend to be. But the acts are in the world, they are not transcendent.

So to reword: I think the appeal of presenting your position in abstract terms, rather than living it via non-verbal acts and non-philosophical communication, and the appeal of debating the merits of this position and the problems of other positions
needs to be looked at.

This may be frustrating or seem unfair - why can't I put forward my position? - but I think continuing is hypocritical. Does this matter? Aren't most positions doomed to hypocrisy given the nature of language, etc? Sure, they are, I think. But, the nugget of truth that I agree with in what you are saying is immediately erased, I think, by fitting your specific position into the old debate discuss compare format of abstract argument and discussion.

Obviously you have the right to present your ideas. I suppose my challenge comes down to 'why do you have to talk and write about this?' Why is it a given that you must do this? (as implied by the question you asked above) Doesn't your particular philosophical position in fact demand a more silent approach? Where speech and writing acts are only in situ, in specific cases, out there in the world, where you explain what is going on, perhaps, or otherwise interject a meta-position in hopefully graceful communicative acts where, I would guess, two other parties are at loggerheads. To me, here, the position could shine, not really as a position, even, but a process, an interactive mediation.

But in a debate discussion, abstract situ, I think it is doomed to inevitable problems.

In existential terms, one might say they are living their lives in an "inauthentic" manner. In other words, they are objectifying relationships that can only be understood and expressed as points of view. But in suggesting this I can then be charged with objectification myself, right?
Yes, in suggesting it. So can you live your position without suggesting it?

Moreno wrote:Do you want to end fragmentation or do you see fragmentation as part of the least pernicious solution?

What in the world does this mean though? "Fragmentation" and "least pernicious solutions" regarding what?
I think I was using your term, fragmentation. It seemed like you were saying that fragmentation was an inevitable reaction to things as they are, perhaps even the most rational reaction. What did you mean by the term? Have I reacted to what you meant?

Let's bring it down to earth and discuss it.
Let's see if we can get a sense of 'fragmentation' and then I can put this in a specific context.

Here, however, is a concrete example of what I am suggesting in general above.

http://www.amazon.com/Where-Rivers-Meet ... 9839054511

deals with a white man who goes to Alaska as part of Vista to help native communities there. Over time he stops using all the advocacy and pedagogical methods he has been taught and uses instead films of Eskimos and government officials instead.

He offers natives the option of being filmed, where they choose, doing what they choose, discussing whatever problem they want to focus on. Those filmed get to edit the films and then also choose to whom the films are sent - after getting information from the author, if they choose, about various government officials roles, etc. The films are generally also shown to the community and other native communities and after consensus grouped with other films of natives and these are sent to state officials. The state officials view the films and then are given the same exact opportunity to make and edit a film presenting their point of view. These are then shown to the natives. As it turns out decades of loggerhead situations are replaced by very rapid social change.

The writer did not lecture each side on Dasein, cultural assumptions, that there is no meaning, etc. These ideas are all bracketed off. Perhaps there are objective truths, objective morals, but no decision or statement of position need be made, in fact such a position taking would add a third culture to the mix.

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.

He doesn't really have to take a philosophical stand on the truth value of his own position and he certainly doesn't have to say it. He can just say: they did this, I did this and that stuff did not work. I did this new thing and it worked.

Someone with a less problematic soul, in the sense of this thread, here at the forums, could perhaps put forward their 'truths' and get away with it. Doing this, debating the merits, implicitly and explicitly arguing that other positions are wrong or worse, is NOT hypocritical for them. But for you, there is a problem, I think.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Ben JS » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:32 pm

iambiguous wrote: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?


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.
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:33 pm

Moreno wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Yes, you are right. But I have noted this connundrum many times before. And it revolves around the gap between certain words and the world we live in. 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?
Let me use an extreme example: rape. And to be clear: I am not suggesting that your position is remotely immoral in the ways I think rape is.

How can I demonstrate that I am against rape when I have just raped a woman? or perhaps more clearly, via the act of raping a woman?

Well, you can't.


In the here and in the now each of us as an individual thinks about rape in a particular way. And he or she may or may not act on it. But there is always the possibility that he or she will change their mind and think about it differently. This is the nature of dasein.

But 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? An argument that obviates "conflicting goods" and "selfish bastards" in a Godless world?

Well, to those who believe that there is I say, "okay, let's hear it".

Moreno wrote:So on one level, I react to your position as cake and eat it too. IOW you allow yourself to react to other people's positions - for example MO's - in a series of acts, acts that include unqualified statements about 'the ways things are' and acts that are designed to point of the wrongness of his ideas. At other points in time, you make disclaimers about the absoluteness of your position - and even these are implicitly presented as part of what makes your position better.


No, I make a distinction about language that is used out in the world.

We often speak of what we believe inflected as though to suggest others ought to believe it too. And we do this in part because there are things we believe to be true that we do believe all other rational folks must believe in turn. For example, "Mary had an abortion", when, in fact, Mary did have an abortion. Language is limited here only by reality.

But there is no solid-state reality to adhere to with respect to the belief that, "abortion is immoral". Language here is limited to expressing a point of view.

Now, some will argue that, in making this argument, I want my cake and to eat it too because I seem to be asserting this very point of view as something others must believe too. But I am not.

What am I suppose to do though, insert "in my own opinion" in front of every point I make about conflicting value judgments?

Moreno wrote:Again, using a harsh example, where the behavior is immoral to highlight my point...

You can't hit women regularly, and then occasionally say that you really didn't mean to and that hitting women is wrong, and via this disclaimer manage to extricated yourself from the acts of hitting along the way. It is fair, I think, to say that that person has not really worked through their own relationship to hitting woman and their own philosophical position on the issue.


Again, I'm not sure how this is an argument that exposes my "having and eating my cake" or my "hypocrisy".

Someone might hit a woman for any number of reasons. And, of course, one of those reasons can revolve around him being a selfish bastard who predicates all of his behaviors on self-gratification.

My argument then is the distinction that can be made between "John hit Mary" and "it is immoral to hit a woman". In the first instance John either did or did not hit Mary". In the second, it is only a point of view.

But in suggesting it is only a point of view that is in turn but a reflection of my own point of view. I readily concede I might be wrong if I come upon an argument that convinces me I am.

And, admittedly, even with regard to the seeming fact that "John hit Mary", I may have been duped into believing it when in fact it did not happen at all.

That's the world we live in.

Moreno wrote:So to reword: I think the appeal of presenting your position in abstract terms, rather than living it via non-verbal acts and non-philosophical communication, and the appeal of debating the merits of this position and the problems of other positions needs to be looked at.


Okay, but "in looking at it" let's make reference to something unfolding out in the world that we are all familiar with. It is, after all, abstractions that I try to avoid.

Moreno wrote:Obviously you have the right to present your ideas. I suppose my challenge comes down to 'why do you have to talk and write about this?' Why is it a given that you must do this? (as implied by the question you asked above) Doesn't your particular philosophical position in fact demand a more silent approach? Where speech and writing acts are only in situ, in specific cases, out there in the world, where you explain what is going on, perhaps, or otherwise interject a meta-position in hopefully graceful communicative acts where, I would guess, two other parties are at loggerheads. To me, here, the position could shine, not really as a position, even, but a process, an interactive mediation.

But in a debate discussion, abstract situ, I think it is doomed to inevitable problems.


Yes, this is my point. Well, to the extent that I understand your own considerably abstract one.

We are doomed from the start if we think we can resolve moral conflicts. We can, instead, only employ negociation and compromise to effectuate a legal, political contraption that is ever subject to contingency, chance and change.

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.

Mo seems to wiggle around this predicament by making a distinction between "objective" and "universal" morality.

But he has not been able to explain [to me] how that has any relevance "for all practical purpose" out in the world of actual human interactions---interactions that will inevitably come into conflict. The objectivity seems to reside in the unproblematic situations that are never, ever seen again.

In existential terms, one might say they are living their lives in an "inauthentic" manner. In other words, they are objectifying relationships that can only be understood and expressed as points of view. But in suggesting this I can then be charged with objectification myself, right?


Moreno wrote:Yes, in suggesting it. So can you live your position without suggesting it?


I think what bothers others [like Mo] is that I suggest it is applicable to them too. They state as true things I believe we can only suggest are true given our own assumptions.

But I can only suggest that something might be true if I have no way of demonstrating that it is.

Then I can only suggest further that empirical facts, the laws of physics, mathematics etc., are not really suggested to be truths at all but are shown to be truths that are replicated over and over and over and over again out in the world.

Moreno wrote:Here, however, is a concrete example of what I am suggesting in general above.

http://www.amazon.com/Where-Rivers-Meet ... 9839054511

deals with a white man who goes to Alaska as part of Vista to help native communities there. Over time he stops using all the advocacy and pedagogical methods he has been taught and uses instead films of Eskimos and government officials instead.

He offers natives the option of being filmed, where they choose, doing what they choose, discussing whatever problem they want to focus on. Those filmed get to edit the films and then also choose to whom the films are sent - after getting information from the author, if they choose, about various government officials roles, etc. The films are generally also shown to the community and other native communities and after consensus grouped with other films of natives and these are sent to state officials. The state officials view the films and then are given the same exact opportunity to make and edit a film presenting their point of view. These are then shown to the natives. As it turns out decades of loggerhead situations are replaced by very rapid social change.

The writer did not lecture each side on Dasein, cultural assumptions, that there is no meaning, etc. These ideas are all bracketed off. Perhaps there are objective truths, objective morals, but no decision or statement of position need be made, in fact such a position taking would add a third culture to the mix.


Dasein is understood in a very, very different way in political economies that largely revolve around pre-industrial subsistence and within a close knit "tribal" bond. If in fact that is the case here.

The bottom line remains the same though: given any particular behavior, there may or may not be differences of opinion regarding what is "the right thing to do" morally. And whether in an Alaskan native community or in New York City these values will revolve around dasein situated out in a particular world understood in a particular way.

My point is only that a democratic consensus is the best of all possible worlds.

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

Moreno wrote: Someone with a less problematic soul, in the sense of this thread, here at the forums, could perhaps put forward their 'truths' and get away with it. Doing this, debating the merits, implicitly and explicitly arguing that other positions are wrong or worse, is NOT hypocritical for them. But for you, there is a problem, I think.


They could "get away with it" only until they bumped into a moral value they did not share. Then the problem can go away only if they are willing to negociate a compromise. And then renegociate new ones over and again as new experiences, relationships and points of view unfold over time.

The hypocrisy comes into play when someone embraces moderation, negociation and compromise "in theory" but "in fact" insists that only his or her own actual values prevail.
Well, these sad and hopeless obstacles are welcome in one sense, for they enable us to look with indifference upon the cruel satires that Fate loves to indulge in.

Thomas Hardy


Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: the unproblematic soul

Postby Moreno » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:30 pm

Iam,
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.

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.

iambiguous wrote:In the here and in the now each of us as an individual thinks about rape in a particular way. And he or she may or may not act on it. But there is always the possibility that he or she will change their mind and think about it differently. This is the nature of dasein.

But 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? An argument that obviates "conflicting goods" and "selfish bastards" in a Godless world?

Well, to those who believe that there is I say, "okay, let's hear it".
This isn't relevent. The person in question is claiming to be against rape. It doesn't matter if rape is objectively wrong. One can still point out the hypocrisy.

I don't think you understood what I was doing there.
No, I make a distinction about language that is used out in the world.

We often speak of what we believe inflected as though to suggest others ought to believe it too. And we do this in part because there are things we believe to be true that we do believe all other rational folks must believe in turn. For example, "Mary had an abortion", when, in fact, Mary did have an abortion. Language is limited here only by reality.

But there is no solid-state reality to adhere to with respect to the belief that, "abortion is immoral". Language here is limited to expressing a point of view.

Now, some will argue that, in making this argument, I want my cake and to eat it too because I seem to be asserting this very point of view as something others must believe too. But I am not.

What am I suppose to do though, insert "in my own opinion" in front of every point I make about conflicting value judgments?
Of course. Absolutely. Though there are other options. You could DO what the man in the book I mentioned does or some other activity that comes out of what you believe, but does not set it up as a philosophical position while also critiquing the positions of others. Or you could avoid arguing that your position is better than others. I am not sure why you raised the is/ought issue here. It has nothing to do with what I was pointing out here.
Again, I'm not sure how this is an argument that exposes my "having and eating my cake" or my "hypocrisy".

Someone might hit a woman for any number of reasons. And, of course, one of those reasons can revolve around him being a selfish bastard who predicates all of his behaviors on self-gratification.

My argument then is the distinction that can be made between "John hit Mary" and "it is immoral to hit a woman". In the first instance John either did or did not hit Mary". In the second, it is only a point of view.

But in suggesting it is only a point of view that is in turn but a reflection of my own point of view. I readily concede I might be wrong if I come upon an argument that convinces me I am.

And, admittedly, even with regard to the seeming fact that "John hit Mary", I may have been duped into believing it when in fact it did not happen at all.

That's the world we live in.
You missed me here again. 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.

i don't need to demonstrate that it is objectively wrong to do any of this. I need only point out that YOU have said it is wrong and then gone ahead and done it.

Yes, this is my point. Well, to the extent that I understand your own considerably abstract one.

We are doomed from the start if we think we can resolve moral conflicts. We can, instead, only employ negociation and compromise to effectuate a legal, political contraption that is ever subject to contingency, chance and change.

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.
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.

Moreno wrote:Yes, in suggesting it. So can you live your position without suggesting it?


I think what bothers others [like Mo] is that I suggest it is applicable to them too. They state as true things I believe we can only suggest are true given our own assumptions.

But I can only suggest that something might be true if I have no way of demonstrating that it is.

Then I can only suggest further that empirical facts, the laws of physics, mathematics etc., are not really suggested to be truths at all but are shown to be truths that are replicated over and over and over and over again out in the world.
My point was not that suggesting was too mild, but going too far, given your position.

(I don't think your position, looked at as communicative acts, is less absolute, but that is a separate issue)

Dasein is understood in a very, very different way in political economies that largely revolve around pre-industrial subsistence and within a close knit "tribal" bond. If in fact that is the case here.

The bottom line remains the same though: given any particular behavior, there may or may not be differences of opinion regarding what is "the right thing to do" morally. And whether in an Alaskan native community or in New York City these values will revolve around dasein situated out in a particular world understood in a particular way.

My point is only that a democratic consensus is the best of all possible worlds.
You missed the point. Here was someone acting in ways that I think fit with your philosophy, without suggesting what is true, without mentioning cultures, or compromise, or the problems of deontological positions. They did not become a third culture, lecturing the other two cultures about the possible shortcomings of having this or that moral certainty.

What I see as problematic in what you are doing by communicating your position here, he avoided and was extremely effective in dealing with cultures at cross purposes. And he never presumed there had to be some sort of compromise. He never pointed out 'the problems with their positions'. He never asked to have it demonstrated what the shortcomings of his position might be.

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?
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.

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 am suggesting it makes sense to act from your position, but to come and argue its merits and the problems with other positions - even if qualified - is problematic.

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


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

For you, however, given your position, it is hypocritical.

(as an aside, your position also it bumps into a position it disagrees with)

Further, a deontologist or an objective moralist can also compromise. They can see this as a practical solution. Many do this. In fact most compromises are between people who believe their own moral positions are correct.


Then the problem can go away only if they are willing to negociate a compromise.
This is a one trick pony heuristic. 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.

You completely misplaced all my arguments and saw them as some other arguments. This could have been my failure to communicate clearly, but it really felt like you expect certain kinds of objections and when faced with ones you did not expect, you see the ones you did. Please see if you can see if the post you respond to here might have been saying something rather different, using this post as an aid.
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