Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by sebsebseb123, Mar 4, 2003.
what does it mean to be an existentialist?
how does it apply to social justice?
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I fart therefore I exist.
Also because I ate beans and onions yesterday I have became in an entangled quantum state with the sun, because these vegetables have grown from solar photons, so everytime I fart, I cause solar flares muhahahah
Individuality and anxiety...
... to summarize it in two words. Everything is subjective. Objectivity is invalid. No objective morality, no ideals. The essence of being human is free will, and each individual bears total responsibility for their choices. (And as the Grateful Dead put it, "If you decide not to choose, you still have made a choice," straight out of Kierkegaard. Philosophers of every stripe love the Dead.) This responsibility is awesome. Since it's so difficult to know whether one has made the right choice, when there are no standards, when everyone must find their own path, when everyone's perspective on the universe may be valid or not, the end result of an existentialist philosophy is anxiety, or angst as it is usually put in German, or outright dread.
As for justice, existentialism focuses on the individual. I don't see anything about governments and police and armies and trials in it. I suspect everyone has to decide how to deal with a person who wronged them, and then lie awake nights wondering if they made the right decision.
You can see why existentialism only caught on during the 20th Century.
Do a Google search. Reading about existentialists will make you happy just because you're not one!
sounds like someone's looking for the easy way out of writing a school report....
...or perhaps not, but it still seems like an odd, open-ended question that someone who truly was an existentialist wouldnt ask (bc they knew what it was already), or if they did ask (in order to glean some sort of general consensus about the nature of a multi-faceted philosophy) would put it in philosophy forums.
In my opinion the best way to get an idea of what existentialism means without doing a lot of reading is to read Sartre's essay, The Humanism of Existentialism. It may be online somewhere, if not I'm sure its not hard to find.
Its intentionally written for the general public and is much more accessible than his other writing.
This should be in the philosophy forum.
Existentialism is about defying the traditional philisophical views of Descartes and Hume. One comes to realize in existentialism that our existence does not depend on teh cliche term "I think therefore I am". Our existence cannot be based on logic, or consciousness.
Existentialism is about emotion and faith (of different kinds). Existentialism is about self.
I cannot even begin to explain existentialism except to tell you to go out and find your own existence.
Dread, anxiety, and anxst are not the end results of existentialist philosophies. They are merely motivating factors that one must come to terms with before they can act in life. Existentialism is about acting not thinking. Realizing that you are in despair and accepting the fact. Its about exceptance that you have no real control over the external, and control over the internal.
You sound like a man who knows whereof you speak. To me it seems like a philosophy for depressed people who don't want to get better!
Everyone despairs to varying degrees over varying subjects. People who deny that they are in despair are in despair over their denial of the deception of their self existence.
Realizing you are depressed and in denial is the obly way to act to overcome it. One is never out of despair. One only acts out of despair to forever try to achieve all that they can and live life to the fullest.
May I join? I hope I can and not worry about your seeing that i shake when the subject is pseuodoscience. And I'll try and keep an eye on the spelling. Promise.
I said pseudosciene because that's what is- quite frankly, pseudoscience; yet another case of Dr. Killjoy political scientist with nothing but a fancy degree and time on his hands. It is Plato, Diogenes (sp?), the Stoic and the Cynic school and a merry more the bearded sage in a toga regurgitated in pretty modern print. They of course, the Greeks and hellenists, though they talked too much , were the wise ones. They were the first. It was honest work in those times because in those days man really DID yearn to rip through the surface and divine hidden treasures, when he used to dream of the moon and the seabed. The existentialist movement of the 70's, however, was merely tossed salad. The concepts that were striking, honest, simple, and beautiful in those yesterdays had been left to the modern man where he's chewed and rechewed it, privatized it like a bittered miser to beat it down and build back up again what with the same exact pieces rearranged he'll call his revolutionary ideology. What's left is a pointless paradox. Sorry for my going on about this but you see, there were not many people around these quarters that would care to hear how angry the social sciences were making me, specifically the modernists and their constructivist science like Sartre, because you can't possibly expect to have a decent chat with a chap that's not only a tax payer and quite tired all the time but spends whatever time he's got free come Sunday nesting on church pews. And I'm actually quite grateful for you to have asked the question.
In whatever form this may help, I invite you to read a book by the late Adams- Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where you'll find in a nutshell the existantialist mascot- an elevator.
It's funny, witty, to the point and more importantly, you won't have to waddle through the usual hogwash of big words and coined terms that mooch on the modernist's work like ticks.
attn: JSP 311
......and for having actually prescribed Sartre on someone (for shame!), may your tounge curdle to pork rind.
(sorry....but the man is anathema to the layman, man. I would have filled up his lungs and shot out his eye myself.)
Charming, seductive philosophy indeed!
Yeah, ok, sometimes. If you have a normal run of luck, not too often, and only very rarely over subjects of such stature that they overwhelm everything else in your life.
I think if any of us whose lives coincided with the entire run of the Cold War had tried to use that as a moral compass, they'd be in a padded cell by now.
And here I thought the health-fitness-safety-and-sobriety-at-any-cost nazis that have taken over our culture were a bit austere with their attitude of "we know what's best for you, do your aerobics and shut up." The essence of existentialism is that the individual's point of view is supreme and it's ok if we don't agree on anything. That doesn't jive at all with one person anointing himself the High Priest of Existentialism and proclaiming that he knows that ALL of us are depressed and in denial. This is just a summer rerun of Calvinism.
Which "one"? An existentialist is only empowered to speak for one "one," him/herself.
"Angst' is not the starting point of existentialism. It is heralded as its end result -- what one "acheives" after a lifetime of denying the concepts of community and the collective unconscious. It's a philosophy for creatures that do not have the instincts of a pack animal. Tigers and orangutans, animals that spend their lives in self-enforced solitude and don't like others of their own kind. We haven't spent 20 or 30 million years evolving as social creatures whose strength is in our ability to care about each other, in order to end up filling our gigantic brains with the "philosophy" of a wolverine.
I'll bet your CD shelf has the entire collection of the Sisters of Mercy, Type O Negative, and Drain-sth!
Like I say, it's easy to see why this philosophy hasn't exactly caught on!
As I said, that essay is very accessible and gives a good general idea of existentialism..its really not a depressing philosophy when you get deeper into it. The realization that life has no preset purpose or meaning can be liberating
You have to sodomize a virgin while singing "Hosanna Satanis! Ia! Ia!"
Read Camus, "Resistance, Rebellion and Death". Existentialists tend - TEND - to place emphasis on political freedom.
This has got to be one of the most trite critiques of a philosophy I have yet heard. You not only commit the fallacy of appeal to negative consequences with ad hominem attack, and then top this intellectual diarrhea off by ignoring the fact that the human brain has emergent properties.
I might as well discount your opinions because of your slavish, Deepak-Chopra-molested-my-inner-child, pseudo-intellectual whinge about how Existentialism makes you cry and wish mummy was here, but I don't.
Hmm, what's Drain-sth?
Add NIN, Manson and Rotting Christ, and you've got a sizable chunk of my collection. But then, I'm more a Sado-Nietzschean than a true existentialist.
As if there is such a thing as "true existentialism".
gotta love those posts
Xev, you rock.
To me, existentialism means that my life has no meaning. This enables me to fill my life with my own meaning. I think this is a great thing. I can be whoever I want to be, do whatever I want to do. But, with that comes responsability.
I now have the freedom to do anything I like. Then, there's the responsability (where I think this whole "despair" thing comes from.). Luckily, I'm a resonable person, I generally don't wish any harm to anybody, and I've realized that by being myself I won't have to worry about resposability.
So, I came to the final conclusion that I am mine. I am free.
I think it's like moving out from your parents house. One day it'll happen. When you do, most likely your parents will help you out a bit, even a little bit. Eventually they stop helping you. Eventually you take full responsability for yourself, your home, your actions; but all that didn't come the first day you moved out, it comes with time.
As far as social justice goes. ummm, well. Half the world is starving, and half the world is dying of gluttony. (Generally speaking.) I think the world is realizing that it is actually possible to support everyone. We have the answers, they come in the form of ideas.
I think money prevents a lot of things from happening. You know that saying "You're a slave to money." well, I think it's true. Our world has become a slave to money. Humans have become slaves to money. But I think it's up to us to realize that not even money can hold down the almighty human spirit. We will start working for things that are true and just in their cause; not profit. Profit doesn't equate to a better world. Econimics ignors people, environment, anything not money related.
It's now up to me. I've realized that the world can be set free from money, I just have to take the responsability to free it. Or on a bigger scale. Humans have to realize that they have the power to free them selves from money, but also take the responsability to do it.
ok... sooo, I'll shut-up now.
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existence precedes essence...
Existentialism, to my knowledge, should best be understood in the sense of "existence precedes essence." I.e., what you "do" is always going to be secondary to what you "are." While the majority of contemporary Existentialists tend to be atheistic, of course, the catalyst of the existential philosophy was Soren Kierkegaard, who was a Christian. Sarte argued, however, that God must be taken out of the picture because to believe that God created you would be to believe (I think) that you are created in God's "essence," and consequently have no individual "existence" of your own. Yet, it could be argued that God, indeed, is the very substance of existence; i.e., God's "essence" is "existence"--or, if you like, "existence" is God's "essence." In any case, if man is created in the image of God, and God is existence itself, then man's existence still precedes essence. Oddly enough, while Sarte and Camus beg the claim that belief in God eliminates "existence precedes essence", a theologian, or, say (if you prefer philosophers), Plato, would argue that to deny the existence of God is to deny one's own existence and to become pure essence, with no existential foundation at all. For one, Heidegger's theory of "Being" and whatnot seems to fit quite well with what it normally taught by modern Cistercian monasticism.
Re: existence precedes essence...
Actually, "existence precedes essence" means that what you do determines what you are.
Re: Re: existence precedes essence...
So, if what I "do" is hop like a frog, do I then become a frog? or at least something like a frog? Or have I only determined that I am a person who hops like a frog? And if this is the case, is it not self-evident?
I think that "existence precedes essence", in this respect, is probably one of the most commonsensical things I have ever heard. It makes me wonder what all the fuss was about. I, for one, find it strange that Sartre found Marxism so appealing, given that it is a more capitalistic notion that, for example, "if I do accounting, I am an accountant."
Perhaps it is more a vegetative impression which I put forth.
Tell me, please, once "what you do" has been "done", am you, then, stuck in the corner which you "determined" myself in to? Or is there a turning back? For instance, If I choose that war, this time, is a good thing, am I forever to be considered a "war-monger"?
Separate names with a comma.