nihilism

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Tue May 31, 2022 3:32 pm

Good news for nihilists? Life is meaningless after all, say philosophers
Tom Howell
at the CBC website

'Life is the common ground'

Today, however, Tartaglia feels he must defend nihilism from both religious and atheist world views, since the latter have tended towards replacing the divine meanings of life with another non-human equivalent, such as a worshipful attitude toward technology. Tartaglia worries that too many leaders perceive technological advance as a force that must be allowed to progress regardless of whether humans desire the consequences or not.

"It could go in very bad directions," Tartaglia said. "And that's why nihilism seems worthwhile."


By and large, the advancement of technology still seems [to me] to be far more about means than ends. Does anyone here wish to see technology advanced as an end in itself?

Instead, this or that particular technology -- computers, the internet -- are used by those all up and down the moral, political, philosophical and spiritual spectrum. Whereas assessments of "progress" and "consequences" will almost always revolve around moral, political, philosophical and spiritual prejudices.

Which I then root subjectively, existentially in dasein. As opposed to the objectivists among us who root them in one or another "transcending font": God, ideology, "philosophy of life", genes > memes assessment of nature.

Same with defending or attacking nihilism. Choose any particular technology to accomplish it. In my view, neither side, using any technology [or no technology at all], comes out on top with the most rational conclusion.

What could go in very bad directions? And how are attitudes regarding nihilism mitigating or aggravating it?

On the positive side, Tartaglia argues that nihilistic attitudes offer a potential common ground upon which extremes of religion and secularism could meet, since it dispenses with all their competing claims to an ultimate meaning of life.


And what does this revolve around? Well, morally and politically, around "democracy and the rule of law". On the other hand, in regard to God and religion, how exactly would faiths meet somewhere in the middle when the various denominations argue precisely that in regard to morality here and now and immortality and salvation there and then, their path is the One True Path?

Which is why, given what is at stake on both sides of the grave, I've never really understood the "ecumenical" path.

"Life is the common ground," said Tartaglia. "If you're a nihilist, you don't think that anything goes beyond life. If you're not a nihilist, you think there's something extra. OK, but there's still this massive common ground. Fundamentalists on one side or the anti-religionist brigade … [with nihilism] we can all understand each other, right? We can all agree on life."


This, as most here know, is what I call a "general description spiritual contraption". And, given human history to date, it has almost nothing to do with, among other things, human reality to date.

Thus:

Tartaglia's optimism in this regard might appear out of all proportion with the world's many unending and brutal conflicts over much smaller doctrinal differences between all manner of groups, religious or otherwise. But then, a nihilist can dream.


Indeed, by all means, dream on...
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jun 09, 2022 5:33 pm

Moral Nihilism as Reflected By Joker in The Dark Knight Movie.
by Satrio Jagad

Introduction

Popular culture has been influencing people throughout the world. According to Ray B. Browne in Popular Culture Theory and Methodology: A Basic Introduction, popular culture is “all those elements of life which are not narrowly intellectual or creatively elitist, including the spoken and printed word, sounds, pictures, objects, and artifacts”.


So, how close to or far away from does one take nihilism here to the "lowest common denominator" assessment? How close to or far away from nihilism as you understand it to be, Mr. Philosopher, is the character Joker from the The Dark Knight? How narrowly intellectual and creatively elitist is Heath Ledger's portrayal of him in the film. As compared to, say, how he is captured by Joaquin Phoenix in Joker?

As a product of popular culture, movie is an effective tool to attract people. Nowadays, there are several genres of movie that exist. One of them is thriller genre. Among thriller movie directors, Christopher Nolan is known as the one who is talented as thriller movie director. The writer chooses one of Christopher Nolan’s movies, The Dark Knight, as the object of study. It depicts a story of Batman, one of the familiar superheroes from DC Comics, and his notorious enemy, Joker.


And movies, if nothing else, attracts [and then sustains] the "lowest common denominator" mentality in regard to many things. Reality and Hollywood? Way should nihilism be any different? Only characters like Joker and Hannibal Lector seem to attract minds able to conjure up actual philosophical discussions...out in the deeper depths of our postmodern world. In particular, a No God world where the answer to the question, "how ought one to live?" can bring on an explosion of conflicting narratives.

The superhero, comic book world Hollywood, where almost everything is dumbed down to a paint-by-numbers Good vs. Evil mentality has, what, accidently portrayed something in the vicinity of a close encounter with...ambiguity?

With, say, the thinking man's sociopath?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:35 pm

From PN:

Iwannaplato wrote:
iambiguous wrote:So, how close to or far away from does one take nihilism here to the "lowest common denominator" assessment? How close to or far away from nihilism as you understand it to be, Mr. Philosopher, is the character Joker from the The Dark Knight? How narrowly intellectual and creatively elitist is Heath Ledger's portrayal of him in the film. As compared to, say, how he is captured by Joaquin Phoenix in Joker


I can't tell if you are expressing views on the two portrayals or not. I truly loved them both, for different reasons. Did you think that Heath Ledger's portrayal was narrowly intellectual and creatively elitist? If so, why or in what way? Given that Ledger's performance was in a Hollywood film with a lot to satisfy the lowest common denominator, plus stuff aimed and successfully I think higher than that, I can see the LCD charge on the film, but I think Ledger created something beyond that. Phoenix's version and the film it is in was much more depressing. He's not a charismatic Joker, but an emotionally broken one.

But what did you think?


My own personal interest in nihilism revolves basically around two things...

1] moral nihilism in No God world. For me, it's not how these two characters -- as "personalities" -- came to be the way they are portrayed in the films; it's that, in being moral nihilists, they come to embody [each in their own way] the belief that "in the absence of God all things are permitted". Sociopaths, some would argue, for all practical purposes. Then it just comes down to exploring the sociopathic mentality more or less philosophically.

2] the role that dasein plays in creating individuals who come to construe themselves in this way.

The superhero, comic book world Hollywood, where almost everything is dumbed down to a paint-by-numbers Good vs. Evil mentality has, what, accidently portrayed something in the vicinity of a close encounter with...ambiguity?


Iwannaplato wrote:I think both films have a great deal of ambiguity. And Joker is pressing on that button with batman. I see neither character there as purely good or evil and the great love many have for Ledger's Joker shows that even what gets considered the middle and low brow audiance, to some degree gets that also. Pheonixs seems more mixed as far as victim/perpetrator and not very super as in supervillain. But we share some of both Joker's anger and distaste. Well, some do anyway.


For me, with respect to what we think, feel, say and do, ambiguity and ambivalence revolve around the assumption that we live in a No God world. And, further, that mere mortals in embracing one or another Humanist perspective, are only attempting to create a secular rendition of God's "transcending font". Something, anything that allows us to anchor the Self in a teleological foundation that then is able to provide us [psychologically] with the comfort and the consolation of believing that there is a Real Me able to be in sync with the Right Thing To Do.

It's just that with Humanism, the grim reality of oblivion is still there. So, some are able to think themselves into believing that they live on through their own particular Ism of choice.

With, say, the thinking man's sociopath?


Iwannaplato wrote: A nihilist of course does not have to be a sociopath. And a sociopath need not be a nihilist, though that is more likely.


Here, it always comes down to how each moral nihilist comes to think about his or her own reality.

And, from my frame of mind, that's all about the points I raise in the OPs here:

https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=176529
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=194382
https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=185296
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 20, 2022 4:56 pm

Moral Nihilism as Reflected By Joker in The Dark Knight Movie.
by Satrio Jagad

Joker will be analyzed as the representative of [the] moral nihilist figure.


Yes, that's always my own main interest in turn. There are, after all, those who go all the way out on the epistemological limb and speak of nihilism as though there is nothing at all that can really be known or communicated.

Then those who posit solipsism and sim worlds and hidden layers of reality that make the world we interact with others in from day to day pretty much a chimera as well.

Or the assumption that the entirety of human reality is wholly determined going all the way back to the Big Bang.

So, sure, we all have to draw the reality line here somewhere.

For me, it's moral nihilism in a No God world.

So, what is it for Joker? Well, being a comic book character himself, he's pretty much whatever we come to think he is.

Joker has a unique character and he is different from other villains in movies. While they committed crime based on personal revenge, economic fulfillment, Joker does it his own way. He does not obey rules, laws, or even morals. Based on those ideas, the writer includes Joker as a nihilist.


Okay, consider someone who does not obey rules, laws or morality a nihilist. There's still that part where he justifies that. Especially to himself. Suppose someone in "real life" decides to model his life on Joker from the movie. Eventually he gets caught. He's in prison and agrees to be interviewed. By one of us say.

What questions would you ask him?

Nihilism has several branches and one of them is moral nihilism. According to Donald Crosby on The Specter of the Absurd: Sources and Criticisms of Modern Nihilism, “moral nihilism denies the sense of moral obligation, the objectivity of moral principles, or the moral viewpoint”. Moral nihilism denies all moral values and does not believe something whether it is right or wrong to someone. Therefore, the writer will elaborate Joker as character by using moral nihilism theory.


A theory however still revolves by and large around what we believe "in our head" is true about moral nihilism. I'm always more inclined to take what we believe about it there down out of the didactic clouds and start connecting the dots between that and the actual behaviors we choose.

"I choose not to obey rules, laws or morality because..."

Then the part where, among others, philosophers here discuss and debate whether it is rational or irrational to live that way. But only insofar as they bring their own lives, their own behaviors into the exchanges.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:58 pm

From PN:

Iwannaplato wrote:
iambiguous wrote:My own personal interest in nihilism revolves basically around two things...

1] moral nihilism in No God world. For me, it's not how these two characters -- as "personalities" -- came to be the way they are portrayed in the films; it's that, in being moral nihilists, they come to embody [each in their own way] the belief that "in the absence of God all things are permitted". Sociopaths, some would argue, for all practical purposes. Then it just comes down to exploring the sociopathic mentality more or less philosophically.

2] the role that dasein plays in creating individuals who come to construe themselves in this way.


OK, I responded to what you wrote about those characters. We could have discussed what interests (numbers 1 and 2) you through those characters, but you chose not to respond to what I responded to in your posts. IOW you wrote about something, I responded to it, and you did not respond to that.


That's because I created this thread with the intention of exploring nihilism in terms of both morality and the manner in which I construe morality itself as the embodiment of dasein.

This part -- https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library ... e-nihilism -- is of less interest to me.

Nihilism can lead one to either acts of creativity or acts of despair.

But [to me] the acts themselves revolve around the assumption that in a No God world all things are permitted. It's not so much "is this the right thing to do?" as it is "can I get away with it?"

You do what you do because, for whatever reasons rooted existentially in dasein, it gratifies you.You don't give a shit about the consequences of your behaviors for others. They are only a means to sustain your own personal -- personal -- "kingdom of ends".

That's precisely why sociopaths are so fucking scary: you can't reason with them.

What do you say to these guys: https://youtu.be/Y7-ZBa5QeEw

Maybe they like you and won't do you any harm. Here and now. But that can always change. Think the character Neil McCauley from the movie Heat: "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."

That's the "discipline".

The heat being those who defend the rules, laws and morality in any given community. For the nihilist however it is always "me, myself and I".

Iwannaplato wrote: A discussion of your interests could have happened via those characters and your ideas about how Hollywood and others portray the nihilist and what this means, drawing in dasein and so on. But you opted out. So, we can leave it at that. Perhaps it would be better in the future not to write about things you are not interested in discussing OR be creative in managing your interests through things you bring up. Up to you obviously.


Up to me, up to you. Your interest in comic book characters -- in Hollywood movie characters -- and mine.

As though it might actually be possible here to pin down what we ought to be opting to discuss. :roll:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 26, 2022 9:00 pm

Moral Nihilism as Reflected By Joker in The Dark Knight Movie.
by Satrio Jagad

I. NIHILISM THEORY
a. First state

Nietzsche in his book The Will to Power mentions that nihilism has to be reached first when individual has no meaning in his life.


No, not "no meaning" but meaning that is thought to be essentially, necessarily, objectively true. And not in regard to the either/or world, where that sort of meaning abounds, but in regard to what, in being meaningful to us, motivates our behaviors when interacting with others given conflicting moral and political values. Moral nihilism in other words. Which for me is derived from the assumption that we live in a No God world.

Nietzsche states the first stage “nihilism as a psychological state will have to be reached, first, when we have sought a 'meaning' in all events that is not there: so the seeker eventually becomes discouraged”.


Come on, how discouraged are you when the meaning revolves around those things that are in fact true for all of us. You become a part of an American football game. How many conflicts will pop up regarding what it means to play football. The rules of the game are well known. And you can always agree among yourselves on what if any changes you want to make to them.

No, the squabbles erupt around how as individuals we feel about the game itself. Or how we think about professional sports. Does the game promote values that appeal to us or not? Do we want our children to play the game or not? Is fútbol the far better sport?

As we can see, when someone realizes that he has no meaning of life anymore, the first stage is reached. Usually this state comes from a disappointment with society, God, or even himself.


Then to how "philosophical" you go with this.

This far?

"There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy."

Of course out in the real world most suicides revolve instead around the existential, circumstantial parameters of meaning in our lives. Around our health or our economic plight or a lost love or the death of someone near and dear to us.

The plight of Sisyphus doesn't often come up.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:58 am

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

Most people feel on occasion that life is absurd, and some feel it vividly and continually. Yet the reasons usually offered in defense of this conviction are patently inadequate: they could not really explain why life is absurd. Why then do they provide a natural expression for the sense that it is?


Who really knows how many people who are out there never really give much thought to this at all. If any thought at all.

They leave all that "meaning" stuff to God. Or they live lives bursting at the seams with personal relationships and accomplishments that truly preoccupy them from day to day to day. I've met my own fair share of men and women who at least seemed this way to me. Of course, what could I know about their innermost thoughts and feelings.

But it seemed clear that when they spoke of particular behaviors being absurd it wasn't meant in a philosophical sense but rather as a way to deride particular behaviors in particular sets of circumstances that they themselves though to be inane or foolish or entirely inappropriate.

Consider some examples. It is often remarked that nothing we do now will matter in a million years. But if that is true, then by the same token, nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now. In particular, it does not matter now that in a million years nothing we do now will matter. Moreover, even if what we did now were going to matter in a million years, how could that keep our present concerns from being absurd? If their mattering now is not enough to accomplish that, how would it help if they mattered a million years from now?


We'll need a context of course. And all of the many different ways in which it either will or will not be thought of as absurd. And, for those anchored to one or another God or No God transcending font, I is always subsumed in it. Time is irrelevant. Nothing matters except that we are able to convince ourselves that we are doing what we are doing because it is simply unthinkable that we would not be doing it. That's the whole point behind rituals. We do what we do over and over again because it is necessary that we do it. Doing it is precisely what it takes to convince us that life does have an essential meaning. Whether you're Christian or a Communist you are obligated to embody that meaning. Ever and always.

That's why the manner in which "I" construe dasein was so threatening to the many objectivists I've encountered over the year. You can only feel "fractured and fragmented" when you've convinced yourself that now or a million years from now everything we do is essentially meaningless and purposeless.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby Ichthus77 » Wed Jul 06, 2022 5:21 am

What is fractured?

What is fragmented?

Isn’t wholeness implied in a fracture or fragment?

Even if you can’t explain the wholeness?

Even if you’re utterly blind to the wholeness?

Even if it’s been explaining itself to you in so many different ways and you’re still in that moment right before understanding?

Oh it’ll make ya flinch.
Fall semester ends 12/16/22. Apologies if I do not reply immediately.

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 16, 2022 7:42 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

Whether what we do now will matter in a million years could make the crucial difference only if its mattering in a million years depended on its mattering, period. But then to deny that whatever happens now will matter in a million years is to beg the question against its mattering, period; for in that sense one cannot know that it will not matter in a million years whether (for example) someone now is happy or miserable, without knowing that it does not matter, period.


And for the life of me, I can't see this as relevant to anything we do -- or to anything we might be feeling now -- without the existence of God. Something or someone has to be around to connect the dots past, present and future. And this someone or something would surely need to have a teleological component. The part where our life can be said to have a meaning or a purpose. Aside from religion, what else is there?

What we say to convey the absurdity of our lives often has to do with space or time: we are tiny specks in the infinite vastness of the universe; our lives are mere instants even on a geological time scale, let alone a cosmic one; we will all be dead any minute.


Of course some rush towards this, grappling, philosophically or otherwise, to fit it into their lives, while others do everything in their power to keep it far, far off in the distance. Or they make it all go away through God and religion. But there it is: "I" in the stupendous vastness of all there is.

What's your "solution"?

But of course none of these evident facts can be what makes life absurd, if it is absurd. For suppose we lived forever; would not a life that is absurd if it lasts seventy years be infinitely absurd if it lasted through eternity?


Again, it always comes down to what each of us as individuals deems the absurd to be. If we interact with others or live a life of solitude and ascribe meaning and purpose to the things we do, the "philosophical absurd" can for "all practical purposes" become moot. But if we deem it necessary to subsume this existential meaning in an essential meaning and purpose and can find none, the existential meaning is not nothing. One can want to live forever simply because forever is ample time to enjoy the things that bring us satisfaction and fulfilment...the food we eat, the friendships we have, the music we enjoy, the sex we share. Who needs a life that is not absurd for that? In fact, to the extent that many do believe in one or another God or ideology or philosophy or life, their own satisfaction and fulfilment is often truncated by one or another straight and narrow path they are expected to follow.

And if our lives are absurd given our present size, why would they be any less absurd if we filled the universe (either because we were larger or because the universe was smaller)? Reflection on our minuteness and brevity appears to be intimately connected with the sense that life is meaningless; but it is not clear what the connection is.


Cue "the gap" and "Rummy's Rule" here for those like me. The "connection" seems clearly to be far, far, far beyond our grasp.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:31 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

Another inadequate argument is that because we are going to die, all chains of justification must leave off in mid-air: one studies and works to earn money to pay for clothing, housing, entertainment, food, to sustain oneself from year to year, perhaps to support a family and pursue a career---but to what final end? All of it is an elaborate journey leading nowhere.


Here I always come back to the part where many of the things we do have little or nothing to do with being meaningful [philosophically or otherwise] but simply provide us with pleasure. Really, do we bite into the food we love to eat and think, "what's the point if my existence is ultimately meaningless?!" Same with many, many other activities that delight our senses...our bodies, our minds.

The philosophy of the Epicureans and the Dionysians hasn't persisted down through the ages for nothing. Not only a challenge to Plato but to any others who seem ever intent on focusing the philosophical beam on the rational pursuit of Wisdom.

The journey itself is the point. And then for those who must anchor it to an ultimate meaning and purpose, that's what religion is for.

There are several replies to this argument. First, life does not consist of a sequence of activities each of which has as its purpose some later member of the sequence. Chains of justification come repeatedly to an end within life, and whether the process as a whole can be justified has no bearing on the finality of these end-points.


And here there are any number of intertwined sequences. Those that revolve around friendship, around love, around sex, around family, around community. Or around sports or the arts or politics. Chains of justifications that may or may not be linked to God or political ideology or philosophical schools of thought. But chains that provide all manner of existential meaning for most of us.

Thus...

No further justification is needed to make it reasonable to take aspirin for a headache, attend an exhibit of the work of a painter one admires, or stop a child from putting his hand on a hot stove. No larger context or further purpose is needed to prevent these acts from being pointless.


Which of course is why the overwhelming preponderance of human beings around the globe don't give things like philosophy a second thought.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby Historyboy » Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:02 pm

Life is suffering, ok, because universe is a deadly dangerous chaos which kills us all in the end. But, values is how we as society want to fight this chaos.
Nihilism is the rejection of this societal struggle. "Don't expect anything from life and your suffering will reduce". Become passive. When you suffered so much that you went insane, you become active nihilists and you destroy your neighbors.
Life is will to power. - Nietzsche; Culture is and gives power and strength - Vollgraff; The only attribute of the mind is that he is powerful. - Aristotle; Mind is dragging us into the future and the heart into the present. - Aristotle; Those who can foresee deeds are born to rule and those who need to do them are born as slaves. - Aristotle; So, what is an aristocrat? He needs to be powerful, that means to be excellent in foreseeing things! - Me; The highest honor belongs to that one who is able to predict the moves of the enemy commander. - Machiavelli; If you want that what you have inherited to possess, you need to deserve it. - Goethe; Culture, which means exactly learning to calculate, learning to think causally, learning to prevent, learning to believe in necessity. - Nietzsche. [Autumn 1887, 10 [21]]; Morals in the narrow sense is the belief that the deeds of the ancestors will be transferred to the descendants. - Nietzsche
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:53 pm

Historyboy wrote:Life is suffering, ok, because universe is a deadly dangerous chaos which kills us all in the end. But, values is how we as society want to fight this chaos.
Nihilism is the rejection of this societal struggle. "Don't expect anything from life and your suffering will reduce". Become passive. When you suffered so much that you went insane, you become active nihilists and you destroy your neighbors.


Is this you, Turd?!! :lol:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:22 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

Even if someone wished to supply a further justification for pursuing all the things in life that are commonly regarded as self justifying, that justification would have to end somewhere too. If nothing can justify unless it is justified in terms of something outside itself, which is also justified, then an infinite regress results, and no chain of justification can be complete. Moreover, if a finite chain of reasons cannot justify anything, what could be accomplished by an infinite chain, each link of which must be justified by something outside itself?


On what basis do you justify what you do? Is it derived from someone or something "outside yourself"? Someone or something that you are able to subsume your Self in? God's will? A spiritual path? A political ideology? A philosophy of life? Nature?

Or does everything simply revolve around "me, myself and I"? Your own selfish wants and needs. Where everyone else basically becomes just a means to an end. Yours.

What I focus on here, however, is not what your answer might be, but how each of us as individuals come to acquire one particular answer and not another. Existentially. And then the consequences of answers that come into conflict.

Also, the extent to which you are able to demonstrate that your answer is not merely something that you believe "in your head", but something you are able to demonstrate further by providing evidence that all rational men and women are obligated to share in that answer.

Since justifications must come to an end somewhere, nothing is gained by denying that they end where they appear to, within life or by trying to subsume the multiple, often trivial ordinary justifications of action under a single, controlling life scheme.


Of course, everything is gained for those able to convince themselves of this "single, controlling life scheme". That's why the overwhelming preponderance of us have one. To believe that there is no definitive justification for the things we do is something that can, at times, seem almost hard-wired biologically in us to reject. It's to imagine a dog eat dog, survival of the fittest, law of the jungle, might makes right world. A Mad Max dystopia. An Anton Chigurh flip of the coin.

But philosophers of course are still inclined to keep all of this "up in the clouds":

We can be satisfied more easily than that. In fact, through its misrepresentation of the process of justification, the argument makes a vacuous demand. It insists that the reasons available within life are incomplete, but suggests thereby that all reasons that come to an end are incomplete. This makes it impossible to supply any reasons at all. The standard arguments for absurdity appear therefore to fail as arguments. Yet I believe they attempt to express something that is difficult to state, but fundamentally correct.


What we need to do instead is to take abstract speculation of this sort out into the nitty gritty world of actual human interactions. In particular, when those interactions come to revolve around conflicting goods.

You have your reasons for doing what you do. I have mine.

Given a particular context, let's talk about them.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 13, 2022 5:15 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

In ordinary life a situation is absurd when it includes a conspicuous discrepancy between pretension or aspiration and reality: someone gives a complicated speech in support of a motion that has already been passed; a notorious criminal is made president of a major philanthropic foundation; you declare your love over the telephone to a recorded announcement; as you are being knighted, your pants fall down.


Absurd, or just plain silly. Or embarrassing. Or entirely ironic. The sort of absurdity that, depending on how it impacts you personally, you may well be able to live with. Or even take advantage of.

Not at all the absurdity that preoccupies those like me.

Here there are options available to you to mitigate it...or even to make it go away altogether. Or you can always just ignore it.

Thus...

When a person finds himself in an absurd situation, he will usually attempt to change it, by modifying his aspirations, or by trying to bring reality into better accord with them, or by removing himself from the situation entirely. We are not always willing or able to extricate ourselves from a position whose absurdity has become clear to us. Nevertheless, it is usually possible to imagine some change that would remove the absurdity-whether or not we can or will implement it.


On the other hand, when you come to construe your own existence itself as essentially absurd...essentially meaningless and purposeless...there's no getting around being you.

Here the only viable option seems to revolve around distractions. Immersing yourself in the things that you enjoy...the things that take your mind off of your ultimately absurd existence. The things that take you away from the frame of mind encompassed by, say, Sartre in Nausea.

Or this option...

The sense that life as a whole is absurd arises when we perceive, perhaps dimly, an inflated pretension or aspiration which is inseparable from the continuation of human life and which makes its absurdity inescapable, short of escape from life itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 24, 2022 2:54 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

Many people's lives are absurd, temporarily or permanently, for conventional reasons having to do with their particular ambitions, circumstances, and personal relations.


Here, however, what does this actually convey but each of our own individual assumptions about what is deemed to be absurd in life. Whose ambitions, whose circumstances, whose personal relations? In situations that others either are or are not familiar with. In other words, the part where, in places like this, the communication breaks down time and again.

If there is a philosophical sense of absurdity, however, it must arise from the perception of something universal---some respect in which pretension and reality inevitably clash for us all.


Here I tend to disagree. Whether the sense of absurdity is philosophical or pertaining to our day-to-day interactions with others, there are going to be endless clashes. It's just that the closer we get to philosophy, the closer we get to more abstract assessments that revolve around assumptions pertaining to God and religion...and to The Big Questions, out on the metaphysical limb where "there are also unknown unknowns...there are things we don't know we don't know."

This condition is supplied, I shall argue, by the collision between the seriousness with which we take our lives and the perpetual possibility of regarding everything about which we are serious as arbitrary, or open to doubt.


Exactly. But tell me this isn't true both existentially and essentially.

The absurd, in other words, is interwoven throughout the "human condition". There's what we think we know is true about any number of things. And there's that fact that any number of others will insist it's absurd to think that's true.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Sep 01, 2022 3:59 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

We cannot live human lives without energy and attention, nor without making choices which show that we take some things more seriously than others. Yet we have always available a point of view outside the particular form of our lives, from which the seriousness appears gratuitous. These two inescapable viewpoints collide in us, and that is what makes life absurd.


No one would or could -- or should? -- doubt that this is a philosophical assessment of the absurd. For one thing, it can be argued that it is applicable to all of us. After all, it is suggested, if we cannot as individuals find an essential form into which we can subsume our existential lives, what's the point?

Ultimately, anyway.

So, without an essential foundation -- ecclesiastic or secular -- what then are we to make of our existentially absurd lives?

You tell me.

It is absurd because we ignore the doubts that we know cannot be settled, continuing to live with nearly undiminished seriousness in spite of them. This analysis requires defense in two respects: first as regards the unavoidability of seriousness; second as regards the inescapability of doubt.


On the other hand, once you conclude that the doubts cannot be settled, what real choice is left but to fucus in on the existential meaning? It's just that some of us conclude as well that just because we can't settled them does not mean that they cannot be settled. That's why we come to places like this. To explore the narratives of those who insist that all doubts can be subsumed in an essential truth. How do they know this? Because they have already settled them themselves. I call them the objectivists. And they insist that of all the hundreds and hundreds of "one true paths" there are from which to choose, their own really is the one true path.

We have many folks with any number of hopelessly conflicting paths right here.

They argue that human existence is, in any number of ways, unavoidably serious. But that doubt is not at all inescapable.

In other words, if you too will become "one of us", you too can escape all doubt.

And what of "one of them"? Well, that can range from simply ignoring them all the way up to the "final solution".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Sep 12, 2022 4:23 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

We take ourselves seriously whether we lead serious lives or not and whether we are concerned primarily with fame, pleasure, virtue, luxury, triumph, beauty, justice, knowledge, salvation, or mere survival. If we take other people seriously and devote ourselves to them, that only multiplies the problem. Human life is full of effort, plans, calculation, success and failure: we pursue our lives, with varying degrees of sloth and energy.


That's it in an existential nutshell. Human existence for most of us is teeming with options. Hundreds of pursuits we can engage relating to relationships or work or school or the arts or sports or countless other distractions from "the absurd". It's not for nothing that the vast majority of human beings go about the business of living their lives paying little or no attention whatsoever to "the agony of choice in the face of uncertainty". Let alone the travail of those like Sisyphus.

It would be different if we could not step back and reflect on the process, but were merely led from impulse to impulse without self-consciousness. But human beings do not act solely on impulse. They are prudent, they reflect, they weigh consequences, they ask whether what they are doing is worthwhile.


More to the point [mine] in an essentially absurd, meaningless and purposeless world, however far we step back and however deeply we reflect on the process, "I" in the is/ought world is no less entangled in the profoundly problematic labyrinth that is dasein.

What...like those on both sides of the moral conflagrations that plague us still aren't convinced that they are prudent, that they reflect, that they weigh the consequences, that they ask whether what they are doing is worthwhile?

Not only are their lives full of particular choices that hang together in larger activities with temporal structure: they also decide in the broadest terms what to pursue and what to avoid, what the priorities among their various aims should be, and what kind of people they want to be or become.


The "human condition" let's call it.

Your very own "rooted in dasein" rendition of this:

Some men are faced with such choices by the large decisions they make from time to time; some merely by reflection on the course their lives are taking as the product of countless small decisions. They decide whom to marry, what profession to follow, whether to join the Country Club, or the Resistance; or they may just wonder why they go on being salesmen or academics or taxi drivers, and then stop thinking about it after a certain period of inconclusive reflection.


Women too.

And then, historically, among the "surplus labor", the philosophers came into existence. Their job was was to make the reflection considerably less "inconclusive". For example, some became objectivists.

Right?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Sep 18, 2022 6:10 pm

From PN:



Really, how am I all that different from Nietzsche himself?

I suggest that in a No God world, human existence is essentially meaningless and purposeless. That there is no secular font on this side of the grave from which to derive an objective morality. And that, in the end, we all tumble one by one into the abyss that is oblivion.

Only Nietzsche blinked in my view.

He "thought up" his Übermensch...the next best thing to God on this side of the grave. And he even imagined an "eternal return" so that there was at least the possibility of "I" continuing beyond the grave.

Nope, no one is near the "demolisher" that I am.

The only really "upbeat" spin I put on it is that at least for those who reject both God and Humanism, their options can increase dramatically. After all, if you no longer have to sustain your own rendition of "what would Jesus do" you are free to embody the suggestion that, "in the absence of God, all things are permitted".

On the other hand, tell that to the sociopaths?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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Re: nihilism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Sep 22, 2022 4:18 pm

Thomas Nagel
The Absurd

Each of us lives his own life-lives with himself twenty four hours a day. What else is he supposed to do---live someone else's life?


Of course, my point is always to note that the lives we live 24 hours a day [with ourselves and others] can be enormously different from the lives that others live. And yet somehow that doesn't strike some here as a reason why others still shouldn't think and feel exactly as they do about, for example, good and evil behavior.

It's just that some become philosophers and attempt to pin down this distinction...technically?

Yet humans have the special capacity to step back and survey themselves, and the lives to which they are committed, with that detached amazement which comes from watching an ant struggle up a heap of sand. Without developing the illusion that they are able to escape from their highly specific and idiosyncratic position, they can view it sub specie aeternitatis---and the view is at once sobering and comical.


Okay, but what still remains the same is that each individual human being steps back out in a particular world historically and culturally...and while embedded in particular sets of circumstances. Same problem then. Given these at times vastly different existential trajectories precipitating vastly different moral, political and spiritual perspectives how are the deontologists among us to "name" [as Ayn Rand put it] those things that are in fact, objectively Good and those things that are in fact, objectively Evil? How is not the unique perspective of individuals of vital importance here?

The crucial backward step is not taken by asking for still another justification in the chain, and failing to get it. The objections to that line of attack have already been stated; justifications come to an end. But this is precisely what provides universal doubt with its object. We step back to find that the whole system of justification and criticism, which controls our choices and supports our claims to rationality, rests on responses and habits that we never question, that we should not know how to defend without circularity, and to which we shall continue to adhere even after they are called into question.


Yes, but the objectivists among us, in my view, aren't really going about this objectively at all. They merely convince themselves that they are. And this convincing has less to do with the rigors of a philosophical investigation and more to do with the manner in which human psychology seems to prefer circularity if that is what it takes to establish the One True Path. That you are on one, that you are comforted and consoled in being on one [in the is/ought world] is the main motivation in my view.

The path itself for the God World folks can be any one of these:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_r ... traditions

Depending on when and where you are "thrown" into this world at birth.

While the political/ideological path for the generally secular, Humanist No God folks can be any one of these:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... ideologies
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=176529
Then here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 5&t=185296
And here: http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopi ... 1&t=194382

"Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

Danny Embling: "People wonder how Hitler managed to get so many followers...it's never surprised me."
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