• ENOAH
    512
    Entire history', eh?Wayfarer

    Ok, I guess I was being dismissive. Why specifically do you question that statement. Maybe you take issue with "entire" history. Clearly I should be more careful. But let's say you accept the folly of my choice of words and treat it as hyperbole, do you not think a lot of metaphysics/religion have focused upon "Spirit" at the expense of the Body?
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    do you not think a lot of metaphysics/religion have focused upon "Spirit" at the expense of the Body?ENOAH

    That's Nietszche, isn't it? "Twilight of the Idols". He outlines the history of the idea of the "ideal world" and declares its final dissolution into mere fable. He posits that the notion of an ultimate, ideal, or "true" world beyond our physical reality is not only fictitious but also detrimental to our appreciation and understanding of lived reality. But I don't think it's the only way of seeing it. (Besides, I've never quite understood the idolisation of Nietszche in modern culture. It seems ironic to me.)

    My reading of the history is completely different. The dualism of mind and body, spirit and matter, is post-Cartesian, in particular. It was Descartes' philosophy that gives rise to the 'ghost in the machine' which typified the modern period. I think the genuinely transformative spirituality of pre-modern cultures is something completely different to that. That is why I often refer to the non-dualism characteristic of Indian and Chinese cultures.

    Here's my sweeping claim. That there is a real 'dimension of value'. It is neither a social construct, nor a matter of opinion, nor a matter of biological adaptation. H. Sapiens - recall, 'sapiens' meant 'wise' athough that is nowadays dubious - is capable of discerning that domain of value. That is Plato's 'idea of the Good' among other examples. We are able to discern it, but it takes certain qualities of character and intellect to be able to do that. And that the advent of modernity represents the loss of the sense of that domain or dimension, in the transition to the flatland of scientific materialism, where the only values are pragmatic and utilitarian. That conviction is what makes me a generically religious thinker.
  • ENOAH
    512
    That's Nietszche, isn't it? "Twilight of the Idols". He outlines the history of the idea of the "ideal world" and declares its final dissolution into mere fable. He posits that the notion of an ultimate, ideal, or "true" world beyond our physical reality is not only fictitious but also detrimental to our appreciation and understanding of lived reality. But I don't think it's the only way of seeing it. (Besides, I've never quite understood the idolisation of Neitszche in modern culture. It seems ironic to me.)Wayfarer

    Oh wow! Thanks. Truth is, I've read Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil more than anything. But I appreciate that reference. No doubt exactly that has contributed to the hypotheses I'm considering.

    It was Descartes' philosophy that gives rise to the 'ghost in the machine' which typified the modern period.Wayfarer

    That's what I'd say.

    That is why I often refer to the non-dualism characteristic of Indian and Chinese cultures.Wayfarer

    I'm with you. For me Advaita and particularly Cha'an out of the Mahayana.

    That is Plato's 'idea of the Good' among other examples. We are able to discern it, but it takes certain qualities of character and intellect to be able to do that.Wayfarer

    And here, God, I want to just stop so we continue on the same page. But I have a question. Then, where do we find that Good in our process of discerning if not 1) by ultimately constructing it, or 2) locating it prefab in memory, or 3) a combination of 1 and 2, I.e. revising what has already been input prefab from history?

    Is it by anamnesis? Noumena? Does matter (I.e. the universe) really have these "ideas" which we glorify as x y z imbued/embedded/enmeshed/entangled/endowed in it? How? Isn't it way simpler to think that as Language evolved, so did an autonomous system of signifiers coding experience but not of it is real. As in Maya and Samsara unreal. All that is Real is Brahman or Buddha Nature, and ironically we tap into that by being a human being, that animal which shares its nature with the rest of Nature.

    I would be very interested in hearing otherwise. I respect your reasoning, know even that there is a way I can be persuaded, but until then I'm fixated on this Narrative among Narratives.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    Then, where do we find that Good in our process of discerning if not 1) by ultimately constructing it, or 2) locating it prefab in memory, or 3) a combination of 1 and 2, I.e. revising what has already been input prefab from history?ENOAH

    Good question. 'Locating it pre-fab in memory' is a bit facile, though. We have proclivities, innate abilities - which is not to say 'innate ideas' - and we also have archetypes (which I learned about from Jung, but which I think go back much further.)

    All that is Real is Brahman or Buddha Nature, and ironically we tap into that by being a human being, that animal which shares its nature with the rest of Nature.ENOAH

    You toss these phrases out very casually, as if they're slogans, but I would say that does convey the gist of my view. We are able discern 'the Good' due to that innate capacity (arguably what Christian doctrine also means by 'conscience'.) Yes, we evolved just as biological science says (although the details are constantly changing) but at a certain evolutionary threshhold, then the horizons of being widen, so to speak, and we are acquire these capacities. And notice, even if they are acquired by way of evolutionary development, I maintain that through them, we transcend the biological, in other words, we are no longer simply biological beings (which again in Christian doctrine of the unfortunate doctrine that animals lack souls, something which I don't accept.)

    (Interesting point from Advaita - 'viveka', विवेक, 'to discern', means 'to know what is essence and what is not essence (saar and asaar), duty and non-duty properly' - Wikipedia. It is also the root of the name of Swami Vivekananda with whom I presume you are familiar.)
  • ENOAH
    512
    Locating it pre-fab in memory' is a bit facile, thoughWayfarer

    Fair enough. Me again being foolish with my choice of words. Not self deprecating; acknowledging how frustrating that must be for people who make it their vocation to trade words with artful precision.

    innate abilities - which is not to say 'innate ideas' - and we also have archetypesWayfarer

    ...and what are these abilities/archetypes if not the evolution of a system of Language etc.? Innate, but whence? I submit, part of that dynamic system of images input into memory over time, and structured and restructured to best fit that individual's Narrative.

    You toss these phrases out very casually, as if they're slogans,Wayfarer

    Guilty. Ditto above. I do not mean that the hypotheses I am entertaining relating to Mind is in any way definable as the original Sanskrit terms. There is an unorthodox method to my recklessness, and I acknowledge its flaws and dangers. No need to elaborate. Suffice it to say, just as Nietzsche has found its way into the hypotheses, so, strangely enough, have Vedanta, Mahayana, and Zazen specifically. Any word I text was already written differently by a mind before or around me. But I am too reckless in my expressions.

    we are no longer simply biological beingsWayfarer

    Ok. Me too. But I say the beyond biological is ultimately empty, leaving the biological as Real.

    to discern', means 'to know what is essence and what is not essenceWayfarer

    Hmm. Do you think then, Advaita too, assumes this discernment is an ability inherent in us? But, for advaita there is ultimately only essence (warning: I am taking liberties with "essence". For advaita there is only Brahman which is Existence Consciousness Bliss, "ecb" and thats what im relating to essence). And discerning is ultimately only discerning that. And discerning that would require turning away from the illusions of Maya (or what I am liberally referring to as the constructions of Mind) and being "awakened" to that Truth as Atman, I.e. that you are that "ecb"--you know, sat cit ananda-- and nothing but. So...that sounds a lot like the human animal unburdened by attachment to minds constructions. One can still relish in the Fiction, just know that you are not that Fiction. You are ecb.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Either way, how does it help us to promote the notion of ethics as transcendental?Tom Storm
    I think this is an important question. I don't think it helps us at all to think of ethics as transcendental. I don't think ethics is transcendental except in its connection to aesthetics. Beauty is transcendental, and virtue ethics seems to connect virtues with what is generally attractive to humans. Courage is attractive, cowardice is not. Kindness is attractive, cruelty is not. Consideration of others is attractive, disregard of others is not, And so on.

    On the other hand, we could ask why these things are attractive, and we might give pragmatic reasons for their attractiveness. The virtues promote social harmony and the vices (those that consist in behavior towards others at least) may lead to social discord. Actions may be kind (the idea of which I imagine as deriving from being conceived as appropriate towards one's own kind) or vicious (a characterization I imagine as relating to the word 'vice').
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    [
    This seems to be an important question to me. I don't think it helps us at all to think of ethics as transcendental. I don't think ethics is transcendental except in its connection to aesthetics. Beauty is transcendental, and virtue ethics seems to connect virtues with what is generally attractive to humans. Courage is attractive, cowardice is not. Kindness is attractive, cruelty is not. Consideration of others is attractive, disregard of others is not, And so on.Janus

    That's interesting. I haven't thought of virtue ethics this way, but it makes sense. I often find myself using aesthetics as prism for viewing much of my experince.

    On the other hand, we could ask why these things are attractive, and we might give pragmatic reasons for their attractiveness. The virtues promote social harmony and the vices (those that consist in behavior towards others at least) may lead to social discord.Janus

    Yes, and that seems like a reasonable next step. Thanks.

    Do you subscribe to virtue ethics yourself?

    Much of this would seem to be perspectival, 'virtue' perhaps being somewhat rubbery.
  • ENOAH
    512
    He knew the reason one could not speak of these is because they have a dimension to their existence which has no place in the facts or state of affairs of the world, and are hence unspeakable. It is not that he wanted to draw the line so as to preserve the dignity of logic. He rather wanted to preserve the profundity of the world, not to have it trivialized by some reduction to mere fact.Astrophel

    "to preserve the profundity of the world" by "world" you don't mean..

    "which has no place in the facts or state of affairs of the world" you don't mean that world do you?

    You mean the "they" and the "these" in "reason one could not speak of these is because they have a dimension to their existence which has no place"

    So you mean W told us not to "speak" of these things, not to preserve the dignity of logic, but to preserve the profundity of these things which are before/beyond both speaking and logic. Right?

    ... I agree.
  • ENOAH
    512
    And yet...

    I argue that our ethics is grounded in the absolute, and is already part and parcel of divinity. As Witt himself put it (in Culture and Value), the good is divinityAstrophel

    Maybe I did misinterpret
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Do you subscribe to virtue ethics yourself?

    Much of this would seem to be perspectival, 'virtue' perhaps being somewhat rubbery.
    Tom Storm

    I do tend to think of what are generally considered to be the main virtues as desirable. I mean I find that I don't want to associate too closely with those who seem to be cowardly, deceitful, inconsiderate, dishonest, unreliable, duplicitous, devious, self-serving and so on.
  • ENOAH
    512
    If I want to know about Christianity, I want to know what Christ - the sage - had to say.Tzeentch

    If you eliminate the redacted bits,

    Love your enemies
    Turn the other cheek
    It is not what goes into a person that defiles them, but what comes out of their speech
    The sabbath was made for humans, not humans made for the sabbath
    If you want to follow me, renounce even your families
    Don't point to the sliver in your brothers eye ignoring the log in your own
    My God why have you forgotten me

    That's what I think.
  • Astrophel
    448
    It's a dramatic way of putting it, but I believe this means 'the negation of ego'. 'Not my will but thine', in the Christian idiom. Dying to the self. It is fundamental to religious philosophy. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    Another passage from the Buddhist texts. 'The Tathagata' is the Buddha (means 'thus gone' or 'gone thus'. 'Reappears' refers to being reborn in some state or other. 'Vaccha' is Vachagotta, a wandering ascetic who personifies the asking of philosophical questions in the early Buddhist texts. )

    Freed from the classification of consciousness, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply."
    — Aggi Vachagotta Sutta
    Wayfarer

    Interesting to see how language falls apart when these threshold experiences call for expression. But it is not language as such that is at fault. Rather, it is that something new has manifested, and the shared vocabularies we have can't respond because they haven't yet achieved intersubjective agreement as other things have. A step further, our inherited structured experiencing of the world, something that issues from language itself, prohibits such things. Perhaps you will find what Derrida says here interesting:

    “The system of “hearing (understanding)-oneself-speak” through the phonic substance which presents itself as the nonexterior, nonmundane, therefore nonempirical or noncontingent signifier-has necessarily dominated the history of the world during an entire epoch, and has even produced the idea of the world, the idea of world origin, that arises from the difference between the worldly and the non-worldly, the outside and the inside, ideality and nonideality, universal and nonuniversal, transcendental and empirical, etc.”

    The idea here is that this monolog/dialog of one speaking to oneself, which we call thinking, has a prohibitive structure of its own. Talking about Foucault and Beckett, see the way Antoaneta Dontcheva puts it:

    Headed toward death, writes Foucault, ”language turns back upon itself; it encounters something like a mirror; and to stop this death which would stop it, it possesses but a single power: that of giving birth to its own image in a play of mirrors that has no limits.” (Foucault, 1977, p.54) And Beckett gave birth to its own image.

    As I see it, the Tathagata emerges when this identity in mirrors, that is, this speaking that is spoken in its own constitutive delimitation that is the "I" of me, is suspended. The question that presses upon this is one of identity, the identity of one's agency as a self. Does one have such a thing when the language lights go out? See, finally, the way Beckett's Molloy, dying, grasps for "life" as death vanquishes his living self:

    ‘I must go on; I can’t go on; I must go on; I must say words as long as there are words, I
    must say them until they find me, until they say me . . .’ (Samuel
    Beckett, The Unnameable, quoted in DL, 215)


    When language ceases, the self ceases, that is, the self of everyday living constructed in a social world. Meditation, the kind dedicated and rigorous, makes a truly radical move toward the death of agency. Unless, there is something that underlies this "room of mirrors" reality that speaks what it IS.

    I am convinced there is. Very much so. But this goes into argument that are not demonstrable in a language. It gets interesting when one sees that even where language is self annihilating, as in the expression you mention above, language understands this. I mean I, you, others who think along these lines, understand this, albeit as a profound mystery, and so the such delimitations perhaps are not so delimiting? Wittgenstein's Tractatus is notoriously self contradictory for just this reason. But remember, I say, even in this discussion about the nature of language, we are still facing language's own indeterminacy. I have no idea, really, of what language is. It is buried in metaphysics. As am I.
  • Astrophel
    448
    1. Are you saying there is an ontological "Real" for Morals/Ethics, and that that "Real" is good vs bad? That these are what is indefeasible, or, absolute?

    2. Why aren't "good" and "bad" also just "features of a society's entanglements"? Granted, I see that good and bad speak to the pith and substance of ethics. But why isn't Ethics itself, right down to its pith and substance, a functional construct?
    ENOAH

    Because of the good and the bad. Take an ethical case, one particularly striking to make the point. I am given the choice, either torture an innocent child for a minute, or else a thousand children will be tortured for hours and hours. the principle of utility is clearly applicable here, and I should choose the lesser evil. But then, note how this works compared to a case of mere contingency, as with a bad sofa or a bad knife: a bad knife is bad because it is dull, poorly balanced, etc. But what if the knife is for Macbeth? Well then, what is good is now bad, because we don't want anyone to get hurt. This is how contingency works. There is no absolute standard dictating what good knives are. But the torturing of the child, this is in no way undone or even mitigated by the choice of utility. Indeed, there is nothing that can mitigate this, and this is the point. It isimpossible for the the pain to be other than bad, even when contextualized to make it the preferred ethical choice. The bad is indefeasibly bad.

    And the good as well can be argued like this. We don't notice this because all of our ethical decisions are entangled in a world of facts and the complexity they impose on our thinking. But when the value-essence is abstracted from these complexities, we discover a dimension to ethics that cannot be undone. We expect this kind of apodicticity in logic, of course. But certainly not existentially!

    This is NOT to say there is some Platonic "form of the good and bad" that resides in "ultimate reality". It is merely being descriptive of the world.
  • Astrophel
    448
    So you mean W told us not to "speak" of these things, not to preserve the dignity of logic, but to preserve the profundity of these things which are before/beyond both speaking and logic. Right?ENOAH

    Yeah. I think this right. Gotta have a lot of respect for a person who insisted on going to the front lines in WWI because he wanted to know what it meant to face death. He was no armchair philosopher. His brothers, three of them, committed suicide. This was a genius endowed as well as passionate family of people. Loved Beethoven. Hated the idea of trivializing such a thing in a philosophical thesis. Value is unspeakable.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    I mean I find that I don't want to associate too closely with those who seem to be cowardly, deceitful, inconsiderate, dishonest, unreliable, duplicitous, devious, self-serving and so on.Janus

    Oh, I get that. But isn't it interesting that from the perspective of many deceitful, dishonest and devious people, they are courageous and enlightened. And even their 'allies' (for want of a better word) will see courage where you and I might see self-serving. That's what I mean.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    That is Plato's 'idea of the Good' among other examples. We are able to discern it, but it takes certain qualities of character and intellect to be able to do that.Wayfarer

    I think that for Plato the true good is beyond human apprehension, just like the Christians say that God is beyond the capacity of human understanding. Not even the most well-educated philosopher can claim to understand it. So we really are not able to discern the good, and this is why discussion about the good always turns into a matter of subjective opinion. Furthermore, the pragmatic and utilitarian values of scientific materialism, which you refer to, are only allowed to gain supremacy because of this deficiency in the capacity of human beings to actually discern the true nature of "the good".
  • ENOAH
    512
    But when the value-essence is abstracted from these complexities, we discover a dimension to ethics that cannot be undone. We expect this kind of apodicticity in logic, of course. But certainly not existentially!Astrophel

    That was, firstly, an excellent explanation. And secondly, to my surprise, persuasive in changing my thinking.

    There remains an overhanging question which might seem a nuisance, but which you might also be equipped to nip right off.

    True, killing the child is bad, no way around it. Brilliant. But could it be that that does not illustrate that the Ethical/Moral isn't entirely a human construction(s), nor that there is an inherent to the Universe, and absolute Ethical/Moral? But rather, the universal antipathy to killing a child is seated in our organic natures. Sure, our morality was constructed on the Foundations of the first dozen times we began re-presenting that organic drive/anti-drive against infanticide. But the universal and absolute--which, you sold me, I totally agree--antipathy is Nature in this particular case, not Ethics.


    Gotta have a lot of respect for a person who insisted on going to the front lines in WWI because he wanted to know what it meant to face death.Astrophel

    Totally. Based upon that info above, and how you interpreted "whereof one cannot speak..." I'm going to read some W. Sounds like he has (without "my" knowing it) already infiltrated my Narrative and configured my thoughts.
  • ENOAH
    512
    they haven't yet achieved intersubjective agreement as other things haveAstrophel

    I was reading some of your other responses to posts and this came up to illustrate a prior query.

    I'd say the antipathy to infanticide needn't acquire intersubjective agreement because, unlike most of what we think of as morality, and I submit, Morality proper (whatever that might turn out to be), said antipathy is already universal in that it is natural.

    In all respects, I'm finding your two cents valuable.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    Why? What demonstration of this do you have? This sounds more like an odd compulsion.Tom Storm

    My only demonstration is experience. Whenever I behaved unethically, I felt bad afterwards. But, beyond just my anxiety, it is obvious that my decisions caused a negative impact on the receiver. That's for granted. Sometimes, I deserve the lack of confidence some people have in me.

    Dostoevsky (if he wrote this) is wrong. It should be: 'If there is a god, then anything is permitted.' Of course Dostoevsky didn't really put it like this
    ...
    Tom Storm

    I promise Dostoyevski wrote it in the way and sense I quoted above. It is is written in the Karamazov Brothers. I think the phrase actually appears as it is written, but maybe the translation differs. I remember the phrase when Ivan and Smerdyakov had the wish for the death of their own father.

    Smerdyakov claims that Ivan was complicit in the murder by telling Smerdyakov when he would be leaving Fyodor Pavlovich's house, and more importantly by instilling in Smerdyakov the belief that, in a world without God, "everything is permitted.

    What is spirit?Tom Storm


    Good question, Tom. I am writing a lot of posts about the spirit, but I haven't defined it yet! For me, spirit is the representation of ourselves in the intangible world.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    Sure! And why not? If it works, it works. I just say, that "it works," is the workings of Mind.ENOAH

    OK, whatever... maybe the spirit and the mind are more tangled than I used to think.
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    maybe the spirit and the mind are more tangled than I used to think.javi2541997

    some more than others :lol:
  • Janus
    15.7k
    That's an interesting counterpoint. Do you think there is a fact of the matter as to whether people are cowardly or courageous, honest or deceitful, and so on, or is it just opinion all the way down?
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Not sure. I guess courage, honesty, etc, are always relative to some criteria of value and a perspective. I think we all tend to imagine that our own take on this is correct. I had a chat with an American friend of my father who said that in his view Trump is one of the most courageous, virtuous men in America right now. Now our take on this will obviously be that this is absurd. But he made his case rationally. I just think his reasoning was bogus.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    And the person for whom the drug has made it possible to continue living by making life bearable has a differnt perspective. I don't think its so easy to avoid from the perspectival nature of most matters

    Ok, but this is really missing the point. Saying "different things can be good or bad for different," people doesn't even require perspectivism, let alone the claim that "good" reduces to simply "I prefer."

    If "good" is just equivalent with "I prefer," then people can never be wrong about what is good for them. This seems ridiculous, because we all have memories of times we preferred to do stupid things that were bad for us. E.g. if someone spends a bunch of money on a health supplement that does nothing for them except give them liver failure, are we going to say: "the supplement was good for them at the time they took it because they felt it was good at that moment?"

    Such a claim seems to make it so that introspection is impossible. People can't ever look back at their own lives and make meaningful practical or moral judgements if good and bad is simply current emotion.



    Do you think there is a fact of the matter as to whether people are cowardly or courageous, honest or deceitful, and so on, or is it just opinion all the way down?


    IMO, this is a tricky question, because the post-Enlightenment mode of seeing the virtues wants to have it that all the virtues are the same, always and everywhere, for "all rational agents." But I believe this is a deeply flawed way to looking at the virtues.

    It is like asking "what are the social differences between men and women simpliciter, without reference to any particular culture?" The question is interminable because men and women don't exist outside of societies and social practices. We might as well ask how lungs work without reference to any surrounding atmosphere.

    The virtues exist within a social/historical context. Particularly, they are formalized in "practices," which define an internal good/telos for a given practice. For example, take chess. Chess is a social practice. Its rules and what it means "to be a good chess player," are social constructs.

    Yet it would seem mighty strange to say that "there is no truth about who is a better chess player," if I play Gary Kasperov 100 times, and lose swiftly in each game. But this is what the extreme relativist ends up committed to, because of the assumption is that "if something is a social practice it is entirely relative." Because chess is "just a social construct," we end up with weird claims, like "any Chess player is equally good at chess as Barry Kasperov."

    Because of this, people often move to a sort of naive, static formalism. Something like: "someone is good at chess just in case they win most of their games." But this fails too. I could beat Kasperov if I cheated and used a chess computer. Yet successfully cheating would not make me a "good chess player." Being a good chess player means playing good games of chess. Someone who plays top players and losses all their games might demonstrate better chess aptitude than someone who wins all their games against novices. In a practice, the good/telos is defined internally (although not arbitrarily, even in Chess the rules evolved to make games fair and interesting).

    The same is true of less morally trivial practices. In many cultures, there are strong ideas about what makes one a "good doctor." There is "bedside manner," etc. Being a doctor is a social construct, but it does not follow that my two year old son is equally as good of a doctor as the head of surgery at Mass General because medicine in a social practice.

    Medicine clearly isn't "social practice all the way down," however, even if it always exists as a social practice. There can be a truth about what helps or harms a patient irrespective of current practice, and these facts can in turn be used to redefine and reform the practice.


    When you read the Iliad, it is clear that Homer's characters are not confused about who is showing virtue and who is showing vice. People are confused about the virtues today because they want to apply them outside of any context. This simply doesn't make sense.

    You can critique practices from an internal frame, showing how current practice fails to fulfill the telos of the practice, or from an external frame. However, you can't critique practices "from nowhere." Relativism often makes its hay by conflating the relativity of social practices with relativity within practices, which seems plausible if one is stuck in the Enlightenment mode of thinking of virtues in terms of "universal absolute goods," but reveals itself to be ridiculous when Kasparov is made to be just as good of a chess player as a toddler.




    I had a chat with an American friend of my father who said that in his view Trump is one of the most courageous, virtuous men in America right now. Now our take on this will obviously be that this is absurd. But he made his case rationally. I just think his reasoning was bogus.

    I think this combines multiple issues. Disagreements about Trump often center around disagreements about facts. E.g., "he didn't actually do x, y, and z, those are lies created by deep state RINOs in Trump's cabinet," etc. People widely agree that it would be bad for Trump to have called America's war dead "suckers," they just don't degree that it happened.

    One thing to note is that people can hold contradictory beliefs, or a practice can evolve such that it contradicts its own purposes. For example, during the Civil Rights movement, many critiques of the Jim Crow system was that it was in contradiction with the principles enshrined in the Constitution (an internal critique). The evolution of practices is contingent, but it isn't entirely arbitrary. Hegel makes a pretty good case for such contradictions motivating practice/norm evolution, and how practices and norms evolve is guided by human goals and purposes.
  • Astrophel
    448
    It is a great guidance to feel myself better. But, sadly, I don't always understand Kierkegaard. This is due to my lack of knowledge about religious topics. Thus, th content of the Bible or Christian dilemmas. Being a spectator of K coming from an atheist background is fascinating, but I assume I lack key points that maybe a person with a religious background would have. For example: An atheist background would affect me in the sense of denying the existence of a spirit. Thanks to K, I learned this actually exists, and I can experience a tormenting trial of the soul because I often suspended my ethics.javi2541997

    No, to be honest. I don't think it is the lack of a religous orientation. If anything, this is an advantage. His most serious work is not about this at all. Have you read The Concept of Anxiety, A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin? Idiosyncratic and a very difficult work to take in. It was for me. But Kierkegaard was responding to Hegel. One has to read Hegel. I haven't read the entire Phenomenology of Spirit, but perhaps soon I'l take a month off from reality and do it justice. Of course, Hegel was responding to Kant. Now, the Critique of Pure Reason is a must.
    It is not the case that K was so religiously bound that one had to know the bible and the story of Abraham and Christian metaphysics to understand him. He really was a very disciplined philosopher. A genius, and too clever for clarity. I suspect your trouble with K is the same trouble others have with him: they haven't read what K read and can't figure out what he is talking about. He assumes the reader knows! Everybody in his time that would read him, had read Hegel, who was all the rage. As to the existence of spirit, do you think religious people understand what spirit is? Of course not. K analyzes the self through the story in Genesis about Adam and Eve and the Garden, etc. See the very intro how he lays his critical review of how badly historical authorities have dealt with this. As you read, you see it has almost nothing to do with scriptures or belief. It is purely analytical.

    You often suspend your ethics? Errrr, that doesn't sound so good.
  • Astrophel
    448
    While it's likely there was deliberately no logic. If there was, I'd wager this:

    While sequestered he was not alone, but with his Body, and thus one with everything.

    The reporter reminded him of his Subject (because Subject requires Other) and thus the seeming utter isolation/alienation.

    But ultimately, we are utterly not alone; neither in Body where we are one with Nature/Reality, nor in Mind where we are one with History/Maya.
    ENOAH

    Well, let's not forget the presence of divinity, a metaphysical term that refers to love. As a term, it is woefully inadequate, for it has a lot of connotative baggage associated with it. This is one the the remedies of meditation: it is "reductive" in that is suspend the familiar language that would otherwise dominate the understanding. 'Love" is far worse, so bound up in romantic squabbles and other BS. But the experience of love is happiness, and happiness is not about anything. It is about nothing. It has no object. True, love is generally about the significant other, but the feeling one has while in it is an unqualified happiness, at least until the inevitable heartbreak. One walks on air. Love has to be liberated from language and culture to be understood for what it is.
  • Paine
    2.1k

    I share your high regard for the Concept of Anxiety. The work is a part of K's conversation (and argument) with Hegel. As model of personal development, it focuses upon the crisis of adolescence and the perils of becoming a 'single individual'.

    This is done in the context of establishing the religious as giving the possibility for the psychological. But it also gives an account of good parenting that speaks to the immediate circumstances of such development. That quality of observation makes me think of Ortega y Gasset saying:

    Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia, y si no la salvo a ella no me salvo yo. — Meditations on Quixote
  • Moses
    243
    The problem is that due to the profoundity of such teachings, many lack the capability, will or time to fully understand them. Religious faith and religion is the next best thing to actual understanding, or so some may argue.


    Jesus holds strong positions about various Jewish-religious-scriptural debates so if you don’t have a background into that subject or if you’re not familiar with the old testament then one won’t be able to properly contextualize/understand the logic (or lack thereof) behind Jesus’s positions.

    I found Philosophy to be of very little use in understanding Jesus. A knowledge of literature will help one much more. As will historical knowledge. His followers/disciples will shed light on his teachings and aid in understanding. Yes it is written that Jesus is the divine logos but I haven’t been able to make much of this.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    You often suspend your ethics? Errrr, that doesn't sound so good.Astrophel

    I know Astrophel. :sad:

    That's the main point of my concern in this thread. Back in the day, I wasn't aware I was suspending the ethics to achieve ephemeral pleasures, but I did it now. It was not pride but ignorance. At least, I am very aware that I didn't act with purpose or deliberately.
    Thanks to this exchange, I am getting to the conclusion that, although I often acted wrongly, and my spirit started to get dirty, I realize I can start to clean it up by proceeding with confession.
    If I didn't expose myself on this site, I would suffer from deep anxiety. Don't take my wrong, I suffer a lot in my daily life, or as I call it, the physical/tangible world. I don't usually trust people, I am a reserved person and my opinions or concerns don't usually go out of my mind...
    Why does this happen? Well, I already expressed myself and I think I did it clearly. Due to my corrupt actions, I feel fear and anxiety about being rejected.

    If I hadn't been honest with my parents (who are the most sacred), how do I know I would not act in the same way with the rest of the people? I usually feel I deserve to be 'ghosted' by the rest, etc. It is scary how all of this is only in myself (or inner me). That sordid feeling that the spirit is dying. Well, I am happy to know I am at this point now. Better later than never. Imagine how many unethical acts I would have done without realizing this problem.

    Will there be a trial of the soul after all?
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