• Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    In order to live an ethical life, we must first identify our wants from needs. Want's can not all be satisfied, per Stoicism. Needs can be satisfied to some degree. But, there is a constant lacking present in everyone's life. This lack is the source of frustration, anger, and sadness.

    Therefore, what can be done about this apparent lacking in or life?
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    We live with a constant perceived deficit in life. Almost something to do or strive for.

    But, isn't that pointless? How much do we really need?
  • All sight
    241
    I think that want and need are distinct only in intensity. In seriousness. In attachment. You could set some goal already, that you think is objective, like survival, and say that things are necessary for that, or happiness, or whatever. People don't tend to speak literally and robotically like ever though, and say "need" in the context of would literally drop dead without it, is completely necessary for survival, or whatever goal. Contingent on come goal or orientation, it's all a mixture of literal necessity, or importance to accomplishing the goal, or one's intensity and seriousness of desire. They don't just want it, and it doesn't just kind of help...

    One may not always get what they want, but they get what they need, not because there is a distinction in kind between wants and needs, but in one's levels of passion and orientation towards them.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    One may not always get what they want, but they get what they need, not because there is a distinction in kind between wants and needs, but in one's levels of passion and orientation towards them.All sight

    The Schopenhauer in me says that we never really get what we want. It's a constant illusory goal. To want something is to place it in the highest priority of our motivations. Is there any use in chasing after happiness or ecstasy? I don't think so.
  • macrosoft
    381
    But, there is a constant lacking present in everyone's life. This lack is the source of frustration, anger, and sadness.Posty McPostface

    This lack is also the source of joy, relief, and a belly full of warm feelings. Maybe you are stuck outside in cold weather without the right clothes. But then you get home and jump in a hot bath. A hot bath is almost always good, but it's very good when you've been cold.

    And there are all kinds of little patterns like this in life. Pain/tension and pleasure/release. Some say that pleasure is just the 'absense' of pain, and I say they are (1) either being silly or (2) a fundamentally different organism to which I can't ultimately relate who just happens to somehow speak English. So we have pain-pleasure or need-satisfaction cycles, one of which is a need for mental stimulation. This need for mental stimulation urges us away from the simple life just as another need (the need for clarity and a sense of control, say) urges toward the simple life. And sure enough we'll see people vacillate in this regard too. Every once in a while I go through all of my possessions and throw out lots of stuff. Pretty soon I've accumulated more stimulating junk for the next purge which is sure to come.

    ***
    I like stoicism. I like the idea of not wasting time on what is out of your control. And I like the ultimately macho idea of staying cool-headed, bravely facing existence. But there's another aspect that flees from the complexity of life into a kind of living death, ultimately narcissistic. If we are going to flee from wants into bare needs, then remind me again why we are bothering to survive in the place? I picture the individualistic stoic who just wants to hold his detached pose above all things. 'Look at me, ma. I don't five a guck, except about not giving a flock.' Then there's the noble emperor, sacrificing complex pleasures for the simple, profound pleasure of a rational, transparent-to-itself, righteous life. The second one seems like the more respectable 'radical' version.
  • All sight
    241


    I wanted a sip of tea, and then I got it. You can't mean that? But there is a hole, a void. It isn't that we don't or can't get what we want, it's that we don't know what it is that is missing, and are attempting to fill it up with what we think it could be. That likely won't work, I agree.

    No real use in happiness or ecstasy, they aren't really for anything else, they're awesome possum all by themselves.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    I like stoicism. I like the idea of not wasting time on what is out of your control. And I like the ultimately macho idea of staying cool-headed, bravely facing existence. But there's another aspect that flees from the complexity of life into a kind of living death, ultimately narcissistic. If we are going to flee from wants into bare needs, then remind me again why we are bothering to survive in the place? I picture the individualistic stoic who just wants to hold his detached pose above all things. 'Look at me, ma. I don't five a guck, except about not giving a flock.' Then there's the noble emperor, sacrificing complex pleasures for the simple, profound pleasure of a rational, transparent-to-itself, righteous life. The second one seems like the more respectable 'radical' version.macrosoft

    I like Cynicism because it bypasses the Stoic into pure simplicity. What do you think? I've become an avid Cynic as of late.
  • macrosoft
    381
    The Schopenhauer in me says that we never really get what we want. It's a constant illusory goal. To want something is to place it in the highest priority of our motivations. Is there any use in chasing after happiness or ecstasy? I don't think so.Posty McPostface

    Have you ever had a great sandwich when you were hungry? Laid down for a nice nap when you were sleepy? Had a great cup of coffee when you were really in mood for coffee? Taken a pain pill after dental surgery and the thing worked like a charm? Solved a complicated puzzle?

    The question is not whether we ever get what we want but whether we ever abolish all wanting. To abolish all wanting, though, is to abolish life itself, since life 'is' care.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    No real use in happiness or ecstasy, they aren't really for anything else, they're awesome possum all by themselves.All sight

    Yet, can they be "obtained" like a pair of shoes in the flee market? Nope.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    The question is not whether we ever get what we want but whether we ever abolish all wanting. To abolish all wanting, though, is to abolish life itself, since life 'is' care.macrosoft

    What do you mean by that? Interesting, as all your posts...
  • macrosoft
    381
    I like Cynicism because it bypasses the Stoic into pure simplicity. What do you think? I've become an avid Cynic as of late.Posty McPostface

    I like the cynics too. I like all the philosophies that address life as a whole. Epicurus is pretty great. Maybe I'm an epicurean, but in the classic sense.
  • macrosoft
    381
    What do you mean by that? Interesting, as all your posts...Posty McPostface

    I'd say: ask yourself what it would mean to be alive and want nothing at all. Experience is usually structured by a kind of pursuit. The 'drama' of life depends on us being fragile beings that value some things and dis-value others. Kissing the girl is better after not knowing for a long time whether she will ever want you to kiss her, etc. We are structured so that greater pleasure depends on a greater preliminary tension.

    There's a Twilight Zone where an A-hole goes to Heaven. It's a little casino where he always wins. It slowly dawns on him that he is actually in Hell. His victories are meaningless. He is meaningless.

    *Thanks for the kind words about my posts.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    I'd say: ask yourself what it would mean to be alive and want nothing at all.macrosoft

    It would be a peaceful existence, no?
  • macrosoft
    381
    It would be a peaceful existence, no?Posty McPostface

    Yes, I'll grant you that. And if we didn't have a need for stimulation, then the stoics would have a stronger case. But IMO we have a strong need for a sense of ascent. As Nietzsche might say, we love the feeling of overcoming resistance. I'd use the metaphor of a 'height itch.' We like to climb ladders.

    Even the stoics work at overcoming the resistance of their irrational nature. It's one more heroic task that we can choose to assign ourselves. One more way to shine in relation to others. What we don't seem to choose is this need to assign ourselves mission.

    That mission is assigned by I-know-not-what. And if I define this I-know-not-what, it will probably be in terms of my idiosyncratic personal assignment (partially chosen and endlessly debated.)
  • All sight
    241
    It isn't a noble pursuit. It's base, point was that they were things that tend to be good in themselves. They aren't for anything else.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    Even the stoics work at overcoming the resistance of their irrational nature. It's one more heroic task that we can choose to assign ourselves. One more way to shine in relation to others.macrosoft

    Indeed. Overcoming resistance; but, what's this "resistance" you talk about?
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    It isn't a noble pursuit. It's base, point was that they were things that tend to be good in themselves. They aren't for anything else.All sight

    What do you mean?
  • All sight
    241


    I was attempting to explain my point in saying that happiness and ecstasy are not for anything else, and explain that I don't endorse their pursuit, but nor do I think they're in any sense bad things.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    I was attempting to explain my point in saying that happiness and ecstasy are not for anything else, and explain that I don't endorse their pursuit, but nor do I think they're in any sense bad things.All sight

    But, what about "resistance" which @macrosoft talked about? Surely, ecstasy and happiness are forever a goal but not directly obtainable.
  • macrosoft
    381
    Indeed. Overcoming resistance; but, what's this "resistance" you talk about?Posty McPostface

    It's a generalization from many particular narratives. Maybe one person makes chasisty the fundamental virtue. Then their resistance is just lust. They push against lust with 'will power.' Another person thinks clarity in thinking is the fundamental virtue, so they push against ambiguity, logical fallacies, etc. Still another person thinks freedom is the fundamental virtue, so they push against their cowardice and go to war, or they push against the apathy of their neighbors to get their favored candidate elected. Basically they choose their enemy or resistance as they choose their virtue. We crave something in our way so that we can shove it out of our way and feel alive, powerful, meaningful.
  • macrosoft
    381
    Surely, ecstasy and happiness are forever a goal but not directly obtainable.Posty McPostface

    If I may interject, I know how to get ecstasy once in a while. I just don't know how to live constantly in a state of ecstasy. We aren't designed to live there. With drugs we can trick our systems quite spectacularly, but this is dangerous, since we are messing with a machine that took millions of years to tune.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    It's a generalization from many particular narratives. Maybe one person makes chasisty the fundamental virtue. Then their resistance is just lust. They push against lust with 'will power.' Another person thinks clarity in thinking is the fundamental virtue, so they push against ambiguity, logical fallacies, etc. Still another person thinks freedom is the fundamental virtue, so they push again their cowardice and go to war, or they push against the apathy of their neighbors to get their favored candidate elected. Basically they choose their enemy or resistance as they choose their virtue.macrosoft

    But, what about tackling this 'resistance' itself? Is that possible? Doesn't that mean the cessation of desiring and wanting itself? Isn't that the most logical route to take?
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    If I may interject, I know how to get ecstasy once in a while. I just don't know how to live constantly in a state of ecstasy. We aren't designed to live there. With drugs, we can trick our systems quite spectacularly, but this is dangerous, since we are messing with a machine that took millions of years to tune.macrosoft

    Indeed.
  • macrosoft
    381
    But, what about tackling this 'resistance' itself? Is that possible? Doesn't that mean the cessation of desiring and wanting itself? Isn't that the most logical route to take?Posty McPostface

    We start to get to the terrible heart of the issue. If we really want the cleanest solution, then BANG it's suicide. But I would rather be a little dirty and still alive, at least while I'm healthy and still fascinated by existence. I do think the quest for a certain kind of purity tempts some to the grave. It's simple and quiet down there I hear. Or actually I don't hear. Corpses are way too cool to gossip about nonexistence the same way we the living gossip about existence.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    We start to get to the terrible heart of the issue. If we really want the cleanest solution, then BANG it's suicide. But I would rather be a little dirty and still alive, at least while I'm healthy and still fascinated by existence. I do think the quest for a certain kind of purity tempts some to the grave. It's simple and quiet down there I hear. Or actually I don't hear.macrosoft

    Oh dear. Not suicide. Such a decision is irreversible and morally wrong towards other people who care for you. Did I mention I'm a big Nel Noddings fan?
  • macrosoft
    381
    Oh dear. Not suicide. Such a decision is irreversible and morally wrong towards other people who care for you. Did I mention I'm a big Nel Noddings fan?Posty McPostface

    Yeah, I'm not suggesting suicide. I'm only saying that wanting resistance-in-general permanently gone is a kind of death wish. Similarly the desire for perfect clarity or perfect purity and so on strikes me as a death wish. And the desire for some 'mission' stated in simple terms is also suspect. This itch for perfection inspires good philosophy, but it also drives people mad. I think the itch has to be balanced out with a kind of lust for life in its visceral complexity and plurality.

    I don't know Nel Noddings.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k


    Spot on though. I think that the purity of simple existence is more easily obtainable than the complexity of existence. Why don't we all become simple folk then?
  • macrosoft
    381
    Spot on though. I think that the purity of simple existence is more easily obtainable than the complexity of existence. Why don't we all become simple folk then?Posty McPostface

    But that's the resistance we crave. We don't want easy, or not in a simple way. We want to shine in relation to others. We want to feel ourselves overcoming the difficult. And even the pursuit of the simple life is a form of overcoming the drift toward complexity of modern life.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    And even the pursuit of the simple life is a form of overcoming the drift toward complexity of modern life.macrosoft

    Yes, that's true. Resistance is futile, then?
  • Posty McPostface
    5.6k
    I think, suicide should be reserved as a last ditch effort at the cessation of pain and suffering. Such a decision is always vague by nature and uncertain. One never knows when too much is too much. What are your thoughts about suicide?
  • macrosoft
    381
    Yes, that's true. Resistance is futile, then?Posty McPostface

    Resistance to resistance may be futile, since we actually want it as much or even more than we hate it. Most of us are sufficiently invested in life so that suicide is not a 'living' issue and that instead concrete situations are our living issues. Philosophy does give us wise rules-of-thumb (reminds for particular purposes) and an overall orientation within or grasp of our own existence.

    For me a big part of this grasp is the uniqueness of my (or your) particular existence. We ultimately synthesize unique 'partial' (always-still-in-progress) 'solutions' for our unique situations.
    If you read Wittgenstein, for instance, then that's you reading Wittgenstein. The 'meaning field' generated by that reading is a fusion of you and Wittgenstein. You read Wittgenstein or Marcus Aurelius with your entire soul. I do the same. And as we talk we slowly get a global sense of who we are talking to. Lines at the beginning of our conversation take on new meaning if we re-read them. 'Oh that's what he meant, or that's more like what he must have meant.'
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