Total Posts:65|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Existentialism and Conflict

OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 12:35:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If the universe has no intrinsic purposes, if objective moral rules are non-existent, so says existentialism, then it's ultimately up to us to create meaning. Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

What better way to go about this than to manufacture some conflict or create a war where the lives of the citizenry are constantly in a state of threat? To reiterate, if our goal is simply the creation of meaning in a meaningless universe then it would seem logical to appeal to what's most central to all of us: our very existence.

Agree? Disagree?
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.
Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:25:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Why does that endpoint constitute a goal? Why should we "make our own meaning" if the universe has none? Nothing you've written makes sense.
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:27:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hmm...I'm not sure. But it would seem to me that imbuing actions taken to preserve life with value and meaning presuppose a value and meaning of life itself, and intentionally taking actions which would risk it just to be able to save it seems to be an unreconcilable contradiction, as the goal of preservation necessitates a goal of not taking actions which would result in the need to preserve.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:28:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:25:54 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Why does that endpoint constitute a goal? Why should we "make our own meaning" if the universe has none? Nothing you've written makes sense.

I'm not just promoting my own philosophy. I'm saying FROM existentialism - which is the idea that the universe has no intrinsic purposes, meaning, etc. and that from there we ought to create our own.

By all means, dispute existentialism - I don't care, I'm only taking the position as a starting point.

The endpoint would be our best effort at the creation or injection of meaning.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:32:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Does it? I don't often encounter collectivist existentialists--usually, existentialists write in a tone reactive to entrenched power structures, and stress an individualist, choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. So, if anything, political existentialism would be an inversion of collective teleology favoring individual self-determination. What have you been reading that gives you contrary evidence?
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:33:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:27:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Hmm...I'm not sure. But it would seem to me that imbuing actions taken to preserve life with value and meaning presuppose a value and meaning of life itself, and intentionally taking actions which would risk it just to be able to save it seems to be an unreconcilable contradiction, as the goal of preservation necessitates a goal of not taking actions which would result in the need to preserve.

I'm taking existentialism as a starting point: if X then Y is my form of argument, I'm not approaching this subject from nothing. Feel free to point out whatever contradictions existentialism entails, I'm sure you can find some and you may very well be onto one in what you just mentioned.

I'm really just saying IF our goal is the creation of meaning...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:33:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:32:35 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Does it? I don't often encounter collectivist existentialists--usually, existentialists write in a tone reactive to entrenched power structures, and stress an individualist, choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. So, if anything, political existentialism would be an inversion of collective teleology favoring individual self-determination. What have you been reading that gives you contrary evidence?

Walt Whitman, for example.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:41:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:32:35 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Does it? I don't often encounter collectivist existentialists--usually, existentialists write in a tone reactive to entrenched power structures, and stress an individualist, choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. So, if anything, political existentialism would be an inversion of collective teleology favoring individual self-determination. What have you been reading that gives you contrary evidence?

Well, my own understanding of existentialist thought may very well not be as nuanced as it really ought to be. The gist of my understanding is really just of what I've already stated: The creation of meaning (or our best attempt at it) in a universe that is without meaning, purpose, objective morality, and so forth.

So yes, if we apply this strictly to the individual it can be quite freeing, and from that perspective I understand the whole 'choose-your-own-adventure' kind of thing.

My understanding of the issue is informed by Carl Schmitt joined with my own understanding of human nature and psychology. I could go on about the idea of "hive mentality" aka the potential for the collectivist mindset that governments have occasionally been able to harness as well as many own rejection of humans as purely atomized beings; but what it comes down to is that it would seem to me that the best way to perk the interests of EVERYBODY is throw their very existence into the equation.
Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:47:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:28:43 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:25:54 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Why does that endpoint constitute a goal? Why should we "make our own meaning" if the universe has none? Nothing you've written makes sense.

I'm not just promoting my own philosophy. I'm saying FROM existentialism - which is the idea that the universe has no intrinsic purposes, meaning, etc. and that from there we ought to create our own.

By all means, dispute existentialism - I don't care, I'm only taking the position as a starting point.

The endpoint would be our best effort at the creation or injection of meaning.

*ought*

There's your problem. :)
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:52:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:47:08 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:28:43 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:25:54 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Why does that endpoint constitute a goal? Why should we "make our own meaning" if the universe has none? Nothing you've written makes sense.

I'm not just promoting my own philosophy. I'm saying FROM existentialism - which is the idea that the universe has no intrinsic purposes, meaning, etc. and that from there we ought to create our own.

By all means, dispute existentialism - I don't care, I'm only taking the position as a starting point.

The endpoint would be our best effort at the creation or injection of meaning.

*ought*

There's your problem. :)

Ought is not my problem; I didn't mean it in a moral sense in the previous statement.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:53:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:41:35 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:32:35 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Does it? I don't often encounter collectivist existentialists--usually, existentialists write in a tone reactive to entrenched power structures, and stress an individualist, choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. So, if anything, political existentialism would be an inversion of collective teleology favoring individual self-determination. What have you been reading that gives you contrary evidence?

Well, my own understanding of existentialist thought may very well not be as nuanced as it really ought to be. The gist of my understanding is really just of what I've already stated: The creation of meaning (or our best attempt at it) in a universe that is without meaning, purpose, objective morality, and so forth.

So yes, if we apply this strictly to the individual it can be quite freeing, and from that perspective I understand the whole 'choose-your-own-adventure' kind of thing.

My understanding of the issue is informed by Carl Schmitt joined with my own understanding of human nature and psychology. I could go on about the idea of "hive mentality" aka the potential for the collectivist mindset that governments have occasionally been able to harness as well as many own rejection of humans as purely atomized beings; but what it comes down to is that it would seem to me that the best way to perk the interests of EVERYBODY is throw their very existence into the equation.

I'm not exactly certain of the political implications of this discussion, but if you assume that God is a creation of man, then religion would easily fit into these collectivist existential tendencies. Most ancient governments also had an extremely heavy religious component.

You could look at something like Christianity for example, read the New Testament, and see little if anything resembling collectivism...yet here we are, with organized churches and etc and an extremely hive-minded tendency amongst those who have the faith.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Such
Posts: 1,110
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:53:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 12:35:31 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
If the universe has no intrinsic purposes, if objective moral rules are non-existent, so says existentialism, then it's ultimately up to us to create meaning. Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

What better way to go about this than to manufacture some conflict or create a war where the lives of the citizenry are constantly in a state of threat? To reiterate, if our goal is simply the creation of meaning in a meaningless universe then it would seem logical to appeal to what's most central to all of us: our very existence.

Agree? Disagree?

I don't see why its essential to create a "meaning."

To elaborate a little bit, it seems a bit premature to expect to come up with something to do with "this" when we're yet to decide and understand exactly what "this" is, in terms of being , existence, and the Universe in general.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:54:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

No, via Myth of Sisyphus. We cannot be forced to be happy, and any world will bring us unhappiness. The only happiness we can gain is by acknowledging a complete lack of purpose in real life. The creation of myths are what has caused our unhappiness: manufacturing more myths will enslave us, not set us free.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 1:56:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Maybe preservation itself would be the value, and the actual goal would be to survive to be able to preserve yet again.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:06:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:28:43 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
I'm not just promoting my own philosophy. I'm saying FROM existentialism - which is the idea that the universe has no intrinsic purposes, meaning, etc. and that from there we ought to create our own.

Lots of people figure Nietzche's philosophy somehow condoned/meshed along with the german government's fascist power-play.

Did it unite the people.. did it give people a feeling of purpose?

sure..

Is a unifying Fascism a potentially successful political tact when the populace has a Nihilistic, Beaten down, air about it?

sure.

But is that a defensible, proper, or thought out response to an existentialist perspective?
No.

Fascist governments make use of the nihilistic tendencies of their masses such that they give up their own meanings to pursue those that are supposedly of their group.

Fascist governments rely upon and can do well among a Nihilistic, self-rejecting, populace... But are not the product of a Healthy response to a person's facing down nihilism... which would be to evaluate the world from your own Understanding, and from your own natural, spontaneous, feelings...

If the people had gotten beyond their nihilism, I would expect a government where people appealed to common Humane notions, though they might admit that such notions may not appeal to everyone.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:08:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:53:48 PM, Such wrote:
At 8/3/2013 12:35:31 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
If the universe has no intrinsic purposes, if objective moral rules are non-existent, so says existentialism, then it's ultimately up to us to create meaning. Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

What better way to go about this than to manufacture some conflict or create a war where the lives of the citizenry are constantly in a state of threat? To reiterate, if our goal is simply the creation of meaning in a meaningless universe then it would seem logical to appeal to what's most central to all of us: our very existence.

Agree? Disagree?

I don't see why its essential to create a "meaning."

To elaborate a little bit, it seems a bit premature to expect to come up with something to do with "this" when we're yet to decide and understand exactly what "this" is, in terms of being , existence, and the Universe in general.

I certainly don't think it's a matter of logic or that it follows from some formula that we ought to have 'meaning' as our criteria, but here's my thoughts on it, or at least some thoughts informed by the existentialist viewpoint:

We start with the idea that the universe itself lacks objective purposes, values, and so forth. Yet, we're stuck here having to deal with it - to live, and in living we must deal with this question of how to live.

From here we have a few routes to go - we could just e.g. try and maximize pleasure, but this one doesn't appeal to me, but that's a separate argument. What I find is that as someone whose faced with this task of having to decide what to do with my life I want to inject it with some meaning; something I can work towards, that can get myself involved and in doing so just try and create something, hell, even if I failed I can at least say that I tried. Most importantly, it would seem that the creation of meaning or purpose is essential to living well.

Yes, we might be a little vague about what meaning really is, but I don't think we're completely lost. Think of that little spark that lights inside you when you hear music that really resonates with you. Literature, psychology, and even philosophy have a bit to say about this question.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:08:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:41:35 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:32:35 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Does it? I don't often encounter collectivist existentialists--usually, existentialists write in a tone reactive to entrenched power structures, and stress an individualist, choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing. So, if anything, political existentialism would be an inversion of collective teleology favoring individual self-determination. What have you been reading that gives you contrary evidence?

Well, my own understanding of existentialist thought may very well not be as nuanced as it really ought to be. The gist of my understanding is really just of what I've already stated: The creation of meaning (or our best attempt at it) in a universe that is without meaning, purpose, objective morality, and so forth.

So yes, if we apply this strictly to the individual it can be quite freeing, and from that perspective I understand the whole 'choose-your-own-adventure' kind of thing.

My understanding of the issue is informed by Carl Schmitt joined with my own understanding of human nature and psychology. I could go on about the idea of "hive mentality" aka the potential for the collectivist mindset that governments have occasionally been able to harness as well as many own rejection of humans as purely atomized beings; but what it comes down to is that it would seem to me that the best way to perk the interests of EVERYBODY is throw their very existence into the equation.

The motivation for existentialism, though, is that normative, teleological frameworks are really just externally-imposed metanarratives used to program and regiment life. Given that, it wouldn't make sense to advocate unification under a single, monolithic interest like self-preservation, since you'd just be repeating the same mistake. The idea is that, freed from the illusion of destiny and moral law, people will just find and do fulfilling things, rather than seeking fulfillment through the stories they're told about what to do, how to feel, and the difference between right and wrong.

I think an emotional analogy might be helpful: it seems like you're painting existentialism as disappointment: we come to find out, unfortunately, that there isn't an objective code of conduct to follow, and this upsets us, so we feel we need to get to work on designing one of our own. Conversely, I think of it like relief: after laboring away under the specter of teleology, we finally discover that we no longer need to abide by it, and can service ourselves, rather than the narrative.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:15:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:54:38 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

No, via Myth of Sisyphus. We cannot be forced to be happy, and any world will bring us unhappiness. The only happiness we can gain is by acknowledging a complete lack of purpose in real life. The creation of myths are what has caused our unhappiness: manufacturing more myths will enslave us, not set us free.

I wish I had read that text. You need to explain what you mean by happiness for this post to be more helpful.
Such
Posts: 1,110
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:17:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:08:01 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:53:48 PM, Such wrote:
At 8/3/2013 12:35:31 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
If the universe has no intrinsic purposes, if objective moral rules are non-existent, so says existentialism, then it's ultimately up to us to create meaning. Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

What better way to go about this than to manufacture some conflict or create a war where the lives of the citizenry are constantly in a state of threat? To reiterate, if our goal is simply the creation of meaning in a meaningless universe then it would seem logical to appeal to what's most central to all of us: our very existence.

Agree? Disagree?

I don't see why its essential to create a "meaning."

To elaborate a little bit, it seems a bit premature to expect to come up with something to do with "this" when we're yet to decide and understand exactly what "this" is, in terms of being , existence, and the Universe in general.

I certainly don't think it's a matter of logic or that it follows from some formula that we ought to have 'meaning' as our criteria, but here's my thoughts on it, or at least some thoughts informed by the existentialist viewpoint:

We start with the idea that the universe itself lacks objective purposes, values, and so forth. Yet, we're stuck here having to deal with it - to live, and in living we must deal with this question of how to live.

From here we have a few routes to go - we could just e.g. try and maximize pleasure, but this one doesn't appeal to me, but that's a separate argument. What I find is that as someone whose faced with this task of having to decide what to do with my life I want to inject it with some meaning; something I can work towards, that can get myself involved and in doing so just try and create something, hell, even if I failed I can at least say that I tried. Most importantly, it would seem that the creation of meaning or purpose is essential to living well.

Yes, we might be a little vague about what meaning really is, but I don't think we're completely lost. Think of that little spark that lights inside you when you hear music that really resonates with you. Literature, psychology, and even philosophy have a bit to say about this question.

I think that literature, psychology, and philosophy have the most to say about this question.

How about we consider this from another angle -- if we can't identify an overarching meaning and purpose to the Universe as it relates to us, how would politics and conflict change that? It is every bit as irrelevant to existence as a whole as is literature, psychology, and philosophy.

So, why not stick to our passions? I have never heard of a war striking a certain cord that resonates with anyone who isn't violent or in some way misanthropic. However, natural human engagements, such as the arts and sciences, are passions that extend not only through lives, but generations. They are what have molded humanity into what it has become -- it has even served as an impetus for politics and conflict. However, in the absence of politics and conflict, there is still the base passions that make humans what we are.

My opinion is that politics and conflict is exclusively for the dissemination of power and resources. Discarding ownership (which is what some camps of existentialist thought tends to do) would make politics and conflict obsolete.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:21:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The motivation for existentialism, though, is that normative, teleological frameworks are really just externally-imposed metanarratives used to program and regiment life.

ok.

Given that, it wouldn't make sense to advocate unification under a single, monolithic interest like self-preservation, since you'd just be repeating the same mistake.

This is a fundamental point where we depart: The goal - our value standard - is not truth, but meaning, purpose. Truth is secondary. The only thing that "makes sense" is as much meaning in the lives of the citizenry as possible.

The idea is that, freed from the illusion of destiny and moral law, people will just find and do fulfilling things, rather than seeking fulfillment through the stories they're told about what to do, how to feel, and the difference between right and wrong.

I think you're a little too optimistic. Maybe some segment of the population does that, but certainly others don't. I think we can both agree that some thrive while others flounder. Under my scenario - the conflict one - virtually everyone is drawn in when one's existence is threatened. That appeal is universal.

I think an emotional analogy might be helpful: it seems like you're painting existentialism as disappointment: we come to find out, unfortunately, that there isn't an objective code of conduct to follow, and this upsets us, so we feel we need to get to work on designing one of our own. Conversely, I think of it like relief: after laboring away under the specter of teleology, we finally discover that we no longer need to abide by it, and can service ourselves, rather than the narrative.

Eh, I think there's multiple ways of seeing it. The fact that we're dealing with the political side of the question makes my own personal feelings about it irrelevant; instead, we're dealing with diverse population where we can expect a multitude of attitudes.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:41:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:15:46 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:54:38 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

No, via Myth of Sisyphus. We cannot be forced to be happy, and any world will bring us unhappiness. The only happiness we can gain is by acknowledging a complete lack of purpose in real life. The creation of myths are what has caused our unhappiness: manufacturing more myths will enslave us, not set us free.

I wish I had read that text. You need to explain what you mean by happiness for this post to be more helpful.

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:43:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 1:52:33 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:47:08 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:28:43 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:25:54 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Why does that endpoint constitute a goal? Why should we "make our own meaning" if the universe has none? Nothing you've written makes sense.

I'm not just promoting my own philosophy. I'm saying FROM existentialism - which is the idea that the universe has no intrinsic purposes, meaning, etc. and that from there we ought to create our own.

By all means, dispute existentialism - I don't care, I'm only taking the position as a starting point.

The endpoint would be our best effort at the creation or injection of meaning.

*ought*

There's your problem. :)

Ought is not my problem; I didn't mean it in a moral sense in the previous statement.

Then what the hell does ought even mean if not used in a moral context?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:50:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:17:17 PM, Such wrote:
At 8/3/2013 2:08:01 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:53:48 PM, Such wrote:
At 8/3/2013 12:35:31 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
If the universe has no intrinsic purposes, if objective moral rules are non-existent, so says existentialism, then it's ultimately up to us to create meaning. Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

What better way to go about this than to manufacture some conflict or create a war where the lives of the citizenry are constantly in a state of threat? To reiterate, if our goal is simply the creation of meaning in a meaningless universe then it would seem logical to appeal to what's most central to all of us: our very existence.

Agree? Disagree?

I don't see why its essential to create a "meaning."

To elaborate a little bit, it seems a bit premature to expect to come up with something to do with "this" when we're yet to decide and understand exactly what "this" is, in terms of being , existence, and the Universe in general.

I certainly don't think it's a matter of logic or that it follows from some formula that we ought to have 'meaning' as our criteria, but here's my thoughts on it, or at least some thoughts informed by the existentialist viewpoint:

We start with the idea that the universe itself lacks objective purposes, values, and so forth. Yet, we're stuck here having to deal with it - to live, and in living we must deal with this question of how to live.

From here we have a few routes to go - we could just e.g. try and maximize pleasure, but this one doesn't appeal to me, but that's a separate argument. What I find is that as someone whose faced with this task of having to decide what to do with my life I want to inject it with some meaning; something I can work towards, that can get myself involved and in doing so just try and create something, hell, even if I failed I can at least say that I tried. Most importantly, it would seem that the creation of meaning or purpose is essential to living well.

Yes, we might be a little vague about what meaning really is, but I don't think we're completely lost. Think of that little spark that lights inside you when you hear music that really resonates with you. Literature, psychology, and even philosophy have a bit to say about this question.

I think that literature, psychology, and philosophy have the most to say about this question.


Then we're on the same page.

How about we consider this from another angle -- if we can't identify an overarching meaning and purpose to the Universe as it relates to us, how would politics and conflict change that? It is every bit as irrelevant to existence as a whole as is literature, psychology, and philosophy.

You make a good point here that it wouldn't, but we still need to salvage some basis for choosing actions or political policies. I think we're both roughly on the same page that the basis would be the creation of some "spark" or something resembling "meaning" or the "dynamism of the human spirit."

So, why not stick to our passions? I have never heard of a war striking a certain cord that resonates with anyone who isn't violent or in some way misanthropic. However, natural human engagements, such as the arts and sciences, are passions that extend not only through lives, but generations. They are what have molded humanity into what it has become -- it has even served as an impetus for politics and conflict. However, in the absence of politics and conflict, there is still the base passions that make humans what we are.


I think you make a solid point here: on the individual level, if I were e.g. advising you on how to deal with a meaningless universe I'd probably tell you to do what you love i.e. your passion. But once we take to the political scale, we're now dealing with men in multitude - some have passion, some don't. We need something which can draw in everybody, or atleast as many as possible and suggesting that people "follow their passions" is unlikely to have much of an effect.

As for the war point, I'd somewhat agree. Certainly Iraq and Afghanistan didn't strike a cord with me because they always felt more like military campaigns when wars, at least in the traditional sense where there was an real chance at losing and that loss bringing a real significant cost to one's country. It would, however, strike a cord with me if I were to learn that the US declared war on Russia or China. As horrifying as it would be, it would strike a cord. I imagine that the onset of WWII struck a cord with quite a few Americans, especially after the full extent of Nazi crimes were uncovered.

Arts and sciences are great, but we're not all appreciative of them. If our value is meaning we need to recognize that scientific or philosophical endeavors can often be quite difficult and even tedious...I just think if the measure is just the pure force of meaning into the lives of the everyday citizen then nothing can beat conflict. The thing about conflict is that it can heavily emotionally engage us (or at least the average citizen) on a level much more intense that science, philosophy, and art.

My opinion is that politics and conflict is exclusively for the dissemination of power and resources. Discarding ownership (which is what some camps of existentialist thought tends to do) would make politics and conflict obsolete.

Fair enough, but I find the idea of discarding ownership problematic.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:53:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:43:57 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:52:33 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:47:08 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:28:43 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:25:54 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:18:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/3/2013 1:08:57 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

I'm not following you--why would it involve this?

Because 'purpose' or 'meaning' entails involving the entire citizenry (or as many as possible) and creating an endpoint - which itself entails a journey or a struggle - that must be dealt with if the endpoint is to be actualized, in theory.

Why does that endpoint constitute a goal? Why should we "make our own meaning" if the universe has none? Nothing you've written makes sense.

I'm not just promoting my own philosophy. I'm saying FROM existentialism - which is the idea that the universe has no intrinsic purposes, meaning, etc. and that from there we ought to create our own.

By all means, dispute existentialism - I don't care, I'm only taking the position as a starting point.

The endpoint would be our best effort at the creation or injection of meaning.

*ought*

There's your problem. :)

Ought is not my problem; I didn't mean it in a moral sense in the previous statement.

Then what the hell does ought even mean if not used in a moral context?

Consider e.g. "If you want to cross the street, you ought to look both ways." Sure, I guess it could be a moral ought but more likely the statement, in its most usual context, is a "prudential ought."

We use language in many ways, as a speaker just because I say "ought" doesn't mean I'm committed to a system of objective morality. I can easily say, to reiterate, "If X, then you ought to Y" with no moral implications whatsoever.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:55:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:43:57 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
Then what the hell does ought even mean if not used in a moral context?

Yep, to see fascism as making sense coming from nihilism is just like seeing Religion making sense coming from nihilism...

People are more apt to jump on it, but doing so can't be made sense of as being a sensible, deliberate, move...
Only by psychoanalysis...

the only thing that could legitimately(ie, rationally&deliberately) come from an existentialist viewpoint among the populous would, at root, be driven by individual (though, perhaps, common) human cares.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:56:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:53:27 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:

something being prudent implies a value scheme...

yep.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 2:58:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 2:53:27 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
just because I say "ought" doesn't mean I'm committed to a system of objective morality.

indeed, you could be referencing a subjective (though, perhaps, widespread) value scheme.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
000ike
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2013 3:23:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 12:35:31 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
If the universe has no intrinsic purposes, if objective moral rules are non-existent, so says existentialism, then it's ultimately up to us to create meaning. Put on a political scale, this would seem to involve - if not direct fascism - then at least some strong-handed policies designed to guide the citizenry towards a common goal or some manufactured purpose.

What better way to go about this than to manufacture some conflict or create a war where the lives of the citizenry are constantly in a state of threat? To reiterate, if our goal is simply the creation of meaning in a meaningless universe then it would seem logical to appeal to what's most central to all of us: our very existence.

Agree? Disagree?

You speak of purpose as something that can be intrinsic, yet just so happens not to be in this instance - and therefore must be created. That makes no sense to me. Meaning and purpose are abstractions concerning the function of information to a being that processes it. They're items of subjectivity, describing subjective experience, and obviously can't exist in an objective framework. So when you say "manufacture purpose" or "create meaning" I really have no idea what in the world you're talking about.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault