philosophy and death

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philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:04 pm

To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020

From the NYT philosophy series The Stone

We’re scared. We’re on edge, unable to concentrate. We can’t find focus. Our minds flit and float around flealike from one update to the next. We follow the news, because we feel we should. And then we wish we hadn’t, because it’s terrifying and sad. Daytime naps seem involuntary and fitful. Sleep will often not descend. But when it does, we sometimes wake, in a mortal panic, with hypochondriac symptoms we feel to be real but we know are not; and then we feel selfishly stupid for having them in the first place. We take our temperature. We wait. We take it again. It goes on. Feelings of powerlessness and ennui slide into impotent rage at what is being done and, most of all, what is not being done, or is being done poorly, irresponsibly, dishonestly.


Clearly, these are frames of mind that are all too familiar to anyone who tends toward introspection in their lives. Sometimes it's directed more toward the parts that involve living and sometimes more toward the parts that involves dying. And sometimes [all the more problematically] at the parts where they are clearly intertwined. Like living smack dab in the middle of a worldwide viral pandemic.

The thought of dying alone with a respiratory sickness is horrifying. The knowledge that this is what is happening to thousands of people right here, right now, is unbearable. Lives are being lost and livelihoods ravaged. Metaphors of war feel worn out and fraudulent. The social structures, habits and ways of life we took for granted are dissolving. Other people are possible sources of contagion, and so are we. We advance masked and keep our distance.


Unless, of course, like some here, these are not your thoughts at all. In fact, you are actually pumped up about it all. This is precisely the sort of calamity you have been waiting for. The crisis that will bring "the system" crashing down, allowing for the possibility [however remote] that the world will finally come around to your own political agenda.

Or, perhaps, you are among those who eagerly embrace schadenfreude as the appropriate reaction. Let others suffer as you do for a change.

Or, based on my own signature threads narrative, all the folks who over the years have been configured to see the world around them today in a very different way from the author or from you and I.

So, when someone speaks of philosophizing in order to learn how to die, I'm skeptical right from the start.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:04 pm

Except those who think of higher order thought, that has been around since time immemorial.
Those who dismiss Orientalism or higher higher order Buddhism prima faceae.

If one is not prevy to that kind of thinking, then, a totally different picture arises!

One simple question.


1. Are you among those who believe that phenomenon is the primal mode of belief?

2. Or, is the noumemal apprehension that there is a he'll of a lot more to reality, then the modular contexts, within which we feel trapped into?

Let's suppose this question has been haunting mankind for ever, and there is no other way to get around it then nominally. Then what in god's name can the answer be possibly be?
Last edited by Meno_ on Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:59 pm

this idea of philosophy being some sort of preparation for
death has lasted as long as philosophy itself.....

I too am skeptical about it...….

is death something to be feared? nah, it is just another step like
puberty or old age.... nothing can be done about it anyway... it is
going to happen whether we are ready or not...……

just accept it as part of doing the business of life.... paying the cost
as it were....

one of the questions of life is, how are we suppose to live?

and one of the answers, among many, is we live in balance....
and if you think about life as being part of an equation, then
the equation goes like this...

Life = death

there cannot be one without the other...….

the real question comes with some sort of understanding of
what it means to live.....

what is this thing called life?

what am I to do? what should I hope for? what can I know?

among some of the existential questions of existence....

death is simply a boundary, a demarcation line between existence
and non-existence..... nothing more....

to be honest, I am confused by people who think we should devote our
time to thinking about death, when we don't spend enough time thinking
about life and what we should be doing in this life......let the next life take
care of itself, deal with the here and now....

"who am I" is a far more interesting question then what happens after
I am dead? and I can do something about the question, "who am I" then
I can do anything about any questions about death.....

I am not afraid of death because it is a'coming,
regardless of what I do or say or become, death is a coming for me...…

I bow down to the inevitable.. but that doesn't mean I don't go without a fight.....

I will fight until I die, I know, know it won't make any difference.....
but I have fought everything else, so fighting death is well within
character for me...….

philosophy isn't about preparing for death, philosophy is about
life and what does it mean to be alive.....

what does it mean to be human?


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wind up with neither."
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby MagsJ » Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:39 am

When one starts enjoying life, is when the inevitability of death occurs to us.. so how to separate the two, so as not to spoil the rest of the journey/the ride?

That is the Philosophers dilemma.
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby promethean75 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:10 pm

When one starts enjoying life, is when the inevitability of death occurs to us.. so how to separate the two, so as not to spoil the rest of the journey/the ride?


that's what it comes down to right there. that is indeed THE dilemma, and in terms of human affairs, it translates into the struggle to attain liberty, property and the luxury it affords.

man really has no deep metaphysical problems. all that nonsense is philosophical. if you're still trying to solve philosophical 'problems' that were described 2,500 years ago, chances are you've got a pseudo-problem and don't even know it. language is to blame for this, not you. anyway, what he has instead is an involvement and association with a system that produces wealth and luxury at the expense of wealth and luxury elsewhere. that is to say, an increase in wealth, luxury and privilege directly reflects somewhere a decrease of those things for someone else.

the greatest problem man has ever been faced with is how to distribute property between people who perform different and unequal tasks in a group that is responsible for the production of that property. in twenty-two words or less, there you have it.

man has never strived (or is it 'striven') to find the holy grail or the philosopher's stone or solve the riddle of the sphincter. all this time he's only been deeply concerned with the problem of 'work', more accurately, the problem of having to do it... or being able to avoid having to do it... and what happens as a result of being able to avoid having to do it. this is the number one concern. numero uno on the philosopher's to-do list.
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:45 pm

To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020

From the NYT philosophy series The Stone


Each of us is adrift on our own ghost ships. And it is so eerily quiet here in New York City. Comical memes circulate. We feel a moment’s mirth, share it with our friends, and then slide back into separateness, teeth slightly clenched. A few weeks into this new situation, the initial fever of communication and the novelty of long phone calls with close or distant friends has subsided into something more somber, more sullen and altogether more serious. We know we’re in it for the long haul. But we don’t know what that might mean.
How can we, or how should we, cope?


Sound familiar?

Not likely, right? After all, how far removed are the lives of each of us as individuals going to be from his? He being a rather famous philosopher asked to make frequents contributions to the New York Times. He being but 60 years of age, and a man who may or may not be close to the actual reality of his own imminent death. Who may or may not have an intimate familiarity with death iself.

Philosophers have had a long, tortured love affair with social distancing, beginning with Socrates confined to his cell; René Descartes withdrawn from the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War (in which he was a participant) into a room with an oven in the Netherlands to ponder the nature of certainty; others like Boethius, Thomas More and Antonio Gramsci, all part of this long tradition of isolation and thought.


Again, does any of that sound familiar? Not likely.

Really, how could the existential reality of death be made anymore distant from folks like you and I? And what of those philosophers who actually were around at the time of those great historical plagues that have rent the species over the centuries. With hundreds dropping around them like flies, what then of the great philosophical insights?

Basically, this part:

But what of philosophy itself? It has long been derided for its practical uselessness, its 3,000- year track record of failing to solve humankind’s most profound problems. So how might it help us through this immensely difficult moment? Can philosophy offer some form of illumination, even consolation, in this devastated new reality marked by anxiety, grief and the terrifying specter of death?


I think not. But we shall see how he assesses this himself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:53 pm

But what of philosophy itself? It has long been derided for its practical uselessness, its 3,000- year track record of failing to solve humankind’s most profound problems. So how might it help us through this immensely difficult moment? Can philosophy offer some form of illumination, even consolation, in this devastated new reality marked by anxiety, grief and the terrifying specter of death?
Of course it can, since it has. Notice the historiless, contextless ignorance of the writer. As if the current situation hasn't happened before, as if people have not used their philosophies to make it easier to deal with and face what, in the past, were often more regular and consistant nightmares. None of this - the fact that people have used various philosophies to reduce their anxiety, give themselves strength and so on in the past - means that their philosophies were right (or even that that's the right way to think of the issue), but it is so truly ignorant to think that today's situation - however outlandish it is for we moderns, doesn't compare to the 1917 flu, certainly not yet, or the Black Plague, or what Christians might have experienced in Rome or what poor Buddhists in Burma may be going through now and certainly Muslims there or many people who have used Stoicism (not a philosophy I like, but that is beside the point) in circumstances vastly worse than the one facing most people now who read the New York Times. To sum it up as never having solved problems is confused on so many levels, since many people have felt that their philosophies aided them in crises most readers of the NYT just like getting off on in movies like Saw and other violence porn. It also carries on the confused Philosophy is here and other disciplines are here false image, since, for example, scientific epistemology is a philosophy or a portion of one, and that has sure generated a lot of solutions - and problems also, but seriously, duh.

I get it, I do. I am sure this person who perhaps took a couple of philosophy courses in college is to be empathized with. Good old Simon probably means that philosophy has not solved free will vs determinism or proved the existence or non-existence of God. Well, modern philosophy tends to try to help people think well, and past philosophers have certainly affected governmental styles, but then more relevant to the article, how people face things that trouble them.

Of course I haven't read the whole article. But out of context we have this wonderful bemoaning and throwing up of arms and an enormous generality that Iamb adds to by sharing his doubt that it can help. When in fact there are likely people out there using their philosophies right now to reduce their anxiety, some of these having come out of philosophy proper, some from other sources, like religion or even folk psychologies, some from their own contemplation, no doubt affected by more formal philosophers, directly or indirectly.

Did dear old Simon think that people have just started dying and now the glaring weaknesses of philosophy are shown by today's events.

I had a significantly older friend who lived through the blitz in London, which itself is much milder than say living through Nagasaki or what portions of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos went through in a bombing campaign larger than all of WW2. He lived in NY and was there on 9/11 and of course was shocked by the twin towers. But after awhile he realized that most Americans live in a historiless bubble. They seemed to think this was some utterly new kind of horror in the world, and that this entitled them to lash out, by proxy through their government and military, and end up killing even more of their own in Iraq, say, alone, let alone others.

Simon could use a philosophy or better yet some training in philosophy, where one learns to check assumptions, at the very least to question some of the implicit now and here and I am all that exist that gets projected outward by priviledged people like him.

He keeps it general, throws up his hands, and actually isn't trying the least bit hard to find out if what he is saying - or implying which is the cowards way of saying - makes any sense.
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:51 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
But what of philosophy itself? It has long been derided for its practical uselessness, its 3,000- year track record of failing to solve humankind’s most profound problems. So how might it help us through this immensely difficult moment? Can philosophy offer some form of illumination, even consolation, in this devastated new reality marked by anxiety, grief and the terrifying specter of death?
Of course it can, since it has. Notice the historiless, contextless ignorance of the writer. As if the current situation hasn't happened before, as if people have not used their philosophies to make it easier to deal with and face what, in the past, were often more regular and consistant nightmares. None of this - the fact that people have used various philosophies to reduce their anxiety, give themselves strength and so on in the past - means that their philosophies were right (or even that that's the right way to think of the issue), but it is so truly ignorant to think that today's situation - however outlandish it is for we moderns, doesn't compare to the 1917 flu, certainly not yet, or the Black Plague, or what Christians might have experienced in Rome or what poor Buddhists in Burma may be going through now and certainly Muslims there or many people who have used Stoicism (not a philosophy I like, but that is beside the point) in circumstances vastly worse than the one facing most people now who read the New York Times. To sum it up as never having solved problems is confused on so many levels, since many people have felt that their philosophies aided them in crises most readers of the NYT just like getting off on in movies like Saw and other violence porn. It also carries on the confused Philosophy is here and other disciplines are here false image, since, for example, scientific epistemology is a philosophy or a portion of one, and that has sure generated a lot of solutions - and problems also, but seriously, duh.

I get it, I do. I am sure this person who perhaps took a couple of philosophy courses in college is to be empathized with. Good old Simon probably means that philosophy has not solved free will vs determinism or proved the existence or non-existence of God. Well, modern philosophy tends to try to help people think well, and past philosophers have certainly affected governmental styles, but then more relevant to the article, how people face things that trouble them.

Of course I haven't read the whole article. But out of context we have this wonderful bemoaning and throwing up of arms and an enormous generality that Iamb adds to by sharing his doubt that it can help. When in fact there are likely people out there using their philosophies right now to reduce their anxiety, some of these having come out of philosophy proper, some from other sources, like religion or even folk psychologies, some from their own contemplation, no doubt affected by more formal philosophers, directly or indirectly.

Did dear old Simon think that people have just started dying and now the glaring weaknesses of philosophy are shown by today's events.

I had a significantly older friend who lived through the blitz in London, which itself is much milder than say living through Nagasaki or what portions of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos went through in a bombing campaign larger than all of WW2. He lived in NY and was there on 9/11 and of course was shocked by the twin towers. But after awhile he realized that most Americans live in a historiless bubble. They seemed to think this was some utterly new kind of horror in the world, and that this entitled them to lash out, by proxy through their government and military, and end up killing even more of their own in Iraq, say, alone, let alone others.

Simon could use a philosophy or better yet some training in philosophy, where one learns to check assumptions, at the very least to question some of the implicit now and here and I am all that exist that gets projected outward by priviledged people like him.

He keeps it general, throws up his hands, and actually isn't trying the least bit hard to find out if what he is saying - or implying which is the cowards way of saying - makes any sense.


Note to others:

Well put!

If you know what I mean. :lol:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby gib » Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:16 am

iambiguous wrote:To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020

From the NYT philosophy series The Stone

We’re scared. We’re on edge, unable to concentrate. We can’t find focus. Our minds flit and float around flealike from one update to the next. We follow the news, because we feel we should. And then we wish we hadn’t, because it’s terrifying and sad. Daytime naps seem involuntary and fitful. Sleep will often not descend. But when it does, we sometimes wake, in a mortal panic, with hypochondriac symptoms we feel to be real but we know are not; and then we feel selfishly stupid for having them in the first place. We take our temperature. We wait. We take it again. It goes on. Feelings of powerlessness and ennui slide into impotent rage at what is being done and, most of all, what is not being done, or is being done poorly, irresponsibly, dishonestly.


Clearly, these are frames of mind that are all too familiar to anyone who tends toward introspection in their lives. Sometimes it's directed more toward the parts that involve living and sometimes more toward the parts that involves dying. And sometimes [all the more problematically] at the parts where they are clearly intertwined. Like living smack dab in the middle of a worldwide viral pandemic.

The thought of dying alone with a respiratory sickness is horrifying. The knowledge that this is what is happening to thousands of people right here, right now, is unbearable. Lives are being lost and livelihoods ravaged. Metaphors of war feel worn out and fraudulent. The social structures, habits and ways of life we took for granted are dissolving. Other people are possible sources of contagion, and so are we. We advance masked and keep our distance.


Unless, of course, like some here, these are not your thoughts at all. In fact, you are actually pumped up about it all. This is precisely the sort of calamity you have been waiting for. The crisis that will bring "the system" crashing down, allowing for the possibility [however remote] that the world will finally come around to your own political agenda.

Or, perhaps, you are among those who eagerly embrace schadenfreude as the appropriate reaction. Let others suffer as you do for a change.

Or, based on my own signature threads narrative, all the folks who over the years have been configured to see the world around them today in a very different way from the author or from you and I.

So, when someone speaks of philosophizing in order to learn how to die, I'm skeptical right from the start.


So am I. Sounds overly romanticized. I always like to take a more practical approach first to answering these kinds of question, and if it seems warranted afterwards, then go deep. On the question of death, for example, seems a pretty open and shut case that we fear it due to naturally endowed instincts to fear it. Those who didn't fear death, well, died. Those who did, didn't. We don't need a deep philosophical understanding of the fear of death to explain it. It's quite simply explained by classical stimulus/response neurology. A large cliff looms in front of you, thoughts of falling to your death rush in, and that stimulates the fear centers in your brain. You take a step back and feel a bit safer. Someone arrests you for a crime of treason or some such, and you learn you'll be taken to the death squads, a sudden feeling of panic overtakes you. This is an instinct. Your brain learns of your impending death, and right away the fear centers are triggered. It's all just hard wiring. This is why very few of us actually fear death by old age. It's not a threat of life being cut short by an accident or some malicious intent, but what must happen to us all inevitably. There is no point, no survival advantage, in fear a death we cannot avoid, and so we slowly approach it as we grow older with calm and serenity (or at least not constantly fretting about it).

Now the question of why we philosophize... that's a much deeper one. I agree with Iambig that it seems silly to say we are preparing to die--it presupposes a tall order--that it's being driven by unconscious forces, and almost depends on some overly speculative psychodynamics. I think there's many reasons we philosophize; off the top of my head, I can think of the fact that we like to think period. We like to figure things out. It tends to help maneuvering through the world. And so what if our thinking gets abstract sometimes, or deep and profound--our brains weren't built with sign posts that warn us not to venture too far into abstraction or depth. If we're trying to figure something out, and our thoughts happen to lead into the abstract and profound, why stop there? Abstraction and profundity are just ways of saying generalities--that is, thought structures and concepts that applies to a whole range of more concrete scenarios--the more abstract, the more general (as a hard and fast rule)--and so there can be utility in going into the abstract and the profound--that is, so long as we also bring those thoughts back into the realm of the concrete and the specific (they have to have an application to be of any use).

As an example which concurs with what Karpel Tunnel was saying--some of the most useful philosophies turned out to have such powerful application in the real world that they ceased to be philosophy--they were so useful, in other words, that they were no longer recognized as philosophy--I'm talking about branches of thought like science, like politics, like mathematics; everyone here knows that science was once called "natural philosophy", right? Well, that was the birth of a new discipline. Same with many of our political systems today--democracy, republicanism, and even some of the completely unpalatable ones like Marxism--that started off as philosophy too. This tendency of philosophical thought to yield new disciplines which cease to be recognized as philosophy is perhaps one of the greatest reasons philosophy is seen by some to be useless--if all the really useful stuff inevitably becomes a whole different branch cut off from philosophy proper, then of course what's left isn't going to seem all that useful. It's like saying all students are dumb because all the smart ones graduate and therefore cease to be students.
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby Prismatic567 » Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:56 am

iambiguous wrote:To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020
..

This is from Socrates'

    The thesis to be supported is a generalized version of his earlier advice to Evenus: that “the one aim of those who practice philosophy in the proper manner is to practice for dying and death
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/phaedo/#SH3a

Whilst there is some truth to the above, I believe the Title.
"To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die"
is not effective and misleading if taken too seriously.

Philosophy-proper is most effective to deal with the indirect Existential Angst that emerged out of the inherent and subliminal fear triggered to avoid premature death.

If 'mortality' is a conscious fear or anxiety and concern for a person, then s/he is suffering from a mental illness, i.e. thanatophobia.
This is why the majority of humans will openly and heroically declared they do not fear death [consciously] while being ignorant the inherent fear of death is brewing unconsciously and subliminally within their brain.

From evolution, all humans are "programmed" not to have a conscious fear of mortality except intermittently which disappear easily.
It is only the odd exceptions that have a persistent conscious fear of mortality and they are suffering from thanatophobia and they would need psychiatric help.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_anx ... sychology)

All humans are programmed to avoid and fear death else they will be reckless and die easily, so this fear is suppressed subliminally and is expressed indirectly.
But the problem is the suppression is not total thus there are leakages subliminally and this is manifested as angst and anxieties where the source is not easily traceable.
Existential angst is like a terrible itch where one do not know where to scratch.
But existential angst are more terrible pains and sufferings without a spot to scratch than the worst itch.

Thus the majority of human beings rely on the hit and miss [black box] methods to try to relieve the pains of the existential angst.
Religion and theism are determined to be the best balm to soothe the existential angst. The relief is immediate. Believed and viola! one is saved. Besides theism and religions there are other modes of beliefs [shamanism, magic, etc.] which you mentioned that would relieve the existential pains indirectly.

But as we had discussed, religions and theism has terrible cons [negatives] beside being a balm for the existential angst, but the trade off at present is in favor of the need of religion and theism to relieve the terrible pains of the existential angst.

Thus Philosophy-proper is the most effective approach to deal with the Existential Angst without the associated side effects of religions and theism.
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:27 pm

To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020

From the NYT philosophy series The Stone

To philosophize is to learn how to die.


Again, if there are in fact those here who have used philosophy in order to learn how to die, then for them that becomes the bottom line. I congratulate them because, well, in grappling with the literal abyss, whatever works.

Right?

But given my own philosophy of life here and now it hasn't taught me much at all. Why? Because nothing really changes. I am still getting closer and closer to oblivion. I am still getting closer and closer to having all that I love in life snatched away from me for all of eternity. How on earth can philosophy be of any use to me in that regard?

And, really, for those who are still able to sustain the conviction that a loving, just and merciful God will one day welcome them with open arms, bestowing upon them immortality and paradise, it would be idiotic for me to claim that they aren't far better off than I am now. And while some atheists are able to take comfort in the fact that at least they have the intellectual integrity and courage to face death squarely on their own...that just doesn't work for me.

This is how Michel de Montaigne, the 16th century French essayist — the inventor of the genre of the essay — puts it, quoting Cicero, who is himself thinking of Socrates condemned to death. Montaigne says that he developed the habit of having death not just in his imagination but constantly in his mouth — in the food he ate and the drink he imbibed. For those of you who have taken up cooking and are perhaps drinking a little too much in your isolation, this might sound morbid. But it is not at all.


This is basically over my head. Sure, on threads like this one, I'll dive into the deep end of the pool and grapple with death by struggling to comprehend it. If only in a philosophical setting. And, who knows, I might actually come upon another's dive that yields a far less pessimistic account.

But, by far, my most successful approach to dealing with death is to dive down instead into any number of distractions. Activities that take my mind away from death. Things I enjoy doing that require my concentration in order to do them well. It's either this or in acknowledging that sooner or later my "set of circumstances" will precipitate so much pain and misery, I am then able to view death as the only possible antidote. Wanting to die in other words.

Montaigne completes this thought with the astonishing sentence, “He who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” This is an amazing idea: Slavery consists in bondage to the fear of death. It is the terror of our annihilation that keeps us enslaved.


Yes, if this is an example of utilizing philosophy in order to learn how to die, and it "works" for you, all the better. Because that's all that really counts in the end. Finding something that makes your death less terrifying.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 01, 2020 5:32 pm

To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020

From the NYT philosophy series The Stone

The peculiar nature of the pandemic is that the virus is, while all too real, invisible to the naked eye and all pervasive. Covid-19 has formed itself into the structure of reality: a disease everywhere and nowhere, imprecisely known and, as yet, untreatable.


In a sense, it basically reflects death itself. Our own death in particular. It's out there. All too real. We can't see it or experience it now, but we know that eventually it will encompass the structure of our own reality. And certainly with no vaccine for it. At least not for us here and now. But is there a philosophical assessment that brings us closer to situating it objectively in our lives? In each of our own particular lives which can be so very, very different?

And most of us have the feeling of having been swimming in a sea of virus for many weeks now, possibly months. But perhaps beneath the trembling of fear lies a deeper anxiety, the anxiety of our mortality, our being pulled toward death. And this is what we might try to seize hold of, as a condition of our freedom.


Nope, that has just never worked for me: "I die, therefore I am free". The fear and anxiety are instead merely construed by me to be part and parcel of the brute facticity embedded in my own essentially meaningless existence. And death just takes away for all of eternity the actual existential meaning that I have been able to sustain now for decades.

On the contrary, freedom comes into play here for me only in a sense that my life can become simply unbearable. The pain [both physical and mental] can reach the point where I will beg to die. Why? In order to be free of that for all of eternity.

What some -- many? most? -- of us are swimming in is a sea of death. And not just from the coronavirus. We know that we are being pulled towards death because every time we turn on the news we are confronted with all the ways in which we can die.

It is vitally important, I think, to accept and affirm anxiety and not hide away, flee or evade it, or seek to explain anxiety in relation to some object or cause. Such anxiety is not just a disorder that needs to be treated, let alone medicated into numbness. It needs to be acknowledged, shaped and honed into an vehicle of liberation. I’m not saying this is easy. But we can try to transform the basic mood of anxiety from something crippling into something enabling and capable of courage.


So, is this what constitutes a "philosophical" reflection on death? Are you able to "liberate" yourself by thinking like this? Will you acquire just the right kind of courage here to be construed by other philosophers as "wise"?

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

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Fri May 08, 2020 7:20 pm

To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die
Facing death can be a key to our liberation and survival.
By Simon Critchley
April 11, 2020

From the NYT philosophy series The Stone

Most of us, most of the time, are encouraged by what passes as normality to live in a counterfeit eternity. We imagine that life will go on and death is something that happens to others. Death is reduced to what Heidegger calls a social inconvenience or downright tactlessness.


Of course the last thing most do is to turn to philosophers like Heidegger in order to reduce their own death down to a "social inconvenience" or to "down right tactlessness".

After all, what on earth does either one even mean? And, in particular, as it relates to the new number one cause of death here in America: covid-19. No getting around mortality when you tune into the news these days. And any "counterfeit eternity" will be put to the test whenever you step outside your front door and play Russian roulette with everyone you happen to come across just in the course of going to the grocery store.

Me, I can't imagine philosophy working to put our reality today into an assessment other than the one Critchley attempts here. Far, far, far removed from the actual lives that the overwhelming preponderances of us live. A general description intellectual contraption on steroids.

But: not true at all we are told.

The consolation of philosophy in this instance consists in pulling away from the death-denying habits of normal life and facing the anxiety of the situation with a cleareyed courage and sober realism. It is a question of passionately enacting that fact as a basis for a shared response, because finitude is relational: It is not just a question of my death, but the deaths of others, those we care about, near and far, friends and strangers.


Does this make sense to you? Can you relate it to your life? Can you imagine attending a funeral [when that becomes possible again] and noting this to those gathered around the coffin? Again, to me, it sounds like something that elevates death into something analogous to a Platonic form. A world of words death that one expects from those who think thoughts like this for a living.

On the other hand, he does comes closer to that which rings true to "me" here:

A few weeks ago I found myself talking blithely about plague literature: Boccaccio’s “Decameron,” Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year,” Camus’ “The Plague.” I thought I was clever until I realized a lot of other people were saying the exact same things. In truth, the thinker I have been most deeply drawn back to is the brilliant 17th century French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal, in particular his “Pensées.”

Pascal writes of the inability to sit quietly alone in a room as the source of all humanity’s problems; of inconstancy, boredom and anxiety as defining traits of the human condition; of the machinelike power of habit and the gnawing noise of human pride. But most of all, it is Pascal’s thought that the human being is a reed, “the weakest of nature,” that can be wiped away by a vapor — or an airborne droplet — that grips me.


But then in closing he has to spoil it...for me.

Human beings are wretched, Pascal reminds us. We are weak, fragile, vulnerable, dependent creatures. But — and this is the vital twist — our wretchedness is our greatness. The universe can crush us, a little virus can destroy us. But the universe knows none of this, and the virus does not care. We, by contrast, know that we are mortal. And our dignity consists in this thought. “Let us strive,” Pascal says, “to think well. That is the principle of morality.” I see this emphasis on human fragility, weakness, vulnerability, dependence and wretchedness as the opposite of morbidity and any fatuous pessimism. It is the key to our greatness. Our weakness is our strength.


What "human beings" are said to be [by anyone] and how one sees oneself as a human being can be nothing short of a gaping chasm for some of us. And this is the part where, in my view, philosophers can tread if it is somethjing they feel they can contribute to. But once they reach the point where they are arguing that our "wretchedness is our greatness", they completely alienate me. This is a "general description intellectual contraption" that is far, far removed from the manner in which I see "I" here as, instead, an inherently ambiguous and profoundly confusing "existential contraption."

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

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby MagsJ » Sat May 09, 2020 4:13 pm

Will reply to this later..

promethean75 wrote:
When one starts enjoying life, is when the inevitability of death occurs to us.. so how to separate the two, so as not to spoil the rest of the journey/the ride?


that's what it comes down to right there. that is indeed THE dilemma, and in terms of human affairs, it translates into the struggle to attain liberty, property and the luxury it affords.

man really has no deep metaphysical problems. all that nonsense is philosophical. if you're still trying to solve philosophical 'problems' that were described 2,500 years ago, chances are you've got a pseudo-problem and don't even know it. language is to blame for this, not you. anyway, what he has instead is an involvement and association with a system that produces wealth and luxury at the expense of wealth and luxury elsewhere. that is to say, an increase in wealth, luxury and privilege directly reflects somewhere a decrease of those things for someone else.

the greatest problem man has ever been faced with is how to distribute property between people who perform different and unequal tasks in a group that is responsible for the production of that property. in twenty-two words or less, there you have it.

man has never strived (or is it 'striven') to find the holy grail or the philosopher's stone or solve the riddle of the sphincter. all this time he's only been deeply concerned with the problem of 'work', more accurately, the problem of having to do it... or being able to avoid having to do it... and what happens as a result of being able to avoid having to do it. this is the number one concern. numero uno on the philosopher's to-do list.
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I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ


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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Thu May 14, 2020 4:24 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

Death has been discussed comprehensively by very few philosophers. Those who have dealt with it offer their views mostly on the awareness of death. Indeed, the only knowledge we have regarding death itself is that it is an inevitable universal event. We all know that we will die, and sooner or later most of us confront the reality of our own mortality.


Not me though, right?

My interest in death revolves far more around the actual existential implications of it. In other words, how does the manner in which we think about death [when we do think about it] impact on the behaviors that we choose from day to day as that impacts on what we imagine the fate of "I" to be when we tumble over into the abyss.

Whatever that means.

This and sustaining all of the "distractions" that one can accumulate in order to distance "I" from the reality of death itself.

At least up to the point where one way or another you find yourself eyeball to eyeball with your actual flesh and blood extinction here and now. Or just around a corner or two.

But first of course this part:

I would like to say a few words, however briefly and simply, about the popularly-held religious view of the significance of death. This will provide a good contrast with Heidegger’s and Jaspers’ views. According to this view, a person’s death is not seen as the end because the soul is regarded as immortal. In the mediaeval period, for example, the soul was regarded as the ‘form’ of the body and the two were seen in natural unity. This unity is broken up at the moment of death when the body perishes, whereas the soul continues to exist in one form or another. Some of the most important, though by no means universal, tenets of this commonly held religious view are:

• Man’s being is non-finite in that existence continues beyond death both bodily and spiritually, however not as a disembodied soul.
• What comes after death is valued higher than ‘being-inthe- world’ here and now.
• Belief in resurrection and judgement by God is closely tied up with the significance of the individual’s actions during his lifetime. After death the individual’s life is judged, the good are rewarded and the bad are punished.
• There are two specific forms of existence after death, namely peaceful existence in heaven or suffering in hell.


I mean, come on, let's get real: to the extent that you are able to think yourself into believing this [or are indoctrinated by others instead], problem solved. Well, if not in the back of your mind. But the beauty of this sort of belief -- or, for some "leaf of faith" -- is that when others [like me] yammer on and on about demonstrating that it is true, all you have to do is to believe that it is true.

And it's not like the No God folks can demonstrate their own conclusions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Tue May 19, 2020 4:43 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

Heidegger’s Analysis of Death

It is interesting to note that Martin Heidegger was brought up and schooled within the traditional religious framework and yet this framework seems to be discarded in Being and Time. In fact, there is no explicit reference to God in this work.


Interesting perhaps but rather routine for those who root such things in the existential fabrication of "I". He was no different from the rest of us. Thrown adventitiously into a set of circumstances at birth, then indoctrinated as a child to see himself out in a particular world in a particular way.

God and religion being but one manifestation of that.

So, my intent would be to discover how and why, given the life that he lived, he came to write Being and Time at all. And why including some things but not others? And why with so few references to God and religion. Or, for that matter, human moral and political values.

Then the part where the "serious philosophers" among us speculate as to whether this was a "mistake" on his part. That God and religion are important factors regarding being in time...and that it may well be possible for the most rational among us to determine the precise content that would be needed in order to make his book all that much more relevant to the "human condition".

Although Heidegger’s analysis indicates a radical break with the traditional view, some of his concepts point to some religious ideas, for example ‘fallenness’, ‘thrownness’, ‘guilt’, etc. Heidegger gave new significance to the meaning of death in his ontological inquiry in Being and Time.


Okay, but in what particular context, involving what particular beings moving through time for what particular reasons. Why choose these instead of those. And then all the stuff that matters most to me: identity, value judgments and political power.

He asks what it means for any entity to be, and gives an existential analysis of Dasein (his term for human existence). According to Heidegger, the Being of human beings can be established on a purely phenomenological basis without reference to a deity or the concept of immortality.


Still, in regard to "human existence" in a particular set of circumstances, where does the ontic stop and the ontological begin? Or the ontological stop and the ontic begin?

As that relates to the distinction I make between beings in time interacting objectively in the either/or world, and beings in time interacting subjectively in the is/ought world.

And, no, not just in regard to the Nazis.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby surreptitious75 » Tue May 19, 2020 5:05 pm

iambiguous wrote:
My interest in death revolves far more around the actual existential implications of it . In other words how does the manner in which we think about death [ when we do think about it ] impact on the behaviors that we choose from day to day as that impacts on what we imagine the fate of I to be when we tumble over into the abyss

My behaviours are not determined by my acceptance of death because the two occupy different points in time
I accept death as inevitable and unless or until my departure from this world is going to be a painful one then it does not actually bother me at all
Even then it will not bother me since death and dying are two separate things even though one automatically follows the other as logic determines
Also I can think of nothing worse than living forever - that to me would be hell - so when the time does come it will be a relief to leave this existence
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 20, 2020 5:04 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
My interest in death revolves far more around the actual existential implications of it . In other words how does the manner in which we think about death [ when we do think about it ] impact on the behaviors that we choose from day to day as that impacts on what we imagine the fate of I to be when we tumble over into the abyss


My behaviours are not determined by my acceptance of death because the two occupy different points in time
I accept death as inevitable and unless or until my departure from this world is going to be a painful one then it does not actually bother me at all
Even then it will not bother me since death and dying are two separate things even though one automatically follows the other as logic determines
Also I can think of nothing worse than living forever - that to me would be hell - so when the time does come it will be a relief to leave this existence


Sure, there are those able to think themselves into examining and then confronting death in this manner.

Some even their own existential death. And, indeed, more power to them. Who, unable to themselves, would not envy them?

Here though one would have to explore with them the extent to which their own actual death is more or less eminent. In other words, how "philosophical" is their assessment given what they perceive here and now to still be a great distance from their own demise.

Next, one would have to explore just how much they have to lose in dying. Is their life bursting at the seams with loved ones, accomplishments, rewarding experiences. Plentiful fulfilments and satisfactions.

Then the part regarding God and religion. Are they convinced that death is merely a transition for an immortal soul "passing on" to salvation in paradise on the other side?

And, certainly, if one had to live forever in agony, death may well be something that they might plead for. It's not for nothing that many religions invent Hell or its equivalent.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote a novel exploring this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Men_Are_Mortal

"The main tension exists between the meaningless of daily life, rituals, style from the perspective of an immortal man contrasted by the seeming trivial concerns of a mortal woman: the importance and the value they put on things are at opposite ends of the spectrum. From his perspective everything is essentially the same. From her perspective even the most trivial is unique and carries significance."

The key of course being "perspective". And here given the profoundly complex and problematic nature of dasein, any particular individual can have a perspective far beyond that which others are able to grasp. In regard to either living or dying, life or death.

So, just out of curiosity, how does all of the above impact on your own "perspective"?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby surreptitious75 » Wed May 20, 2020 6:02 pm

iambiguous wrote:
So just out of curiosity how does all of the above impact on your own perspective

I have no family so do not worry about anyone having to watch me die
I have never achieved anything in my life and so nothing to lose there
I am philosophically dead and so I am already half way there anyway
And if there is a God and I am to suffer metaphysical hell I will do so
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Wed May 20, 2020 6:06 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
So just out of curiosity how does all of the above impact on your own perspective

I have no family so do not worry about anyone having to watch me die
I have never achieved anything in my life and so nothing to lose there
I am philosophically dead and so I am already half way there anyway
And if there is a God and I am to suffer metaphysical hell I will do so


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

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Thu May 28, 2020 6:40 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

Heidegger’s analysis of death is not concerned with how people feel when they are about to die nor with death as a biological event. Its focus is on the existential significance which this certain ‘yet-to-come’ death has to human life, i.e. to Dasein’s being-in-the-world.


And of course that has absolutely nothing to with how people feel when contemplating that everyone and everything they know and love will be obliterated for "I" at the moment of death. Including, one supposes, how those millions upon million of men, women and children felt before they died in Hitler's death camps.

Instead, let's pin down the "existential significance" of death here as it relates -- philosophically? -- to "Dasein’s being-in-the-world".

No, really, what important "technical" distinction am I missing here?

For Heidegger, understanding the phenomenon of death involves grasping the Being of Dasein as a whole. If Dasein is understood existentially as a possibility, then it becomes clear that Dasein’s authentic Being in its totality is ‘Being-towards-death’.


Like it takes a philosophical mind to grasp that being born is a death sentence. Like the human species, in being the only species on Earth able to grasp this self-consciously [given free will], is the only species that needs to find a way to fit death into life itself.

Through facing death, Dasein understands what it means to be. This reflective process is the crux of Heidegger’s analysis of death. In order to clarify his views on the existential conception of death, Heidegger distinguishes between two basic forms of Being: authentic and inauthentic Being.


Okay, in the face of one's existential death, does authenticity then come to revolve for some around being or not being a Nazi? Or, given that death here is only explored as a conception, are things of that sort largely irrelevant?

In the everyday mode of being, Dasein interprets the phenomenon of death as an event constantly occurring in the world. It is a ‘case’ that happens to others. The general comment is “One of these days one will die too, in the end; but right now it has nothing to do with us.” Dying remains anonymous and it has no connection with the ‘I’.


Unless, of course, historically, culturally and experientially, different communities of men and women come to configure living and dying in very different ways. And, in so doing, configure the relationship between I and we, I and you, us and them etc., in very differernt ways.

The part where, among other things, memes and my own understanding of dasein come into play.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:43 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

Facing one’s own death is radically different from being concerned with the death of others. My own death means the end of my possibilities, the total disintegration and the end of my world. The fear of my own death comes from the fear of my extinction as a human being. This causes me a great deal of anxiety. I may be able to face other people’s death but may find it virtually impossible to come to terms with my own death.


This can make for any number of rather mind-boggling scenarios. If you are convinced that death encompasses the utter obliteration of all that you know and love, of all that you are as an extant human being, what then would you be willing to do to prolong that life? For example, how many others would you be willing to trample on if they got in the way of your continuing to exist?

Say some sadistic bastard threatened to kill someone you love -- or many that you love -- if you did not take your own life...is there a "right answer" here? In fact, we can think up any in number of situations in which, in order to sustain the existence of "I", we might be required to do all manner of nasty things.

Is there a line here that you won't cross?

Heidegger says Dasein cannot experience its own death. As long as Dasein exists, it is not complete, that is, there are still some of its possibilities outstanding. If, however, Dasein dies, then it is ‘no-longerthere’.


This is just intellectual gibberish to me. As though the flesh and blood ontic dasein can explore the ontological philosophical Dasein and come away with an understanding that makes the points that I raise go away.

Unless, of course, someone here would like to make that attempt. Given a particular context.


Instead, the closest that the "serious philosopher" seems to come is encompassed in an assessment of this sort:

How, then, does Dasein break through the mode of fallenness and lift itself up to authenticity? Heidegger’s answer to this question is: through ‘Being-towards-death’. Rising to authenticity can be achieved, says Heidegger, through a particular state-of-mind: dread (Angst). Dread is a mood which enables Dasein first to turn away from itself and then to be thrown back to confront itself. In order to achieve this, one has to transcend one’s everyday inauthentic mode of Being. Heidegger says dread is necessary for Dasein to grasp its existential freedom and his possibilities. Death is existentially significant when one perceives one’s existence in the light of Being, not if it is merely taken as an empirical event that will happen someday. According to Heidegger, this analysis enables us to have an understanding of our finitude, and this awareness makes authentic existence possible. Heidegger does not give an explanation of death itself but offers a phenomenology of our relationship to death. His philosophy is thoughtful but gloomy. His account of death portrays a no-hope mode of Being and he has often been criticised for this.


Again, what I would prefer are those who either agree with or disagree with Heidegger's assessment of Dasein, Being and Authenticity, noting how in their own interactions with others these capital letter words are relevant to encounters that precipitate conflicting behaviors revolving around conflicting value judgments that are not manifested existentially given the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein in my signature threads.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:49 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

Jaspers Notion of Death

Turning to Jaspers’ approach to death, we will find that it is quite different from Heidegger’s view. First of all, unlike Heidegger, Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) does not impose an ontological structure upon human beings.


As though, given the staggering vastness of the universe, that is even possible! Sure, take cracks at it. Why not? But to suppose that as a "serious philosopher" one can encompass an ontological -- teleological? -- assessment of the human condition? How could that be other than "in your head"?

Consider this: https://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows ... universe-2

Here we bump into just how staggeringly vast -- weird? eerie? -- the universe is. After watching it, ask yourself how close you think philosophers or scientists are to broaching an onotological/teleological understanding of mere human beings.

Secondly, his break with the traditional view of death is not so radical. Jaspers offers a possibility for Existenz to merge into Transcendence, ultimate reality. This does not necessarily suggest personal immortality nor does it imply total annihilation. Although Jaspers’ views on death are not considered to be religious, certain existential concepts such as Existenz, Transcendence and Being remind us of religious concepts but under different terminology.


Okay, somewhere between "personal immortality" and "total annihilation". On the other hand, what else could it be? Perhaps we exist in a certain way beyond our death but only for a certain amount of time. Or we exist in embodiments that are very different. Or "I" itself isn't sustained into eternity but some component of it is manifested in ways that we can scarcely conceive of now.

Again, when you watch episodes like the one above on the Science Channel, nothing at all seems beyond possibility. And then throw in the quantum world and multiple universes?

And then the part where secular philosophy ends and theology/religion begins? The part where we start to capitalize words like Existenz, Transcendence and Being?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:03 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

It might be useful here to give a brief description of Jaspers’ key philosophical terms, namely Dasein and Existenz. According to Jaspers, Dasein is a mode of Being which manifests itself as the empirical self with a temporal dimension. It is a part of the world but cannot be understood as an object in isolation.


And yet, clearly, in the either/or world, this "empirical self with a temporal dimension" is bursting at the seams with attributes that can readily be grasped objectively by all with functioning senses and functioning brains.

Existenz, however, is the true, non-objective and free self that transcends time. As it is not an objective entity it is not accessible to empirical inquiry. Since authentic existence is very difficult to achieve, and man often falls back into his empirical existence, Existenz remains mostly as a possibility. Jaspers’ Dasein is quite different from Heidegger’s Dasein in that the latter cannot transcend its finitude.


Really? Okay, then note a set of circumstances in which individuals interact and describe those aspects of these interactions that reflect the "non-objective free self" and those that don't. In the either/or world, authenticity is built right into us genetically, biologically.

"Transcend one's finitude?" Same thing. Focus in on flesh and blood human interactions and point to instances when one either is or is not transcending their finitude. I merely shift the discussion here from the either/or I to the is/ought "i".

In order to understand Jaspers’ views on death we must first bear in mind that according to Jaspers we are always in situations. This is an inevitable condition of man’s existence.


See, I told you. But: two or more people can be in exactly the same situation and yet, in regard differentiating between right from wrong behavior, be all over the map morally and politically. And what explains this other than the part where in reacting to behaviors entirely rooted in the either/or world, the is/ought "i", is embodied in my subjective/subjunctive dasein rather than in anything that philosopher kings might provide us with.

Death just raises the stakes here all that much more.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: philosophy and death

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:09 pm

Death, Faith & Existentialism
Filiz Peach explains what two of the greatest existentialist thinkers thought about death: Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers.

As Existenz, one grasps Dasein’s finitude through the constant presence of potential death and the concrete reality and necessity of it. One knows that one has to face death with dignity, accept it and come to terms with it. Jaspers says that the boundary situation of death suggests that anything we do as possible Existenz in existence has to be ‘in view of death’. In a sense, life becomes a continuous process of learning to die.


Again, the gap between any particular one of us facing our own particular death as dasein, and attempts by philosophers [existentialist or otherwise] to speak of this in terms of either authentic/dignified behavior or inauthentic/undignified behavior.

As though this is something that philosophers can actually accomplish!

Well, unless of course they can. In the interim however...

Just as there are countless numbers of profoundly problematic contexts in which we can live our lives, there are just as many problematic contexts in which we can die. Sure, up to a point we can communicate the thoughts and the feelings we have about our own demise, but only up to a point. Beyond that the ever fluid permutation of existential variables that can differ so dramatically for each of us will always be a barrier that, in my view, philosophers are, like the rest of us, unable to really transcend.

Or, perhaps, as Orson Welles once surmissed:

"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone."

You have your rendition of this, I have mine.

Jaspers says that when the death of the person one loved occurs life may become a lonely worldly existence for the one who stays behind. The grief and pain we feel lead us to hopelessness and may take us into the boundary situation of death. Although death destroys the loved one phenomenally, existential communication is preserved, it is eternal.


Likewise, our individual reaction to conjectures of this sort is rooted in dasein. Is there an optimal manner in which to grasp it? Is how you relate it to your own life and the death of loved ones more reasonable then how I relate it to mine?

You tell me:

In regard to your own loved ones lost "phenomenally", what "existential communication" have you managed to "preserve" for all of eternity? Isn't this precisely the sort of intellectual contraption that some philosophers think up to take death itself up into the stratospere of abstraction?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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