existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

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existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:51 pm

The Difference Between Existentialism, Nihilism, and Absurdism
Three different ways of approaching the lack of intrinsic meaning.
By Daniel Miessler in Philosophy

For centuries there have been people who believe there is no intrinsic meaning in the universe.


From my frame of mind, however, there appears to be no way in which to pin down definitively what it means to speak of intrinsic meaning in the universe. Well, providing of course we start with the assumption that the universe is Godless.

Also, that we assume we have some measure of free will. Also, that we just have to accept the gap between what we think intrinsic meaning means and all that would be, could be, must be known about the meaning of existence itself. Though for some here these caveats appear to be just trivial pursuits.

Meaning: "what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action."

There clearly seems to be meaning in our lives that all who are rational can accept. The word "hunting" for example. As a word, in a text, as part of a concept or in regard to actual behavior, when men and women go hunting for bear or deer -- for game, for trophies -- understanding what this means is as close to objective truth as we are likely to get given all that we do not know ontologically about the nature of existence itself.

So, does that constitute "intrinsic" meaning in the either/or world?

On the other hand, there are our individual reactions to hunting in the is/ought world. We can go to the dictionary and look up the words "individual", "reaction" and "hunting". Then when we see someone giving their own personal opinion, belief, assessment etc., about the act of hunting as either a good thing or a bad thing, we can all agree on what that means too.

But what of the reality that there are many conflicting moral and political and legal reactions to this behavior? Again, the fact that this is the case encompasses part of the meaning of hunting in a world where differences of opinion do crop up. No one contests the meaning embedded in the fact that Don Trump Jr. has been cleared to hunt grizzly bears in Alaska. His permit is said to be only one of 27. Meaningful facts that can be demonstrated, confirmed.

But the meaning contained in the words embedded in conflicting assessments of the morality of hunting grizzly bears? What intrinsic meaning can we ascertain here?

Here I’ll summarize the three major branches of this belief, and how each proposes we deal with the situation.

Existentialism is the belief that through a combination of awareness, free will, and personal responsibility, one can construct their own meaning within a world that intrinsically has none of its own.

Nihilism is the belief that not only is there no intrinsic meaning in the universe, but that it’s pointless to try to construct our own as a substitute.

Absurdism is the belief that a search for meaning is inherently in conflict with the actual lack of meaning, but that one should both accept this and simultaneously rebel against it by embracing what life has to offer.


How would the existentialist, nihilist and absurdist react to this particular context? Clearly the meaning of the words embedded in the facts embedded in the either/or world would be the same for all of them. The empirical reality of Don Trump Jr being cleared to hunt grizzly bear in Alaska is either the objective truth [here and now] or it is not.

But what is the difference here between being an existentialist, a nihilist and an absurdist when it comes to reacting to the fact of it in the is/ought world? How are they not in the same boat as all the rest of us?

If, of course, the boat that I refer to here is or is not captured in the arguments I make in my signature threads. As they would be applicable to hunting grizzly in Alaska.

In any event, it is, in my view, for all practical purposes, ultimately moot to pin down whether one ought to be an existentialist, a nihilist or an absurdist here. Calling yourself one or the other doesn't make the components of my own moral philosophy go away.

Or am I wrong? Are there important distinctions to be made about the three as this pertains to the existential relationship between identity, conflicting goods and political economy...as this is grappled with in a particular cotext?
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby surreptitious75 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:09 am


I would say that my own personal philosophy is closer to existentialism than it is to nihilism or absurdism
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 06, 2020 4:46 am

surreptitious75 wrote:
I would say that my own personal philosophy is closer to existentialism than it is to nihilism or absurdism


Okay, in regard to a behavior like hunting, how then would you distinguish the existentialist from the nihilist from the absurdist?
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby Ecmandu » Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:47 am

Iambiguous, you use the same straw man that theists use “the only way morality CAN exist is if god exists”

I’ve seen you use this straw man dozens of times.

I’m an atheist. I am 100% sure that the intrinsic meaning of life is to not have consent violated, ever.

Since everyone knows this, they gaze upon the world and realize that EVERYONE is having their consent violated in one way or the other, and by quitting, they conclude existentialism, nihilism or absurdism ...
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby surreptitious75 » Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:45 am

iambiguous wrote:
in regard to a behavior like hunting how then would you distinguish the existentialist from the nihilist from the absurdist ?

The existentialist would see it as a useful skill that with experience would improve over time
The nihilist would just see it as a means toward an end so would not take any pride in it at all
The absurdist would also see it as a means toward an end but would also enjoy doing it as well
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:39 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
in regard to a behavior like hunting how then would you distinguish the existentialist from the nihilist from the absurdist ?

The existentialist would see it as a useful skill that with experience would improve over time
The nihilist would just see it as a means toward an end so would not take any pride in it at all
The absurdist would also see it as a means toward an end but would also enjoy doing it as well


My argument above revolves more around reactions to hunting as a moral issue. Arguments that revolve around assessments given to rationalize hunting as either a good behavior or a bad behavior. Philosophical or otherwise.

https://vittana.org/12-pros-and-cons-of-hunting
http://ndsuspectrum.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-hunting/

And my own thinking here suggests that for all practical purposes calling yourself an existentialist, a nihilist or an absurdist is not nearly as important as recognizing that whatever you have come to call yourself is embedded more in the manner in which I construe the meaning of "I" here -- dasein -- in my signature threads. As opposed to any actual philosophical argument that can be derived from calling yourself one rather than another.
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby surreptitious75 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:13 pm

iambiguous wrote:
My argument above revolves more around reactions to hunting as a moral issue

The existentialist and nihilist and absurdist would all deny the existence of objective morality so it would not be a moral issue for any of them
They would either be non commital with regard to it or justify it on the grounds of necessity and possibly with minimal suffering to the animal
The latter more so for practical reasons than moral ones because they would be more amoral than moral [ especially the nihilist and absurdist ]
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:02 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
My argument above revolves more around reactions to hunting as a moral issue

The existentialist and nihilist and absurdist would all deny the existence of objective morality so it would not be a moral issue for any of them
They would either be non commital with regard to it or justify it on the grounds of necessity and possibly with minimal suffering to the animal
The latter more so for practical reasons than moral ones because they would be more amoral than moral [ especially the nihilist and absurdist ]


Well put.

My point then focuses in on how as either an existentialist, a nihilist or an absurdist, someone is still embedded in social interactions with others in any given community. They reject objective morality but they have lived a particular life and as a result of an actual sequence of experiences they have come to be predisposed [subjectively/subjunctively] to react to hunting in a particular way.

This is how I see them as basically in the same boat that all the rest of us are in. On the other hand, I also suggest that while they believe there is no objective morality here that is not the same thing as demonstrating that this is in fact true. They are no less embedded in the gap between "I" and any possible existing God, or "I" and however one can grapple with hunting [morally or otherwise] going back to where it fits into an understanding of existence itself.

I focus in on this...

In any event, it is, in my view, for all practical purposes, ultimately moot to pin down whether one ought to be an existentialist, a nihilist or an absurdist here. Calling yourself one or the other doesn't make the components of my own moral philosophy go away.


Then [for me] it comes down to how the existentialist, the nihilist or the absurdist reacts to the manner in which I construe the "self" here as "fractured and fragmented". In other words, in a No God world in which it is assumed that morality can never be objective.
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby surreptitious75 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:58 pm

iambiguous wrote:
My point then focuses in on how as either an existentialist a nihilist or an absurdist someone is still embedded in social interactions with others in any given community

This is true for everyone because life still goes on regardless of whatever ones world view is although having a more positive one would possibly help
It may be harder and particularly so for the nihilist but even they could find something that gives them pleasure within the meaningless of existence
One could however live with being a misanthrope because that is projected externally onto the world but it would be harder if one was a depressive
because that is projected internally onto oneself so there would have to be something else as well otherwise the logical conclusion would be suicide
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby surreptitious75 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:05 pm

iambiguous wrote:
I also suggest that while they believe there is no objective morality here that is not the same thing as demonstrating that this is in fact true

There is no obligation to demonstrate any truth as long as it is true for them
They can demonstrate it if they really want to but it will always be optional
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby promethean75 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:54 pm

Then [for me] it comes down to how the existentialist, the nihilist or the absurdist reacts to the manner in which I construe the "self" here as "fractured and fragmented".


i've never been entirely certain about what you mean by 'fractured and fragmented' here. is this supposed to be some kind of state of uncertainty and indecisiveness a person would/should be in, if and when they they discover that the philosophy of morality - being only a kind of non-cognitive emotivism that can't produce any facts - has no basis in anything other than preference and opinion?

is that supposed to be some kind of 'problem'? i mean i can see how it might be for those who are concerned with having a clear conception of, and doing, the 'right' thing insofar as they're still thinking there is a 'right' thing... but what about those who couldn't care less whether or not there's a 'right' thing, and still have no problem deciding what to do in life? using myself as an example, i don't feel the least bit 'fractured and fragmented' as a nihilist or existentialist or whatever you wanna call it. no seriously, i don't struggle with any of this 'philosophically', homes. my shit is solid..... solid as-uh rock. that's-what-this-love-is.
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:25 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
My point then focuses in on how as either an existentialist a nihilist or an absurdist someone is still embedded in social interactions with others in any given community

This is true for everyone because life still goes on regardless of whatever ones world view is although having a more positive one would possibly help
It may be harder and particularly so for the nihilist but even they could find something that gives them pleasure within the meaningless of existence


Sure, one thing we all share in common are the biological imperatives built right into the genetics of DNA. Our brains were hardwired by the evolution of life on Earth to be able to invent the word "meaning". Then the part where meaning must revolve around what, embedded somewhere in the most primitive parts of the brain, is our "survival instinct". In other words, meaning attached to the reality of subsisting from day to day. The means of producing and reproducing that which actually makes this happen. Then meaning that revolves around reproducing ourselves literally. The meaning emanating from our libido. Then, finally, the part where meaning revolves around defending our "will to live" from enemies that want what we have. And are prepared to take it from us by whatever means necessary.

Then meaning really begins to explode once all of our basic needs are secured and we start in on all of the things that, as individuals, we want. The part that revolves around sports, careers, love, friendships, the arts, entertainment. Living the "good life" that can become more and more complicated the deeper we go.

And then the inevitable conflicts that crop up regarding who is able or not able to get what they want and need because, among other things, the rules of behavior in any given community revolve around social, political and economic interactions sustained less by "the right thing to do" and more by "what's in it for me?"

And here the nihilists and the absurdists in particular can come to embody a narcissistic/sociopathic approach in their interactions with others. No God, no objective morality. So, sure, why not be an entirely selfish, amoral egotist. In other words, you "reason" yourself to this conclusion.

With the existentialists though, it can get trickier. Once you begin to focus in on living "authentically", who knows where that can take you. After all, some existentialists are able even to include God in their narratives and agendas.

surreptitious75 wrote: One could however live with being a misanthrope because that is projected externally onto the world but it would be harder if one was a depressive
because that is projected internally onto oneself so there would have to be something else as well otherwise the logical conclusion would be suicide


Internally or externally, it all comes back [in my view] to how, in any particular individual, the genes and the memes play themselves out from the cradle to the grave. And in historical, cultural and interpersonal contexts that can be far, far, far removed from our own. We come into the world hardwired such that we are able to choose misanthropy, but...

Is it more important that, given a sequence of experiences [memes] that becomes our life, we are more likely to choose it?

That more nihilists and absurdists are likely to...what does that mean?
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:24 pm

surreptitious75 wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
I also suggest that while they believe there is no objective morality here that is not the same thing as demonstrating that this is in fact true

There is no obligation to demonstrate any truth as long as it is true for them
They can demonstrate it if they really want to but it will always be optional


Again, it depends on the context out in a particular world. Every human community creates its own historical, cultural and experiential rendition of the ubiquitous "rules of behavior". Do these things and you are rewarded, do those things and you are punished. In every which way.

And yet each individual has either more or less latitude in being able to go against the grain. So, any number of actual existentialists, nihilists and absurdists, will "play the game" and keep their opinions to themselves.

My point though is that having the opinion that there is no objective morality, whether others allow you to voice this opinion or not, is not able to be demonstrated to in fact reflect objective reality itself.

We are all forced to take a "leap" to one or another conclusion existentially. Whatever we call ourselves.

Unless, of course, someone out there has in fact demonstrated once and for all that morality is objective or not. And it simply hasn't gotten to me yet.

And that's before we get to any possible intelligent lifeforms on other planets. Species that were able to evolve -- philosophically, scientifically -- far, far beyond us. Imagine their input here.
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby promethean75 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:31 pm

And here the nihilists and the absurdists in particular can come to embody a narcissistic/sociopathic approach in their interactions with others. No God, no objective morality. So, sure, why not be an entirely selfish, amoral egotist. In other words, you "reason" yourself to this conclusion.


We narcissists and sociopaths don't even put that much thought in it, though. Our questions and reasons are simpler: we are young but getting old before our time. We'll leave the TV and the radio behind... don't you wonder what we'll find... steppin out tonight.
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:12 am

promethean75 wrote:
Then [for me] it comes down to how the existentialist, the nihilist or the absurdist reacts to the manner in which I construe the "self" here as "fractured and fragmented".


i've never been entirely certain about what you mean by 'fractured and fragmented' here. is this supposed to be some kind of state of uncertainty and indecisiveness a person would/should be in, if and when they they discover that the philosophy of morality - being only a kind of non-cognitive emotivism that can't produce any facts - has no basis in anything other than preference and opinion?


Yeah, pretty much. If it's important for some to believe they are in touch with the real me in sync with the right thing to do, and then [for whatever reason rooted in new experiences] think themselves into believing instead that "I" is basically an existential contraption ever and always evolving over time and drawn and quartered when confronting the arguments from all sides in regard to any particular moral and political issue, then, well, that is one way to encompass it. It works for me. In other words, when contrasting how, as an objectivist myself -- both God and No God -- I once felt wholly integrated in terms of both how I construed my own identity and with regard to what I believed one's moral obligation is as a rational and virtuous human being. And how I feel anything but that now.

But, sure, that's just my own unique trajectory. Others may well have very different ones given that, among other things, they have lived very, very different lives.

promethean75 wrote: is that supposed to be some kind of 'problem'?


Well, it certainly can become a problem for those who have spent most of their lives utterly convinced that, whatever their own personal opininions might be, they were either one of us [the good guys] or one of them [the bad guys].

And then finding themselves attacked by all sides [as I am here] because they refuse to become either one of them. Again, for the objectivists, it's not what they believe but that they believe it. It's the being able [psychologically] to plant roots into one or another religious and non-religious foundation that propels their behaviors the most.

promethean75 wrote: i mean i can see how it might be for those who are concerned with having a clear conception of, and doing, the 'right' thing insofar as they're still thinking there is a 'right' thing...


Exactly, the objectivists.

promethean75 wrote: but what about those who couldn't care less whether or not there's a 'right' thing, and still have no problem deciding what to do in life? using myself as an example, i don't feel the least bit 'fractured and fragmented' as a nihilist or existentialist or whatever you wanna call it. no seriously, i don't struggle with any of this 'philosophically', homes. my shit is solid..... solid as-uh rock. that's-what-this-love-is.


This of course is embedded in the sheer complexity of grappling with how and why any particular individual comes to think one way about it rather than another.

With me, this is considerably more difficult because I spent years convincing myself that objectivism was in fact the most rational and virtuous frame of mind. I'm talking nearly 20 years. And I am still not able to be convinced that moral nihilism is not just my own "intellectual contraption", however fractured and fragmented that makes me. At least it is something that I feel does come closest to the most reasonable frame of mind.
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby surreptitious75 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:33 am

There is no single world view that can be demonstrated to be the truly objective one and within both philosophy and religion there are very many
One can decide which if any is best suited for them but it is not something predetermined but a consequence of ones environment and psychology
One is in a state of constant change like everything else in the Universe and so ones philosophy may change over time as nothing is ever in vacuum

However I do not think there is an objective answer to the question of human existence because I do not think it is a valid question that can be answered
Because we can think in such abstract terms we may think there is an answer without considering the alternative that the question is simply meaningless

You live your life according to your ability and your moral code and then you die and remain dead for the rest of eternity
For some this is simply not acceptable but what is or is not acceptable with regard to reality is not for any one to decide
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby promethean75 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:06 pm

And I am still not able to be convinced that moral nihilism is not just my own "intellectual contraption"


if you read my 'introduction to analytical nihilism; a case study' you'd find that the conclusions i've arrived at are anything but 'intellectual contraptions'. in it i show extensively how the U.S. criminal justice system has done a terrible job at proving thrasymachus wrong, and that i am living proof of this. i show how not only is ethics not founded on an objective system of rational a prior axioms and principles, but also that in pretending they are, those who enforce the law (policies and procedures) can't even get that right. which is to say, the system is so incompetent it can't even fake it.

here's an example. what can be said about what is 'right' and 'wrong' when a single judge's decision to rule lifetime SBM (satellite based monitoring) for certain sex offenders an unconstitutional violation of the fourth amendment, when prior to this ruling it was considered constitutional? see it? it's right there staring you in the face. it means what is 'right' and 'wrong' is a matter of the opinion of those who have the power to put into law, their opinion. nothing more, nothing less. and this is the inherent nature of 'positive law'. we make it up as we go. we do not refer to some 'god', or some kantian deontology, or even any empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of said laws (e.g., there's no proof that the sex offender registry has caused a decline in sex offenses... much less lifetime based satellite monitoring). what we have, rather, is an ongoing experiment; in this case, a law is made which only later is proven to be ineffective... and then it is struck down. but wait a minute. you mean you weren't even sure if it woulda worked when you put it into law? what, you were just like 'fuck it, let's try it' and then later you said 'damn it didn't work... but who cares about all those people who suffered the experiment.'

and that, young man, is the rule of the strong over the weak. or in this case i should say the incompetent over the powerless. but the cherry on top is this; that even after recognizing the unconstitutional nature of this law, the criminal justice system is in no hurry to restore the rights of those victims of its incompetence. for five months now i've been seeking litigation for my SBM case. that's 150 days, biggs, for something that would take every bit of fifteen minutes to review. there are hundreds of cases just like my own. add to this the fact that i was not guilty of the conviction that got the SBM in the first place, and you've got something straight out of a kafka novel.

now i present no 'intellectual contraption' when i say the following: if the state does not prioritize and/or honor my constitutional rights as a citizen, all bets are off, and there is no civil contract between us. black and white, dude. no grey area here. no philosophical scratching of the head over questions like 'gosh, what's the right thing to do.' there is no 'right' and 'wrong' until this is resolved first... and thrasymachus wins the day.

analytical nihilists do it better, bro. our work is straight from the field. we don't need textbooks and we don't talk about it.' we point at it and rest our case.

next up: in chapter seven i show how all of this mess is reducible directly to the structures of capitalist society. all of it. the opportunistic cockroach prosecutors. the plea bargaining blackmail. the profit motivated privately owned penal institutions. the failed private-practice public defenders that are underpaid and over-worked. the sheer volume of crime in western consumerist societies. roll all this shit into one amorphous blob of self perpetuating nonsense... add a dash of highly intelligent anarchist betrayed by his state... and you get moi, the analytical nihilist who eats moralists for breakfast.
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby promethean75 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:47 pm

... and you're absolutely right about our 'trajectory'. you find all kinds of different people trying to converge on some agreement about a particular moral quandry (capital punishment, abortion, gun laws, all your favorites)... and each of these people will express what they believe is a 'rational' solution, but which will only ever be the testimony of a person who's opinions are nothing but a collection of theoretic-existential contingencies. go back five years and give them book x instead of book y, and they very well could be on the other side of the argument. so every objectivist's head is like a suppository of stuff he's picked up along the way... and he swears he's got the 'right' shit... but had the slightest thing/experience been different, he'd be hollering some other shit instead. we know this, you and me. but they don't. now here's the problem. a man's gotta stick to his guns, biggs, even if it's only a deluxe super-soaker, because that's all he's got. and you can't just demand that all these folks stand paralyzed before the abyss of uncertainty like you, man. joe's gonna believe that immigration is wrong and bob's gonna believe that abortion is right and harry is gonna believe that capital punishment is wrong, so on and so forth. now if you find entertainment in pestering these folks, you're being cruel.

people are already confused enough, biggs. the last thing you wanna do is turn them all into nihilists who cares about nah-sing. c'mon, man. you know how they are. first they think we're nazis then they think we're worse than nazis. you can't win with these people.
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Re: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:06 pm

promethean75 wrote:
people are already confused enough, biggs. the last thing you wanna do is turn them all into nihilists who cares about nah-sing. c'mon, man. you know how they are. first they think we're nazis then they think we're worse than nazis. you can't win with these people.


Few are more cynical and pessimistic about "the human condition" here than I am. That's why my point is basically that, in regard to the alleged "real me" in sync with the alleged "right thing to do", the existentialists, the nihilists and the absurdists are basically all in the same boat with everyone else.

And, sure, I imagine a world -- "in the absence of God all things are permitted" -- in which more and more people thought about all this the way that I do, and, well, we would probably be even more fucked.

Still, as is so often the case, what counts out in the "real world" is what your actual set of circumstances are. Just look at the evolution of human life on Earth and it shows you how many different combinations of social, political and economic interactions there can be.

The ENAs are just presumed [by me] to come closer to explaining it more reasonably in a No God world.

But they are still no less governed by the realities of the particular world they live in.

Only I have to be the first to acknowledge that my own philosophy of life is no less subsumed in my own philosophy of life. I just cannot know with any real degree of certainty how new experiences, new relationships and access to new information and knowledge [right here for example] might reconfigure "I" into...into what and who exactly?

And then oblivion.
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Mar 14, 2020 6:25 pm

The Difference Between Existentialism, Nihilism, and Absurdism
Three different ways of approaching the lack of intrinsic meaning.
By Daniel Miessler in Philosophy

For those who come to accept that life is without intrinsic meaning, there are three main ways to react.

1] Embracing or creating a meaning framework, such as a religion or a spirituality framework—because they believe it’s too hard to sad or difficult to live on without one

2] Acceptance of the lack of meaning, and living on with—and in spite of—this knowledge

3] Suicide, due to life being ultimately meaningless and therefore either too boring or too painful

I view Camus’ Absurdism as a fourth—and ultimately the most satisfactory—response, as it remains practical without abandoning intellectual integrity. It teaches simultaneous acceptance and rebellion.


Of course, in the modern world, the way in which many handle it is, by and large, by being totally oblivious to it as a serious question at all. Instead, they come to embody one or another "lifestyle" rooted in one or another combination of pop culture, mass consumption and celebrity worship. Indeed, the idea often being that, one way or another, they'll seek to achieve some measure of celebrity themselves. Their own 15 minutes up on the stage.

Then there are those who recognize that, with ample wherewithal, they can go about the business of making any number of littler things meaningful -- eating, drinking, fucking...creating art, following sports, pursuing a career, garnering friends, raising a family. Again, choosing a lifestyle, wrapping your mind and your body around that, and going about the business of living it to the fullest.

In other words, to the best of their ability, spend their days bursting at the seams with all manner of satisfaction and fulfilment. From their frame of mind why on earth would anyone actually want to be an existentialist, a nihilist or an absurdist? A "show me the money" hedonist, perhaps, but why actually choose tp be something that seems so fundamentally depressing?

Think, say, a Mr. Reasonable? All the folks that Tyler Durden was hell bent on wiping off the face of the Earth?

Besides, if you do need to go a little deeper in order to park your soul somewhere, there are any number of "spiritual" paths you can choose from. Again, all you need here is being able to afford what most of them charge you for it.

As for suicide, the most drastic option, this almost always revolves not around one's philosophy of life but around one's set of circumstances. You choose to die because the pain of living becomes too much. And that pain can come from any number of things that have little or nothing to do with being an existentialist, a nihilist or an absurdist.
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: existentialism, nihilism, absurdism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:26 pm

The Difference Between Existentialism, Nihilism, and Absurdism
Three different ways of approaching the lack of intrinsic meaning.
By Daniel Miessler in Philosophy

First of all, after you read the points being made by him, by me try to reconfigure them into the world that we live in today. The world of the coronavirus...

Adopting a religion or some sort of nebulous “spirituality”—as someone who has accepted the truth of intrinsic meaninglessness—amounts to either intellectual laziness, emotional weakness, or some combination thereof. It is to say that the truth is too difficult to consume and accept, and that you’ve chosen to believe something untrue because it is easier.


Of course assessments of this sort merely presume it must be the case because one cannot imagine a truly rational and intelligent person adopting a spiritual path other than as the embodiment of an inauthentic life.

As though your own assessment of the truth here is correct axiomatically. Why? Because your conclusion follows "by definition" from your premises. And there is often no attempt to actually demonstrate that this is the case other than by shifting the burden to the religionists to produce their God or spiritual font.

On the other hand, who is kidding whom. There are almost certainly any number of people who either have faith in a spiritual path because they have been indoctrinated by others all their lives to believe what they do, or because when push comes to shove they believe only what they want to be true because, psychologically, the belief in and of itself allows them to sustain at least some peace of mind.

Only, once again, how can anyone really know for sure what it is that another thinks about in regard to these things...or why and how they came to. There is only extrapolating from your own experiences or measuring the distance between what they claim to believe and what they can demonstrate is true.

Absurdism is about working within our human limitations, but without abandoning our respect for ourselves or the truth. Absurdists often either adopt or construct a belief structure that provides a day-to-day reprieve from the crushing impossibility of true meaning. Such constructs allow us to trick our evolution-soaked brains into extracting meaning from the universe, while never forgetting that the system itself is a trick.


No, absurdism revolves around making certain assumptions about human limitations based on the initial assumption that this revolves around having taken an intellectual leap of faith to an essentially meaningless world. A world in which the "search for meaning" is passed on to those who don't think about meaning in the same the way that the absurdist does.

And what's crucial is that the absurdists are still liable to go down any number of paths rooted in dasein. They might become hedonists or libertines or epicures or narcissists or sociopaths. There isn't a behavior around that can't be rationalized given the assumption there is nothing that meaning itself can be traced back to but that which you have come to ascribe it to.

Thus the "meaning" that is extracted from the universe is based entirely on whatever it is that you have "tricked" yourself into thinking that the universe is.
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
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