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Thread: Affirmative societies and the concealment of non-being

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    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Why does a philosophical point have to "go somewhere"? The point of philosophy is an unbiased examination of the truth, and if the truth is something trivial and uninteresting, that should not sway anyone from pursuing it. Strangely, it seems to sway almost everybody from actually acknowledging that there is even a truth to be found when the topic of conversation is anything that threatens to undermine the affirmative footing reinforced by society.
    Without any handwaving complete the following with something objective and somehow significant.

    Humans are such that need food to survive, therefore............

    The quote you give talks about dismissing trivialities but you introduce this triviality about food.
    It was part of my reply to your claim that life is not inherently a process of decline since people run marathons and go to college. The existence of runners and students is not a counterexample to the direction of entropy. The fact that our bodies predictably fail and are rendered permanently non-functional after a relatively short period without external sustenance is strong evidence that we are all indigent, destitute, prone to an encroaching lack-of-functionality--not just in our later years or when we get very ill, but from the start. Even as we manage to keep ourselves from getting too close to that precipice, we all must contend with disease and injury; even yet avoiding those, we eventually die as a matter of certainty. Thus, when philosophers, societies, and systems of ethics view life as going in one direction and death as an uninvited barricade coming from the other direction, they are not being truthful with themselves or with us.

    It's part of a larger pattern of death-denial that leads to all sorts of religious and secular delusions. This manifests itself in the regular congratulatory attitude toward new parents and the condemnation of all suicidal thoughts as mentally disordered, just to give a couple of examples. As if life were an unquestionable gift, and the only thing that could make it otherwise is pure bad luck, or a psychological defect, when the unappreciated reality is that death does not deprive us of anything that birth seems to have entitled us.

    Quote Originally Posted by p.157
    In current affirmative ethics, life and death are disconnected, where death is regularly seen as “interruption” and “defeat”, where death have no content; as Wittgenstein said, “one cannot live death”; when the deaths of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Giordano Bruno or Christ are “mourned”, their consummative character is misunderstood, and people persist on setting them in a dimension of “fracture”, as if those people could, with a little more care, “have lived longer”. They cannot visualize these ethical deaths as accomplishments of values in the sense of first-grade morality, giving their own life in exchange. Far from manifesting a morbid “self-destructiveness” - as an ordinary affirmative interpretation regularly considers - all these people made efforts to set their lives in consonance to the world structure. Strictly speaking, the hero and the martyr do not seek their own deaths, but they end up naturally finding it during the process of their negative lives, careless and risky. When disconnecting the habitual self-defense mechanisms, they get radically “exposed” and unsafe.
    To see that it could not have been any other way, that we all have lost the 'bet' on life as soon as it began, engenders a different way of thinking about one's own "right to self-defense", and prevents the demonization and blame of the "other", whether it be someone from a different country or an opposing political faction.

    Quote Originally Posted by p.159
    The elimination of “enemies” is one of the most typical forms affirmative societies use to deal with this ignored and displaced negativity. Through a conflictive commerce with my enemies, I can always postpone the structural negative for the time after their death. In this sense, there is no better “entertainment” than the game of war, a deviation affirmative society has used and abused throughout its whole bloody history. The empirical “enemies” forged in the intra-world, make us forget about the Great Enemy, which is certainly not nature, but its visualization as strange and evil. The construction of the enemy is an important part of that transformation of negativity into evil. Therefore, in the Project of Negative Ethics it was said that humans, under the impossibility of constructing a paradise, decided to construct a manageable hell. The manipulation of the others is a strange way of dealing with the negative, since the others are at the same impossible situation we are, and they are certainly not guilty of being my compulsive neighbors of not-being. The “creation” of the enemy is, thus, the apotheosis of concealment.

  2. Top | #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    It was part of my reply to your claim that life is not inherently a process of decline since people run marathons and go to college. The existence of runners and students is not a counterexample to the direction of entropy. The fact that our bodies predictably fail and are rendered permanently non-functional after a relatively short period without external sustenance is strong evidence that we are all indigent, destitute, prone to an encroaching lack-of-functionality--not just in our later years or when we get very ill, but from the start. Even as we manage to keep ourselves from getting too close to that precipice, we all must contend with disease and injury; even yet avoiding those, we eventually die as a matter of certainty. Thus, when philosophers, societies, and systems of ethics view life as going in one direction and death as an uninvited barricade coming from the other direction, they are not being truthful with themselves or with us.
    How are these not merely comments about a specific state of existence?

    My contention is we can only comment on states of existence, not "existence" itself. You are not disproving this.

    Life is short but food is only significant if it is hard to get. And if we have people around us we are not destitute because we need food.

    The decay can be slowed with exercise, including mental exercise, and nutrition. That is something incredibly significant.

    It's part of a larger pattern of death-denial that leads to all sorts of religious and secular delusions. This manifests itself in the regular congratulatory attitude toward new parents and the condemnation of all suicidal thoughts as mentally disordered, just to give a couple of examples. As if life were an unquestionable gift, and the only thing that could make it otherwise is pure bad luck, or a psychological defect, when the unappreciated reality is that death does not deprive us of anything that birth seems to have entitled us.
    The psychological causes for religion are many.

    The holy man allegedly closer to some god has real power over the people he can con into believing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by p.157
    In current affirmative ethics, life and death are disconnected, where death is regularly seen as “interruption” and “defeat”, where death have no content; as Wittgenstein said, “one cannot live death”; when the deaths of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Giordano Bruno or Christ are “mourned”, their consummative character is misunderstood, and people persist on setting them in a dimension of “fracture”, as if those people could, with a little more care, “have lived longer”. They cannot visualize these ethical deaths as accomplishments of values in the sense of first-grade morality, giving their own life in exchange. Far from manifesting a morbid “self-destructiveness” - as an ordinary affirmative interpretation regularly considers - all these people made efforts to set their lives in consonance to the world structure. Strictly speaking, the hero and the martyr do not seek their own deaths, but they end up naturally finding it during the process of their negative lives, careless and risky. When disconnecting the habitual self-defense mechanisms, they get radically “exposed” and unsafe.
    I see this as capricious. We can make of what we want of life and death.

    There is nothing objective to say about either however.

    It is all opinion. There is no proper course.

    To see that it could not have been any other way, that we all have lost the 'bet' on life as soon as it began, engenders a different way of thinking about one's own "right to self-defense", and prevents the demonization and blame of the "other", whether it be someone from a different country or an opposing political faction.
    What we have done by being born is beat incredible astronomical odds. Of course once an egg meets a sperm the chance is realized.

    But the odds of that sperm meeting that egg are too big to even fathom. It required a whole lot of life preceding it. An endless string.

    So one can focus on the decay or focus on beating the odds.

    There is no objective way to decide. It is just something people can decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by p.159
    The elimination of “enemies” is one of the most typical forms affirmative societies use to deal with this ignored and displaced negativity. Through a conflictive commerce with my enemies, I can always postpone the structural negative for the time after their death. In this sense, there is no better “entertainment” than the game of war, a deviation affirmative society has used and abused throughout its whole bloody history. The empirical “enemies” forged in the intra-world, make us forget about the Great Enemy, which is certainly not nature, but its visualization as strange and evil. The construction of the enemy is an important part of that transformation of negativity into evil. Therefore, in the Project of Negative Ethics it was said that humans, under the impossibility of constructing a paradise, decided to construct a manageable hell. The manipulation of the others is a strange way of dealing with the negative, since the others are at the same impossible situation we are, and they are certainly not guilty of being my compulsive neighbors of not-being. The “creation” of the enemy is, thus, the apotheosis of concealment.
    Many societies in the past have had to deal with real enemies.

    The "dealing with enemies" is something ingrained in societies because of this past, not individuals. Modern societies have large institutions and there is institutional activity established by humans but superseding any individual human desire.

  3. Top | #23
    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post

    How are these not merely comments about a specific state of existence?
    Because it is true of all humans everywhere, regardless of their specific state of existence. I thought I had made that clear?

    My contention is we can only comment on states of existence, not "existence" itself. You are not disproving this.
    First, I need not disprove something that has no basis to begin with. After all, I can comment on anything I want, and so can others. If one of the things we choose to comment on is the problems at the roots of human existence, then you'll just have to deal with that. Don't you ever talk about things in general, rather than specific attributes of those things? If someone told you "we cannot comment on capitalism in general, only on specific policies enacted by existing capitalist economies," wouldn't you think they were being obtuse?

    Life is short but food is only significant if it is hard to get. And if we have people around us we are not destitute because we need food.

    The decay can be slowed with exercise, including mental exercise, and nutrition. That is something incredibly significant.
    Not in any way that refutes what is being said. Your choice of words acknowledges that decay is the default state, and actions are taken by humans in opposition to it, in order to slow it down. That's all Cabrera is trying to highlight, in contrast to the usual thinking about life and death. People tend to think good health, mental fortitude, and education are things that prove life is good and valuable, something to be thankful for. But those things are actually mitigation strategies, postponing strategies. We erect them as barriers against the actual direction of life, which as you acknowledge is decay.

    It's part of a larger pattern of death-denial that leads to all sorts of religious and secular delusions. This manifests itself in the regular congratulatory attitude toward new parents and the condemnation of all suicidal thoughts as mentally disordered, just to give a couple of examples. As if life were an unquestionable gift, and the only thing that could make it otherwise is pure bad luck, or a psychological defect, when the unappreciated reality is that death does not deprive us of anything that birth seems to have entitled us.
    The psychological causes for religion are many.

    The holy man allegedly closer to some god has real power over the people he can con into believing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by p.157
    In current affirmative ethics, life and death are disconnected, where death is regularly seen as “interruption” and “defeat”, where death have no content; as Wittgenstein said, “one cannot live death”; when the deaths of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Giordano Bruno or Christ are “mourned”, their consummative character is misunderstood, and people persist on setting them in a dimension of “fracture”, as if those people could, with a little more care, “have lived longer”. They cannot visualize these ethical deaths as accomplishments of values in the sense of first-grade morality, giving their own life in exchange. Far from manifesting a morbid “self-destructiveness” - as an ordinary affirmative interpretation regularly considers - all these people made efforts to set their lives in consonance to the world structure. Strictly speaking, the hero and the martyr do not seek their own deaths, but they end up naturally finding it during the process of their negative lives, careless and risky. When disconnecting the habitual self-defense mechanisms, they get radically “exposed” and unsafe.
    I see this as capricious. We can make of what we want of life and death.

    There is nothing objective to say about either however.

    It is all opinion. There is no proper course.
    Well, you can say that about pretty much anything that involves value judgments, including all of ethics. Cabrera's point was that it is not necessarily true that dying in service of a moral principle is tragic, and that we can only approach this other way of understanding the deaths of such figures by adopting a different stance on life and death themselves.

    To see that it could not have been any other way, that we all have lost the 'bet' on life as soon as it began, engenders a different way of thinking about one's own "right to self-defense", and prevents the demonization and blame of the "other", whether it be someone from a different country or an opposing political faction.
    What we have done by being born is beat incredible astronomical odds. Of course once an egg meets a sperm the chance is realized.

    But the odds of that sperm meeting that egg are too big to even fathom. It required a whole lot of life preceding it. An endless string.

    So one can focus on the decay or focus on beating the odds.

    There is no objective way to decide. It is just something people can decide.
    Those are odds, but we don't have to think of our coming into existence as lucky just because it was unlikely. For someone to get struck by lightning and hit by a bus simultaneously is staggeringly unlikely, but nobody would say "we should focus on how he beat the odds" rather than how he got zapped and pancaked at the same time.

    Many societies in the past have had to deal with real enemies.

    The "dealing with enemies" is something ingrained in societies because of this past, not individuals. Modern societies have large institutions and there is institutional activity established by humans but superseding any individual human desire.
    Yes! And these institutions thrive on affirmation, support, concealment, and hypocrisy in the face of moral outrages. Exactly that.

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