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Recommended reading

Re: Recommended reading
July 22, 2009, 07:47:04 AM
It appears I have misread his work then, which is a shame. It always felt like a cop out, and at the end of C+P I was very frustrated with the salvation of Raskolnikov. I always felt he was merely keeping up pretences to have his work read.

I think a writer, who deals closely with Dostoyesky's work is Camus, but does his work fit in with ANUS philosophy? Regardless of whether it does or not I still find him to be an amazing writer/thinker. The myth of Sisyphus is a very optimistic text, maybe working with the same ideas in Nietzsche's Zarathustra.

Re: Recommended reading
July 22, 2009, 08:36:16 AM
Existentialism is the adaptation of nihilism to post-WWII revolutionary leftism and modernism. An existentialist will find some common ground with ANUS and the other way round, but what do you think? Does Camus' work contribute valuable things to the canon of philosophy? Or is it just meant for jazz fans and perverts to feel good about their lives and themselves?

Re: Recommended reading
July 22, 2009, 08:48:36 AM
I think both Camus and Sartre are influenced very heavily by Nietzsche, and dealt with it both through literature and through philosophy. I think as a writer and philosophy Camus is more accesable, as Sartre gets bogged down to much within critical language, which in regards to existentialist ideals complicates matters a bit to much. I'm not to sure if that communicates what I'm saying but Camus definetly has a way of cutting the crap and getting to the point. The Myth of Sisyphus is a great text, and like I said I think it covers some of the same ground that Nietzsche covered, but I think where as Nietzsche valued the quality of life, Camus argues for a quantity of living. I think both texts scream out Carpe Diem, but do so in different ways. I think in that sense they open themselves up to great readings and messages.

Does it allow jazz fans and perverts to feel good about themselves? I think it attempts to do more than that. I assume you are refering to Mersault, and I feel that he often gets misrepresented as a hero when he is nothing more than a philosophical manifestation in a fictional character. He isn't meant to be this great savior as he is often taken to be. I think as a character, he stands as an antithesis to Camus arguement in the MoS, but for the understanding of absurdism in the context of The Outsider he is essential. He had to be detached from the world, to not care, to have no emotional connection.

Re: Recommended reading
July 22, 2009, 05:06:56 PM
DON QUIXOTE is an absolute MUST, if you ask me.  Utterly charming and inspiring; totally "aristocratic."  No novel is more essential if you plan to read fiction throughout your life.  King Lear and DQ are my favorite pieces of fiction EVER.

And if you decide to read it, don't flake out and only read book 1!

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 04:40:45 AM
DON QUIXOTE is an absolute MUST, if you ask me.  Utterly charming and inspiring; totally "aristocratic."  No novel is more essential if you plan to read fiction throughout your life.  King Lear and DQ are my favorite pieces of fiction EVER.

And if you decide to read it, don't flake out and only read book 1!

As far as I'm concerned, Don Quixote is a must for anyone who wants to grasp the foundation of the modern novel. Along with that, this novel covers more ground than anything that has been written since.

As strange as this may sound, it's the quickest thousand pages you'll ever read.

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 01:03:20 PM
Existentialism is the adaptation of nihilism to post-WWII revolutionary leftism and modernism.

Existentialism has its roots a lot earlier than that...

Camus and Sartre are a waste of time, wholly.

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 07:18:14 PM
Existentialism is the adaptation of nihilism to post-WWII revolutionary leftism and modernism.

Existentialism has its roots a lot earlier than that...

You mean Kierkegaard? I admit I forgot about him. I guess many of things said in this thread (or in Nietzsche) about Dostoyevski apply to him as well.

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 10:41:23 PM
I think his Christianity was sincere enough. The end of C+P was Dostoevsky's rather rushed Ad Hoc solution to "nihilism" and Western ideas by using Christianity as the answer. He finds himself in a similar situation with the Grand Inquisitor. The truth is too overwhelmingly difficult to bare so he looks to Christian teachings and figures for an ideal (in particular, Father Zosima). There's not always salvation either, Notes from the Underground and The Idiot have two of the most miserable, unresolved endings I've ever read.

"If someone proved to me that Christ is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth."
Fyodor Dostoevsky

I think this ultimately the most disappointing aspect of his work, he could of heralded a new wave of philosophy with Nietzsche but instead found himself in a reactionary Christian stance. Still makes for great reading though.

How is that sentiment - that life (in this instance a Christian life) is more important than truth - somehow disappointing, or "un-Nietzschean," when Nietzsche himself proposed the very same?

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 11:04:40 PM
How is that sentiment - that life (in this instance a Christian life) is more important than truth - somehow disappointing, or "un-Nietzschean," when Nietzsche himself proposed the very same.

Sleight of hand: "life" != "life as defined by Christianity."

Increasingly, however, I see Christianity less as the enemy than secular liberalism. It's the same ideal everywhere. It infests anything. Crowdism, sure, call it that. Whatever it is, it's entropy and the only way to avoid it is to have a clear forward (not progressive) goal.


Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 11:13:40 PM
Sartre's existentialism is based on a misreading of Heidegger. Sartre is a humanist; Heidegger an anti-humanist.

In Being and Time Heidegger outlines what he calls the existential structure of Dasein (human being). This underlying structure allows the human subject to show up as the thing it is in occupying a public station of being (father, mother, son, worker, runner, teacher etc). Dasein's understands its current modality as its existentiell mode of being. The existential scaffold is what makes the existentiell subject possible. Because Dasein is essentially "interpretation all the way down," its existentiell roles do not ground its essence but are that which it presses into in order to flee confronting its own death (what Heidegger calls its ownmost potentiality). This potentiality is a groundless nothingness in which Dasein is not able to be.

Sartre misunderstands this in equating the existential with the existentiell. He gives a subjective reading of Dasein, whereby he illegitimately equates "consciousness" with Dasein. The Heideggerian structure of Dasein extends to the world in which it finds itself such that we cannot pluck Dasein out of its world, or in any sense consider it an isolated subject in a world but must always acknowledge that it is already bound up with a world. The existential structure of Dasein is that which founds a clearing in which "subject" and "object" can show up. Sartre's subjective reading completely ignores this fundamental ontology of Being and Time that establishes Dasein as being-in-the-world. Sartre introduces a crude ontological dualism whereby Dasein is for-itself and non-conscious things are "in-itself."

Whereas Heidegger's ontology has gained acceptance even in some "analytic" circles, with his attack on the Cartesian subject proving extremely useful in A.I., Sartre is widely regarded as a weak philosopher and he is more regarded for his novels than his philosophical works. However, despite his misunderstandings, I  do believe he has some powerful insight into inter-personal relations, particularly in the context of master/slave relationships such as all types of sadism and surveillance. However, I'm afraid he is not really an essential thinker.

In a certain sense, Heidegger provides a non-theistic model for "post-nihilism" to set against Kierkegaard's existential faith. For Keirkegaard, the only hope for a meaningful life that could survive catastrophic misfortune and illness was belief in a Christian God. Sure, one could be an athlete or a hedonist, but one could break his leg or lose his sight through illness and hence be deprived of those two avenues of meaning, leaving one to despair in nothingness. Only a faith in God would survive the worst that might befall us. For Heidegger, even though the core of Dasein was nothingness, and the anxiety of this nihilism bound up with the very structure of Dasein itself, Dasein could become resolute via a call to embrace this nothingness authentically. Resolute Dasein understands the nothingness of its ownmost potential for being (that it is temporal and ultimately being-towards-death) but projects itself back into the ways and roles ("for-the-sake-of-whichs") of its culture. In this way Dasein dwells within its culture and does not simply flee its ownmost truth through diversion in the "they-self" (or "one-self") of those who seek escapism from the burden of their mortality.

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 11:27:55 PM
How is that sentiment - that life (in this instance a Christian life) is more important than truth - somehow disappointing, or "un-Nietzschean," when Nietzsche himself proposed the very same.

Sleight of hand: "life" != "life as defined by Christianity."

Increasingly, however, I see Christianity less as the enemy than secular liberalism. It's the same ideal everywhere. It infests anything. Crowdism, sure, call it that. Whatever it is, it's entropy and the only way to avoid it is to have a clear forward (not progressive) goal.



The point is that it doesn't matter whether a "lifestyle" is propositionally true but rather how it influences the impelling force of life (the will to power).

I agree with you about Christianity. I would rather be a Christian than secularist. I always found Tolstoy's Christianity more convincing than Dostoyevsky's.

****

Two reasons that modernity fails:

1 - Reduction of all beings to nothing but commodity. The Earth is a petrol station. People, animals, plants etc are pure resources.

Leading to:

2 - Subversion of the will to power into a will to will, whereby power is willed for its own sake. End result: Oppenheimer's bomb. "I am become death, destroyer of worlds" Worst manifestations: Ayn Rand, Objectivism, radical individualism, modern Satanism, "Left Hand Path" fillosofi, Libertarianism.

We don't need to destroy worlds or gain absolute mastery over them but instead act as shepherds and gardeners to cultivate a world in which something like holiness might return.

Re: Recommended reading
July 23, 2009, 11:58:09 PM
Camus' existential absurdism is similar to that of Bataille in his essay on Hegel and death. Hegel thought that in order to be a man, man had to project himself at his own death such that he negatively embraced it and did not dimissively reject it as "nothing." Hegel detested those that reacted with gaiety in the face of death but Bataille thinks its rather funny, in an absurd way, that Hegel is implying that in order to fully reveal himself man must die while still living. The guys from Deathspell Omega based a song on the Bataille essay (on the Crushing the Holy Trinity split). I used to think that they didn't really understand it, as Bataille is arguing that absurdism and comedy are a worthy alternative to Hegelian negative-death-projection and I didn't think that DSO would agree, but I realise now that the concept of DSO is inherently absurd and exactly based on a Hegelian/Bataillean concept of orthodox religion and absurd blasphemy combined. Anyhow, if we take out the Hegel, this kind of absurdism "in the face of death" can be found throughout Camus. It's a finger in the face of totalisation. Laughter at death can be a powerful thing. Bataille sees it too in "Finnegan's (sic) Wake," but I think that's too simple because that work is both the totalisation itself and the absurdist reaction.

Aside from all that, I always thought that The Outsider reads kind of like a Myspace page.

Re: Recommended reading
July 24, 2009, 12:42:37 AM
I'm currently reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. It's like Ayn Rand only ideologically inverted.

Re: Recommended reading
July 24, 2009, 06:03:24 AM
How is that sentiment - that life (in this instance a Christian life) is more important than truth - somehow disappointing, or "un-Nietzschean," when Nietzsche himself proposed the very same.

Sleight of hand: "life" != "life as defined by Christianity."

Increasingly, however, I see Christianity less as the enemy than secular liberalism. It's the same ideal everywhere. It infests anything. Crowdism, sure, call it that. Whatever it is, it's entropy and the only way to avoid it is to have a clear forward (not progressive) goal.

The point is that it doesn't matter whether a "lifestyle" is propositionally true but rather how it influences the impelling force of life (the will to power).

I agree with you about Christianity. I would rather be a Christian than secularist. I always found Tolstoy's Christianity more convincing than Dostoyevsky's.
It's more the reality that Dostoevsky wasn't able to move past the need for Christianity and God in his philosophy, and in the end cripples works like Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov; Rodion and Ivan are reduced to enfeebled idiots and become invalidated, only when they regress to Christianity are they miraculously saved and any spiritual suffering ended.

Re: Recommended reading
July 24, 2009, 01:34:34 PM
It's a finger in the face of totalisation.

And thus a stab against sacralization and integralism. Not my path.

In Being and Time Heidegger outlines what he calls the existential structure of Dasein (human being). This underlying structure allows the human subject to show up as the thing it is in occupying a public station of being (father, mother, son, worker, runner, teacher etc). Dasein's understands its current modality as its existentiell mode of being. The existential scaffold is what makes the existentiell subject possible. Because Dasein is essentially "interpretation all the way down," its existentiell roles do not ground its essence but are that which it presses into in order to flee confronting its own death (what Heidegger calls its ownmost potentiality). This potentiality is a groundless nothingness in which Dasein is not able to be.

Ah, interesting: another restatement of Hinduism and Platonic forms. Transcendence versus the karmic cycle.

We don't need to destroy worlds or gain absolute mastery over them but instead act as shepherds and gardeners to cultivate a world in which something like holiness might return.

For this you need sacralization, and for you to have that, you must purge every liberal impulse from your body. The cries of "it's not fair" and focus on the individual de-sacralize earth even more than being a fat capitalist with cigar and fountain pen.