Friday, February 6, 2015

An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology

"Thus it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations."

"Apparently those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence happiness would be impossible. It is a kind of universal hypnosis. There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man, to remind him by his constant knocks that there are unhappy people, and that happy as he himself may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, catastrophe will overtake him--sickness, poverty, loss--and nobody will see it, just as he now neither sees nor hears the misfortunes of others. But there is no man with a hammer, the happy man goes on living and the petty vicissitudes of life touch him lightly, like the wind in an aspen-tree, and all is well."

15 comments:

  1. Humans are by nature self-centered. That default setting is essential to survival of the species. So it goes.

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    1. I don't believe that "essential." Self-centeredness is the original sin, the fall, the looking-away-from-God.

      The first quote below the graph is from Sartre, the second from Chekhov.

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    2. Perhaps you are right. I will ponder your correction. And I will do so within the context of my recollected readings of Job.

      However, what if original sin is a false construct? The majority of the people in the world (non-Christians) might have different views. Are they wrong?

      But, I return to my first 3 sentences -- perhaps / ponder / context.

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    3. The majority of people in the world can certainly be wrong. What's so hard to believe about that? You can even leave God out of the equation; my claim is that raising selfishness to a virtue is a great social evil. The greatest. The second great social evil, indifference, might just be a form of selfishness.

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    4. Ayn Rand might argue otherwise. But . . . again . . . perhaps you are right, and I will ponder the points and counter-points. Pondering is my new hobby. Health issues have a way of making pondering an urgent activity. I certainly do not have time and energy any more for arguing. Pondering, however, is a priority.

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    5. Ayn Rand was an agent of darkness.

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    6. Again, I do not care to argue. Perhaps I should have remained silent from the outset. So let us not continue down the argument path. From me -- silence.

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    7. Are we arguing? I guess there's no excess value to be extracted from discussing disagreements.

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    8. Oh, I guess it is not argument. Perhaps my terminology is wrong. But let me frame my response this way: once upon a time, when I was being raised joylessly in a no-holds-barred fundamentalist home, the answer to every issue (according to my mother) was to be found only in Christianity. So, now, when anyone ever cites Christianity in any philosophical context (or any other context for that matter), I see it as a trump card that forecloses discussion and forces me out of the game; in other words, I am led to believe that if I do not embrace those same values, then there is something wrong-headed in my understanding of the issues. You see, I was never very good at card games, and trump cards remain my Achilles' heel, so you will have to forgive me (please) if I have a skewed approach to discussions/arguments in which Christianity as trump card is invoked in terms that leads to anyone not being Christian is necessarily wrong. Now, let us do each other a favor, no more discussion.

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    9. Nobody's forcing you into a debate, Tim. I can understand your knee-jerk reaction to the mention of God, though. I was that way myself, for a long time.

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    10. I too often say more than I should when I should have instead remained silent. This has been another instance.

      My "belief" in a "higher power" is complicated but solid; however, neither God nor Christ figure prominently. All such matters should be intensely and purely personal.

      And I'm doing it again: speaking (writing) when silence would be more appropriate.

      Scott, change of subject, I hope the writing effort are going well for you. Let the world know when you work out the Chekhovian script section. Or has it been resolved?

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    11. I'm working on the Chekhov play now. It's very complex, it turns out. I'm writing it all out of order, which surprised me. But I think it'll be moving and funny.

      Writing stage directions turns out to be really hard. I want it to be a true play, actually performable, not just a short story that looks like a script.

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    12. I recall a playwriting strategy (from the undergraduate course) -- visualize and write the dialogue first, and then (re)visualize the action so that you can add the stage directions later (i.e., all stage directions must be related to dialogue via cause-and-effect). That may confuse rather than help, but that was my approach. Of course, many of my early efforts in first drafts looked pretty ragged, but the (re)visions made things fall into place.

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    13. Postscript: Note that many directors, designers, and actors resent playwrights' stage directions. But, of course, you are writing for the novel rather than the stage, so you have a different narrative agenda.

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    14. Well, in my world, the action is as much communication as is the dialogue, so they have to be written at the same time. Neither one precedes the other. But you're right: my main objective is to write something that will be read in the context of a novel of sorts.

      What I actually meant is that the stage directions are hard to phrase, to make coherent as both stage directions and as action in a narrative; it's not so hard to figure out what the characters are doing on stage. Maybe I shouldn't worry about it actually being a proper script. That would be cheating, though.

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