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Humanism and Existentialism
Posted: 31 May 2014 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Well, apparently Vyazma managed to extract secular humanistic principles from the christian humanism the teacher presented him with.  smile

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Posted: 31 May 2014 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Occam. - 31 May 2014 05:17 PM

Well, apparently Vyazma managed to extract secular humanistic principles from the christian humanism the teacher presented him with.  smile

Occam

Well I became an atheist at the same time roughly. 6th or 7th grade. I just thought the nun was spewing the same old catholic School Mumbo Jumbo.
The religion class Nun was also probably a humanist too.  She had lot’s of those peace signs with the dove stickers. Played guitar and sang for us.

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Posted: 31 May 2014 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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VYAZMA - 31 May 2014 05:25 PM
Occam. - 31 May 2014 05:17 PM

Well, apparently Vyazma managed to extract secular humanistic principles from the christian humanism the teacher presented him with.  smile

Occam

Well I became an atheist at the same time roughly. 6th or 7th grade. I just thought the nun was spewing the same old catholic School Mumbo Jumbo.
The religion class Nun was also probably a humanist too.  She had lot’s of those peace signs with the dove stickers. Played guitar and sang for us.

A person can do those things and not be a humanist.

Lois

Lois, you may want to go back to posts 14 and 15.  Vy clearly stated “My seventh grade history teacher was a Humanist Catholic Nun.  She taught us many values of Humanism.”  While you define religious humanism and secular humanism as exclusive of each other, you can’t successfully demand that Vyazma accept your definition.

Occam

[ Edited: 01 June 2014 12:06 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 01 June 2014 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Achrelos - 31 May 2014 06:09 AM

And as for Existentialism, why do you say it is grounded in confusion? I am certainly confused by it, but I don’t really have enough experience with it to understand why you say that. Does it literally hold confusion in general as a feature?

My understanding of it was, sort of a stance which claims that all other philosophies have failed, and can’t reach the modern individual; or that other philosophies are not “deep” enough…...something like that.

I’m no student of philosophy, but existentialism was just something I was slightly interested several years ago. I really don’t know, or GAF if I’m wrong.

[ Edited: 01 June 2014 03:24 AM by mid atlantic ]
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Posted: 01 June 2014 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Existentialism is extreme nihilism.

Lois

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Posted: 01 June 2014 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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OK, this program is acting up.  First, I tried to move a long spam message this morning and it deleted it.  Just now I tried to respond to Lois’ post #18 as a separate post, and the stupid thing stuck us all together in what had been Lois’ short post.  Sorry about that, Lois.

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Posted: 03 June 2014 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Well, Sarte was pretty clear:

L’existentialisme est un humanisme (Fear not! It is an English link…)

Translated literally: Existentialism is a [form of] Humanism.

But he did write the book in this way because he felt that existentialism was misunderstood as nihilism.

Without having deep insight in the humanist or existentialist literature, I would say that existentialism is much more about the personal experience of freedom, fear, responsibility, death and the meaning of life. Humanism as I see it is much more a set of values, and ideas about how these values affect our daily life. They have different accents, but are very much overlapping and complementary.

Theist humanism is perfectly possible of course: it bases its humanist values on just on some belief. Christianity can therefore be a good source for humanist values. If you take from the two main messages of Jesus ‘Love God’ and ‘Love your neighbour’ (short versions…), just the second one, you have a (very…) general base for humanism.

To be complete, there is also the Christian version of existentialism (see Kierkegaard), which was in fact the historical predecessor of the later atheist versions of existentialism. Christians who did not take every word of their priests as truth, also wrestled with questions about freedom, fear, responsibility etc.

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Posted: 03 June 2014 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Well, let’s be honest here. Christianity is the source of almost nothing. The things we associate with Christianity predate it (or were stolen from other religions by various churches). Heck even Christmas isn’t Christian.

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Posted: 08 June 2014 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Hi…

Just my fifty cents here since I’m learning a bit more about Existentialism and I find it very interesting.

As GdB said, Sartre called Existentialism a (form of) humanism, and I really, really would love to read his big book, but might never get there. From what I get though, Existentialism is not a philosophy at all, and can’t be compared with Humanism. Maybe they share elements, but so do many things.

Existentialism, as far as I get it, is actually a reaction against a scientific (and deterministic) worldview. Sort of like Romanticism in the face of the Enlightenment. It seeks to bring “the human element” back into a world of physics and where everything can be calculated one way or the other. It’s also not philosophy as normally understood. It uses novels, stageplays, poetry, movies, etc., and treatises to make its point, but “that point” is always dependent upon the “existentialist”, as there is no school or agreement, as pretty much all the “existentialists” consider themselves free thinkers outside any school, and even Sartre only having used that term to be somehow understood as people began labeling him.

By the way, I’m writing here to understand this better myself.

Being rather poetic-minded I love this Existentialism thing, just as I like the Romantics, but I would throw it in a box with art, not philosophy, and therefore not comparable to Humanism on that level.

Peace.

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Posted: 11 June 2014 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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GdB - 03 June 2014 01:38 AM

Theist humanism is perfectly possible of course: it bases its humanist values on just on some belief. Christianity can therefore be a good source for humanist values. If you take from the two main messages of Jesus ‘Love God’ and ‘Love your neighbour’ (short versions…), just the second one, you have a (very…) general base for humanism.

I always thought that “Love thy neighbor as thyself” was a very humanistic message.  Can you really be expected to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself?  But you can love your neighbor for the same reason you love yourself, because you are both human beings.

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Posted: 11 June 2014 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Michelle D. - 08 June 2014 12:38 PM

Hi…

Just my fifty cents here since I’m learning a bit more about Existentialism and I find it very interesting.

As GdB said, Sartre called Existentialism a (form of) humanism, and I really, really would love to read his big book, but might never get there. From what I get though, Existentialism is not a philosophy at all, and can’t be compared with Humanism. Maybe they share elements, but so do many things.

Existentialism, as far as I get it, is actually a reaction against a scientific (and deterministic) worldview. Sort of like Romanticism in the face of the Enlightenment. It seeks to bring “the human element” back into a world of physics and where everything can be calculated one way or the other. It’s also not philosophy as normally understood. It uses novels, stageplays, poetry, movies, etc., and treatises to make its point, but “that point” is always dependent upon the “existentialist”, as there is no school or agreement, as pretty much all the “existentialists” consider themselves free thinkers outside any school, and even Sartre only having used that term to be somehow understood as people began labeling him.

By the way, I’m writing here to understand this better myself.

Being rather poetic-minded I love this Existentialism thing, just as I like the Romantics, but I would throw it in a box with art, not philosophy, and therefore not comparable to Humanism on that level.

Peace.

Nicely said, Michelle. I have no idea if you are correct, but if not, you could have fooled me.

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Posted: 11 June 2014 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Lois - 01 June 2014 08:22 AM

Existentialism is extreme nihilism.

Lois

If anything, I would guess that, nihilism is an extreme form of existentialism.— With existentialism calling in to question the meaning of life, while nihilism has already decided that the answer is that there is no meaning.

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Posted: 11 June 2014 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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It appears obvious to me that life does have meaning, but ONLY the meaning that we each assign to it.  As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 11 June 2014 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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TimB - 11 June 2014 03:37 PM

It appears obvious to me that life does have meaning, but ONLY the meaning that we each assign to it.  As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Yes, that’s one angle.
Another angle is that outside of the DNA code to replicate(assigning some basic drivers such as food, shelter, reproduction)
there is no meaning to humanity. As such we relate to these “meanings” through behavioral drives, but they do not constitute any
meaning as a long term goal or destination. A purpose.
That’s opposed to an assigned meaning such as “we are god’s creations and we are here to build a heaven on Earth”.

Your points on fabrications are well taken.
Also as you said, each individual can assign meaning to his or her own life-definitely. But as a humanity, I see no purpose.
An individual is perfectly capable of making the distinction between “individual” and “humanity” and plotting a course that doesn’t involve nihilism.

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Posted: 11 June 2014 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Hi Tim,

Thanks for your comment. To be quite honest, I’m not sure if I’m correct. This is just the way I view this right now, this “existentialist movement”. I guess to really understand it, you would have to dig deeply into everyone of these varied folks. Which I’d love to do, but unless it’s part of my classes I doubt I’ll find the time for that.

I wouldn’t really agree with Lois though concerning nihilism. Actually I’d say Existentialism is hope in the face of nihilism, the latter being in fact the logical result of a godless universe… unless you give it meaning, which is Nietzsche’s whole point. Hence the whole “God is dead” thing. It wasn’t a wish, it wasn’t an ideal to say that. It was a mirror to say, if God is dead, and he is dead, as we have killed him, what then? “Who will wash the blood off our hands, us murderers of all murderers?”

There is no one meaning of life for everything or everyone, because each individual gives life their own meaning, just as you say, and that meaning is by no means meaningless, as theists would often have it. Why should it be? Is my life meaningless just because there is no God? Why? It’s quite meaningful to me. Telling me it’s meaningless just because there is no God is pretty in your face condescending. I’m a human being, and I think that’s where the humanist element comes in. Only the human being has that capacity to give things meaning. (As far as we think about it anyway.)

Sorry, too much babble already. I really enjoy reading this existentialist stuff, although there’s so much and some of it so weird that it’s hard to wrap your mind around unless you really make that your goal… which, now that I think of it, would be a nice goal actually wink

Peace.

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