Overcoming

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Existentialism
  3. » Overcoming

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 04:52 pm
Overcoming is quite possibly one of the understated goals or methods of existential thinkers. In Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, they talk about overcoming in quite different ways; the Knight of Faith is about overcoming doubt in yourself and in God, the ubermensch is about overcoming "man".

In Sartre, while he discusses the overstated goals of living with freedom; he implicitly states bad faith is something to be overcome. Camus, Fanon, and de Beauvoir; all discuss overcoming: overcoming absurdity, the white man, and males.

Is overcoming desirable? Is it something that should be embraced? I mean, I'm all for becoming a better man and finding my true existential self. But do you really need to overcome your faults, mistakes, the social world in order to do so?
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:25 pm
@Victor Eremita,
You need to overcome the lies that you cling to...or is it the truths? I can never remember.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 06:36 pm
@Grimlock,
It's both the lies and the truths.

Sure, overcoming is crucial to human existence. In any respect. Overcoming, essentially, is the recognition of change and being comfortable with change. And, as they say, change is the only constant.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sat 13 Sep, 2008 07:29 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Kant remarks that enlightenment is the overcoming of the tutelage of others, or the unthinking reliance upon others for guidance or opinions. Doesn't it seem that this kind of overcoming is important in establishing one's spiritual and intellectual independence?

Existentialists, and rightly so, make living authentically the primary ethical goal of the individual, for one to "become who you are" in Nietzsche's striking exhortation; given the nature of world in which we live, this becomes more and more a contest (an overcoming) between the Self and the World, whether in thought or action.
 
Gwyniviere
 
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 11:24 am
@Victor Eremita,
I think that one must overcome ones doubts in order to grow, as when one has doubts one has fear. Fear tends to consume us and deter us from seeking the "truth". Nietzsche stated that "we must look for the motive behind the motive".
 
Fairbanks
 
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 12:52 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
Kant remarks that enlightenment is the overcoming of the tutelage of others, or the unthinking reliance upon others for guidance or opinions. Doesn't it seem that this kind of overcoming is important in establishing one's spiritual and intellectual independence?

Existentialists, and rightly so, make living authentically the primary ethical goal of the individual, for one to "become who you are" in Nietzsche's striking exhortation; given the nature of world in which we live, this becomes more and more a contest (an overcoming) between the Self and the World, whether in thought or action.

Smile Many good comments. Existentialism seems to promote mental activity. Kant said that reciting what this or that philosopher said was doing history, while thinking for oneself, which would require learning how to think, was philosophizing. As far as becoming oneself, one would do well to do as the recent philosopher Jim Morrison recommended: 'to find yourself.'
 
Green Man
 
Reply Fri 10 Oct, 2008 06:02 pm
@Fairbanks,
I'm interested in the ties between Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, particularly the latter two, whose progression in thinking is undeniably critical in the development of an existentialist philosophy. But because I've read them in isolation, as with Camus, and because I have yet to delve into Being and Nothingness, I'm still unsure how their various ideas figure into existentialism's response to the thrownness or absurdity of life. Is Nietzsche's affirmation of the will to power a central component of overcoming for Sartre or contemporary existentialists? How does Heidegger's ontology of letting be complicate the notion of overcoming?
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 02:31 am
@Victor Eremita,
Fleeting emotions and physical desires should be overcome, if possible, to allow for the mind to operate more objectively and rationally.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2008 06:47 am
@Victor Eremita,
Certainly Nietzsche's influence on Heidegger is well-documented in Heidegger's writings themselves, especially is lengthy (four volumes) discussion of Nietzsche (perhaps better would be to say his discussion with Nietzsche), and in several later works in which he devotes considerable space (and chapters) to working through some of Nietzsche's ideas.

It is perhaps safe to conclude, given N's style and his dialectical thinking in which key concepts evolve over time and are seen through new perspectives, and because he himself never completed a "definitive" exposition of his doctrine, that the WTP can include a self-overcoming. This view can be supported, it seems to me, by many passages in his works.

It is also safe to conclude that subsequent philosophers (including Sartre and Heidegger) not only strongly disagree on the importance of the WTP in his thought, but importantly diverge on precisely what it means. Certainly N was far more central to Heidegger's thinking than it was to Sartre's.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 07:18 pm
@Victor Eremita,
I think that overcoming the need for certainty is important. We should seek for certainty, yes, but in so doing, we have to first be comfortable with doubt. We have to learn how to 'suspend belief'; not completely and slip into the errors of 'relative truths', but to put oneself into the superposition of various relative arguments in order to give all positions a fair chance at debate.

What we need to overcome is the fear of paradox.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 09:53 am
@Victor Eremita,
There is an alliance in N's thinking between self-overcoming and his transvaluation of all values, both seen under the rubric of the will to power. If everything is always becoming, there is always the opportunity to grow and to expand the self.
"We fearless ones" overcome the need for absolute certainty in a positive, creative manner by moving beyond the pure rejections of Nihilism.
 
Fairbanks
 
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 01:36 pm
@Poseidon,
Poseidon wrote:
I think that overcoming the need for certainty. . .
What we need to overcome is the fear of paradox.

Smile
Hegel put paradox to good use. It was the end of philosophy. As far as certainty goes, we need only be reasonably convincing on some appropriate level.
 
Doorsopen
 
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 06:33 pm
@Poseidon,
A (hopefully) brief query into the paradox of overcoming...

I stand facing myself, in shadow. The light of transcendence obscures my features. Push myself aside, I say, to be in the light. But in so doing I cast myself into darkness.

Remove from myself all that is not of this light, I say; and in so doing I cast into darkness the love that has lead me to this encounter.

Cast nothing aside, I Say, Honor that which has brought me to face myself in shadow. If these things were the Will of God, will they become transparent and leave me standing at last in the pure light of transcendence? If, rather, it is my will that has brought me here, I shall still honor them, and in so doing become transparent to myself.

Shall I dishonor the ego that has brought me here, or shall I expand the light that I know is within? I only know that I am the source of the shadow that obscures my transcendence, how am I to overcome myself?
 
matty phil
 
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 07:48 pm
@Doorsopen,
It seems to me there are lots of versions of "overcoming" in Continental philosophy generally, and two which have not been mentioned (at least directly) are Hegel's aufheben (to lift up or sublate), which is of course a dialectical and synthetic process, and Heidegger's ereignis (enowning), which is a question of authenticity.

The fact they are very difficult to translate is interesting to me. Do we think that perhaps this is a key question in Continental philosophy, and might it have something to do with transcendance or am I babbling now?!
 
boagie
 
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 09:01 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita wrote:
Overcoming is quite possibly one of the understated goals or methods of existential thinkers. In Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, they talk about overcoming in quite different ways; the Knight of Faith is about overcoming doubt in yourself and in God, the ubermensch is about overcoming "man".

In Sartre, while he discusses the overstated goals of living with freedom; he implicitly states bad faith is something to be overcome. Camus, Fanon, and de Beauvoir; all discuss overcoming: overcoming absurdity, the white man, and males.

Is overcoming desirable? Is it something that should be embraced? I mean, I'm all for becoming a better man and finding my true existential self. But do you really need to overcome your faults, mistakes, the social world in order to do so?


Victor Eremita,Smile

Overcoming, it is a metaphor for something intangiable, simlar to the ideal of perfection, you are your concern about your own possiablities, care, in overcoming, what is to be overcome, human frailty. The physical world is our object, it is not to be overcome, its to find our place within it, whether the physcial world or society. These very great intellects are pretentious, if they say they believe in something more than the healthy individual.
 
Fairbanks
 
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 12:22 pm
@matty phil,
matty wrote:
Hegel's aufheben (to lift up or sublate), which is of course a dialectical and synthetic process, and Heidegger's ereignis (enowning), which is a question of authenticity.

The fact they are very difficult to translate is interesting to me. Do we think that perhaps this is a key question in Continental philosophy, and might it have something to do with transcendance or am I babbling now?!

Smile
What is interesting is that they are translated in a standard way now. Entire symposia are dedicated to standardizing the translations so literary critics can invoke the label at will and other literary critics can immediately pigeonhole the commentary. If you name something do you then know it? Plato et al thought not.
 
OctoberMist
 
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 10:39 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed said:

Quote:

Kant remarks that enlightenment is the overcoming of the tutelage of others, or the unthinking reliance upon others for guidance or opinions. Doesn't it seem that this kind of overcoming is important in establishing one's spiritual and intellectual independence?


Perhaps... Smile

The choice is for the individual. Also, it depends on how you are defining "spiritual" and "intellectual". For example, it could be argued that by listening to Kant one is not establishing 'intelellectual independence' because they are relying to the philosophic constructs of another.

Quote:

Existentialists, and rightly so, make living authentically the primary ethical goal of the individual, for one to "become who you are" in Nietzsche's striking exhortation; given the nature of world in which we live, this becomes more and more a contest (an overcoming) between the Self and the World, whether in thought or action.


Well said, indeed.

I think that as an existentialist myself it is acceptable for me to use the 'paths', if you will, of others as a guide but that I am ultimately responsible for eventually blazing my own path.

Certainly it is a difficult process.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 10:40 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Existential ideas seemed to provoke a lot of phenomenal fiction, and one MAJOR theme is the conflict between submitting and overcoming. Dostoyevsky's characters, like the Underground Man, like Raskolnikov, like Dmitri and Ivan and Alyosha Karamazov, all seem to burst out of this existential morass. In fact Notes from Underground, both parts, are a hugely illustrative experiment with this kind of existential disinhibition.

Camus' great novels and stories, my favorite being The Adultress Woman (from Exile and the Kingdom) also seem to put people in positions of bursting through meaninglessness, overcoming blandness. Sartre, on the other hand, in Nausea, seems to portray someone who just can't do it.

For other great existential novels, I'd suggest The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe, Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima, Death and the Dervish by Mesa Selimovic, and Independent People by Halldor Laxness.
 
ogden
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 11:13 am
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita wrote:
Overcoming is quite possibly one of the understated goals or methods of existential thinkers. In Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, they talk about overcoming in quite different ways; the Knight of Faith is about overcoming doubt in yourself and in God, the ubermensch is about overcoming "man".

In Sartre, while he discusses the overstated goals of living with freedom; he implicitly states bad faith is something to be overcome. Camus, Fanon, and de Beauvoir; all discuss overcoming: overcoming absurdity, the white man, and males.

Is overcoming desirable? Is it something that should be embraced? I mean, I'm all for becoming a better man and finding my true existential self. But do you really need to overcome your faults, mistakes, the social world in order to do so?


The only way to not overcome is to sucumb to something, some force or influence. In this light we overcome the force of gravity when we stand, and in standing we discover things about ouselves and about the world around us.

Overcoming is about learning. What you chose to overcome and the progress you determin you've made or havn't made reveals alot about you.

No. One should not always overcome. One should alow onesself to be overcome with tings too. Overcome with emotions is part of what makes us human. Failing to overcome is just as revealing as overcoming.

It is then all about discovery.
 
Doorsopen
 
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2008 12:13 pm
@ogden,
It's been said before, but apparently not enough:

"Know Thyself."
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Existentialism
  3. » Overcoming
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 10/31/2020 at 04:30:07