Existentialism and Morality

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jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 06:53 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;125282 wrote:
That comparison isn't that crazy upon reflection. Many people compared Jesus to a Stoic sage, and there do seem to be many similarities between the Existentialist movement and the Stoic tradition. Existentialism isn't necessarily opposed to the original concept of religion; their problem is mainly with how meaningless religion has become.


Have you read any of Sartre and Camus? I think you will find that they believe religion of all kind was a form of false consciousness or bad faith from the very beginning.

There are different varieties of existentialism of course. Kierkegaard is a spiritually-inclined existentialist. Viktor Frankl is called an 'existential analyst' but his work Mankind's Search for Meaning is classic in what might be called transpersonal spirituality.

On the other part of your post, I think Stocism is a very admirable traditional philosophy with a great deal of merit. But my personal feeling is that JC was far ahead of the stoics in terms of conscious development.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 08:11 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;125302 wrote:


On the other part of your post, I think Stocism is a very admirable traditional philosophy with a great deal of merit. But my personal feeling is that JC was far ahead of the stoics in terms of conscious development.


Well he should have been, given who he is supposed to have been.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 08:16 pm
@Reconstructo,
Well said. It was that entire mechanistic world view that spurred the existentialist movement from the beginning. God became too reified, and I can see your point about atheistic humanism being the ultimate version of incarnation. When its all said and done it doesn't matter what you call the religion, the essence of religious experience is going to rise up in some vehicle or another.

---------- Post added 02-05-2010 at 08:30 PM ----------

jeeprs;125302 wrote:
Have you read any of Sartre and Camus? I think you will find that they believe religion of all kind was a form of false consciousness or bad faith from the very beginning.

There are different varieties of existentialism of course. Kierkegaard is a spiritually-inclined existentialist. Viktor Frankl is called an 'existential analyst' but his work Mankind's Search for Meaning is classic in what might be called transpersonal spirituality.

On the other part of your post, I think Stocism is a very admirable traditional philosophy with a great deal of merit. But my personal feeling is that JC was far ahead of the stoics in terms of conscious development.


If by religion you mean worship of a reified entity, then yes, most existentialists would despise religion. I was using "religion" in a much broader scope to include any sort of spiritually intimate revelation from perceived exterior sources. This could include neo-Platonism, early Christianity, Buddhism, or even atheistic humanism if one considers other people exterior forces. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche each came from situations where no such religious experience was directly available to them, so in a sense they made their own.

As far as Victor Frankl goes, one could make the case that he and Jesus Christ both had the same mission. Jesus has been referred to as the Logos/ "Word" of God. What is more meaningful than the Word of God. Jesus is pure meaning/essence/spirit. In my opinion they are all synonyms for the same basic concept, which has consistently sprung up in multiple incarnations throughout history.

Also, I've never personally met an actual Stoic sage or JC so I personally could hardly attempt any sort of comparison.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 09:55 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Christians do say they have a personal relationship with Jesus. I've never heard that said in relation to a stoic teacher. Anyway I think the stoic philosophy is a code of personal self-discipline and morality, whereas Christ is said to be, or embody, or represent, an eternal principle. (Personally I am very much of the 'perennialist' outlook which sees many different religions and philosophies as facets of a larger whole.)
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 12:21 am
@jeeprs,
Ahhh... I see your point. The stoics never would say they have a "personal" connection with any exterior agent, because the concept of personhood didn't really exist for them. The code wasn't personal, but more communal, and they did believe all life was governed by an external force called the Logos. Logos is translated in English as tool or word, i.e. the "word" of God.

"In the beginning was the Word." John 1:1

For the Ancients, the Logos was that eternal driving force in the cosmos, and John the Baptist does purposefully use it to describe the essence of Jesus Christ.

And I too believe it is all a great whole, as Plato himself would put it, we are all attempting to reunite with the "One".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 08:44 pm
@Bonaventurian,
Spinoza seems like a stoic to me. It's as if the Stoics want to align themselves with the nature of things (the Logos, Nature, Totality, the Tao.) It's as if they are remembering not to struggle againt their enmeshment in the Process.
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:42 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125582 wrote:
Spinoza seems like a stoic to me. It's as if the Stoics want to align themselves with the nature of things (the Logos, Nature, Totality, the Tao.) It's as if they are remembering not to struggle againt their enmeshment in the Process.


Spnioza's philosophy did seem quite compatible with the traditional Stoic perspective towards the cosmos. All things were necessary, and God was radically omnipresent, with presence extending past what will ever be understood by man.

Thats very true that there seems to be a commonality between all those methods of belief concerning the unity between interior self and the exterior world. Upon reflection, true holiness would necessitate an absolute "oneness" with one's self and the world. That is the only way one could become completely whole.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:59 pm
@Bonaventurian,
from where we a very short step to non-duality. Are you familiar with those teachings?
 
MMP2506
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 04:05 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;126537 wrote:
from where we a very short step to non-duality. Are you familiar with those teachings?


I must be unfamiliar.
Which teachings are you referring to?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 06:27 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;126532 wrote:
the unity between interior self and the exterior world. Upon reflection, true holiness would necessitate an absolute "oneness" with one's self and the world. That is the only way one could become completely whole.


The word 'Unity' here is almost an exact translation of 'Yoga' in the philosophical sense (NOT bending exercises in your tracksuit!)

This idea of union or 'one-ness' with the world is the basic idea behind the Advaita Vedanta teaching of the Hindu tradition.

There are many groups, books and people putting these ideas around in this day and age, but the original exponents are, in my view, the ones really worth reading up on. These include Ramana Maharishi and Nisigardatta Maharaj. They are worth reading if you can get hold of their books. I have been reading these texts all my life, they have had an enormous impact on my outlook. Have a look at Amazon.com: Books that Shaped my Spiritual Outlook
 
itsalljustbs
 
Reply Tue 9 Mar, 2010 08:02 pm
@jeeprs,
Morality as I define it is the distiction between right and wrong as it applies to our interactions with living things.

Religion has been used to teach rules for making moral decisions but cultures that do not have religion use social guidelines or mores very similar to religious tenets.

Even in societies considered "amoral" such as organized crime there are tenets governing behavior.

Having worked in prisons and youth treatment centers I can tell you that a set of moral codes exists though the mirror is often flipped over between what is right and what is wrong.

So the question for me would be if a person had no interaction with other people would they have morals and how would they develop these morals ?

In my opinion those who are able to create and enforce morality through laws and codes while breaking those same morals are the ones that generally prosper and thrive while those that follow the morals are rewarded with survival and those that resist and defy the morals are removed.

Once a corruption of morals takes place it also usually results in a revolution by members of the society that see the corruption and either want to re-establish the morality to society or see that the morality was based on false tenets and see an opportunity to overthrow the creaters of morality and take their place.

Is there really such a thing as morality ?

I believe morality is the result of mans desire for survival and having rules and codes of conduct within a society gives some security of survival by justifying the actions of those in power.

Once an individual no longer relies on a society for survival it is up to them to define their own morals and I believe these morals are stripped down to its barest form if they exist at all.

For an individual there is no longer a need for morals once they are responsible and capable of providing for their own survival.

Cheating, lying, stealing, and murder would no longer be necessary for what would it benefit the individual ?

So I do not see that existentialists living an independent life based on personal responsibility would need morals and that would probably be perceived by others as having a very high moral standard!
 
Child of Monica
 
Reply Sun 16 Jan, 2022 09:17 am
@Bonaventurian,
I agree with you. and the Existentialists that most influenced me, Like Gabriel Marcel, saw suffering galore and became Catholics later in life. The open mind confronted with enormous suffering often concludes to morality : THIS can not be the way it is supposed to be!" Holocaust survivors who remained Jews often say this
 
Mrknowspeople
 
Reply Sat 14 May, 2022 09:14 am
@Greg phil,
They finance it with prepaid credits for not interfering with the course of anything but through small seemingly unknown contributions.
 
 

 
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