Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 02:18 am
Do you view death as innately bad, as in, the state of being dead is 'worth less' or inferior to the state of being alive? Or, is death only tragic in the minds of the living, who, by contemplating death, have the foundations of their 'symbolic system' (the structures of value and meaning which they use to navigate through their lives) shaken.
This is assuming that death is simply 'non-existence' and there is no reward or punishment in the afterlife.

Personally, I think that the latter reason is why death is often feared and considered terrible, but is sometimes perhaps mistaken for the former reason.

If the former is the case then why do people turn off the life support machines of those people considered 'vegetables'.
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wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 02:28 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Do you mean to separate death from dying. Or are you thinking of the event and the result as one and the same?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 03:26 am
I think you're making this too simplistic. There are, of course, people who value death less than they value life precisely because it represents the loss of everything to which they attach meaning. I personally fear a lingering and painful process of dying (to acknowledge the force of Wayne's comments), although the thought of ceasing to be doesn't particularly upset me. I think that peoples' reactions to dying and to death can be very complex, and embrace things which none of the three of us have yet mentioned.
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 03:53 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
death can disturb a "symbolic system", but if death is taking into that system, it can strengthen it. death can be a motivating factor to try and live as good a life as one can, before "time runs out".

I don't see death as innately bad, death to some degree grounds my choices, what I do with my life.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 04:45 am
I'm in agreement with Setanta about the dying, I think Woody Allen summed that up best, for most of us.
The being dead part is much more difficult to sum up about. I am a bit of an optimist and curious to a fault. I like to fish because in spite of all my skills and knowledge I just can't be sure what will come out of that dark water. The thought of death putting an end to my questioning saddens me a bit. I am not at all afraid to lose what I have, but I have yet to come to terms with losing the question.
I suppose that demonstrates life as a quest in my mind, the great adventure. And I have reached the age where I have begun to mourn the loss of that adventure.
I do not fear being disillusioned by death.
0 Replies
 
Dasein
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 07:53 am
In terms of the measurable, definable, world, and the 'they', 'death' is interpreted as that which happens at the end of 'life'. Another word we use for the end of life is 'demise'.

For the purpose of this conversation I will use 'death' (demise) when I am speaking about what happens in the measurable, definable, world and I will use 'death' (Be-ing) when I am speaking of Be-ing.

Be aware, when people speak of 'death' they are most likely speaking about 'demise'. You can't count on them to make the distinction for you. Humans Be-ing readily interchange (confuse) the two words when they come face-to-face with their own mortality and are meaning 'demise' (what happens to a physical body, plant, animal, or man).

Let's clear up the matter of 'demise' first and be done with it. It is rather simple. 'Birth' and 'death' (demise) are two sides of the same coin. When you are 'born', 'death' (demise) is inevitable and nobody can take it away from you or do it for you. It is the only certain/uncertain certainty you have. Just about everything you do between 'birth' and 'death' (demise) is an avoidance of 'death' (demise).

Let me be very clear here. 'Death' (demise) is to be avoided at all cost.

Monuments (headstones, statues, buildings) are an attempt to extend 'living' past the point of 'death' (demise) or immortality. All of this points to one thing and that is: The moment you are born you are already 'dead' (demise), you just don't know when it will happen. Put down the turd, 'death' (demise) and refuse to play patty-cake with it, you can't do anything about it anyway.

Have you ever had a bad enough accident that it made you confront how you are living your life? Have you ever been in a precarious situation and said something along the lines of “If you'll get me out of this I'll never do such and such again” and experienced a shift in your outlook on life? What I just said is a hint that points to 'death' (Be-ing). When you 'close the door' on the way you have been Be-ing, that's another hint that points to 'death' (Be-ing). Those 'hints' are all evidence you need to assure you of the possibility of 'death' (Be-ing).

You should avoid 'death' (demise) at any cost, however, you should run towards 'death' (Be-ing) and experience 'death' (Be-ing) as many times as you can. That's where you'll find 'living' (Be-ing who you are).

'Death' (demise) is a concept we 'play patty-cake' with to remind us to 'live'. However, 'living' is not the opposite of 'death' (demise). 'Living' is something else. It doesn't happen in the realm of the measurable, definable, world, it happens in Be-ing/knowing.

'Death' (demise) is just one of a whole world of concepts we use to hide behind. Your lot in life is to deconstruct the concept of 'death' (demise) and uncover the possibility of 'death' (Be-ing/liv-ing).

Let me say it again. Your lot in life is to de-construct the 'concepts' of life and uncover the possibility that the 'concepts' of life (the measurable, definable, world, and the 'they') don't define who you are. They can only define you as a measurable, definable, thing.

Deconstructing concepts of things like gun, car, airplane are so easy that you don't even take notice. The difficult concepts are the ones that humans Be-ing use to define Be-ing. Since “you should avoid 'death' (demise) at any cost”, when you come close to 'death' (Be-ing) you turn the possibility of not being able “to prove your existence in this world” into a concept to represent Be-ing.

As you de-construct the 'concepts', one by one, and disentangle your 'self' from the labyrinth of measurabilty and definability, you come to a point where you recognize that using the 'measurabilty and definability of the world' to prove your existence never 'captured' who 'you' really are. When you discover that the 'world's concepts can no longer capture 'you', you come face-to-face with the possibility that 'you' can't prove 'you' exist, not even to your 'self'.

Physics has proven that two things cannot occupy the same space, so, when 'you' existing, come face-to-face with the possibility that you don't exist, a very interesting thing happens. When both 'you existing' and 'the possibility that you don't exist' try to occupy the same space, they cancel each other out and both disappear. What gets left in their place is 'you', Be-ing.

What you have just experienced is 'death' (Be-ing).

When you experience 'death' (Be-ing), you will discover that you are no longer a slave to proving/not proving (explaining) your existence and that now you have 'room' for you to replace 'explaining your existence' with something else. This is the essence of human freedom.

In 'death' (Be-ing) you answer the question "Who am I?"

This is the 'story' (representation) of what happens in “Being and Time” by Martin Heidegger.

Heidegger speaks to Be-ing. It is why I have read “Being and Time” 74 times. I am running toward 'death' (Be-ing).
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 09:39 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
Where the earlier Heidegger got it "wrong" was his assumption of a potentially unified "self" (Dasein).

Esoterically speaking there are just two ways to go
(1) Reification of "self" as Daseinby living "authentically"(Heidegger) or striving for "Higher Self" ( Gurdjieff and Theosophosists)
(2) Dissipation of "self" as in Buddhist recognition of moksha or release from the "illusion of self" as a separate entity. Krishnamurti is one example of a writer who argues that any form of "striving" is counter-productive to "enlightenment".

From the first point of view contemplation of "death" can be viewed as a facilitator. From the second, mentally embracing "death" is seen as liberating, since clinging to "the existence of self" is the root of suffering.


AlwaysCurious
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 12:35 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
The idea of death does not necessarily shake one's foundations - for a theist "finding out" there is no afterlife, or conversely an atheist discovering there is one - would be more likely to shake one's own foundations a bit. Unexpected developments, in short, not the expected ones, tend to shake things up.

Per your request of discounting "afterlife" as a factor, alternately, millions of years of evolution leading us to develop an "aversion to death" has something to do with it as well. If creatures would instinctively regard death as desirable or "good", instead of something to avoid... well, you see where I'm going with this argument... In this sense species tend to seem to survive longer when "death" is associated with the negatives to avoid. There are of course lemmings, but let's not speak of them Smile

"Bad" is often a loaded term, usually in this context as I gather carries meanings of "undesirable", "to be avoided", "deterred", "sad", etc...

Death is "bad" when it complicates one's plans for life. Or, when it signals the eventual end of enjoying something one does not wish to stop enjoying.

Death is also "neither good or bad" for some people I know, who lead quiet peaceful unassuming humble lives, albeit their philosophy includes beliefs in afterlife, nevertheless, to them it is the proverbial transition, the analogous "merely putting out the candle because dawn has finally come". Not to suggest all theists are this confident or at peace with the idea, point is, the ones I have in mind have foundations which cast death into category of "brief separation", "transition", "completion of one journey". In an analogy, they are like amusement park patrons on an exciting roller coaster ride - they know it will end, they know it will be nauseating at times, they still look forward to riding it to the end, where awareness that the ride had a beginning in the past and has an ending in the future has no impact or relevance upon savoring the very present moment.

In short, views on death - whether "good, bad, neutral" - vary with one's philosophy, outlook, perspective, or even lack thereof if only evolved instincts are in effect.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 01:09 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Do you view death as innately bad, as in, the state of being dead is 'worth less' or inferior to the state of being alive?


I think it's like anything else- it depends on whether you're ready for something to be over or not.
If I wasn't ready to leave - and for life to be over - I'd think it was bad.
If I was ready to leave and for my life to be over - for whatever reason, I'd guess that I'd think it was good, in fact maybe even a blessing-for myself anyway.

In terms of people I love being dead - for me - I view it as innately bad.
For them how I view it depends on how I think they feel about their life circumstances.
What's bad for me might be good for them.

I just view it as the next step- and I honestly have no real concept of what exactly it might entail - so I can't call it either good or bad or better or worse than being alive.
It'll be interesting to find out though - when I'm ready - hopefully not before.
0 Replies
 
Dasein
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2010 09:54 am
@fresco,
Heidegger didn't get it wrong. I have made what I call the 'Leap' into Be-ing my 'self'.

That being said, the purpose of this post is to let you know that just because the vast majority of people (99.999% of them) haven't done the work to "unify the self" doesn't mean that Heidegger got it wrong. And, just because the 'representations' (in the quote below) are the accepted representations of what we are talking about doesn't mean the 'representations' got it right either.

Actually, the 'representations' are part of the “Illusion of Self” you mentioned.
Quote:
Esoterically speaking there are just two ways to go
(1) Reification of "self" as Dasein by living "authentically"(Heidegger) or striving for "Higher Self" ( Gurdjieff and Theosophosists)
(2) Dissipation of "self" as in Buddhist recognition of moksha or release from the "illusion of self" as a separate entity. Krishnamurti is one example of a writer who argues that any form of "striving" is counter-productive to "enlightenment".

You could have used “Historically” instead of “Esoterically” in the quote above. Same thing.

There is no 'unification' of the "self", "Higher Self", or “Dissipation of “Self”. 'Unification', 'Higher', and 'Dissipation' are theoretical misrepresentations of what happens. What really happens is different than the theory and if you don't 'do the work' 'theory' is all you'll have. Typically, I have found that when people are 'theoretically representing', it's because they don't know what they are talking about (they haven't accomplished what they are theorizing about). The interesting thing is that because “making the 'Leap' into Be-ing my 'self'” is a rare occurrence we tend to believe the theoretical representations and not the one who has made the 'Leap'.

Ever since the moment you were born you have been projecting 'you' on to the 'world'. 'You' and (just about) everybody around you have been representing your 'self' according to the reflections of your projecting, i.e., you have used the world to define 'you'. You have turned your 'self' into a thing of this world. The “illusion of self” is a function of you using the measurable, definable world to define you.

Who you are lives alongside of the world, you are not a measurable, definable part of it. Let me caution you here. If you have spent 10 to 70 years defining your 'self' as a thing, your 'survival' in (getting along with) the world and with the 'they' is in jeopardy. If the world and the 'they are defined by 'thing-ness' and you dare to be 'you', there will be a price to be paid. Don't kid your 'self' about it.

'You' (Self) are already whole and complete just the way you are. You just misrepresent your 'self' as a thing of this world. Your job, (if you choose to accept it, Mr. Phelps) is to dismantle the measurable, definable world and uncover who 'you' are.

Historically, what I'm talking about has been misrepresented by you, by the 'authorities' in the quote (above) and many others. Again, what they stated are misrepresentations, their misrepresentations are not what actually happens.

Go back and read the post on death I wrote. Try to put aside your representations of what you wrote in the quote above and you might see that what I said 'covers all of the bases' of what you wrote. It's just that what I wrote doesn't represent your expectations of what you wrote.

Krishnamurti was accurate, "striving" towards a concept of 'enlightenment' is counter-productive. You are already enlightened and 'striving' takes you farther and farther away from 'you' Be-ing 'you'. All you have to do is dismantle the 'illusion' of the world to uncover that you are already enlightened.

It has taken me almost 62 years to dismantle the illusion of the world and uncover my 'self'. During that time I read Gurdjieff and just about every philosopher out there. I did the “striving for enlightenment” by trying to fit my 'self' into the representations I read (just like you).

As you read this you can 'know' what I'm saying. However, in the next instant you can doubt your 'self' and request proof. What I have posted is 'knowable' and not 'provable'. Trust your 'self', knowing.

If your proclivity is to argue with me about why what I've said doesn't fit your expectations/representations you've already lost.

This is what Krishnamurti meant by "striving" is counter-productive to "enlightenment".

What I've accomplished can't be taken away from me and only I can cover it up again. I have found that once you 'make the 'leap', you have to keep 'making the leap' (diligence). It is not a goal to reach, it is not the 'end' of a journey, it is a way of living, it is who 'you' are. Every moment, you make the choice to misrepresent your 'self' as a 'thing' of this world to get along (inauthentic) or you can keep dismantling the world and allow 'you' to 'show up' (authentic).

One last thing, if you don't want to do the 'work' I've mentioned, you will find a way to cover up what you've read here. You will use the 'authorities' misrepresentations to justify not trusting your 'self' to know what I am talking about. Eventually, you'll bury what I've said and you won't read anything posted by Dasein.

That's just the way it is.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2010 12:20 pm
@Dasein,
I understand that you have made a great mental investment in Sein und Zeit, but you don"t seem to have read Heidegger's later works involving a defocusing on Dasein and a refocusing on Rede(language) as epitomised by
Quote:
"Language speaks the Man".

Commentators like Richard Rorty have suggested that H was trying to distance himself from the political turmoil embroiling his earlier work, but irrespective of the reasons for this convergent move, his shift to language as a substrate for Existenz corresponds to similar focusing by mainstream philosophers such as Sellers, Quine, Searle and Dennett. And it was specifically Dennett. taking the later H line, who suggests that "self" is an evocation of language and has no independent existence oustide of language use. Thus your statement...
Quote:
Ever since the moment you were born you have been projecting 'you' on to the 'world'.

....seems unlikely to be supported by the later Heidegger.

I put it to you therefore that your lengthy posts, ending with the caveat...
Quote:
Eventually, you'll bury what I've said and you won't read anything posted by Dasein.

...constitute a "self reinforcement exercise" with respect to your personal mental investment in an earlier work. If so,that's fine by me, but perhaps you should bear in mind that "believers" in other paradigms we might call "religion" tend to protect themselves from nonconformist thinking by burying their heads in the sand.
north
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2010 05:19 pm

the interesting about death , it that living beings want to live , generally , all things being equal , no psychological problems
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2010 06:16 pm
@Dasein,
I have a question for you, Dasein, not related to the thread-
What does it mean to you to be retelling someone else’s, namely Heidegger’s thought?

It seems to me that all you are doing is gilding yourself with another persons thoughts and ideas, and consequently not coming to your own, authentic conclusions. Are you not behaving inauthentically by doing this, inasmuch as you are simply immersing yourself in the “they”, the Heideggerian’s, who all “think alike”?


tenderfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Dec, 2010 07:08 pm
Three things with every living animal ... One you have no say in birth and three you have no say in death and two you can't extend it only shorten it.
0 Replies
 
Dasein
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2010 10:47 am
@existential potential,
Are you really asking a question or are you just looking for ammunition to justify the conclusion you have already made? Only you can answer that (to your 'self'), you don't need to answer to me or anybody else.

Question comes from the word "Quest" as in journey. A 'conclusion' is that place where humans Be-ing get tired of thinking and refuse to think any further.

All philosophizing (thinking) is a reflecting on Be-ing and philosophy is a re-presentation of that thinking. What I just said needs to be emphasized. Philosophy is a re-presentation of thinking, it is not thinking. Most philosophers publish the re-presentation (their conclusions) and you have to do the thinking. It's the thinking you do that makes the difference. However, philosophy is read as if it is 'truth' (a philosopher's conclusions) and that agreeing or disagreeing with what you've read is 'thinking'. Agreeing and disagreeing are conclusions (the end of thinking).

Some philosophers remain true to thinking (Socrates), other philosophers come to conclusions (stop thinking) and do a good job of 'marketing' their 'brand' of 'reflecting' (for example 'Cartesian' as in Rene Descartes). And, still other philosophers research the past thinking (philosophy) and accumulate data in an attempt to locate the 'common thread' in the thinking from Parmenides, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, Nietzsche, Hegel, Husserl, etc. They 'think' through the similarities and differences, discover where philosophers have come to a conclusion (stop thinking) and have turned those conclusions into things called concepts, or they uncover the thinking that lead up to those conclusions and reveal what hasn't been thought.

Heidegger is the only one who walks me through the thinking of other philosophers to the point that I can see whether that philosopher is creating an opening or coming to a conclusion (most 'philosophy' is piggy-backed on those uninvestigated conclusions and taken as 'truth'). Most philosophers who have stamped their 'brand' on their 'accumulated thinking' have stopped thinking and their publications logically defend their conclusions. When you don't question those conclusions you are no longer thinking/Be-ing. When you stamp a brand (“Heidegger”, “Hegel”, “Husserl”, “Socrates”) on thinking you have turned that thinking into an object to agree/disagree with and you are no longer thinking (questing).

Contrary to your supposition, I am not 'retelling' Heidegger's thought, I am doing my own thinking.

Somewhere around the 50th to 60th reading of Being and Time I realized there was no subject (me) or object (Heidegger). There is no 'my thought' or 'Heidegger's thought'. I realized that there is only thinking and that Being and Time is a 'conversation' (thinking) that we all have with our 'self' while walking around the planet and that who I am is that conversation. Every book written by Heidegger that I have read is the 'conversation' I mentioned. Heidegger is 'difficult' to read because we turn questioning/thinking into an object to be understood.

I have been Be-ing this conversation since the age of 6 or 7. I have read a lot of philosophy over the years and just about all of it provided no resolution to my questioning (quest). For the past 15 years Heidegger has been the only one who has provided any resolution to the conversation (questioning) that I am. Around the 70th to 72nd reading of Being and Time I made the 'leap' I mentioned and making that 'leap' resolved a lot of the things that the earlier philosophy I read didn't resolve.

I suggest that coming to the conclusions you came to regarding my reading of Heidegger is not in your best interest. You have interrupted your ability to think. You will only know that if you pick up Being and Time, read it 74 times (like I have) and uncover your own thinking/Be-ing. Then you will know how much your conclusions are a waste of your time.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Dasein
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2010 11:12 am
@fresco,
You can be right. I don't wish to participate in your confusion.

However, your first mistake was turning "Language" into a thing and taking it out of context to defend your diatribe. In "On the Way to Language", Heidegger focuses on "languaging", not language.

A conclusion is that place where humans Be-ing get tired of thinking and stop.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2010 03:13 pm
@Dasein,
I am aware of the difference between language and languaging. Maturana specifically makes it in his deflationary view of cognition (again no "selves" !). Rorty's conclusion is that attempts to turn any aspect of language into a "substrate" or "given" is an attempt to maintain "analytic philosophy" as a serious discipline faced with encroachment by "psychology". Be that as it may, I agree that all "objectification" is paradigmatic.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2010 05:44 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:

Do you view death as innately bad, as in, the state of being dead is 'worth less' or inferior to the state of being alive? Or, is death only tragic in the minds of the living, who, by contemplating death, have the foundations of their 'symbolic system' (the structures of value and meaning which they use to navigate through their lives) shaken.
This is assuming that death is simply 'non-existence' and there is no reward or punishment in the afterlife.

Personally, I think that the latter reason is why death is often feared and considered terrible, but is sometimes perhaps mistaken for the former reason.

If the former is the case then why do people turn off the life support machines of those people considered 'vegetables'.


Assuming that death is simply "non-existence," then I think we have to assume life or existence is all we have or ever will have. I don't know how one can compare the worth of all with the absence of all.

No one can cease to exist and then return to existence and compare the two states qualitatively. Not only because it is impossible to return from death but because in a state of non-existence there would be no awareness upon which to base an opinion on the worth of it which could then be used in the comparison made upon returning to life.

Wanting to end one's existence doesn't mean non-existence is worth more than life, it just means that life has become worthless.

We are hard-wired to fear death. If we weren't, there probably would be a hell of a lot more fatal accidents and suicides.

I share the fear of a painful and/or lonely death expressed by others, and while I'm certain that the very end of my life I will at least be apprehensive if not downright terrified, right now I look at it as a win-win, or at least a win-no contest.

I don't believe in the notion of hell or for that matter in the traditional notion of heaven, but if I preserve some meaningful aspect of my current identity in a state of being after I die, I'm figuring that will be a win. If when I die I cease to exist, then it's not really a win, but its not a loss either...to me. You can only know you've lost something, if you exist with awareness.

People fear non-existence when they perceive it as a state of being of which they are aware. Like being alone in a totally effective sensory deprivation chamber. Of course it can't be like that or like anything at all.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2010 07:38 pm
@Dasein,
I liked your post. About as fine a description as I've seen.
I'm a Thoreau man myself, " I wonder what the world is doing now"
The world has, in fact, moved on.
Dasein
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Dec, 2010 01:29 pm
@wayne,
Thanks for your encouragement.

You may want to read a post I just made.
http://able2know.org/topic/165061-1#post-4441244
0 Replies
 
 

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