Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Kierkegaard

Are you suffering and in pain? Great, you are now superior to God

I just finished reading “Before the End” by late Argentina author Ernesto Sabato. Sabato in his nineties in 1989, was asked to write an “inspirational” book for the youth who feel their walls nailed to the wall. Sabado had already experienced the loss of his elder son Jorge and his wife Mathilda, and he was feeling pretty down and helpless. What follows are a few quotes on pains and suffering from other authors that Ernesto referred to:

Simone Weil wrote: “Pain and suffering have elevated man to a rank superior to God. We needed to invent the notion of Reincarnation to tamper this scandalous realization of our superiority…”   (Advances in the medical field enhanced this feeling, until current technologies and liberal capitalism reversed the trend, making humanity feeling helpless, confronted with so many insurmountable global problems…)

Oscar Wilde wrote before dying: “Where there is pain, the location is sacred…”

Pavese wrote: “Suffering teaches an alchemy that transforms mud into gold, and miseries into privileges…”

Miguel Hernandez wrote from prison: “One of these days, we will celebrate and salute with raised glasses whatever we have lost and recovered: Liberty, chains, happiness, and that obscure tenderness which makes us search across the entire world…”  Hernandez died in prison.

Albert Camus wrote: “The only serious problem in philosophy is suicide: How we judge life? Is it worth living…?” or La vida vale nada?

Manrique wrote: “How life passes, how death approaches, so silently…”

Urs Von Balthasar wrote: “We landed on the sandy banks of rationalism: We keep taking a step back so that our feet may take a firm hold on the abrupt rock of mystery…”

Jasper said: “The origin of philosophy is getting conscious of my weakness and helplessness…”

Kierkegaard wrote: “Having faith is acquiring the courage to confronting the doubt…” (I guess, as long as we keep carrying on with our projects, after encountering so many road blocks and failures, we are mainly shouldered by our faith…This kind of faith has nothing to do with any religious belief)

Maria Zambrano wrote: “We don’t cross from the feasible to the real, but from what is impossible to the truth…”

Leon Felipe wrote: “The current world has become terribly and monstrously reasonable: There are no fools anymore. The extravagant man defying the desert spaces is dead…”

As Gandhi said:  “My windows are wide opened to all world culture and civilization: As long as they don’t threaten to uproot me from my land…” (I guess people resist occupying troops, simply because they tend to uproot customs, traditions, and original culture…)

Note: Ernesto Sabato (1911-2011?) turned down, at the age of 30, a very promising scientific career and teaching sciences and mathematics in universities. He published “The Tunnel”, “Heroes and Graves”, “The Angel of Darkness”…Sabato headed Argentina commission on the crimes of the previous military dictatorship period and issued the 5,000-page report “No mass”.  He painted late in life and was passionate for classical music…

How have you been “existing”? (Jan. 25, 2010)

            The main philosophy of the last century was called “Existentialism” that Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) disseminated after WWII with the cooperation of Simone de Beauvoir who published “The second sex”.  What differentiated Sartre’s existentialism from Kierkegaard, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger is that Christianity is no longer a crutch to lean on for processing the concept to its final outcome.

            In that philosophy, man and woman have no innate “nature” to fall back on.  They just have to create themselves, their “natures” (their “essence”).  The feeling of alienation is that mankind was created without his will and yet, he is condemned to be free for taking responsibility of his actions knowing that there are no eternal values or norms for guidance and directions.  The individual has to create his set of values and his nature from actions among choices, even default choices.

            That Sartre’s existentialism allied to Marxist movement (Sartre never accepted to be a member of a political party) is part of this century struggle for enjoying the freedom that we never asked for; but “man is condemned to be free” in taking responsibility of his actions simply because he is created to be conscious of his existence and his death: mankind is not “in itself” but “for itself” and an individual relies on his existence to be whatever he might otherwise be “his nature”.

            For example, Stephen Hawkins, this crippled astrophysicist, grabbed the question of his interest (nature) “How the universe was created”.  That Hawkins offered the Big bang theory is irrelevant to the universe or to everyday man is important philosophically.  What is most important is that Hawkins must have enjoyed “the meaning of his life”.  The Big Bang proposition may be accompanied by all kinds of mathematical formulas it does not make it more believable than a childish storytelling in Bibles that are so funny to kids.  For example, why just one Big Bang? Is it because God must be one and only one?  Anyway, how many of us seriously engaged on his journey for discovering the meaning of his life existence?

            Current nuclear physicists are fundamentally pre-Socratic in their quest for the elemental matters; they want to be able to offer a satisfactory explanation of “what is matter?” This problem is thus a vital part of their “life’s philosophy”, the “essence” or an answer to the question “what is my nature”?

            Existentialism was the source of modern style in writings called the “absurd”.  For example, when you show the lack of coherence or meaning in life, then the reader or audience is forced to cultivate his “own meaning” of the story.

            Things have changed.  The world can be felt as reduced to a Town Square; instant audio-visual communications around the world is discouraging people to move out and investigate “his universe”.  The Renaissance man had to travel on horses for long distances to educate his curiosity and talents.

            Arne Naess disseminated the eco-philosophy which stated that western paradigm line of thinking is taking the wrong direction for a sustainable earth: Man is not in the upper chain of evolution and he has no right to destroy the other living creatures for his perceived universe.

            The new wave of occultism, New Age, alternative lifestyle, mysticism, spiritualism, healing, astrology, clairvoyance, and telepathy are consequences of collecting mass “coincidental” happenings among the billion of people and which are relayed instantly on the Internet.  These coincidences can be explained rationally, especially if we believe in the power of the subconscious for erratic behaviors.

            The worst part is that millions are still brandishing old Books or Bibles claiming every word for “truth”; as if we are in the Dark Ages.  Sciences and technologies have done serious empirical attempts to answering most of the dialectical problems in philosophy such as how the universe was started, how knowledge developed and progressed.  What is outside the realm of sciences is in the domain of faith which should not be confounded with religious philosophical belief systems.

            The “meaning of life” is not a solution: it is the trip, the journey to answering a single definite bothering question, a question that interest you mostly among hundreds of other pretty much non answerable questions.  This trip means working toward a resolution to the question “What is my nature?”  It is hard work, relentless, and tricky journey but nothing has meaning if we don’t feel the obstacles and hardships.




February 2023

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