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Author Topic: books: what are you currently reading?  (Read 309005 times)
Caleb
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« Reply #180 on: August 13, 2007, 10:05:25 PM »

The issues concerning philosophy all come down to worldview.  Issues like this can and often times are hard to discuss outside of the realm of religious belief – or lack thereof – since in most cases that belief system is the springboard and starting point of every other view of life.  Nietzsche and those like him are certainly no exception and they weren’t/aren’t shy about it.  But I’ll stay as shy as I can as not to violate the forum rules. 

The rub for me when it comes to the philosophy of folks like Nietzsche and the like is the utter hopelessness of it all.  I’m sure this is exact point where Nietzsche would put me smack in the middle of his “herd” illustration and be done with me, but I cannot get past the hopelessness of it all.  Think of it; if we came from nothing, and if we are nothing, and if nothing here matters, and if we are going nowhere, and if we end up nowhere, and if there was no point to any of this, than even the trouble that Nietzsche went to pointing all of it out was utterly useless. 

In my opinion, if he (and those like him) actually believed all of that, he wouldn’t have even bothered.  Or was he so arrogant that he simply wanted to spoil it for all the rest of us that have our heads buried in the sand?  What is the use in pointing out that everything is pointless, if indeed it is all pointless?  But I don’t think that he believed it at all, but rather was trying to convince himself of it and needed a cheering section.  Lots of times people make converts because they can’t stand being lonely.  And nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.  Then once the crowd is there you can form an army and go and try to defeat enemies.  And if it’s all pointless, a war of ideas is just as pointless.  Why not instead spend your meaningless time here in pursuit of hedonistic pleasure? 

Finally, imagine for a moment the world that we would have if everyone believed the “nothingness” philosophy of Nietzsche.  Family relationships become meaningless.  Helping those in need would be pointless.  Alieviating suffering would be pointless.  Civil liberties would mean nothing.  It would make absolutely no difference what seat on the bus you’re in if humanity is worthless.  Furthermore, there would be no argument sufficient enough to be convincing that anyone should have a “right” to sit where they want. What is a “right” when you mean nothing?  In the end it would simply be a case of the strongest surviving.  Embracing a system of belief like Nietzsche’s takes all value and dignity out of human life.  If he were honest, he’d even have to tell Hitler that his vision of the world was pointless, because in the end it’s all spoiled by death.  And he would have no answer for the problem of death that plagues us all and that has already claimed him.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #181 on: August 14, 2007, 02:25:51 AM »



The rub for me when it comes to the philosophy of folks like Nietzsche and the like is the utter hopelessness of it all. 

Did Nietzsche says life was hopeless or did you get that from a biased source? I'll admit I haven't read much of his works yet but what I read about him doesn't point to him saying everything is pointless/hopeless.

"The value of nihilism for Nietzsche, then, was in its defeat. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure.[6]

Nietzsche's philosophy also shares with nihilism a rejection of any perfect source of absolute, universal and transcendent values.[7] Still, he did not consider all values of equal worth. Recognizing the chaos of nihilism, he advocated a philosophy that willfully transcends it. Furthermore, his positive attitude towards truth as a vehicle of faith and belief and his recognition of (human) nature distinguishes him from the extreme pessimism that nihilism is often associated with." ~ from wiki


On Nietzsche and racism:
"In 1886 Nietzsche broke with his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted over his anti-Semitic opinions. Nietzsche saw his writings as "completely buried and unexhumeable in this anti-Semitic dump" ~ Wiki

"[...] You have committed one of the greatest stupidities—for yourself and for me! Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole way of life which fills me again and again with ire or melancholy. [...] It is a matter of honor with me to be absolutely clean and unequivocal in relation to anti-Semitism, namely, opposed to it, as I am in my writings. I have recently been persecuted with letters and Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheets. My disgust with this party (which would like the benefit of my name only too well!) is as pronounced as possible, but the relation to Förster, as well as the aftereffects of my former publisher, the anti-Semitic Schmeitzner, always brings the adherents of this disagreeable party back to the idea that I must belong to them after all. [...] It arouses mistrust against my character, as if publicly I condemned something which I have favored secretly—and that I am unable to do anything against it, that the name of Zarathustra is used in every Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheet, has almost  made  me  sick several times. [....]" ~ Nietzsche 'Letter to Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche'


I'm not totally blaming Hitler on Nietzche but his ideas were paramount to the likes of Bismarck, German imperialists and unfortunately put to their ultimate test by Der Fuhrer. All it took was for Hitler to define who were the supermen and who were the weak untermensch.

Nietzsche did not believe the overman had existed yet or that he would come in the form of man as we know him. Hitler's ideas were not Nietzsche's ideas. Even then, because Hitler believed an idea is not proof itself that the idea is not true. Not that I like Hitler's doings, but an idea should be judged for its own validity rather than who believed it to be valid.

I think I'm done with this discussion because it doesn't sound like anyone here has actually studied Nietzsche's ideas via Nietzsche.



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LawDogStrgsAttach
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« Reply #182 on: August 14, 2007, 04:51:43 PM »

creature,

great taste in guitars, humor, and a presuppositionalist to boot! 

While not within my convictions either, I would read Nietzsche for the general knowledge and to gain true conversation rights, but I would temper that venture into existentialism with healthy doses of Kierkegaard (religious and non) and Karl Barth (theology).

I am very wary of wiki.  I could have posted that for all you know.   
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McIlroy AJ30 Sitka/East Indian Rosewood
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« Reply #183 on: August 14, 2007, 05:24:59 PM »

Jeremy - I must admit it's been a long time since I could plow through stuff like that but I've read some Nietzche. I don't see him as a nihilist. Though like I said, Hitler isn't Nietzche's fault but his ideas went a long way towards the master race meme. Sure, Marx would be disgusted by how communism turned out and Nietzche was not an anti semite but that didn't stop those who came after from building on these ideas for their own purposes. If the fruit catches a disease, can you blame the seed? No but it did produce the tree, after all. All I can do is make bad analogies. Not trying to fight with you, I find this stuff fascinating, as well. It's interesting to see where philosophers got things right and where, through their own blind spots, they got it wrong. To err is human, after all.       
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Caleb
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« Reply #184 on: August 14, 2007, 10:41:25 PM »

I am very wary of wiki.  I could have posted that for all you know.   
I'm with you an "geekapedia".  It's not the best place to get info, but it can be helpful at times.  I've seen things on there that I know for certain are wrong, but it's the parts that I don't know are wrong that scare me.   

BTW, you're the first person to ever "get" my humor on this board.  Or at least the first one to say so. 

 
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Caleb
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« Reply #185 on: August 14, 2007, 11:52:06 PM »

On topic:

I just finished Camus' The Stranger a couple days ago.  That was easily the worst book I've ever read. 
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bucky1
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« Reply #186 on: August 15, 2007, 01:00:13 AM »

I just finished the Steve Goodman biography, Facing the Music. It was a long one at 700+ pages, but very interesting. It certainly puts his music into perspective.

Next project is Dava Sobel's the Planets. It's about the solar system. My wife gave me her book CD Galileo's Daughter for Christmas. It was written around the letters between Galileo and his daughter. the commmentary gave such a good picture about what his life was like as well as the way the world was that he lived in. We actuallyhad to get in the car and go for a drive at the times the story was really interesting.
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L-03R Lefty
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« Reply #187 on: August 15, 2007, 02:22:07 AM »

Wiki is okay for looking up stuff that you already know.
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robv
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« Reply #188 on: August 17, 2007, 07:14:20 PM »

Lots of interesting stuff happening in this thread. Nietzsche is certainly an interesting read as a philosopher (as do many other philosophers). In  my readings of him he certainly wasn't a racist and the Nazis did a lot of cherry picking (as did others) in using his philosophy for their purposes. Regarding his atheism, I think he was courageous in his time to expouse such a view (and others). And Atheistic views have nothing to do with a belief in nothing and everything to do with not attributing aspects of understanding the Universe to the supernatural. There are lot of books lately expousing atheism and I haven't nor intend to read them as far as I'm concerned believe whatever you want as long as it doesn't hurt someone else (keep it secular!). Wiki is a great source BUT be wary especially regarding politically related information. There was an a article in the Globe and Mail this week regarding such propaganda in wiki. Currently I'm reading Divisidero by Michael Ondaatje and Vienna Blood by Frank Tallis. My Daughter is reading Harry Potter and he ends up married with 3 children (she couldn't stand it and read ahead). And as far as Canadian Whiskey is concerned .. oops thats another thread.
But Cheers anyway,
Rob
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Caleb
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« Reply #189 on: August 19, 2007, 04:17:26 PM »

And Atheistic views have nothing to do with a belief in nothing and everything to do with not attributing aspects of understanding the Universe to the supernatural.
  I respectfully disagree. It can be dressed up and sophistacted a bit, but it still all boils down to nothing.  Nada.  Zip. And creating any meaning from that starting point is, at best, like putting lipstick on a hog in order to make something ugly a litte bit more attractive.


On books: 

I've decided to read the entire Chronicles of Narnia again.  I've got them all in one book, which makes it very convenient to go through it all.    I think these books are really fun, and I realize they're supposed to be "children's literature", but good reading is good reading.  Period. 
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #190 on: August 21, 2007, 03:08:29 PM »

I just finished 'The Sacred Romance' by Eldridge and Curtis. It seems like they mentioned C.S. Lewis every other page. They also mentioned Pilgrem's Progress alot too. Good stuff.
Btw, this and 'wild at heart' are not self help books. They say something along the lines of, the help doesn't come from you at all.

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Caleb
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« Reply #191 on: August 22, 2007, 03:32:53 AM »

I just finished 'The Sacred Romance' by Eldridge and Curtis. It seems like they mentioned C.S. Lewis every other page. They also mentioned Pilgrem's Progress alot too. Good stuff.
Btw, this and 'wild at heart' are not self help books. They say something along the lines of, the help doesn't come from you at all.


Interesting.  That doesn't strike me as the kind of book that you would read, based on your posts here.  At least not from the way that I've read them. 

Speaking of Pilgrim's Progress, have you read anything by Bunyan? 
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #192 on: August 22, 2007, 02:13:34 PM »

Interesting.  That doesn't strike me as the kind of book that you would read, based on your posts here.  At least not from the way that I've read them. 

Speaking of Pilgrim's Progress, have you read anything by Bunyan? 

I'm my own thinker, just because I read Nietzsche (or whoever) doesn't mean I'm a follower.
We did discuss 'Wild At Heart' before and I don't know if I mentioned it but I've read a couple of the Narnia books and the Hobbitt. Haven't read Bunyan.
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« Reply #193 on: August 23, 2007, 11:41:53 AM »

I'm reading E.B. Sledge's "With The Old Breed" on Peleliu and Okinawa. A first hand account of a front line marine's experience of battle in the Pacific during WWII. Compelling, visceral stuff. Gripping narative that's neither pro or anti war but doesn't pull any punches about the waste of young men and disgust brought about by it. However, anyone who disagrees with using the atomic bomb against Japan should at least read this account of what these marines were up against. 
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jimmy buffett
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« Reply #194 on: August 26, 2007, 08:54:49 PM »

Ship of Ghosts, by James D. Hornfischer.  An account of FDR's "personal cruiser", the USS Houston.  One of the few ships in the U.S. Navy to be caught behind the lines in the Far East  with little support after the bombing of Pearl Harbour.  Spending 2 months on the run, she was finally sunk by overwhelming Japenese forces, and the survivors ended up in brutal Japanese labour camps, with many working on construction of the legendary Burma-Thailand railway, made famous in the movie Bridge Over the River Kwai.

Great read for all you naval historians out there.  It's also a reminder of what people are capable of when confronted with inhumane hardships, and how easy most of us have had it in this life, thanks to those who saw a greater calling...

jimmy
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« Reply #195 on: August 27, 2007, 02:06:13 PM »

Wiki is okay for looking up stuff that you already know.

Good point - I find wiki very useful for supporting a hunch or confirming a cloudy thought - but it cannot be used to learn something totally new to your mind or without further confirmation.
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Caleb
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« Reply #196 on: September 04, 2007, 10:33:01 PM »

I'm in and out of several CS Lewis books at the moment and I just started East of Eden by John Steinbeck.  Man, this is going to be a long book.....
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #197 on: September 06, 2007, 04:07:37 AM »

I'm in and out of several CS Lewis books at the moment and I just started East of Eden by John Steinbeck.  Man, this is going to be a long book.....

I found that book laying around the house, I think I might read it.
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Caleb
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« Reply #198 on: September 06, 2007, 05:11:15 AM »

I found that book laying around the house, I think I might read it.
I'm barely into East of Eden and am already completely sucked into the story.  From what I've read/heard, Steinbeck wove parts of his own life (names of relatives, etc.) into the story and real history, making it part myth and part reality.  This is the first book of his I've read, though I probably should have alraedy read the Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, but I'll get to them. 

I just finished up Spirits in Bondage by CS Lewis.  If you enjoy poetry, I highly recommend it.  It's not sappy "Chrsitian" poetry like one would expect either.  You could read it in an afternoon; it's very short.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #199 on: September 06, 2007, 03:31:14 PM »

This is the first book of his I've read, though I probably should have alraedy read the Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, but I'll get to them. 

Me too, but I've seen the movies and heard the Woody Guthrie song 'Tom Joad' so that counts for something. 
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