Being is toward death

Quoted from Omid | Philosophy | Heidegger: Being and Time

http://wp.me/pS9Vc-4u

“As Heidegger puts it, from the moment we are born, our Being is toward death. With every breath we take, we take one step closer to death. When we are young, we tend to live carelessly or procrastinatingly – as though we are immortal (imperishable and undying), as though we have infinite time at our disposal. Yet, as we get older, we tend to become more and more conscious of the finitude of time in terms of our living and Being in the world. According to Heidegger, death (like the mood of “anxiety”, described in my previous article) is more pivotal and constructive in our daily lives than we are consciously aware. Death unconsciously structures our lives. Many of our daily activities appear to be unconscious ways of eluding death, or making ourselves oblivious to death, yet with every sigh we approach the inevitable. At all times, death hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles. It follows us whenever and wherever.”

Heidegger’s Significance in Our Time

“On rare occasions and without forewarning, and seldom without conscious awareness, we may involuntarily suffer from an uncanny mood that can be characterized as ambiguous, apprehensive, indecisive, and uncertain—a suspicious mood that resists being clearly articulated. Once we are affected by this obscure mood, it sets in like nightfall. The deeper we sink in it, the darker and more inaccessible our world becomes while we become alienated from ourselves, others, and everyday routines. Under such condition, according to German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), we do not feel at “home” in the world. At such confusing moments, we often ignore this mood by returning to our “everydayness”, i.e., our nonreflective modes of existing, such as being absorbed in our everyday routines, occupations, recreational activities, and so on. We often fill up our lives with busyness in order to flee from this mood. In fact, Heidegger suggests that our everydayness might be at times a subterranean or subconscious way of escape and taking refuge from this disorienting mood. If you seek a psychiatrist to rid you of this particular mood, she or he may conventionally prescribe you some pills to numb your alertness to this crisis, which perhaps can be metaphorically qualified as an alarm clock. But, what does this alarm clock alarm you about?”

“By the time we wake up every morning, we find ourselves already here. From the womb of time, we were helplessly born sometime, some place, some gender, some race, and into some social class. Heidegger characterizes this phenomenon as us having been “thrown into the world”. When we become acutely conscious that we exist, we catch ourselves already in the world—the world in which we are, if you will, condemned to be and there is no escape until death removes us from the world. Accordingly, since we catch ourselves thrown into the world, we are, unlike an inert object such as a stone, never moodless. In fact, Heidegger posits that our “thrownness” or moods (some more than others) can disclose to us our Being-in-the-world and can transform our being into a life-long “project”. And, if we remove our moods, we may remove ourselves from the world. Heidegger suggests that we should not bar our moods altogether, but to find the appropriate moods to cultivate. He insists that moods are not only our ways of finding ourselves in the world, but also they “attune” us to the world.

Generally speaking, in the contemporary American society, we often readily dismiss our moods, especially the unsettling ones, as insignificant, random, or passing phases. There is a sense in which we assume, perhaps with a degree of shame, that moods divorce us from reality and who we are. On the contrary, Heidegger construes moods as a key to self-knowledge or self-interpretation and as a context within which our world (its meanings, significances, and values) is shaped. We are often admonished “don’t cry” when we are sad, or we are told “smile” when our pictures are being taken. Or, our employers command us “leave your worries and personal problems at home when you come to work”, which is practicable, but unrealistic. Consequently, we are conditioned to become fake, which is highly common and, in fact, encouraged. We are good at faking or simulating moods. One can think of a typical retail clerk or waiter who greets customers with a fake smile, simulating the act of being hospitable and caring. According to Heidegger, this is an inauthentic attempt to evade our “thrownness” and “facticity”—senselessly ignoring what he views as the threefold structure of Being-in-the-world: our past (how and who we were), our present (how and who we are), and our future (how and who we will become).”

“The stronger a man is, the weaker God is, the weaker a man is, the stronger God.”

“A man who but rarely, and then only cursorily, concerns himself with his relationship to God, hardly thinks or dreams that he has so closely to do with God, or that God is so close to him, that there exists a reciprocal relationship between him and God, the stronger a man is, the weaker God is, the weaker a man is, the stronger God is in him. Every one who assumes that a God exists naturally thinks of Him as the strongest, as He eternally is, being the Almighty who creates out of nothing, and for whom all the creation is as nothing; but such a man hardly thinks of the possibility of a reciprocal relationship. And yet for God, the infinitely strongest, there is an obstacle; He has posited it Himself, yea, He has lovingly, with incomprehensible love posited it Himself; for He posited it and posits it every time a man comes into existence, when He in His love makes to be something directly in apposition to Himself. Oh, marvelous omnipotence of love! A man cannot bear that his ‘creations’ should be directly in apposition to Himself, and so he speaks of them in a tone of disparagement as his ‘creations’. But God who creates out of nothing, who almightily takes from nothing and says, ‘Be’, lovingly adjoins, ‘Be something even in apposition to me.’ Marvellous love, even His omnipotence is under the sway of love!”

Soren Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, 1848

 

Thomas Merton Prayer

Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion

“MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

From 
Through the Year With Thomas Merton

Before I die

“I must, before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet — a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and the fearful passionless force of non-human things.”

-Bertrand Russell

Mafia state

“Communities in South Africa, traumatised by relentless gang violence, rape, murder and general criminality, know that the so-called underworld exists in full view of the upperworld, as academic, researcher and author Mark Shaw has revealed in his new book Hitmen for Hire – Exposing South Africa’s Underworld. Shaw’s book attempts to unpack the dark nexus between organised crime, politics and law enforcement, a coalition of sociopaths that poses the biggest threat to South Africa’s democracy.” – By Marianne Thamm, The Daily Maverick, 11 Aug 2017

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-08-11-killers-for-hire-corrupted-law-enforcement-nourishes-assassins-in-sa/#.WY8VSTPRbqA

No, atheist friends, the Bible isn’t just “Fairy Tale.”

No, Atheist Friends, The Bible Isn’t Just “Fairy Tale.”
Reblogged from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/is-the-bible-just-a-fairy-tale-and-do-atheists-have-an-unsophisticated-approach-to-literature/#BKdXmIm9L8RMqszD.99

“When interacting with (some) atheists online, it isn’t a shocker to stumble upon some who begin a discussion with an overwhelming arrogance as they prepare to rain down their intellectual and moral superiority on you.

I mean, let’s be honest: Every group has its hard-core Calvinists, right? (That’s a joke people. I don’t need more hate mail from Calvinists.)

The other day I wrote a post on some things I wish atheists would stop doing, and one of those things was I wish they’d stop with the conversation-stopping claim that our belief system/the Bible is just a bunch of “fairy tales.”

To my surprise, this was the one point that seemed to get the most push-back. In fact, many atheists doubled down on this point– including Hemant Mehta from Friendly Atheist, who responded, here. Strewn throughout the comment section I found atheist after atheist saying, “Yup, I’m still calling it all a fairy tale.”

This, of course, invites a few more questions: First, is the Bible a fairy tale?

And second, a worthy question posed by a reader in the comment section: Do some atheists have an unsophisticated approach to literature? 

As the Irish Atheist pointed out in the comment section (because some atheists can be atheists without being a total %$@! about it), calling the Bible a fairy tale falls flat, because fairy tale is a very specific, modern, English genre of literature. This specific literary genre is typically short stories, written specifically for children, and is designed to be complete fantasy. What’s a fairy tale? Think Shrek.

This isn’t the literary genre of the Bible. One can think the Bible is complete junk, one can disagree every word of it, some of it can be historically inaccurate or even untrue– but if one thinks the literary genre of this literature is “fairy tale” than I do wonder if such a person actually does have a horribly unsophisticated view of literature in general.

The Bible is a collection of 66 individual books (protestant cannon) written over a large period of time by different people, in different cultures, and for different purposes. In fact, there is a multitude of genres found in the Bible, and not one of those genres is “fairy tale.”

For example, in the Hebrew scriptures we find a wide array of genres that all center around a theme: the birth and development of a people group that came to be known as ancient Israel. Most of it was written in hindsight (I believe most was written in the post-exilic period) as they looked back at where they had come from. From this literature we see how they viewed government, what bronze age nomads considered good laws, how they viewed the divine, which surrounding cultures they clearly hated, and which ones they were happy to borrow from as they grew in their individual identity.

Within that, do they also include some myths (sacred stories that aren’t literally true)? Some legends (popular stories that can’t be historically authenticated)? Yeah, of course. That’s the kind of stuff we expect to find in ancient literature like this.

As we move forward we find them writing about their wars, and see that just like those around them, they grossly exaggerated their victories (as I demonstrate in this 2 minute video of an artifact I stumbled upon in Amman, Jordan). We also see them write beautiful poetry and wisdom, two more literary genres found in the 66 book library. We find them talking about their national problems, their struggles with leadership and how establishing a monarchy backfired on them, and even have an entire book dedicated to things they complained about.

Then we move into another interesting genre– the prophets. No, these weren’t exactly future tellers, but more like the social justice advocates of their day. After the wars, their culture became like ours- the rich grew richer and the poor grew poorer, so ancient “prophets” came along to tell them that such selfishness actually pisses God off. One of them even told people that God hates religious people who mistreat the poor and vulnerable, and that they make God want to vomit. (These guys often got killed, FWIW.)

And, of course, we have the Greek Scriptures, where some Jews started a new religion that became known as Christianity. In here we see fans of Jesus who wrote about his life and teachings, followed by a collection of letters written to different churches around the world– each one addressing different cultural struggles and issues they were having as they began to establish this new religion. The Bible even ends with a truly strange genre–Jewish apocalyptic literature– which was a specific genre that was geared towards giving people hope when struggling through rough times, but is notoriously complicated to interpret in modern times.

That’s a ridiculously truncated version of the literature found in the Bible, but here’s the point: none of it is fairy tale, even if parts of it include myths or legends that are scientifically impossible or historically false.

So, back to the question: Do atheists have an unsophisticated view of literature? Well, if one really believes the Bible can be classified as fairy tale, than yes– one would be holding to an almost laughable lack of sophistication when it comes to ancient literature. It would be like visiting Egypt, looking at all the carvings on the walls left for us by ancient Egyptians, and then saying, “What a bunch of losers and their stupid fairy tales.”

It’s true that the ancient Egyptians may have believed and practiced some crazy shit, but such an arrogant, dismissive attitude actually makes one less enlightened, not more.

It’s such a waste of perfectly good brain cells when bias leads us to dismissiveness and over-generalization, especially in the world of literature. But hey, people do this with Shakespeare too, because dismissiveness is easier than seeking understanding.

But here’s the deal: I don’t think the average atheist is actually that unsophisticated. Instead, I would invite a little more honesty:

When you call the Bible a “fairy tale” you’re not saying it because you believe it’s actually in the same literary genre as Shrek, you’re using the word as a pejorative for the simple purpose of being a %#@! about things.

And I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything morally or intellectually superior about that. It’s ignorant, close-minded, and completely dismissive of windows into ancient history.

In fact, such attitudes remind me of how easy it is for any of us (myself included) to so blindly become the very thing we claim to hate.”