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Old 10-15-2017   #41
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Re: Literary News

Kazuo Ishiguro Is Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature - The New York Times

Well-deserved. The Remains of the Day, The Unconsoled, Never Let Me Go, to name but a few.

The Remains of the Day won the Booker Prize. It is an excellent novel, and it was made into a wonderful film starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and James Fox. Christopher Reeve and a young, absolutely gorgeous Lena Headey are also in the movie.

Never Let Me Go was also made into a fine film, but it is rather hard to take. Ishiguro's friend, Alex Garland, wrote the script.
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Old 10-16-2017   #42
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Re: Literary News

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
You mean there's more to life, Arthur? Born, live, die, oblivion doesn't work for you? Please fill me in LOL.

We all need illusions to make life bearable and we get them. From Romantic love to the Drug Culture, it's all about finding meaning. Even materialists long to believe in the unreal. Lovecraft understood the link between religious belief and supernatural horror in literature. The need for meaning can only be satisfied by illusion.

Being a nihilist who only values Logic but has a (too) high degree of compassion for animals and human beings is a bitch.

My advice to others is simple: do the Right Thing in every circumstance. You'll know what it is if you have a drop of empathy; and even if your actions are arbitrary, DO IT. Meaning be damned.
I can't speak for Arthur, but (I think I know what he's getting at and would say that) even the idea that there is a need for meaning and that there are illusions immediately means that there's more than "born, live, die, oblivion". Where do the need for meaning and illusions fit in with "born, live, die, oblivion"?

Another way of putting it: Is the 'need for meaning' material or immaterial? Is illusion material or immaterial?

There are many ways of expressing this.

Jordan Peterson talks a little around this whole subject here:


"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 10-16-2017   #43
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Re: Literary News

@Arthur Staaz: Everything is not simply "born, live, die, oblivion". It's worse. There is consciousness, which creates dread, anxiety, suffering and ultimately, the need for meaning in most people. And to the question why bother loving and caring for anyone or anything if there is no meaning (another form of it is "Why not kill yourself if life is suffering?), one answer would be:
It is in my physical make-up and interest to love and care or at least appear so due to instinct, love chemicals, learning and societal conformity. When I see an old woman falls on the ground, my instinct is to see what's wrong. If I have empathy (some don't), I will feel bad. If I am slow in instinct or don't have empathy and end up just walking by, other passerby will think I'm scum. I also have to learn to love and care for family, classmates...to conform with society. These factors shape my caring behavior to the point where it is another appendage and I would feel powerless, alien, and crippled without it.

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions

Last edited by ToALonelyPeace; 10-16-2017 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 10-16-2017   #44
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Re: Literary News

Quote Originally Posted by ToALonelyPeace View Post
consciousness, which creates dread, anxiety, suffering and ultimately, the need for meaning
Thus, consciousness creates what it perceives?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 10-16-2017   #45
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Re: Literary News

In animals, self-defense is relegated to simple instinct: running from a threat, needing to attack, that kind of thing.

I tend to see man's need for Meaning as just another form of self-defense particular to humans. Defense against the knowledge of our inevitable death. Defense against giving up in the face of the slaughterhouse that is sometimes the world. Something that justifies the most outrageous arbitrary suffering. You need something to make it all worthwhile. A healthy human being should find enough 'meaning' in just satisfying the physical desires but it doesn't always work out that way. People who have it all--wealth, love, fame--often need more and find it in drugs or religion or 'causes,' whatever. I would agree that the 'meaning' we experience when we fill our bellies with a hot meal or after love making isn't an illusion but for many (in a society where you don't have to struggle just to stay alive) there seems to be a need for a greater Meaning, one that explains the countless sorrows and horrors that all living things are vulnerable to; and that kind of Meaning, I believe, is an illusion, pure and simple.

Wish it weren't.
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Old 10-16-2017   #46
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Re: Literary News

A Jung quotation I like to trot out on these occasions (that he wrote towards the end of his life):

"I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions- not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation of something I do not know. In spite of all uncertainties, I feel a solidity underlying all existence and a continuity in my mode of being.

The world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time of divine beauty. Which element we think outweighs the other, whether meaninglessness or meaning, is a matter of temperament. If meaninglessness were absolutely preponderant, the meaningfulness of life would vanish to an increasing degree with each step in our development. But that is-or seems to me- not the case. Probably, as in all metaphysical questions, both are true: Life is-or has-meaning and meaninglessness. I cherish the anxious hope that meaning will preponderate and win the battle."

-C.G. Jung, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections"

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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Old 10-16-2017   #47
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Re: Literary News

Quote Originally Posted by Frater_Tsalal
"I know only that I was born and exist"
I'm not even sure about these things. I find reason to doubt everything, which is why I don't understand much of this age of certainty we live in, whether we're talking materialism or Trumpism.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 10-16-2017   #48
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Re: Literary News

I primarily like the quotation for the line "I exist on the foundation of something I do not know," which I can certainly apply to my own feelings toward life.

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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Old 10-16-2017   #49
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Re: Literary News

With all respect to Jung, I don't think temperament has much to do with evaluating Life. It's a matter of honesty. A woman journalist takes a ride in a homemade submarine and ends up dismembered and cast into the sea. Another woman, a young model, is scalped and tortured for 8 hours before she dies by her graphic novelist boyfriend. An old man steps into an elevator in a parking garage and becomes trapped between floors. The garage is closed for renovation and his body is found a month later. Just some stories taken from the BBC or The Post. Not even a fraction of the most atrocious suffering that continues day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute.
,
Unless you can find a Meaning for such things you have to assume all talk of Meaning is pointless...and meaningless.

That doesn't mean life can't be a pretty good deal for some. It's all luck of the draw. As I tried to make plain in an old poem.


Your Ticket

You’ve had good days, bad days,
Everything in between;
And even your bad days
Were never that bad,
Never the absolute worst,
Never the horrors reserved
By Chance or Fate
For the Luckless
Or the Damned.
That’s an evil lottery
You don’t want to win.
Still the drawings will continue
And you were born with a ticket.
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Old 10-16-2017   #50
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Re: Literary News

I exist in order to refute existence. Every time I wake up without putting a gun beneath my chin it's as though I'm placing the heel of my foot on the neck of the universe. To lower one's expectations regarding life is also a sign of victory, which is why cynicism is the summit of wisdom.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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