13 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2022
    1. it will be worthwhile to develop his idea of a courageous breaking away from culturally-supported immortality systems by looking back in history to a character who many people have thought of as an epitome of a self-realized person, someone who neither accepts his culture’s standardized hero-systems, nor fears death: the philosopher Socrates. When Socrates was brought to trial in 399 BC before a jury of 501 Athenian citizens on charges that included impiety and corrupting the youth, he disappointed most of the jurors (and irritated many of them) by not petitioning for leniency, or appearing intimidated by the penalties he might face if found guilty. And when the jury condemned him to death, he remained composed, and spoke carefully about the consequences of the judgment first for himself, and then for Athens. Through Plato we understand that Socrates’s typical tranquility and self-control never left him throughout his month in prison and up through the final minutes of drinking the hemlock. The eyewitness report has it that he drank the cup of hemlock “calmly and easily,” and had to chastise his friends for their weeping. Combined with other testimony about Socrates’s bravery as a soldier–and the record of his dangerous refusal to obey what he considered to be immoral orders from the leaders of a temporary govemment-all this adds up to the portrait of someone very much at ease with his mortality. What accounts for it? Did Socrates’ courage come from a psychological denial of mortality through embrace of some “immortality system?” Let us look at what he had to say about death to the jurors at his trial immediately after his condemnation. “Death,” he said to them, “is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or … it is really a change: a migration of the soul from this place to another (Plato, Apology, 40c-d).” Those are in fact the only alternatives: maybe its nothingness; maybe it isn’t. Socrates shows himself prepared for either eventuality. Note well: there is no dogmatic assertion of an immortal afterlife here. An assertion like that would, after all, contradict Socrates’ first principle of conduct, which is to never assume that one knows what one doesn’t know. Earlier in his defense speech Socrates had stated the matter about death carefully: “To be afraid of death is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not; it is to think that one knows what one does not know …. [Not] possessing any real knowledge of what comes after death, I am also conscious that I do not possess it (29a-b).”

      Socrates confrontation of death without fear is an example of how to live authentically with death, without the need for immortality projects.

  2. Jun 2022
    1. Maybe it’s time we talk about it?

      Yes, long overdue!

      Coming to terms with potential near term extinction of our species, and many others along with it, is a macro-level reflection of the personal and inescapable, existential crisis that all human, and other living beings have to contend with, our own personal, individual mortality. Our personal death can also be interpreted as an extinction event - all appearances are extinguished.

      The self-created eco-crisis, with accelerating degradation of nature cannot help but touch a nerve because it is now becoming a daily reminder of our collective vulnerability, Mortality salience of this scale can create enormous amounts of anxiety. We can no longer hide from our mortality when the news is blaring large scale changes every few weeks. It leaves us feeling helpless...just like we are at the time of our own personal death.

      In a world that is in denial of death, as pointed out by Ernest Becker in his 1973 Pulitzer-prize winning book of the same title, the signs of a climate system and biosphere in collapse is a frightening reminder of our own death.

      Straying from the natural wonderment each human being is born with, we already condition ourselves to live with an existential dread as Becker pointed out:

      "Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order to blindly and dumbly rot and disappear forever."

      Beckerian writer Glenn Hughes explores a way to authentically confront this dread, citing Socrates as an example. Three paragraphs from Hughes article point this out, citing Socrates as exemplary:

      "Now Becker doesn’t always emphasize this second possibility of authentic faith. One can get the impression from much of his work that any affirmation of enduring meaning is simply a denial of death and the embrace of a lie. But I believe the view expressed in the fifth chapter of The Denial of Death is his more nuanced and genuine position. And I think it will be worthwhile to develop his idea of a courageous breaking away from culturally-supported immortality systems by looking back in history to a character who many people have thought of as an epitome of a self-realized person, someone who neither accepts his culture’s standardized hero-systems, nor fears death: the philosopher Socrates."

      "Death is a mystery. Maybe it is annihilation. One simply can’t know otherwise. Socrates is psychologically open to his physical death and possible utter annihilation. But still this does not unnerve him. And if we pursue the question: why not?–we do not have to look far in Plato’s portrait of Socrates for some answers. Plato understood, and captured in his Dialogues, a crucial element in the shaping of Socrates’ character: his willingness to let the fact of death fully penetrate his consciousness. This experience of being fully open to death is so important to Socrates that he makes a point of using it to define his way of life, the life of a philosophos–a “lover of wisdom.” " "So we have come to the crucial point. The Socratic catharsis is a matter of letting death penetrate the self. It is the acceptance of the perishing of everything that will perish. In this acceptance a person imaginatively experiences the death of the body and the possibility of complete annihilation. This is “to ‘taste” death with the lips of your living body [so] that you … know emotionally that you are a creature who will die; “it is the passage into nothing” in which “a corner is turned within one.” And it is this very experience, and no other, that enables a person to act with genuine moral freedom and autonomy, guided by morals and not just attraction and impulses."

      https://ernestbecker.org/lecture-6-denial/

    1. if the process of seeing differently is the process of first and foremost having awareness of the fact that everything you do has an assumption 00:00:14 figure out what those are and by the way the best person to reveal your own assumptions to you is not yourself it's usually someone else hence the power of diversity the importance of diversity 00:00:26 because not only does that diversity reveal your own assumptions to you but it can also complexify your assumptions right because we know from complex systems theory that the best solution is most likely to 00:00:40 exist within a complex search space not a simple search space simply because of statistics right so whereas a simple search space is more adaptable it's more easily to adapt it's 00:00:52 less likely to contain the best solution so what we really want is a diversity of possibilities a diversity of assumptions which diverse groups for instance enable

      From a Stop Reset Go Deep Humanity perspective, social interactions with greater diversity allows multi-meaningverses to interact and the salience landscape from each conversant can interact. Since each life is unique, the diversity of perspectival knowing allows strengths to overlap weaknesses and different perspectives can yield novelty. The diversity of ideas encounter each other like diversity in a gene pool, evolving more offsprings which may randomly have greater fitness to the environment.

      Johari's window is a direct consequence of this diversity of perspectives, this converged multi-meaningverse of the Lebenswelt..

    1. at the individual 00:11:56 level the trade-off priorities are unbelievably individual like it just there's no average you're saying yeah there's no like when you looked at the average

      Another way to articulate this is to say that there is an enormous range of salience landscapes.

  3. May 2022
    1. Second, acknowledging increased affective insecurity and that heightened vulnerability and fear will be a factor, great efforts must be made to bolster the care, support and protection provided to people.      

      Mortality salience for the masses - operationalizing terror management theory (TMT) and Deep Humanity BEing Journeys that take individuals to explore the depths of their humanity to make sense of the times we are in will play a critical role in contextualizing fear of death triggered by unstable circumstances and ameliorating these fears with the wisdom that comes from a living comprehension of the sacredness of our life and eventual death.

  4. Nov 2021
    1. Like, the world I came to is exactly the same as the world that I left. But what you wouldn't have understood is that every breath that you took contributed to the possibility of countless lives after you - lives that you would never see, lives that we are all a part of today. And it's worth thinking that maybe the meaning of our lives are actually not even within the scope of our understanding.

      This is a profound observation that shows how our collective species death over deep history shapes the universe. From a first person experience of reality, however, does it makes us feel that the universe is intimate? The universe is a grand dance and we are part of that dance. Ernest Becker's Mortality Salience looms large. How do we feel meaningful in the face of our mortality? How do we alleviate the perennial meaning crisis?

  5. Mar 2021
  6. Feb 2021
  7. Nov 2020
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  9. May 2020
  10. Apr 2017
    1. hen we ascribe little responsibilityto the rhetor with respect to what he has chosen to give salience

      This did seem like an odd consequence of Blitzer's argument. For example, it seemed irrelevant that Lincoln was the person who delivered the Gettysburg Address, and that he chose to address the situation in the particular way he did, emphasizing unity over further antagonism. Blitzer's explanation is that some of the situation (needing unity over antagonism, I suppose) still exists, but there are a lot of ways to respond to the urgency of war, and historically a call to unity and peace is not necessarily the natural and dominant narrative. We need to grant Lincoln some agency for making those rhetorical choices which impacted the way the war eventually ended (with the Southerners becoming countrymen again rather then citizens of a deposed state).