Friday, April 28, 2017

659: The Meaning of Life in my newspaper.....

We were discussing the phenomenon of contributing values to abstract concepts like mankind, family, the nation and the like.
But I want to bring something else to your attention first. That is the interesting observation, that the subject of our present project 
doesn’t seem to be just some random choice of mine, but something  that keeps a lot of people busy at this moment.
In my newspaper of April 27, for instance, there were two columnists, who discussed exactly what we are discussing here at the moment. Two on one day!
Let me share with you the thoughts of Stevo Akkerman. His headline goes like this:
“We are confronted with the emptiness in our own soul, which is declared uninhabitable.”-end quote-
These are the days of the big floating. Voters, whole countries float like balloons in the air and nobody knows where they will land.
We had elections in the Netherlands. Al least 30% of the voters did not yet know what to vote. The traditional social democratic party eventually vaporised.
In France we have seen the same last weekend: 30% floating voters. Eventually the traditional political parties’ candidates had no chance at all.
And then the polls….Brexit would not happen. Trump didn’t have a chance to win and it all happened. Will Theresa May win here coming election? The polls float too.
Of course this unstable  situation is analysed from top to bottom by many and “the angry voter” was discovered as if it were  a new species 
and globalisation. On the one hand economical: low cost countries steal our jobs, on the other hand cultural: all these immigrants threaten our culture.
“I think”, says Stevo Akkerman, “that both play a role, but there's something else behind it: a spiritual deficit. 
Encouraged by uncertainty and challenged by newcomers with a strong and sometimes frightening religious identity, 
the West is confronted with emptiness in its own soul, which has become uninhabitable because of its secular materialist thinking. 
It may seem a sign of strength and fighting ability, all hammering on "our" values and habits, but it is a sign of weakness. It roars down itself.” -end quote-
His next step is to refer to an interview with two absolutely unreligious writers in his newspaper of some days before.
And he quotes one of them saying “The power of religion is that for them there exists something bigger”
And he asks the question regarding our something “bigger”: where do the European values come from, what do they mean?
And his conclusion is that for the time being we are still floating with respect to this question.
This is completely in line with our present discourse. And we recognise some typical aspects here.
The most characteristic is the implicit assumption that secular materialist thinking causes an emptiness in our soul.
I would prefer to say that exactly this secular materialist thinking frees us from a lot of irrational rubbish
and opens a route to formulate our idea about the meaning of life. 
Indeed we have to question the European values, which we cherish. Explain what they are. 
Answer the question how we put value is for instance in such an  abstract concept as our national identity.
Our question after the meaning of life made the newspaper. Not bad for a Second Lifer, I’d say :-)
Thank you for your attention again…..
Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Julian Baggini, What's It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (2004)  
Richard David Precht, Wer bin ich, und wenn ja, wie viele? (2007)

Stevo Akkerman, Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017
Rob de Wijk,        Dutch Newspaper "TROUW", April 21, 2017

The Discussion
[13:24] herman Bergson: Here you saw again that  need for something  bigger....
[13:25] CB Axel: One doesn't need religion to have values, though.
[13:25] herman Bergson: no, you don't
[13:25] CB Axel: The something bigger can just be the betterment of mankind.
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: the question is how u express them.
[13:25] CB Axel: A better life for all people
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: I thnk thats the biggest problem in western societies right now
[13:26] herman Bergson: equal and fair distribution of the resources of this world for instance
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:26] Ciska Riverstone: can u do that? ;)
[13:26] CB Axel: Could be, but I tend to think that it's because too many people value only what will make their lives better and to hell with everyone else.
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is that possible with all the greed we see?
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed that would make many things a lot better for many
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): greed is the really big issue here
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: greed is fueled by fear.
[13:27] herman Bergson: of course it is not possible.....
[13:27] CB Axel: What do Wall Street bankers and wealthy politicians have to fear except revolution?
[13:27] herman Bergson: but it can be an ideal...a goal...a belief that makes life worth living
[13:27] Ciska Riverstone: the fear to be insignificant... just like trump has it
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: narcism is basically a huge insecurity... psychologically seen
[13:28] herman Bergson: it looks like a kind of autism Ciska
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but can money give you that, or all the expensive cas and houses they buy with them?
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: no bejiita but people think it can
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its matearilsm i guess
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: or at least
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: they think it makes other think it does
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: so thats the most important thing for folks like that
[13:29] CB Axel: Well, come the revolution the rich will see that their gold is worthless. People with gardens will be the wealthy ones. °͜°
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: hi faust.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Hi Faust...
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hello Faust
[13:30] Faust Saenz: Hello
[13:30] CB Axel: Hey, Faust.
[13:30] Faust Saenz: Sorry I'm late!
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi Fause
[13:30] herman Bergson: You missed your bus, Faust? :-)
[13:31] Faust Saenz: Missed the Trolley. Threw the wrong switch.
[13:31] herman Bergson: Lecture of today was about a column in my RL newspaper which dealt with the same question as we are dealing here with now
[13:32] herman Bergson: The basic idea was that people and even countries are floating....not knowing what direction to take
[13:32] CB Axel: The columnist seemed to think lack of religion is the cause.
[13:33] herman Bergson: looks like it somewhat...
[13:33] herman Bergson: though he denies it....
[13:33] CB Axel: But too many Christians have values that clash with my own.
[13:33] Faust Saenz: Probably more to do with with which values to affirm collectively.
[13:33] herman Bergson: He wrote that he is not pleading for re-christianization.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: yes for he asks...what are our European values..
[13:35] CB Axel: US values seem to be amass large amounts of money even (maybe especially) if it means crushing others.
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes...the making money  idea is very popular, it seems :-)
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like Trump pointing finger to all non rich
[13:36] CB Axel: But how much money do people need. If you're spending it on gold plated toilets, you have too much, imho.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe agree
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oops I have replace mine tomorrow I guess
[13:37] CB Axel: And look at all the trouble and expense the US is willing to go through to keep Mexicans out.
[13:37] CB Axel: LOL, Beertje.
[13:37] CB Axel: I'll spare you in the revolution if you do. LOL
[13:38] CB Axel: The reason people come to the US is because life is better here than in their own countries.
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they like to boast about how much better then others they are with these gold toilets
[13:39] CB Axel: So why build a wall? We should be helping the other countries to become better places through fair trade agreements and aid.
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but does this make them popular, no, at least myself hate such people, they think they are something cause they have money and waste it on so much non necessary stuff while others starve
[13:39] herman Bergson: Indeed CB....
[13:39] CB Axel: But what do I know. I'm just a stupid paramedic. A lowly worker who isn't wealthy enough to matter.
[13:41] herman Bergson: If you really want revolution.......the concept of private property is destroying this world...
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[13:41] CB Axel: But communism didn't work, either.
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): cooperatives work?
[13:41] herman Bergson: That we allow individual to possess and controll millions of dollars.....
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: no- we need something inbetween
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: and we had for a while
[13:42] herman Bergson: It doesn’t mean that we need communism, for that denies the fact that we all are different
[13:42] herman Bergson: we need a fair distribution of power for instance...
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: the problem is  that through the use of juristic persons ( Cooperations) it did become possible to outsource responsibility away from action
[13:43] herman Bergson: now the power is where the money is.....not in the parliaments...
[13:43] CB Axel: Trump would sat that the distribution of power is fair.
[13:43] CB Axel: Of course, he's using alternate fairness.
[13:43] Faust Saenz: Read the notes (Thanks Beertje!) and came up with this: Our natural drives (like care, play and sociability) press into our conscious awareness and we either affirm them as values or reject them since we cannot think our way into our own unconsciousness, cognitive prepossesses unexaminable by our consciousness. We have sufficient values baked into our very nature. Its a matter of recognizing them and then engaging in aligned action that is consented to.
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so true
[13:44] herman Bergson: I agree Faust...
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes
[13:44] herman Bergson: but unfortunately our world is more complex than that...
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess its like that
[13:45] Faust Saenz: Our primal values are physiological drives... perceived.
[13:46] herman Bergson: We have cybercrime, corruption, general criminality and on the other hand a majority of good willing people
[13:46] herman Bergson: Ture Faust....
[13:46] herman Bergson: homo spaiens in not a rational being......and that is where the problems start :-)
[13:47] Ciska Riverstone: well I do not fully agree Faust
[13:47] herman Bergson: All history is about controlling those bloody drives in us :-)
[13:47] Faust Saenz: But at least we are predictably irrational to some extent.
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes....and also more or less increasingly successful in controlling our drives
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats mostly the case
[13:48] herman Bergson: But there still is a long way of many generations to go
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: although we have strong physiological drives we still have psychological needs ... the problem is that people try to ignore that a lot because the society values are different
[13:49] herman Bergson: What society values are you thinking of Ciska?
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: psychologically we have 2 contradictary needs: we need to belong and we need to be individuals
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: right now we celebrate the individualism
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: its a high vaule in western societies
[13:49] herman Bergson: Got a point there Ciska
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: at the same time depression is going up high
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: and people are alone
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: become socially problematic
[13:50] herman Bergson: indeed
[13:50] Faust Saenz: True democracy can only begin when each person's core values are intentionally aggregated into a collective set of core values. That is a preliminary step to the construction of a just constitution.
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: lots of sociophobe folks
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: and thats due to not fulfilling the community need.
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: in former times religion provided that
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: automatically
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: people were not happy with it
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: but there was a sense of community
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: and of belonging
[13:51] CB Axel nods
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: this is still doing on
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: with refugees
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: and when you look closer then you see - people who arevery loudly against refugees
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: often are socially isolated
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: the instinctively feel
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: that community is what they cannot have - and those people seem to have
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: so we need an awareness level there
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: and need to find a way to built that into political solutions
[13:53] CB Axel: I think those people are finding community online.
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: yes they do - but thats not enough on the long run
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: they still fear
[13:53] herman Bergson: I saw  some statistics about feeling happy and safe....related to political party choices...
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: and some radicalize
[13:54] herman Bergson: an dth ePVV...our populist ultra rightwing party....people who supposrt that parte were the lowest in feleling happy and secure....
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: fear driven
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: here too
[13:54] CB Axel: Well, I think social media allows fearful people to meet other fearful people. It feeds on their fears in a vicious circle.
[13:54] Faust Saenz: Authentic friendship is one of the most important goods that public policy can formulated to enhance.
[13:55] Faust Saenz: *can be
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: yes faust
[13:55] CB Axel: I've seen a study like that here in the US, Herman.
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: for me
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: whats really needed in Germany for example
[13:55] Faust Saenz: Loneliness is as detrimental to life expectancy as obesity and smoking.
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: is that people who cannot get back into work for whatever reasons and are just living of adminitration money need extra care in the sense of psychologcial and community care.
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: so a model for a future state would be
[13:56] herman Bergson: Yes...they should participate in society, Ciska....
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: well they cannot if that costs money
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: so
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: the programme must be tailored for folks like that
[13:57] herman Bergson: yes
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: we do have some attempts here
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: some cities do that
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: and it starts to develop a bit
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: but its not enough
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: Berlin for example has a project where a special amount of people get a "Grundeinkommen"
[13:58] herman Bergson: those fearfull people is about a 20% of our society now.....
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: yes - its the same here
[13:58] Ciska Riverstone: and they are joined by folks who want to have a role back concerning women’s rights
[13:59] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i can imagine that they are fearful,, all those immigrants have islam as religion, europe is not an islam coutry, for us it's all new
[13:59] herman Bergson: I guess I may conlcude that we still have a lot of work to do :-)
[14:00] CB Axel: °͜°
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: ehheh
[14:00] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess
[14:00] herman Bergson: Well...we are working on it from here....
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its just to keep on going
[14:00] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and hope for the best
[14:00] herman Bergson: hundreds of people read the blog of our clese every day to begin with....
[14:01] CB Axel: Really?
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: oO
[14:01] herman Bergson: and thus ideas spread all over the world......
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes all over the world:)
[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[14:01] CB Axel: I'm glad I kept my language clean. LOL
[14:01] Ciska Riverstone: lol
[14:01] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:01] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol CB
[14:01] herman Bergson: No CB...sometimes the world needs some trong words too :-)
[14:02] herman Bergson: so no self censorship here :-)
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (throws swear jar to CB) are you sure about that?
[14:02] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[14:02] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I forgive you saying dirty words,, they are only letters in a row:)
[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): potverjandemikke...:)
[14:03] herman Bergson: Well....may I thank you all again for your active participation......and dirty words :-)
[14:03] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): grins
[14:03] herman Bergson: Class dismissed (just in time :-)
[14:03] CB Axel: When I get talking about politics I often use all the swear words in one sentence.
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[14:04] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol CB
[14:04] herman Bergson: very efficient CB :-)
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed me too often
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i have more bad then good experience about politicans
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): esp trump
[14:04] CB Axel: See you all Thursday.
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but also here in sweden at least some
[14:04] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu next time
[14:05] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman, for the great topic.
[14:05] Ciska Riverstone: take care everyone
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:05] herman Bergson: HAve a nice evening Bejiita :-)
[14:05] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterustenm Ciska
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you too all
[14:05] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[14:05] herman Bergson: Bye CB :-)
[14:05] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten Beertje
[14:05] Faust Saenz: Nussbaum's recent work is in praise of unconditional love and opposed to both anger and forgiveness.

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