All posts tagged: existentialism

A Cheerfulness Practice to Radically Improve Your Mindset and Get Rid of Ennui

Don’t let a chronic case of the Mondays bring down your entire life.   Have you ever felt that each week is more of the same?  You make it through Monday to Thursday.  Finally, it’s Friday! But suddenly it’s Monday again.  How did that happen? The weeks run like torturous deja vu. Or perhaps it feels like every day is worse than the last.  The same breakfast, the same commute, the same crabby coworker.  And even the weekends are starting to seem as bland as plain, congealed oatmeal. It’s not that things are bad.  The response to “How are you?” is  “Oh, I really can’t complain.”  How do we cope with this perpetual, mild dissatisfaction?  Nothing’s really wrong.  Or is it? This listlessness has a name: ennui (pronounced: On-We).  It’s an emotional state of overcast, the kind that threatens of rain for days on end, but fails to provide the relief of a downpour.  It just goes on being overcast.  After the overcast becomes “normal”, you occasionally find yourself nagged by memories of last summer, …

Week 8 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Immortality

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic: Immortality The previous topics have been relatively light.  Bear with me as we approach some questions that require courage and serious philosophical thought! The attitude you have towards death influences your attitudes towards other human life, ethics, ownership, society, and politics. Physical death is the great equalizer; no one – no matter how rich or powerful, and regardless of citizenship – can avoid it.  Despite the fact that death is natural and unavoidable, you might not have thought about it much.  Some cultures do not talk about mortality, immortality, the soul, the afterlife.  Even if it’s difficult and brings up fear or anxiety, please give the questions a try! Views of Death: Final State? Or Transformation? If you were raised in Western culture, you are probably familiar with concepts of dying, death, and the afterlife.   Most adults could thoughtfully answer the question, “What do you think happens after we die?” There are few grave superstitions about death, and we even joke about it!  For example, …

Nietzsche, Art, Illusion & Truth

This post was written in response to an article by R. Anderson published in 2005 in the European Journal of Philosophy, entitled “Nietzsche on Truth, Illusion, and Redemption.”  doi/abs/10.1111/j.0966-8373.2005.00227.x In “Nietzsche on Truth, Illusion, and Redemption,” Anderson addresses the Nietzsche’s apparent inconsistency in regards to truth and its value. Anderson explains Nietzsche’s rejection of things in themselves and a ‘true world’ in favour of an epistemology that speaks of truly unknowable chaos given shape and organized by human perception. Still, Nietzsche is committed to truth of a phenomenal world despite our cognitive distortions and perspective and honesty as a correct moral aim. Anderson, having established Nietzsche’s position on truth, shifts the focus to the value of truth in a human life, from which point he addresses Nietzsche’s puzzling indignance for illusion, religion, and self-deception, yet concurrent endorsement of illusion in art. Since honesty and artistry act as regulative drives, they are not incompatible but rather require a balance in the tension between them. Both drives are necessary to fulfill the moral imperative of redeeming our …

Is it Immoral to have Faith?

This post concerns the work Concluding Unscientific Postscript (of pseudonymous author Johannes Climacus) written by existentialist Soren Kierkegaard and the discussion by Robert Adams in “Kierkegaard’s Arguments against Objective Reasoning in Religion”. It also touches on some ideas raised by Lara Buchak in her paper “Can it be Rational to have Faith?” Kierkegaard holds that faith is an intense psychological state of religiosity (i.e., conviction in some sort of religious proposition) that cannot be justified by objective reasoning. Furthermore, as characterized by Adams, it must be significantly likely that at least one of the person’s beliefs absurd, or that there is no certainty provided by historical evidence. The faith must exclude possibility of doubt, and faith must be a continually repeated and decisive act of will. Moreover, the person must feel a great deal of risk in his decision to have faith and also believe it is the morally thing to do, thereby making it a courageous act. In regards to this, I would point out that the person must have a great deal of …