Mod Con Final

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  1. Dangerous books
    • Dangerous book- one that makes you question your own opinions
    • The nietzsche reader is a dangerous book, b/c Nietzsche's aphormisms are short and pithy but make you think very deeply
    • Altered opinions do not hcnage your character, but illuminate parts of your personality you may have never seen before, helps you break past constraints like tradition and religion, that want to hold humans back
    • All tradition should be questioned, to be see if it is useful, and books can help us do just that- Evolution of culture
    • Dangerous books written in blood, written with soul, spirit passion; if it is easy to understand, it has probably been watered down
  2. Metaphysical world
    • Metaphysical- we cannot physically see it,  but we have
    • the concept; there is something beyond what our senses can grasp
    • o   Heaven
    • o   The Invisible Hand
    • o   Most religious concepts- religion is knowing the unknowable
    • o   ATN, we cannot understand the metaphysics, b/c it is inaccessible and incomprehensible, so we should be weary of anyone who says that they have the answer.
    •    Truth is a matter of perspective, a human arrangement
  3. Source of Knowledge
    • What we believe for the longest is what is considered the most true, their consition as a character of life- why we do not question custom
    • Truth appeared very late, but now it appears to be soemthing we have to have to make sense of this world.
    • This idea also seen in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense- not thinking about why a thing is wrong for long enough
    • makes it right
    • Truth is a matter of human perspective, an arrangement to make out lives easier
    • Eventually, this idea that we needed knowledge and truth became a need in and of itself, became a power that everything else is subjected to, even though it is only a human arrangement at best
  4. Custom and What is in Accordance with it
    • Primary reason that there is good and evil is because there is tradition     
    • Evil=NOT following custom b/c custom is what holds the community together      
    • Nietzsche does not think that community should be preserved on this principle
    • o   Most of us DO do better when we
    • work together, but we should draw a line that is not at the extremes
    • Bill of Rights (individual based)- not in the constitution
    • Patrick Henry said that the vote for constitution is a vote for a return to tyranny
    • Bill of Rights was a compromise- Great fight between community and individual      
    • Can a society exist without evil? If not, there is no comparison- we describe something by what it isn’t, not what it is.
  5. Man's actions are always good
    • ATN,man does not have free will
    • Man is like a thunderstorm- we do not blame the storm for knocking down a tree, yet we blame man for bad things
    • This is becuase we believe that man has a choice in the matter, but ATN, he does not
    • Just as a thunderstorm is caused by the right combination of air temperature, winds, and other natural phenomena, so is man's actions cuased by a combination of genetics and one's environmnet
    • Man naturally desires pleasure or to ward off displeasure, and this is what he does; or morality allows causing harm in the case of self-preservation, and this is what man is doing
    • Whatever man does is good to him, he rationalizes it; no man ever goes out to do bad
  6. Concept of the morality of custom
    • ATN,morality is the obedience to customs, custom is traditional way of behaving and evaluating    
    • We do not know where morality originally came from, becuase it is so rare- even if something is philosophically moral, but it goes against custom, it is immoral
    • Individualism is evil- Christians once considered evil in Rome b/c they were going against the pagan tradition, and since this included worshipping dead emperors along with gods, this was a direct threat to the Roman authority
    • Even if motive is the same as that of the custom, if it results in something individualistic, it is considered immoral, becuase it goes against the norm- we fear the individual
    •  But for the US, isn’t it a custom
    • to be an individual?- not as true in America now as it was in 19th century Europe- Gay was the closest thing to evil back then, becuase it went against custom of marriage and love being between a man and a woman
  7. Evil
    • Evil is needed to challenge good, to make good stronger- when things get tough, the tough get going (REMEMBER- good is going with custom, bad going against it)
    • So those who threaten custom makeit stronger- like Cloud Atlas- the "purebloods" set up Sonmi-451 to stage a rebellion so people would trust fabricants even less and band together against them, making pureblood race stronger
    • Police make sure everyone stays with custom- part of making the good better
    • Good and evil make each other good and evil- for someone to be an individual, you need something to compare it to
    • Stonewall-gay bar where police often beat up gay men, allowed to go on for years becausen gay was evil and police were good, so it was the natural order of things.
  8. master morality and slave morality
    • Two types- slave and master morality
    • o   Slave morality- always feels like
    • the victim, this is what the self-pityer feels, Pessimistic and suspicious of powerful people because always questioning their intentions and meaning, a slave to moral principles, judges good and bad based on intentions
    • o   Master morality- narcissistc,self-glorifying; judges good or bad based on consequences, so he can rationalize things
    • While slave morality values things like kindness, humility and sympathy, master morality values pride, strength, and nobility.
    • Slave morality desires to find freedom, it is a reaction to oppressors
    • Narcissism is going against the herd, which is therefore immoral- therefore, Nietzsche may prefer the master morality
    • ATN,good is someone who inspires fears
    • Society can only exist if constantly challenged
  9. How appearence becomes being
    • If you act one way, you will become it- “being proceeds essence”- Nietzsche is the father of existentialism in this way, and it challenged the long-held western belief that essence proceeds being- that who you are affects what you do.
    • Are we anything besides our actions, do our motives matter
    • Age of conformity- most Americans are outer-directed, we dowhat we do for the benefit of other, and do this doing therefore make as more the same
    • Do we have pure motives? Does it matter?
    • o   People who have pure motives are
    • more reliable to do good things- it only matters when it affects motives
    • o   matter more when pertaining to
    • bad things- murder trial v. act of heroism
    • Motives only matter when you make them known 
    • Put on mask, mask becomes reality
  10. The nature of Christianity
    • Christian faith is a sacrifice of freedom, pride, self-confidence, it should be painful
    • In order to pursue love, sometimes you have to sacrifice- iconic image of Christianity is Jesus on the cross, sacrificed by His own father to frogive our orginal sin of Adam and Eve
    • Nietzsche juxtaposes self-confidence with humanity- Christianity teaches the opposite, humility, Pride is one of the seven deadly sins- matter of moderation- a little pride is ok, but hubris is bad.
    • More and more men are beginning to question this sacrifice and suffering, and this is what cuased all great revoltuions, like the French Revolution
  11. God is Dead
    • Man has killed God, through rationalization and science       
    • Spirit of God died in those who do not believe in him       
    • Churches are the tombs of God, for us to mourn his death, wing, sacrifice, all like at a funeral
    • o   Praise w/o thinking why
    • We have murdered God, for He is dead in too many people        
    • Nietzsche is not an atheist, but wants an active, vibrant God- why he likes polytheism- the Greeks gods are full of life, interesting, constantly interacting with the people as seen through the mythology of Greece
    • But, according to the madman through whom Nietzsche tells the story, the word has still not reached the ears of men.  It is a difficult concept to accept
    • Death of God means death of a lot of the community- churches, festivals, rituals, baptisms- this will end morality as we know it, for morality is obedience to customs, and customs are mostly based on Chrisitianity
  12. The Tyrants of the Spirit
    • uses term spirit instead of soul b/c soul is too associated w/ the Judeo-Christian traditions
    • Spirit is one aspect, soul is entire being       
    • Spirit has an enthusiastic connotation        
    • **The tyrants of spirit try to restrict the spirit        
    • “Only where the radiance of myth falls is th light of Greeks bright”- laws and TRUTH darken this spirit
    • o   Makes it gloomy, decline of spirit
    • Myth makes spirit bright- Nietzsche preferred polytheism, b/c then you get to choose which god to associate yourself with
    • o   Even the good gods have faults
    • Nietzsche’s “birth of tragedy”- progression of Greek theater
    • o   Words chanted, motions chorepgraphed
    • o   Greek theater began in the spirit of Dioynysis (god of the free spirit)- sensuality, emotion, chorus
    • o   The Greek theater became Apoloynian w/ Euripedis
    • §  Chorus deemphasized= people
    • deemphasized- active to passive audience
    • §  Few characters, intellectualized-loses spirit
    • Tragedy died w/ Apollonian, myth died w/ love and truth
  13. Will a self
    • “Know thyself”- plato and Socrates= Nietzsche challenges this core idea of Western philosophy , says to will a self is to become a self- grandfather of existentialism, that being proceeds essence
    • It is the leaving that gets you to know your real self- Huge assumption then- IS there a  real self?
    • If there is no real self, then it should be easy to will one
    • Not everyone has agreed- in women's rights groups of the sixities, to talk about knowing yourself, the first thing talked about is the realtionship with your mother- in this case, other people influence who you are, you do not will it yourself- opposite of Nietzsche
    • People like BF Skinner believe that you can change who you  are by changing what you do- operant conditioning, but this involves manipulation of your env't, like when a smoker tries to assocaite something bad with smoking so they can quit
    • Some biological truth to this- what we do changes our brain functions, makes connections stronger/weaker
  14. Superman
    • Great goal of Nietzsche’s evolution would be for us to become superman= man can read, think, absorb to change nature, to become philosophically strong, go against the herd, the traditional morality
    • • Quote of Einstein w/ first atomic bomb- “Now everything in the world has changed, except how people think”
    • Man is "ape" to superman 
    • Nietzsche thinks opposite of Darwin- says we should go against group, cuase herd mentality, like that of Christians, has held man back
    • Darwin has natural selection, Nietzsche unnatural selection
    • o   Have humans evolved to a point
    • where we can go against evolution?- science allows us to see our genetic code, we can get sperm of a nobel prize winner
    • Darwin’s evolution more physical, Nietzsche’s more mental- Nietzsche ants us to get to a point where we do not need the “crutch” of Christianity- Superman is to replace God, who is dead and we can no longer rely on for our traditions and our morality
  15. Knight of faith
    • According to Kierkagard, a knight of faith never questions God but simply follows his ordered
    • Live by faith, not by sight
    • When Abraham went up to Mount Morai, he left his earthly understanding behind in a compete trust of God- this is why all of the stories K presents in of Fear and Trembling cannot represent Abraham as a knight of faith, becuase he questions God, or tries to fix God's plan, like in the first story, where he tells Issac that it is he who wants to kill him so Issac will not lose his faith in God
    • Mary also another Knight of faith- never questioned why she  was given this responsibility of carrying god's child
    • K believes one cannot have reason and faith; the two contradict, so a knight of faith must wholly choose one side
    • Life is not being, but becoming (synthesis of being and nonexistence, based on Hagal's idea of thought)- what a knight of faith does
  16. The Striving for distinction
    • We want power, and we want to know how we hurt people in the process
    • We want to impress ourselves on others- why Nietzsche says what he loves in others is what he sees of himself in them
    • The degrees of secretly desired domination is a history of our culture- how the world moves along
    • The martyr- in his drive for distinction, he tortures and torments, then at the highest level enjoys what he doled out
    • Happiness comes from sight of torment- like in Camus' book The Fall, the main character loved to not remind people of his birthday so he could feel sorry for himself all day
    • Physical extravegence in the lust for power
  17. A Panegyric Upon Abraham
    • • The story of Abraham is a very short story and leaves a lot of room for interpretation, so K imagines what could have possibly happened
    • • We look at it w/ hindsight, which is not correct- Abraham did not know that a ram would appear• In the versions of stories K gives, faith is tainted by reason.- knight of faith
    • • K thinks there is an eternal consciousness in man- if there was no bond that connected man like that, made us feel that way, life would seem pointless.
    • • Abraham was the greatest man of all- went he went to Morai, he left all earthly understanding behind and took only his faith with him- greatest because he believed, believed God would give him a son even when it seemed impossible “Fought with time and preserved his faith”
    • • Abraham and Sarah were young in belief, not so old that they were questioning God
    • • No earthly man can understand Abraham
  18. Rebellion
    • • The rebellion is that, though to achieve harmony and balance you need to forgive any sin, some sins cannot be forgiven
    • • Aloysha, a monk, cannot forgive a man who killed a serf boy by setting his hounds upon him- this is a rebellion
    • • Nelson Mandela, however, forgave those who kept him locked up for nearly thirty years, and it did bring peace and harmony to south Africa
    • • D takes this idea that one sacrifice is worth it for the harmony of the world to its logical conclusion• Easy to love neighbors from afar, but not up close, when you can see their flaws
    • • Only children have no sin, they have not yet tasted the apple- only they are pure, adults are not
  19. The Grand Inquisitor
    • • Luke 4- when Jesus is tempted by the devil- because he denied the devil three times, there is no miracle, mystery, or authority left in religion
    • • The GI says that this was a big mistake- humans are made miserable by free will, they desire authority
    • • Set during inquisition- burning hertics and witches at the stake, threatened by Protestantism, trying to show authority.
    • • Authoirty gives you someone to blame, miracle and mystery leaves us in wondero Now authority has collapsed- always someone challenging you
    • • Jesus set up idea that man should deny miracles (did not jump off- do not tempt God) but that makes it hard for man to follow religion• Some argued that not doing Mass in Latin (since 1960s) took away some of the magic
    • • GI wants to get rid of Jesus so he cannot give back the people the free will that the church worked so hard tyo break
    • • Jesus kisses him- forgives him for going against His word to create garmony, Jesus knows his will will create harmony in the end
  20. Dimension of depth
    • Most live in the horizantal, nom longer the vertical plane. Man has stopped asking the big questions, looking for meaning, just powering across the surface, thinking he is satisfied, when really he cannot be
    • The horizantal is void of true meaning- man transfers everything he encounters into a tool, and in this way he himslef becomes a tool.
    • Written forty years ago- now we are a tool of social media- phones, facebook
    • Tech is distraction of the horizantal
    • Tillich's knight of faith would be curious, asking the questions about who we are
    • Man thinks he has gfound religion, b ut it is superficial- religion should guide our path in life, not just be something that we say we are
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Mod Con Final
2012-12-13 16:08:01
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