Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, October 14, 2016

Quiz Oct 19/20

Schopenhauer & Nietzsche, HP 753-773; PW 3, 11 [note the syllabus omission of PW 3... see the previously-posted material on Schopenhauer]

1. To whom does Schopenhauer most appeal?

2. What did Schopenhauer do for two hours every day?

3. What did Schopenhauer consider the "thing-in-itself"?

4. With what did Nietzsche accuse Socrates of corrupting the youth of Athens?

5. What view of J.S. Mill's did Nietzsche consider "vulgar"?

6. What human possibility does Russell say did not occur to Nietzsche?

7. How was walking different for Nietzsche than for Kant?

8. Who wrote the first philosophic treatise on walking?

9. Why does Gros say you should you replace reading the news with a walk?

DQ
  • Is there anything appealing to you about a pessimistic philosophy of life? Why or why not?
  • Does it make any sense to speculate about things-in-themselves? Is there any possible way of discovering such things?
  • Can you be in favor of political democracy but against a democracy of morals? What's the difference?
  • Can you balance a responsible interest in what's happening in the world with personal activities that allow you, for a time, to ignore it? Are most peripatetics good citizens?

==
Old post-

Nietzsche, Freud (LH); WATCH: Nietzsche (SoL); LISTEN: Aaron Ridley on Nietzsche on Art and Truth (PB); Jung & the mind (HI)...Podcast

1. Was Friedrich Nietzsche speaking literally when he said "God is dead"?

2. Where did Nietzsche say values like compassion, kindness, and consideration came from?

3. What did Nietzsche call the future type of person who renounces conventional moral codes, and why does Nigel find it worrying?

4. What kind of cure led to psychoanalysis?

5. What did Sigmund Freud consider the "third great revolution" in thought?  177

6.  What is a Freudian slip?


 
DQ
1. Polls show that increasing numbers of people, especially young people, describe themselves either as "nones" (with no specific religious denominational identity) or as "spiritual, not religious." Does this support Nietzsche's proclamation?

2. Does it matter where values came from, if they are good values? Why do you think people behave with kindness, compassion, and consideration?

3. Do people who renounce conventional moral codes succeed in placing themselves "beyond good and evil"? Do you renounce any moral conventions? How? Why?  

4. Which is more effective for most people with emotional issues, talk or medication? What's the best "medicine" for sadness, in your experience?

5. Is the "unconscious" real? Can it be studied scientifically?

6. Can the forces of reason and irrationality be effectively balanced? Do you attempt such a balance in your own life and personality? Explain.

An old post-
Our text rightly (if inconsistently) points out the non-literal intent of Nietzsche’s infamous “God is dead” proclamation. More to come on that too. Meanwhile, the theists among us will enjoy imagining that their God has the last word.



Aaron Ridley points out that Nietzsche split from Schopenhauer (as he eventually split from everyone) over the question of where we should go after god's "funeral." Ultimately Nietzsche thought we should find a way to go back to our lives, and to affirm them. Schopenhauer, he decided, was a nihilist content to wallow in ultimate meaninglessness (or adopt that pose)... except while walking his poodles or visiting the art gallery or attending a concert. But isn't that the very stuff of life? It's the stuff Nietzsche's "eternal recurrence" challenges us to affirm.
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"
Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? -"The Greatest Weight" (in The Gay Science) [When Nietzsche Wept]


Ridley doesn't talk about that, but he's helpful with the Apollonian-Dionysian distinction.

In the final analysis, Nietzsche thought what didn't kill us, what merely made us suffer, made us stronger. That's his blustering pose. It's kind of pathetic. I'd have to agree with James, who pitied "poor Nietzsche's antipathies" and likened Schopenhauer and Nietzsche to a pair of rabid rats in a cage (or think of alienated Dwayne in Little Miss Sunshine, in his room)... largely a cage of their own design.

But what would Freud say?




Freud is darker than Nietzsche… Sheer joy and sheer affirmation of life is pretty hard to find, if you’re being absolutely honest about what reality is.
As long as your ideas of what’s possible are limited by what’s actual, no other idea has a chance.

If life is a gift, then the more you partake in it, the more you show thanks. Susan Neiman, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists...

Some wonder what makes Freud a philosopher. In the spirit of Carlin Romano I wouldn't worry about that. He philosophized (albeit reluctantly, says one biographer) about civilization, psychic health, happiness, religion, the material mind, conscience, consciousness, and the scope of philosophy itself.

Philosophy is not opposed to science, it behaves itself as if it were a science, and to a certain extent it makes use of the same methods; but it parts company with science, in that it clings to the illusion that it can produce a complete and coherent picture of the universe. Its methodological error lies in the fact that it over-estimates the epistemological value of our logical operations…

Like Kierkegaard, Freud endlessly mucked around in the morass of anxiety and depression and, like those other great explorers of the mind, was often accused of being of too depressing. Yet, when pressed to provide some positive vision of health, Freud more than once implied that what is fundamental to happiness is the ability to love and work; that is, to be able to invest in something other than yourself. G. Marino, "Freud asPhilosopher"

"Frude had it all figured out," insisted Barney Fife, a guy I'd not have expected to endorse the Oedipal Complex. But Mayberry was always just a dream, anyway. We need our dreams of a better world, of a safer space.
==
A less superficial, more nuanced and scholarly approach to Nietzsche is Walter Kaufmann'sPhilosopher, Psychologist, Antichristin which "will to power" is understood as "the will to overcome oneself" rather than to dominate and subdue others. He quotes Goethe: "Who overcomes himself, his freedom finds." On a tall mountain peak, after all, it's hard to dominate anyone but yourself.

In general, it's probably a mistake to try and extract a consistent socio-political and ethical philosophy from Nietzsche. He's more about personal therapeutics, of which walking is for him the primal therapy. 


As for Jefferson, Madison, and "the moral order" etc., Matthew Stewart's Nature's God is good.
“The impious man is not he who denies the gods of the many,” Epicurus writes to a friend, “but he who attaches to the gods the beliefs of the many about them.” Lord Bacon repeats the message for the benefit of readers like Jefferson: “There is no profanity in refusing to believe in the gods of the vulgar: the profanity is in believing of the gods what the vulgar believe.”
Stewart reminds us that Jefferson was a self-avowed Epicurean and materialist. "Spiritualism" for him is a term of abuse applied mostly to the Platonic tradition.  "Of Jesus he says, 'I am a Materialist; he takes the side of spiritualism.' [But] perhaps Jesus could be interpreted as an Epicurean after all."

In that spirit, we should all read our (Jefferson) Bible.



For more on William James, have I mentioned William James's "Springs of Delight"? Once or twice, maybe. Let me know if you want to borrow/buy a copy (priced to move). Also see William James: Writings, 1902-1910 (and its prequel covering1878-1899)... An Introduction to American Pragmatism... William James's Varieties of Religious Experience (BBC4 In Our Time)... William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism by Robert Richardson
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Old post: Peirce, James, Nietzsche, Freud
==

Hemingway, Thoreau, Jefferson and the Virtues of a Good Long Walk (HuffPo)


...There are, of course, many takes on the virtues of walking. For Thomas Jefferson, the purpose of walking was to clear the mind of thoughts. “The object of walking is to relax the mind,” he wrote. “You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you.”

For others, like Nietzsche, walking was essential for thinking. “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” he wrote in Twilight of the Idols. For Ernest Hemingway, walking was a way of developing his best thoughts while mulling a problem. “I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out,” he wrote in A Moveable Feast. “It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something that they understood.” For Jefferson, walking was also “the best possible exercise,” while for Henry David Thoreau, walking wasn’t just a means to an end, it was the end itself... (continues)
==
“It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk. In happy hours all affairs may be wisely postponed for this. Dr. Johnson said, ‘Few men know how to take a walk,’ and it is pretty certain that Dr. Johnson was not one of those few. It is a fine art; there are degrees of proficiency, and we distinguish the professors from the apprentices. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good-humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals, and if they add words, it is only when words are better than silence. But a vain talker profanes the river and the forest, and is nothing like so good company as a dog.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Country Life,” 1857
==
Solvitur Ambulando. ...There was a time in which writers and philosophers wrote poems and paeans to the humble walk, publishing books and essays with titles such as “The Reveries of the Solitary Walker,” “In Praise of Walking,” and “Walking as a Fine Art.” Bipedal locomotion was referred to as “the manly art of walking,” and enrollment in the “noble army of walkers” was encouraged.

Did these long-dead bipedaling boosters know something that modern men do not? While walking’s simplicity may seem like a mark against it, perhaps its rudimentary nature is just the thing to bring us back to life’s much needed basics. Walking upright is part of what makes us human, after all, and who wouldn’t benefit from getting in touch with their humanity a little more often?

Walking is the world’s most democratic activity – it is open to almost everyone, whether young or old, rich or poor. It can be participated in no matter where you are. One can walk to work, stroll around their neighborhood, stride down city blocks, ramble through a parking lot, or saunter over hill and dale. All it takes to begin is placing one foot in front of the other. Despite this accessibility, we probably do less walking these days than ever before in history – the bulk of our day is spent riding, driving, and sitting... (continues)
==
c02-9

"Walking is the best possible exercise" - Thomas Jefferson


66 comments:

  1. (H3) There's nothing really appealing about a pessimist philosophy of life, or an optimistic philosophy of life for that reason. Either way you will probably be disappointed with the outcome, the world is a balance between good and bad. I'd rather have a realistic view on life and accept it the way it is. Any way you look at it, you really have no control over life, other than within yourself.

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    1. But by expecting the worst, you will not be disappointed with the average outcome. The optimist expects the best, and on average, feels slightly disappointed.

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  2. (H3) Life and Pessimism? I believe having a pessimistic idea of is counterproductive and somewhat self deceiving. Becuase human beings have a remarkable ability to decide what spectacle through which they view reality. A pessimistic man with a very good life might only see the bad things of his life. While an optimist with a bad life might only see the good

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    1. Optimism is equally self-deceiving, however. The optimist in a bad situation will need to look hard for the things to be happy about, whereas the happy things are easily clear for the pessimist.

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    2. How are the happier things easier to see for the pessimist if the pessimist only sees the negative in life?

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  3. (H3) Thing in itself? I Don't see how it would be possible to discover or conceive of such a thing in the bound of our current ways of perception and reasoning but if such things are ever to be discovered it will be through continued attention.

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  4. (H3) The only good thing about a pessimistic life is that you can prepare for the worst and then be pleasantly surprised.

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    1. H1
      That's a good point. Of course, the pessimist forgoes the optimist's pleasure of anticipation.

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  5. (H3) I don't believe too much discovery can be made by simply looking at the thing in itself.

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  6. (H3) You could favor a political democracy but not a democracy of morals.

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  7. (H3) Morals and politics do not go hand in hand therefore you can have differing views on the two.

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  8. (H3) I believe people can find a good balance of being aware of what's going on in the world, but also having something they do to escape the world in a sense.

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  9. (H3) Saying all peripatetics are good citizens is far too broad of a generalization, I'm sure some are good and some are bad.

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    1. It appears that philosophers tend to believe peripatetics are good citizens because they are also peripatetics and good citizens. It would be counterproductive to admit that walking may lead to bad or evil ideas.

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    2. I actually never thought about that aspect. Walking doesn't necessarily bring good ideas

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  10. (H3) I don't think that young people claiming to not believe in God proves anything about Nietzsche, there are plenty of people who strongly believe God exists and base their entire lives upon a relationship with Him.

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  11. (H3) Even if values are considered good I think the source of the values is still essential.

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  12. (H3) People attempt to be kind and compassionate because the majority of people would prefer a world of love and not hate.

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  13. (H3) Just because you renounce moral codes doesn't mean you're beyond good and evil.

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    1. H1
      Good point. Too many people assume that to be "different" must mean to be better as well.

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  14. (H3) Talk is the most effective way for most people with issues going on I think unless it is a chemical imbalance or along those lines.

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  15. (H3) The best cure for my sadness is music or just being held by someone who cares about me.

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  16. (H3) I would agree that the unconscious is real.

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  17. (H3) Reason and irrationality can find a happy medium with one another.

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  18. (H3) I attempt to find a balance in everything in my life.

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  19. (H3) Is there anything appealing to you about a pessimistic philosophy of life? Why or why not?

    There's nothing appealing about being a pessimist. The only benefit is never being disappointing, but in that sense you're never pleased either. It's much more satisfying to feel pleased half the time than to never feel disappointed at all.

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    1. H1
      That makes me think of the quote about having loved and lost is better than to never have loved at all.

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  20. (H3) Can you balance a responsible interest in what's happening in the world with personal activities that allow you, for a time, to ignore it? Are most peripatetics good citizens?

    A balance is definitely possible in this day and age, where bad news is in our faces all the time and as busy college students, we don't always have a lot of time for distracting, leisure activities. Are modern peripatetics good citizens? I would say yes as our more active citizens walk for political gain (Ie the rise of protesting) and the less active recluse in their homes behind screens.

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    1. I believe people in the modern world have little trouble finding themselves time to ignore the world for a little while. However, it is often the preference of those to pick up the phone and not disconnect. (H1)

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  21. (H3) Can the forces of reason and irrationality be effectively balanced? Do you attempt such a balance in your own life and personality? Explain.

    With a strict regimen and time, yes, you can balance reason and irrationality. Irrationality, in my case, is a struggle with anxiety that takes a lot of reason and walking to overcome. School, work, and life stress don't make it any easier to work through, however.

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  22. (H3) Which is more effective for most people with emotional issues, talk or medication? What's the best "medicine" for sadness, in your experience?

    Emotional issues, which i'm assuming is referring to mental illnesses, does not really have that much of a subjective answer. Some people who have less of a chemical imbalance can be aided with walking outdoors, talking to friends, and stress management; but most people with diagnosed illnesses have to be prescribed medication because they have a chemical imbalance that cannot be fixed by non-medicinal means. Their chemical imbalances are not controlled by them, so a walk in the park might increase their levels of serotonin, but it cannot continuously create it to be able to no longer have said emotional issues.
    You also have to have a balance, though. It's very dangerous to solely rely on medication while still residing in a toxic, high stress situation. But at the same time the people who's only suggestion to people with depression is "Have you tried yoga?" do not understand mental illness at all.

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    1. If someone isn't predisposed to anything, then medication can be more effective. But talking can also be very powerful

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  23. (H3) Polls show that increasing numbers of people, especially young people, describe themselves either as "nones" (with no specific religious denominational identity) or as "spiritual, not religious." Does this support Nietzsche's proclamation?

    In reference to "God is dead", taking it at face value, no. Spirituality is as old as man, but has fluctuating levels in populations. Because of our surroundings and history within the past 30 years, our current generation is less religious and superstitious than the generation before us, but that does not mean the next generation will follow suit.
    And as a personal observation only, as someone in the religious minority of paganism, there is definitely a rise in pagan practice in our generation that simply keeps itself quiet or in the "spiritual, not religious" grouping out of fear or societal judgement. God may be dead, but the gods aren't.

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    1. Wow, I've never known a professing paganist before. I'm genuinely curious, is modern paganism a literal belief in a consistent spiritual realm, or is it more of an abstract concept with no "canonized" beliefs?

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    2. Martin Davies1:15 PM CDT

      Well paganism is a very broad religious identity. In Hellenism, the specific pantheon I am a part of, it was a very strict and superstitious faith with only local canons in ancient Greece, but in modern times its a mostly light spirituality that connects us to Nature/Cosmic Energy and a basis with lessons for morals and philosophy. It does go more in depth than that but it's a complicated set of beliefs to explain for a chat board.

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  24. Can you balance a responsible interest in what's happening in the world with personal activities that allow you, for a time, to ignore it? Are most peripatetics good citizens?

    I think balance is not only possible, but vital. If you live your life ignoring world events then you probably have some serious character flaws. If you get so wrapped up in the news without allowing yourself time to enjoy the simple gift of your own life, then, let me tell you, you are missing out.

    As for the question of peripatetics, I would hardly know. My sample size is far too small.

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  25. There is nothing appealing to me about a pessimistic philosophy on life because you would always be looking for the worst situation. I would much rather look for the best and how to achieve the best.

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  26. There is nothing appealing to me about a pessimistic philosophy on life because you would always be looking for the worst situation. I would much rather look for the best and how to achieve the best.

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    1. Contrarily, I believe the pessimistic view of life is about /expecting/ the best. Most people in the comments tend to believe that pessimism is a blindness to anything positive.

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  27. Polls show that increasing numbers of people, especially young people, describe themselves either as "nones" (with no specific religious denominational identity) or as "spiritual, not religious." Does this support Nietzsche's proclamation?

    No, a disputable fact such as the idea of God's existence, is either true or false, and the truth or untruth of it is entirely independent of popular opinion.

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    1. I don't think popular opinion is necessarily the deciding factor. In the eyes of society, yes, truth is based on common belief. But reality is objective, regardless of what people believe to be true.

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  28. As for the pessimistic philosophy of life, there is always merit in trying to understand and debate different perspectives and ideas. However, I personally do not like to be pessimistic because having a bad outlook on life isn't going to change a situation.

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  29. Are most perapitetics good citizens? I believe that we cannot judge someone's entire personality based on one aspect of their life. They could go on walks to consider their personal philosophy, but that personal philosophy could be reasoning to be a serial killer. Whether they take walks cannot be a judge of their good or bad citizenship.

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  30. I think you are able to balance personal activities with interest in world events. If you become too absorbed with interest in what's happening in the world, you may lose touch with your own life and its meaning and purpose in such a big and complex world. If you focus too much on your personal life, you become ignorant of anything that isn't in your direct daily life, and miss out on looking at the bigger picture of our true purpose.

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  31. A pessimistic view of life is not appealing to me. In a way you can protect yourself by anticipating a negative outcome. But I don't think you'd ever be happy because you also don't see what good arises from situations

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  32. I do try to find a balance between reason and irrationality in life. Sometimes you know that you have to get things done that you just don't want to because it is reasonable and better in the long run. Like doing that paper you procrastinated on or going to class in the morning even though you had a late night. But sometimes you have to reward yourself with the things you want even though they are irrational as long as they don't overtake the things that are keeping your life on track.

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  33. The unconscious is real and perhaps we will be making advances to be able to study those things as technology and methods get more advance.

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  34. Peripatetics can be good or bad citizens. Just because they walk to think outside society does not necessarily make them a bad citizen. Walking is not only an escape from daily tasks, but it can lead to new, refreshing ideas. I think you do need to divide your time between both. Fully commit to aiding society when you're there. When you go out to walk, focus on that.

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  35. I don't think it matters where good values come from if they are good. Many people believe that those value stem out of religion, but I have met plenty of atheists and agnostics who are very good and kind people. I believe that basic humanity breeds such compassion, and we are taught through socialization to hate a judge people who live and believe differently.

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  36. I believe it depends on the type of "emotional issues" as to whether talk or medicine work best. Some issues are clinical and result from some sort of deficiency or malfunction of the brain and therefore, medicine helps resolve those issues. Some issues are emotional and situational, and perhaps talking and support are the best remedy for those kind of issues. A lot of times these treatments go hand in hand to tackle both ends of the spectrum.

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  37. Reason and rationality can be balanced. If something is rational, it may negatively affect you emotionally. Sometimes you should do things even if they are irrational

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    1. I agree. While doing whatever is most logical should be better in the long run, sometimes it's just more satisfying to do the irrational thing for a short burst of pleasure rather than pacing oneself.

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  38. I don't believe that the God is dead claim is supported by those polls from young people. Just because they may not follow a specific denomination or religion at all, doesn't mean there is diminishing belief in the higher being overall. The definition of God may be changing, but that doesn't mean He is disappearing.

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  39. It might not matter where good values come from, whether they are passed down or made from experience. However, it can matter where good actions come from.

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    1. I think morals should be considered by every person themselves. Following the moral code set by the generations before you without question can lead to dangerous, non-progressive thought.

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  40. The best cure for sadness itself is getting active, doing yoga, walking, going for a run, working out, etc. But please note that sadness is a temporary state, and depression is not cured in the same way that sadness is.

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  41. (H1) Is there anything appealing to you about a pessimistic philosophy of life? Why or why not?

    A pessimistic philosophy of life can seem to be more realistic than an optimistic one. At the same time, when one holds more pessimistic views then they are more easily amazed, made happy when good things happen.

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  42. I think that it could be possible to effectively balance the forces of reason and irrationality. I do try to reason for the majority, but sometimes you need to think irrationally in order to do something completely dangerous, stupid, and fun (skydiving, bungee jumping, cliff diving, etc.).

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  43. I think the unconscious is real because there are many people that get knocked unconscious. I feel like if we can take a picture of our galaxy from inside our galaxy, then we should be able to study unconsciousness.

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  44. The best medicine for sadness is to listen to music and cry, then snuggle up with my mom and watch a sad movie and cry some more and then watch a comedy and laugh.

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  45. I think that talking is better for most people with emotional issues even though it is probably harder it always makes people feel better, that’s why there’s therapy.

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  46. I don’t believe that people who renounce conventional moral codes succeed in placing themselves “beyond good and evil”. Just because you renounce something doesn’t mean it doesn’t still affect you. I can renounce the law all I want, but I am still under the law.

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  47. I think that since the term “good” is a relative term, then it does matter where the “good” values are coming from. Your definition of good and my definition of good could be completely different because my definition of good is based on where I come from and what I’ve been through, while yours is based on where you come from and what you’ve been through.

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  48. I don’t think that you can kill God whether you believe He is real or not because He will always live as long as one person believes.

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    1. This depends on your believe over existence in thought can warrant actual existence. If one person believes that a unicorn that speaks Dutch and drives a car is real, does that make it real?

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  49. H1
    ~Is there anything appealing to you about a pessimistic philosophy of life? Why or why not?

    - The pessimistic route in life often seen as a negative way to live. If the pessimist acts this way, it may be because of the un-amusement with things they find in life. It may be due to the circumstance in which they view factual evidence as something to endure. Pessimists endure a realistic view of life that does not bring them the excitement an optimistic might have. In this sense I applaud pessimists for having this view on reality, for if we were all only optimistic we may miss the truth of reality.

    But in being an optimist are you missing truths of reality or just hoping them to not be?

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