February 3, 2006

Theodicy – Part ll

Posted in literature, non-fiction, philosophy, theodicy at 2:47 pm by Jerry

“To be, or not to be” — is this the question?

“For if this is how things are, why should there be something rather than nothing at all? Why shouldn’t the universe go directly to the annihilation toward which it tends, and spare us all the torture on the way? Life is a battle we are certain to lose, for it consists in a struggle for existence that is destined to fail. Presumably, the long slow torment that precedes our deaths was Schopenhauer’s substitute for hell.” p.198.

“The conclusion that life, not God, is in need of defense, will seem very tempting–even if we can imagine no other defense of life than the living of it.” p.201.

“There is no mediation between is and ought. Life and morality cannot be reconciled; one always condemns the other.” p.215.

“The will must be entirely active. Any Stoic can accept his fate. Nietzsche challenged us to love it. The presence of contingency demands that fate be loved as a whole. If you never know which events will turn out to determine your life, all of them are significant. Terrible moments and trivial ones must become objects of will.” p.221.

Neiman explains that Theodore Adorno…

“..insisted that death itself is a problem for which there is neither meaning nor comfort–precisely because.. it is foreign to human being… Hence death and life are irreconcilably at war.” p.309.

Neiman quotes Emmanuel Levinas on page 322-323:

“The first metaphysical question is no longer Leibniz’s question why is there something rather than nothing? but why is there evil rather than good? The ontological difference is preceded by the difference between good and evil. Difference itself is this latter; it is the origin of the meaningful.” (italics his)

Neiman writes:

“We are so structured as to expect a world that comes to meet us halfway, for we cannot make meaning alone. Being dependent on the world is so fundamentally human that Stoicism will always threaten to slide into Solipsism.” p.323.

“A life that was inevitably meaningful would defeat itself from the start. Between the adult who knows she won’t find reason in the world, and the child who refuses to stop seeking it, lies the difference between resignation and humility.” p.328

Stay tuned for the third and final part of “Theodicy”!

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