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 Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet

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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Tue 15 Aug 2017, 16:47

Spartan women certainly trained for athletic events, outdoors and in the buff it is thought, but they were shameless hussies to the starchy old Athenians who liked their women kept strictly indoors. I think P is your women to ask about this.

Here's a wee Spartan lassie playing 'Catch me if you can'. She reminds me of the Mohenjo Daro dancer, the same insouciance and attitude.

 
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Tue 15 Aug 2017, 22:03

Temperance,

I am back. But as ever to be early up tomorrow...

One last for the road, no I mean for the sleep...


https://www.simplypsychology.org/mindbodydebate.html


The episode of the touch with a cold needle under hypnose and be pretended that it was a red hot needle. And the real marks on the skin of a red hot needle...

Isn't that because the mind thinks that it is a red hot needle, the mind commands the body to react with the nerves and I know not all what too to let the skin react as if it was burned? I told you already how strong the command of the mind is over the body...
And is this test a "verified" test? I heard already that much of "tests", but when they are scrutinized by the "federation" of scepticists it fails to reproduce...

Kind regards for this night from Paul. See you tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 16 Aug 2017, 11:46

Temperance,

Your message from 6 Augustus:

Bordo mentions Plato in her chapter on that most distressing of body image disorders, anorexia nervosa, a condition that is now being reported as increasing alarmingly among men and boys.
Here's Bordo:
"While the body is experienced as alien and outside, the soul or will is described as being trapped or confined in this alien 'jail', as one woman describes it. 'I feel caught in my body' - 'I am a prisoner in my body': this theme is repeated over and over again. A typical fantasy, evocative of Plato, imagines total liberation from the bodily prison: 'I wish I could get out of my body and fly!'..."
Is it inappropriate to drag Plato into this? Anorexia is not a philosophical attitude after all; it is a debilitating affliction, a recognised mental illness. And yet, and yet... As Bordo herself goes on to comment, quite often a highly conscious and articulate scheme of images and associations - virtually a metaphysics - is presented by anorexic women and girls. The scheme is strikingly Augustinian, with evocations of Plato. This does not indicate, of course, that women who diet to the point of starvation are students of Plato or Augustine, but that the anorexic's metaphysics makes explicit various elements, historically grounded in Plato and Augustine, that run deep in our culture. Augustine often speaks (as did Saint Paul) of the "two wills" within him, "one the servant of the flesh, the other of the spirit", who "between them tore my soul apart". And Plato was no better! In the Phaedo he describes the body as "fastened and glued to me", "nailed" and riveted to me". It is alien, a not-self, a not-me. Is this madness? A sickness? Of the soul or of the body? Of both?

I wouldn't mention Plato in all this as Bordo do.

In my opinion, but who am I, all these disorders as anorexia and bulimia, start from the mind and only from there. They start as the person in question has some mental distress and starts to eat in an anormal way. Some parallels with drugs, alcohol? One drinks a glass out of distress, because he feels no happy at a moment, and it becomes a practice and from there an addiction. For instance also "drugs" (that sounds so odd to us Belgians as both in Dutch and French it are "medicaments"). Let's say normal Wink prescribed drugs. It can become, and I know several persons in my immediate circle, with an addiction. And they go to several pharmacies to have their supply. And some give them without prescription. Hope all these malafide practices will end. And then there is the advertisement industry which push to these addictions without scruples.

Another way of addiction is the tendence to belong to the group, to act as the group, to have a body which is accepted by the group. Again pushed by the industry to earn money. The more consumption the more money. Other addictions, for instance: In my brother-in-law's factory (big factory with many workers) there was a competition between men, to have the most tendencious car. For some the earnings of the wife were also included to pay for their addiction.

No, you have to have a balanced mind to resist to all these phenomena. And it can perhaps only be "cultivated" from childhood on. Hence the importance of a good family life...

Have to leave, Temperance, see you this evening.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 16 Aug 2017, 13:27

@PaulRyckier wrote:


@Temperance wrote:


Bordo mentions Plato in her chapter on that most distressing of body image disorders, anorexia nervosa, a condition that is now being reported as increasing alarmingly among men and boys.
Here's Bordo:
"While the body is experienced as alien and outside, the soul or will is described as being trapped or confined in this alien 'jail', as one woman describes it. 'I feel caught in my body' - 'I am a prisoner in my body': this theme is repeated over and over again. A typical fantasy, evocative of Plato, imagines total liberation from the bodily prison: 'I wish I could get out of my body and fly!'..."
Is it inappropriate to drag Plato into this? Anorexia is not a philosophical attitude after all; it is a debilitating affliction, a recognised mental illness. And yet, and yet... As Bordo herself goes on to comment, quite often a highly conscious and articulate scheme of images and associations - virtually a metaphysics - is presented by anorexic women and girls. The scheme is strikingly Augustinian, with evocations of Plato. This does not indicate, of course, that women who diet to the point of starvation are students of Plato or Augustine, but that the anorexic's metaphysics makes explicit various elements, historically grounded in Plato and Augustine, that run deep in our culture. Augustine often speaks (as did Saint Paul) of the "two wills" within him, "one the servant of the flesh, the other of the spirit", who "between them tore my soul apart". And Plato was no better! In the Phaedo he describes the body as "fastened and glued to me", "nailed" and riveted to me". It is alien, a not-self, a not-me. Is this madness? A sickness? Of the soul or of the body? Of both?





I wouldn't mention Plato in all this as Bordo do.



Well, anorexia nervosa and other addictions are extremely complicated conditions, and it is perhaps wise not to attempt any detailed analysis here - although addictions do all point, in Augustinian terms, to a void, a lack, to an emptiness which an addict is attempting to fill. But I would, like Bordo, mention Plato -  as, of course, I have done in my thread title. It all goes back to my puzzled mullings about dualism.

I'm not sure about this (as I have often said over the past five years posting on this site, I am no philosopher), but are there not, confusingly, two (!) dualisms: the ancient Greek concept (mind and body?), later refined (is that the correct word?) into Cartesian dualism, and the other, strangely compelling Manichean dualism, a philosophy/religion that had its roots in Zoroastrianism?

I did not know that Augustine was a Manichean before, in that awful expression that always reminds me of Cliff Richard, "he became a Christian". Confusingly, Manicheanism was regarded, I believe, as a dreadful heresy by the early Church.

I mentioned that I'm reading Yuval Noah Harari's book Homo Deus at the moment - how odd how things tie in: on page 215 I've just come across this:

Why label such a voyage 'spiritual'? This is a legacy from ancient dualist religions that believed in the existence of two gods, one good and one evil. According to dualism, the good god created pure and everlasting souls that lived in a blissful world of spirit. However, the evil god...created another world of matter. The evil god did not know how to make his creation endure, hence in the world of matter everything rots and decays and disintegrates. In order to breathe life into his defective creation, "Satan" tempted souls from the pure world of spirit, and confined them inside material bodies. That's what a human is - a good, spiritual soul trapped inside an evil material body. Since the soul's prison - the body - decays and eventually dies, Satan ceaselessly tempts the soul with bodily delights, and above all with food, sex and power. When the body disintegrates and the soul has the opportunity to escape back to the spiritual world, its craving for bodily pleasures lures it back inside some new material body. The soul thus transmigrates from body to body, wasting its days in pursuit of food, sex and power... Dualism instructs people to break these material shackles and undertake a journey back to the spiritual world which is unfamiliar to us, but which is our spiritual home...Such journeys are fundamentally different from religions, because religions seek to cement the worldly order, whereas spirituality seeks to escape it...For religions, spirituality is a dangerous threat...


The above quotation is no doubt a simplistic account, but I still find it interesting and relevant in this discussion of our body battles. The bit about decay and disintegration I find particularly compelling: we really do have no control over our bodies, whatever the scientists may tell us. I keep thinking too of Eddie Cantor's strange little addition to his Keep Young and Beautiful song: that bizarre question (given the musical context) Cantor poses that's actually, believe it or not, a quotation from Saint Paul's epistle to the Corinthians: "Oh, Death where is thy sting?"

Where indeed? Not sure how we should answer that one. But it is a very nasty sting, that's for sure.

There is a cake called Death By Chocolate, of course...


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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 16 Aug 2017, 13:31

PS  I've been reading about Saint Augustine this morning on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy site, and was surprised to find that the Big A. would agree with me about Res His having a Philosophy and Religion (and Psychology) section, rather than a Religion and Superstition section!


...and he found himself suddenly imbued with a passion for philosophy [Confessions III.iv.7–8]. It is clear from his account of Cicero's effect upon him that his passion was not for philosophy as often understood today, i.e. an academic, largely argument-oriented conceptual discipline, but rather as the paradigmatically Hellenistic pursuit of a wisdom that transcended and blurred the boundaries of what are now viewed as the separate spheres of philosophy, religion, and psychology. In particular, philosophy for Augustine was centered on what is sometimes misleadingly referred to as “the problem of evil.” This problem, needless to say, was not the sort of analytic, largely logical problem of theodicy that later came to preoccupy philosophers of religion. For Augustine, the problem was of a more general and visceral sort: it was the concern with the issue of how to make sense of and live within a world that seemed so adversarial and fraught with danger, a world in which so much of what matters most to us is so easily lost [see e.g. Confessions IV.x.15]. In this sense, the wisdom that Augustine sought was a common denominator uniting the conflicting views of such Hellenistic philosophical sects as the Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics, and Neoplatonists (though this is a later title) such as Plotinus and Porphyry, as well as many Christians of varying degrees of orthodoxy, including very unorthodox gnostic sects such as the Manicheans.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 16 Aug 2017, 18:17

PPS
MM wrote:


Temp and Paul and everyone else, ... please keep going.



Well, you did say keep going, MM, so I did! Rather regret it now.

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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 16 Aug 2017, 22:14

I'm still not sure what this thread is really about ... but that's not a criticism at all, as sometimes the best threads have been the ill-defined ones open to rambling diversion. Nevertheless several times the discussion has prompted a thought or two ... only for it to evaporate ill-defined or else the discussion has moved on before I've had the time to post a resopnse.

However, and while I do not generally like to post links to other things without giving some comment of my own, this article in The Guardian did seem relevant, well, sort of, .... and it really needs to be read in full.

The Guardian - Why we fell for clean eating

In that article, one of the most pertinent comments to me was the bit about Jordan Younger, AKA 'The Blonde Vegan', but now 'The Balanced Blonde', whose original "clean-eating' blog was religiously followed by thousands. But when her strict, and largely woo diet (she has no formal training or experience in medicine or nutrition) resulted in her hospitalisation through severe, life-threatening, dietary deficiencies ... and she subsequently posted all about this to her online followers ... she was sent hate mail and death threats. Her estwhile followers viewed her as an apostate or false prophet of her own, completely made-up dietary cult. In short despite the cult's founder admitting that her advice and proscriptions were actually making her ill, her followers simply accused her of lacking sufficient faith, and have continued to group-promote the harmful woo. So all in all rather sadly reminiscent of a religious cult really.


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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 17 Aug 2017, 07:03

That article was so relevant, MM - thank you for posting the link.

Why are humans so bonkers? That is the point of the thread, I suppose - we seem incapable of doing anything in moderation. But why is this so? How would Darwin explain our madness? Or should we, rather, look to the wisdom of the ancient world for explanations and for guidance?

Back to Delphi, I suppose: "Know thyself" and "Nothing in excess".

Your point about the fanaticism of crazy disordered-eating fans and the zeal of religious fundamentalists being very similar is taken. This from the article is chilling:

Thinking about the event on the train home, I realised that the crowd were angry with us not because they disagreed with the details (it’s pretty clear that you can’t have sugar in “sugar-free” recipes), but because they disliked the fact that we were arguing at all. To insist on the facts made us come across as cruelly negative. We had punctured the happy belief-bubble of glowiness that they had come to imbibe from Shaw.

Seems more and more in our world the joy of rational, friendly debate is dying: one punctures others' "belief-bubbles of glowiness" at one's peril. But perhaps it was ever thus?

In haste - apologies for disjointed message - but no time this morning. But I wanted to respond swiftly because the article was so good.



PS "Coconut-and-oat energy balls" - sounds like something you put on the bird-table.

PPS "Nutribollocks" - what a lovely word - something my husband would have come up with.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 17 Aug 2017, 10:56

Of course religion and food cults are closely related: both have the same obsessions - purity, mortification of the body (even when it's dressed up in fancy language) and a terror of death. Why else would dietary restrictions become such a feature of so many faiths even if they start off with some semblance of rationality regarding hygiene and preservation of supplies? We seem unable to accept that we are corporeal entities and that our bodies sre not some dirty encumberance that must be tamed.

The article mentions the effect of social media, did anyone watch Secrets of Silicon Valley on the telly? The scariest thing I have seen in a long time, no wonder my IT professional friends won't touch any of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 17 Aug 2017, 14:23

Temp-style  Delphic advice  -' Know when you have got too much on your Plato."
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 17 Aug 2017, 14:46

Well, I've certainly bitten off more than I can chew here.

Religion and food nuttery always go together then, ferval? You could well be right - Nutribollocks and Religioballs combined - suppose I asked for that.

Talking of which, does anyone remember the old Cadbury's Rumba Bar advert? I sometimes think I imagined the whole thing - the Rumba chocolate experience was after all a 1970s phenomenon, and that was a very strange decade indeed; but seems there are a few others out there who remember it. The days when guilt was a delicious thing, eh?

A man (!?) is trying desperately not to eat a Rumba bar. As his hand involuntarily brings the evil thing nearer and nearer to his mouth, he cries out in despair, obviously in the throes of a terrible temptation - no doubt a religiously-inspired anguish - "No! No! No!" He then suddenly gives in, saying, "Oh, all right, then!"

The voice-over then cheerily advises us all to "Succumba to a Rumba!"

What was it Oscar Wilde said? The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

You should know, Oscar old buddy!


EDIT: Tried to find a picture - or better still a YouTube - of the Rumba Bar advert. No YouTube and only image is not an "s" one, so no good. Shame. Rumba Bars only cost 5p and they had real rum in them!
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 17 Aug 2017, 21:46

Quote :

Well, anorexia nervosa and other addictions are extremely complicated conditions, and it is perhaps wise not to attempt any detailed analysis here - although addictions do all point, in Augustinian terms, to a void, a lack, to an emptiness which an addict is attempting to fill. But I would, like Bordo, mention Plato -  as, of course, I have done in my thread title. It all goes back to my puzzled mullings about dualism.

I'm not sure about this (as I have often said over the past five years posting on this site, I am no philosopher), but are there not, confusingly, two (!) dualisms: the ancient Greek concept (mind and body?), later refined (is that the correct word?) into Cartesian dualism, and the other, strangely compelling Manichean dualism, a philosophy/religion that had its roots in Zoroastrianism?

I did not know that Augustine was a Manichean before, in that awful expression that always reminds me of Cliff Richard, "he became a Christian". Confusingly, Manicheanism was regarded, I believe, as a dreadful heresy by the early Church.

I mentioned that I'm reading Yuval Noah Harari's book Homo Deus at the moment - how odd how things tie in: on page 215 I've just come across this:

Why label such a voyage 'spiritual'? This is a legacy from ancient dualist religions that believed in the existence of two gods, one good and one evil. According to dualism, the good god created pure and everlasting souls that lived in a blissful world of spirit. However, the evil god...created another world of matter. The evil god did not know how to make his creation endure, hence in the world of matter everything rots and decays and disintegrates. In order to breathe life into his defective creation, "Satan" tempted souls from the pure world of spirit, and confined them inside material bodies. That's what a human is - a good, spiritual soul trapped inside an evil material body. Since the soul's prison - the body - decays and eventually dies, Satan ceaselessly tempts the soul with bodily delights, and above all with food, sex and power. When the body disintegrates and the soul has the opportunity to escape back to the spiritual world, its craving for bodily pleasures lures it back inside some new material body. The soul thus transmigrates from body to body, wasting its days in pursuit of food, sex and power... Dualism instructs people to break these material shackles and undertake a journey back to the spiritual world which is unfamiliar to us, but which is our spiritual home...Such journeys are fundamentally different from religions, because religions seek to cement the worldly order, whereas spirituality seeks to escape it...For religions, spirituality is a dangerous threat...


The above quotation is no doubt a simplistic account, but I still find it interesting and relevant in this discussion of our body battles. The bit about decay and disintegration I find particularly compelling: we really do have no control over our bodies, whatever the scientists may tell us. I keep thinking too of Eddie Cantor's strange little addition to his Keep Young and Beautiful song: that bizarre question (given the musical context) Cantor poses that's actually, believe it or not, a quotation from Saint Paul's epistle to the Corinthians: "Oh, Death where is thy sting?"

Where indeed? Not sure how we should answer that one. But it is a very nasty sting, that's for sure.

There is a cake called Death By Chocolate, of course...

Temperance,

"I'm not sure about this (as I have often said over the past five years posting on this site, I am no philosopher), but are there not, confusingly, two (!) dualisms: the ancient Greek concept (mind and body?), later refined (is that the correct word?) into Cartesian dualism, and the other, strangely compelling Manichean dualism, a philosophy/religion that had its roots in Zoroastrianism?"

In my humble opinion that are two different tandems: one is the dualism (mind/body (brain included in the body)) (The French approach is perhaps better with "esprit" (Dutch:"geest", meaning also esprit)(although the English have perhaps also a point as it is meant on the ethymology basis (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=mind))

The other is the good/bad dualism, which is again in my opinion another kettle of fish.
I discussed it on the old BBC board with Arnald Almeric(if you recall him). About the Cathars, who seemingly the English speaking call Albigenses. One of the conclusions was, and I think it was are "beloved" Nordmann (I can't make a saint of him as you know and I have not to explain that to you...), who said that the Cathar religion was not a Zoroastrianism. I did once, also on the old BBC board a comparison between Zoroastrianism and Christianity and I was struck by the many parallels between the two religions, also a Lucifer Wink
But many scientists (or were it historians? Wink ) who said that from the studying it had rather a kind of Christian tendency: the good surmounts the bad. About good and bad we had thanks to Priscilla or was it you, a great discussion about that some time ago. I still remember that "our" Nordmann, pointed to the difficult meaning of "evil" (in Dutch it is easy: "goed" or "slecht" (good or bad), while evil (devil, devilish) is "duivels", immediately pointing to the religion...

BTW: your thoughts seems to be actual. In our scientific Dutch language magazine from this month: special issue about : in Dutch: "psyche en brein" (psyche and brain) about the learning brain and the quest, (in French "quête") for our consciousness...
And as I see it and as I think it is the "mind" (spirit (in my Collins paprback they say: spirit: the force that gives life to the body of living things (things! Wink  I prefer beings Wink )), who! direct nearly all apart perhaps from the inherent functions as the heart beat and the lungs' pumping and some reactions of the body that need no "thinking", I suppose, but you are the boss, it is better to separate the anarexia and all other similar addictions from the duality of the mind/body discussion?

"The above quotation is no doubt a simplistic account, but I still find it interesting and relevant in this discussion of our body battles. The bit about decay and disintegration I find particularly compelling: we really do have no control over our bodies, whatever the scientists may tell us. I keep thinking too of Eddie Cantor's strange little addition to his Keep Young and Beautiful song: that bizarre question (given the musical context) Cantor poses that's actually, believe it or not, a quotation from Saint Paul's epistle to the Corinthians: "Oh, Death where is thy sting?"

Temperance, about all this let us agree to disagree, while I am still some kind of a "monist".

The mind(sprit?) is the stearing part in our human totality and the body is an integral part of that system and it has not to be castigated because it would be the humble house of the bright spirit. That's typical for Christianism and perhaps for all Abrahamic religions...
No the body has to be kept healthy, as without healthy body no healthy brain and at the end an insane mind. Yes and one can act directly on the brain with the hard core drugs...It reminds me of the sect (the Catholic church seems not to call it that, only the judicials put it in Belgium on the list of the sects) Opus Dei of that second Paulus, the Spanish de Ballaguer (or something like that), where the "believers" had to chasten their body with cutting devices around their thighs...


Temperance all your thoughts of this thread seems to be quite actual.

For instance, and if I have time I will start a thread about it, about happiness.
In the scientific mensuel that I just mentionned an in depth article about: What is happiness?
With names as Martin Seligman (positive psycholgy) The Spanish: Perez-Álvarez and a certain Emily Esfahani Smith

If you ask me: Happiness is when one is happy with oneself.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Fri 18 Aug 2017, 13:32

Paul wrote:
For instance, and if I have time I will start a thread about it, about happiness.
In the scientific mensuel that I just mentionned an in depth article about: What is happiness?
With names as Martin Seligman (positive psycholgy) The Spanish: Perez-Álvarez and a certain Emily Esfahani Smith

If you ask me: Happiness is when one is happy with oneself.



Well, yes, but that's easier said than accomplished, is it not? Even Epicurus, whom I mentioned earlier, a philosopher for whom the pursuit of happiness was the sole purpose of life, admitted to his disciples that happiness could be very hard work. And of course even today it is a truth universally acknowledged (well nearly) that the blind pursuit of money, fame and pleasure (what the Bible in a somewhat disconcerting turn of phrase refers to as "going a-whoring after false gods" (I bet John Knox loved thundering that out from his pulpit) will only make us sick and miserable.

I suppose for Epicurus experiencing/living for pleasure was a personal quest, whereas modern thinkers, following Bentham, have become more earnest. Bentham, of course, famously declared that the supreme good is "the greatest happiness of the greatest number": he made happiness a sort of collective project. Perhaps we need, in Orwellian terms, a Ministry of Happiness. Bentham had a point, of course: without government planning, economic wisdom and scientific research, individuals will not get very far (will they?) in their quest for the Holy (or Unholy, according to your viewpoint) Grail. If your country is torn apart by war, if the economy is in ruins and if health care is non-existent, one is likely to be pretty miserable. Fair enough. Bentham was surely right to maintain that nature gave dominion over us to two masters: pleasure and pain. John Stuart Mill, Bentham's successor, explained that human happiness is indeed nothing but pleasure and freedom from pain, and that beyond pleasure and pain there is no good and no evil. Anyone else who tries to deduce good and evil from something else (such as God or the national interest) is trying to fool us, and perhaps trying to fool themselves too. I suppose there are many here among us who would agree with that.

Yet I don't - if only our human existence were so pleasingly simple.

And I do wonder what the Founding Fathers would make of things today? In 1776 they established "the right to the pursuit of happiness" as one of the three unalienable human rights, along side the right to life and the right to liberty. One of the most chilling things my father ever said to me - something I have never forgotten - is that there is no such thing as a human "right" to anything, let alone happiness. I pointed out to him that I thought it was the word "pursuit" that mattered: we have the ability to choose - and that is not a "right", it just is. We have free will, even when we are in chains. We choose our attitude to the chains - and to our captors. But free will - or freedom - comes with a terrible price: even the Americans, for all their impressive charters and declarations and written constitutions, haven't got it sorted, have they? Who has? If one could, one would be tempted to ask the Founding Fathers, as the waiter so famously asked George Best: "Where did it all go wrong then?"

Where indeed? I still have my old copy of Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America. This cheery little tome, which always struck me as the self-indulgent if fascinating ramblings of a solipsistic, privileged American brat, was written by Elizabeth Wurtzel. It was published in 1996. Wurtzel was then young, beautiful and intelligent enough to have won a scholarship to Harvard. The book, which became a best-seller when she was only twenty-six, detailed how she, a self-confessed "golden girl", was utterly wretched: drugs, depression, self-harm and anorexia - you name it, she was afflicted by it. She was raised in a middle-class Jewish home which was not (apparently) particularly religious, so her angst cannot have been the result of Christian - or any other faith-based - indoctrination. She was just, in her own words, "flat-out f*cked" - like so many of her generation. Wurtzel  nevertheless made a small fortune from her misery. I was about to quote her opening paragraph, but here's Robert Lowell instead. It's his Skunk Hour - not easy reading - but as a confession of utter misery, it's far better than anything Wurzel ever wrote. Rich, privileged, famous, brilliant and American, in 1957 he wrote:



Skunk Hour

By Robert Lowell


(For Elizabeth Bishop)


Nautilus Island's hermit
heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage;
her sheep still graze above the sea.
Her son's a bishop. Her farmer
is first selectman in our village;
she's in her dotage.

Thirsting for
the hierarchic privacy
of Queen Victoria's century,
she buys up all
the eyesores facing her shore,
and lets them fall.

The season's ill--
we've lost our summer millionaire,
who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean
catalogue. His nine-knot yawl
was auctioned off to lobstermen.
A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.

And now our fairy
decorator brightens his shop for fall;
his fishnet's filled with orange cork,
orange, his cobbler's bench and awl;
there is no money in his work,
he'd rather marry.

One dark night,
my Tudor Ford climbed the hill's skull;
I watched for love-cars. Lights turned down,
they lay together, hull to hull,
where the graveyard shelves on the town. . . .
My mind's not right.

A car radio bleats,
"Love, O careless Love. . . ." I hear
my ill-spirit sob in each blood cell,
as if my hand were at its throat. . . .
I myself am hell;
nobody's here--

only skunks, that search
in the moonlight for a bite to eat.
They march on their soles up Main Street:
white stripes, moonstruck eyes' red fire
under the chalk-dry and spar spire
of the Trinitarian Church.

I stand on top
of our back steps and breathe the rich air--
a mother skunk with her column of kittens swills the garbage pail.
She jabs her wedge-head in a cup
of sour cream, drops her ostrich tail,
and will not scare.




EDIT:

In philosophy, happiness translates the Greek concept of eudaimonia, and refers to the good life, or flourishing, rather than simply an emotion. There is now, apparently, an International Day of Happiness - March 20th. No doubt for some that will be a rather ironic choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 20 Aug 2017, 14:26

Oh dear, that's killed this thread. Was it the really miserable poem wot dun it? Smile

Lowell taught Sylvia Plath - which explains a lot.

As it's Sunday, can I give a quotation from Saint Augustine? He had his ups and downs and was often very depressed. One of his famous sayings is from his Confessions: a pretty perceptive comment on the human condition (well, I think it is, but then I would, wouldn't I?).

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

Before any of you dismiss Augustine as a sanctimonious old prig, note too that he prayed (in younger, wilder days): "Lord make me pure - but not yet." This is often misquoted as "Oh, God, make me good, but not yet." Evelyn Waugh said that - he pinched it from Augustine. I actually prefer the Waugh version.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 20 Aug 2017, 20:45

@Temperance wrote:
Oh dear, that's killed this thread. Was it the really miserable poem wot dun it? Smile

Lowell taught Sylvia Plath - which explains a lot.

As it's Sunday, can I give a quotation from Saint Augustine? He had his ups and downs and was often very depressed. One of his famous sayings is from his Confessions: a pretty perceptive comment on the human condition (well, I think it is, but then I would, wouldn't I?).

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

Before any of you dismiss Augustine as a sanctimonious old prig, note too that he prayed (in younger, wilder days): "Lord make me pure - but not yet." This is often misquoted as "Oh, God, make me good, but not yet." Evelyn Waugh said that - he pinched it from Augustine. I actually prefer the Waugh version.


Dear Temperance,

the thread is not killed, it needs more dreadful things to kill it...
And wait till I have finished with Fall Rot and Operation Seelöwe...then you will see something!...I promise...

Kind regards from Paul, devoutful (oops: "devout" in my Collins paperback stays:1. deeply religious. 2. sincere) to the universe and to the mind mass of it Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 23 Aug 2017, 22:05

Temperance,

"I suppose for Epicurus experiencing/living for pleasure was a personal quest, whereas modern thinkers, following Bentham, have become more earnest. Bentham, of course, famously declared that the supreme good is "the greatest happiness of the greatest number": he made happiness a sort of collective project. Perhaps we need, in Orwellian terms, a Ministry of Happiness. Bentham had a point, of course: without government planning, economic wisdom and scientific research, individuals will not get very far (will they?) in their quest for the Holy (or Unholy, according to your viewpoint) Grail. If your country is torn apart by war, if the economy is in ruins and if health care is non-existent, one is likely to be pretty miserable. Fair enough. Bentham was surely right to maintain that nature gave dominion over us to two masters: pleasure and pain. John Stuart Mill, Bentham's successor, explained that human happiness is indeed nothing but pleasure and freedom from pain, and that beyond pleasure and pain there is no good and no evil. Anyone else who tries to deduce good and evil from something else (such as God or the national interest) is trying to fool us, and perhaps trying to fool themselves too. I suppose there are many here among us who would agree with that."

I will try to start with this after my research about what I mentioned to you of the "scientists" about happiness.
Temperance, do you believe that you have a "splendid" pen. It is really a joy to read you and all in good English...
Excuses already 11 PM overhere, will start my research for the rest of the evening (1/2 hour or 3/4 Wink )

Kind regards from your loyal Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 24 Aug 2017, 16:43

Well, it seems I have a knack for cobbling together other people's ideas, Paul: but unfortunately I have not had an original one since around October 1973, and then I was told by some Marxist prat who now owns four houses that I was wrong.

I hope your scientists will be able to come up with a happiness formula for me: I rather need one, having been sunk in cosmic gloom for most of this summer - since I started reading up on all this garbage for something I've got to write, in fact. I wish I'd never started on all this body/mind/soul stuff, as I'm going round in circles, of which this thread has been daily proof. And I still don't really understand Cartesian dualism.

As you all know, my little belief-bubble of glowiness (I love that expression from MM's article) waxes and wanes intermittently: it's been flickering a bit since Sunday, and today I'm rather inclined towards Plato, not Augustine. That won't last, of course.

Yes, it's a mad world, my masters, as Thomas Middleton observed over a pint in the Mermaid in 1605 - and from what I can gather it's all set to get madder and madder, certainly where our bodies are concerned. As for our souls - our happiness - well, that doesn't bear thinking about really, does it, but Huxley and Scott Fitzgerald probably had it right. Huxley wrote about AD 2540 - see PS.

May I explain? I know no one is interested, but typing this out is helping me marshal my thoughts - sort of...

Two immensely powerful things have not yet been mentioned on this thread: money and technology. The body - and its control, regulation and presentation - is big business, worth billions: the diet industry alone was estimated to be worth $100 billion in the USA in 2006 (Orbach Bodies 2009), and I suspect that the revenues garnered from selling body insecurity have not diminished one jot over the past decade. And what about all the other, numerous - now global - body industries: fashion, cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, pharmaceutical, media -  all interests that, along with the diet industry, make their money by representing our human bodies (male and female) as being merely about performance, fabrication and display, bodies as sites, not - God help us - simply  for living and loving in, but for (re)construction, improvement, modification and, nowadays, with the horror of selfies and the manipulated photographic image, for constant viewing, assessment and rating. No wonder, as Jim Morrison predicted in The End, "...all the children are insane".  As for poor God, who, someone once suggested, made us in His image - well - he must be totally bemused and not a little miffed at it all.

But is worse to come? I have recently read with something like terror of the rise, not quite yet of the Machines (see Terminator I), but of the "transhumanists". Transhumanists are not a new kind of drag artists you get at the Pauling Human Sciences Centre in Oxford (although you never know), but are the cutting edge (no pun intended) scientists who dream not just of alleviating pain and sickness (a worthy aim), but of extending the actual capability of the human body so we will be able to do things that we associate now with futuristic fantasies. For transhumanists, technological enhancements go beyond replacing a faulty organ: they apparently believe that the body can be re-engineered to such an extent that death - unless, presumably, by accident, murder or an act of war - will have become a bygone biological process. O, Death, where is thy sting? It'll be in the tail end of all this, of that I'm sure.

But bodies have limits. Life is what happens between birth and death, isn't it? Wasn't that the original idea? And what will become of an old soul, trapped in a brave new body? Shudder. I'm just glad I won't be around to witness these developments - unless I'm reincarnated (er, is that the right word?) as a machine, of course.

PS has anyone heard of Orlan, the French artist who uses her own body as a canvas on which she inflicts physical cruelty - the surgeon's knife? She is either totally bonkers, or she is inspired. I can't bear to read about her.


PS

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.


— William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206







Last edited by Temperance on Fri 25 Aug 2017, 13:10; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Thu 24 Aug 2017, 22:10

Temperance,

thanks again for a thought provoking message of yours, by the way like many.
Did yesterday research about the "scientist" approach to "happiness" and it is rather confusing and they seems not to agree. And when you put their names in google it is all scientific jargon, where nobody can see a line in. Even no rational comments on the general line of thoughts...rather disappointing, but I return on it.
But I want first to comment your interesting thoughts, but sadly again already 11 PM again and I did research to comment to MM's Bartholomeus night. Will try to do that at least this evening...
But I'll come back to comment every thought in depth...

Kind regards from Paul, who thinks to understand your feelings? sensitivities? vulnerabilities?
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Fri 25 Aug 2017, 08:46

I've been thinking about The Tempest since yesterday and how Shakespeare, as always, is relevant - or how it's possible to make him relevant: Prospero, Caliban and Ariel - Plato's tripartite theory of the soul? And how does that fit in - if at all - with the Christian theology of the Trinity? And how is that relevant here? Prospero the rational magician - the scientist, the brain, Ariel the spirit, and Caliban, the body -  the "thing of darkness" - integration of these elements - or understanding and cooperation between them -  both in society and in ourselves is the key to happiness I suppose.

Perhaps a tripartite approach is more useful than dualist  - I have no idea. Just confused mulling really, like you do of a morning when you're microwaving porridge.



This is just from Wiki:

Logical (λογιστικόν)

The logical or logistikon (from logos) is the thinking part of the soul which loves the truth and seeks to learn it. Plato originally identifies the soul dominated by this part with the Athenian temperament. The logistikon discerns what is the real and not merely apparent, judges what is true and what is false and wisely makes just decisions in accordance with its love for goodness.

Plato makes the point that the logistikon would be the smallest part of the soul (as the rulers would be the smallest population within the Republic), but that, nevertheless, a soul can be declared just only if all three parts agree that the logistikon should rule.

Spirited (θυμοειδές)

According to Plato, the spirited or thymoeides (from thymos) is the part of the soul...(he) also calls  'high spirit' and initially identifies the soul dominated by this part... In the just soul, the spirited aligns with the logistikon and resists the desires of the appetitive, becoming manifested as 'indignation' and in general the courage to be good. In the unjust soul, the spirited ignores the logistikon and aligns with the desires of the appetitive, manifesting as the demand for the pleasures of the body.

Appetitive (ἐπιθυμητικόν)

The appetitive or epithymetikon (from epithymia, translated to Latin as concupiscentiae or desideria)[9] is the part of the soul by which we experience carnal erotic love, hunger, thirst and in general the desires opposed to the logistikon.[10] (The appetitive is in fact labelled as being 'a-logical'.

Plato also identifies this part of the soul with the pleasure involved in human reproduction. He further relates this part to the love of money-making...




But as our Res His seems to be moving peacefully to its close and as our Prospero has obviously broken and buried his staff (his wand, not his employees), this quotation seems sadly appropriate. Is this the last thing I'll ever post? Hope not. Gulp.




Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.


William Shakespeare
From The Tempest, Act 4 Scene 1
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Fri 25 Aug 2017, 12:39

Thought I was being original with above musings about The Tempest and The Republic, but alas, no - have just found this on tinternet. I take it that "just" here means "right" or "balanced"? Perhaps this is wrong? Nordmann is needed here!






A more psychic description of the just
person is one who does “not allow any part of himself to do the
work of another part or allow the various classes within him
to meddle with each other” . When reason is allowed
to rule and the appetites and emotions are not trying to rule
in its stead, only then can a person’s actions be said to be just.
The preservation of this “inner harmony” is justice and those
actions that disrupt the inner harmony are unjust . The
Tempest offers us a vivid representation of many of Plato’s
remarks concerning the psyche and virtue.
We can point out the similarities and parallels between The
Tempest and The Republic without making claims regarding
Shakespeare’s intentions. The Tempest, nevertheless, embodies
or concretizes the parts of the Platonic psyche in its characters.
Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban all exhibit more of one particular
psychic portion: Prospero represents the rational, Ariel the
spirited, and Caliban the appetitive. Tovey rightly observes
that “Caliban is a creature of bodily appetites and impulses”
and, indeed, “much of his talk throughout the play turns
on food” . Each of these characters, though, is not a
manifestation of just any spirited or appetitive psyche, but
rather, each character is a manifestation of Prospero’s psyche;
as Knight puts it, Ariel and Caliban “are yoked in the employ
of Prospero” .




The rational then should rule the spirit and the body? Well yes, if only...


EDIT: Here is the Guardian comment on last night's Channel 4 programme, "Wasting Away":


https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/aug/25/wasting-away-truth-about-anorexia-review


The sentence from the end of the article struck home. I reproduce it below. But from whence comes this terrible misery, this malaise? Is it just not being able to cope with "pressure" - or does this all go deeper? This is what must be addressed. And how can we best help our young people? More NHS money is important, but is not the only answer. Bluebirds are not always found in the Treasury coffers, but in our own backyards. Perhaps Plato's rational approach is not serving us well here. Should we look to Augustine then?

Answers on a postcard please.


In the meantime, our young people turn their misery in on themselves and, with nothing else to eat, choke on it.

I cannot tell you how deeply upsetting I find that image: children starving - literally and metaphorically -  in the midst of plenty. It is the tragedy - and the shame -  of our times.



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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 27 Aug 2017, 10:07

I'm relieved to see that that wasn't your final post Temp, you must not stop. Yes, we are fighting a rear guard action against the decline of proper message boards and other forms of considered content on line and in other media such as serios print journalis mbut we can't just surrender. The barbarians are not just through the gates, they are in the streets, in the pubs, infesting the net and the airwaves and generally relegating us to smaller and smaller corners of relative sanity so stoke up the fire and keep the lamps burning.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 27 Aug 2017, 21:54

Temperance,

"I suppose for Epicurus experiencing/living for pleasure was a personal quest, whereas modern thinkers, following Bentham, have become more earnest. Bentham, of course, famously declared that the supreme good is "the greatest happiness of the greatest number": he made happiness a sort of collective project. Perhaps we need, in Orwellian terms, a Ministry of Happiness. Bentham had a point, of course: without government planning, economic wisdom and scientific research, individuals will not get very far (will they?) in their quest for the Holy (or Unholy, according to your viewpoint) Grail. If your country is torn apart by war, if the economy is in ruins and if health care is non-existent, one is likely to be pretty miserable. Fair enough. Bentham was surely right to maintain that nature gave dominion over us to two masters: pleasure and pain. John Stuart Mill, Bentham's successor, explained that human happiness is indeed nothing but pleasure and freedom from pain, and that beyond pleasure and pain there is no good and no evil. Anyone else who tries to deduce good and evil from something else (such as God or the national interest) is trying to fool us, and perhaps trying to fool themselves too. I suppose there are many here among us who would agree with that."

"I suppose for Epicurus experiencing/living for pleasure was a personal quest"

It can be, but pleasure is also a part of happiness...and what is pleasure? To have a satisfied feeling to have done something for another one? Pleasure to have enough money to live decently? Perhaps is "Carpe diem" not such an idle proverb, as long as it is not the "hedonist" way: seeking pleasures for one's own pure enjoyement, as this from experience seems not to give satisfaction and thus no happinness. It is perhaps indicative that the countries with the greatest general happinness are the Scandinavian ones, where there is a collective high income together with a collective high social basket.
And with that I have already answered your next sentence:
"Bentham, of course, famously declared that the supreme good is "the greatest happiness of the greatest number""

"explained that human happiness is indeed nothing but pleasure and freedom from pain, and that beyond pleasure and pain there is no good and no evil."

"freedom from pain" is so general...I think that the altruïst can have happiness from doing something for companions in misfortune (here is Dutch more condense with "lotgenoten" (companions in fate) Wink ), for the society, for family, even with pain.

"good and evil" we discussed to the core in Priscilla's thread: "Religion the benefits" (17 pages I saw today when I saved it)
For me it comes from childhood education and the norms endoctrinated by society and from the customs from the dawn of humankind. It is only when one grows older and start to reasoning logical that one see some anomalies among them.
BTW: it seems that the "ingesteldheid" (for fear of losing my message I don't consult google, and the word don't exist in my dictionary) preparation? for happinness is heriditary. One can be genetically predestinated to be more happy than someone others (it follows the study of "nurture versus nature" and nearly the same percents)
Of course one can by reasoning to oneself (to his own mind, soul?) try by reasoning to be more happy in spite of his genetical predisponition?

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 27 Aug 2017, 22:18

Temperance,

"Where did it all go wrong then?"
Where indeed? I still have my old copy of Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America. This cheery little tome, which always struck me as the self-indulgent if fascinating ramblings of a solipsistic, privileged American brat, was written by Elizabeth Wurtzel. It was published in 1996. Wurtzel was then young, beautiful and intelligent enough to have won a scholarship to Harvard. The book, which became a best-seller when she was only twenty-six, detailed how she, a self-confessed "golden girl", was utterly wretched: drugs, depression, self-harm and anorexia - you name it, she was afflicted by it. She was raised in a middle-class Jewish home which was not (apparently) particularly religious, so her angst cannot have been the result of Christian - or any other faith-based - indoctrination. She was just, in her own words, "flat-out f*cked" - like so many of her generation. Wurtzel  nevertheless made a small fortune from her misery."

It is all question of percents. Who are the average and who are "ex center". I can only speak about my life and connections and close circle...but when I look around me, where are all those ex centers that you point too? Or is it only the Britsh society who is so bad? No with me some exceptions to the average, but very few. But as you look as tenant to the hirers...some have no money because the don't want to work or they can't hold money or they have no ability to gave structure to their lifes or the are addicted to something and have therefore no money. Of course there are also migrants or divorced women or men with or without children, who came in a situation independent of their will...and those are mostly unhappy...And when I speak of my inner circle they are mostly middleclass Wink ...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 27 Aug 2017, 22:21

Addendum to the previous message.

"ingesteldheid" is in English "attitude"
http://www.linguee.com/dutch-english/translation/ingesteldheid.html

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 27 Aug 2017, 22:43

Temperance,

"I hope your scientists will be able to come up with a happiness formula for me: I rather need one, having been sunk in cosmic gloom for most of this summer - since I started reading up on all this garbage for something I've got to write, in fact. I wish I'd never started on all this body/mind/soul stuff, as I'm going round in circles, of which this thread has been daily proof. And I still don't really understand Cartesian dualism."

"scientists with a happiness formula for you"

Although you have a pessimistic attitude to life, trying daily to be happy about small events, especially in the altruistic way.After all we are a social being from the dawn of mankind...
People, who have "good" social contacts as in family life, friends and all are less pessimistic than the others.
And that is one that I already mentioned:
To have goals, tasks in one's life to work towards, especially in the altruistic way, each time again. To be happy to have created something , to have accomplished some task, work for oneself, but especially to have the gratitude of someone others about it...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Sun 27 Aug 2017, 23:48

Mmm -contentment and happiness are not quite the same. To my mind happiness comes in fleeting moments. The skill is in recognising such moments, savouring them and stuffing them away for recall later. Such moments are the bejeweled lace of my life.... which in truth has been a rich one I am beginning to really appreciate. For me it's  commonplace experience that evoke the greater joys...that mug of hot Bovril clutched in frozen fingers after a snowball fight. It often comes in unprepared moments as at beauty suddenly revealed in any form. And I am in no doubt that I have seen animals experiencing happiness - with no philosophy whatsoever. 
But I ought stay out of this thread that has meandered through some very intellectual pathways. I've decided that I am far too old for that now; no end is any clearer than  when I first explored those tracks; apart from finding a lot more tracks and some of those look even more muddy.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Mon 28 Aug 2017, 10:23

@Priscilla wrote:

But I ought stay out of this thread that has meandered through some very intellectual pathways. I've decided that I am far too old for that now; no end is any clearer than  when I first explored those tracks; apart from finding a lot more tracks and some of those look even more muddy.




When I was at college, a friend of mine (not the one with the pet plankter) had this typed out and pinned to the wall above his desk: it is a quotation from the Muslim thinker Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (1058- 1111), a crucial and emblematic figure in the history of religious philosophy. This man had a restless temperament, apparently, that made him struggle with truth like an unhappy terrier. He wrote:


"I have poked into every dark recess; I have made an assault on every problem; I have plunged into every abyss. I have scrutinised the creed of every sect and have tried to lay bare the inmost doctrines of every community. All this I have done that I may distinguish between true and false, between sound tradition and heretical innovation..."


Underneath this someone (not me) had scrawled:


And I still haven't got a f**king clue.


Sadly, my position exactly, even after all these years of muddy meandering, here and elsewhere. Perhaps it is time to take off the philosophy wellies (which have never really suited or fitted me anyway), admit defeat and and go home. Or go to the beach...



My abandoned philosophy wellies.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Mon 28 Aug 2017, 18:40

Can I borrow those wellies? It's been peeing down all day and if I hear one more time about how hot and sunny it is down south, I won't be responsible............

Bhutan introduced the concept of GNH - Gross National Happiness -into the constitution as a goal and as an indicator of well being and certainly they have improved many of the aspects of life, life expectancy, average income, health and education, but there are those who feel this has been at the expense of other things, human and minority rights, and that the preservation of the approved traditional culture has elements of imposition such as it being mandatory to wear national costume during working hours.
Is Bhutan the happiest place in the world?

There has been a series of programmes on BBC 4 about Utopia:in search of the dream, but would living in such a place really be good for us? Wouldn't we just cock it up?
What does Plato say?
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Mon 28 Aug 2017, 19:18

@ferval wrote:


Wouldn't we just cock it up?

What does Plato say?

Plato records that when Thrasymachus told Socrates not to be so bloody silly and that the Athenians always cocked up everything anyway, Socrates just looked a bit thoughtful (his default position). He then went to the pub - always a good idea.

PS It's been hot and sunny here all day (sorry) - too hot on the beach and nowhere to park anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Mon 28 Aug 2017, 22:38

Ferval,

"There has been a series of programmes on BBC 4 about 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=Utopia%3A
but would living in such a place really be good for us? Wouldn't we just cock it up?"

I found this about the series, but we abroad can't watch BBC 4 I player
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/32/utopia

"wouldn't we just cock it up?"

Of course we would, because humans and human society is unpredictable, as the stock echange market...some rules but mostly seeking its own way...
I agree some utopians have an impact on history with their ideas or dreams but perhaps only when the time is ripe or when the need for innovations is urgent pushing scientists, utopians and any would be inventors to create urgently some solution to certain problems.
Many futorologists have tried to predict the future, but by my knowledge nobody had an idea of the internet connected by the satellites turning around the earth?
No let the society have its natural course...there will be always enough people in the society to correct or innovate that way...I have  a horror of all those disutopian views, the reality is already enough to not disturb it even by utopian or disutopian actions, as the exalted Bernhard Förster, brother in law of Friedrich Nietzsche's sister (who later became embroiled in the Nazi party and who altered Nietzsche's writings), who started an utopian colony in Paraguay
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernhard_F%C3%B6rster

But yes some ideas of "begiftigde" (endowed?) (wo)men, can have a big impact on humanity...
As for instance the Austrian Oberth inspired by Jules Verne's "From the earth to the moon", from there a Wernher von Braun, the satellites, the internet.
http://www.signature-reads.com/2016/01/how-jules-verne-inspired-a-generation-of-rocket-scientists/


Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Tue 29 Aug 2017, 22:33

Temperance, excuses, too late again to start something coherent...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 30 Aug 2017, 17:16

Coherence is a bonus, but not a requisite on this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 30 Aug 2017, 18:48

@Temperance wrote:
Coherence is a bonus, but not a requisite on this thread.

Wink  Wink Wink   from your devoted Paul.

PS that's the real wit that I appreciate

PPS not sure if I can add to the thread this evening...although looking on the clock it is only a quarter to eight overhere, hence plenty of time to do the "coherent" thing...
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 30 Aug 2017, 21:18

Temperance,

"May I explain? I know no one is interested, but typing this out is helping me marshal my thoughts - sort of...

Two immensely powerful things have not yet been mentioned on this thread: money and technology. The body - and its control, regulation and presentation - is big business, worth billions: the diet industry alone was estimated to be worth $100 billion in the USA in 2006 (Orbach Bodies 2009), and I suspect that the revenues garnered from selling body insecurity have not diminished one jot over the past decade. And what about all the other, numerous - now global - body industries: fashion, cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, pharmaceutical, media -  all interests that, along with the diet industry, make their money by representing our human bodies (male and female) as being merely about performance, fabrication and display, bodies as sites, not - God help us - simply  for living and loving in, but for (re)construction, improvement, modification and, nowadays, with the horror of selfies and the manipulated photographic image, for constant viewing, assessment and rating. No wonder, as Jim Morrison predicted in The End, "...all the children are insane".  As for poor God, who, someone once suggested, made us in His image - well - he must be totally bemused and not a little miffed at it all."

And now we agree completely. Big business indeed, and also that much money from advertisements.
Advertisements to seduce and push people to do the most extravagant actions. And a lot of people are not stable enough to resist.
The difference with before: in the 19th century only the distribution of advertisements were done by the press and the access to papers was still limited, many couldn't even read...What a contrast now when one every moment of the day is agressed by "call girls" from a call center, when one opens the TV or computer a bombardement of silly short films to convince you to do silly things. If one would strike all those advertisements and give the money directly to the TV stations and a commun comparing discussion program that would have to be neutral (and that would be the most difficult goal as there would always be those millions of the industry around to push in a certain way)

The most dangerous is in my opinion the pharmaceutical industry, which makes that many victims, while it pushes people to overconsumption of dangerous "médicaments" (the English word "drugs" means in the several languages heroine and all that. So even the word "drugstore" sounds odd in French, German, Dutch) And it seems that the Belgians are top consumers of those types of stuff...
Paracetamol and paracetamol with cafeïne, and pills to sleep and pills to be awake, and pills for the stress...even if they are proscribed by a general practicion I doubt...

"But is worse to come? I have recently read with something like terror of the rise, not quite yet of the Machines (see Terminator I), but of the "transhumanists". Transhumanists are not a new kind of drag artists you get at the Pauling Human Sciences Centre in Oxford (although you never know), but are the cutting edge (no pun intended) scientists who dream not just of alleviating pain and sickness (a worthy aim), but of extending the actual capability of the human body so we will be able to do things that we associate now with futuristic fantasies. For transhumanists, technological enhancements go beyond replacing a faulty organ: they apparently believe that the body can be re-engineered to such an extent that death - unless, presumably, by accident, murder or an act of war - will have become a bygone biological process. O, Death, where is thy sting? It'll be in the tail end of all this, of that I'm sure."

As ever one has not to "throw the child with the bath water" " (het kind wegwerpen met het badwater)(will seek for the right translation as I don't find it in my dictionary)
For instance I don't see why there can not be a replacement by a robot commanded by the nerves of a hand lost to a person , who is otherwise handicapped (No Captain Hooks anymore), nor the helping of the ear by a sophisticated robot, which change the sounds so that they are comprensible for the hard hearing one...
Help in the industry to move or manipulate heavy weights and that many more examples

"But bodies have limits. Life is what happens between birth and death, isn't it? Wasn't that the original idea? And what will become of an old soul, trapped in a brave new body? Shudder. I'm just glad I won't be around to witness these developments - unless I'm reincarnated (er, is that the right word?) as a machine, of course."

No bodies have nearly no limits. The change to a slowing down of the aging will be done on cell level, the cells will be ageing less and thus remain in the old younger condition.

"An old soul trapped in a brave new body" Wink 
I suppose the old soul will remain young too and with the cumulated experience and memories will more capable than before...

You will remain a young girl with all the "capacities" of a young girl, but with all the experience of a longer life you will be wiser, for instance in the choice of a man or perhaps with your experience no men anymore and enjoy your life of a young girl...
Really Temperance I couldn't resist Embarassed ...

Kind regards as ever for you from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 30 Aug 2017, 22:11

Temperance,

"Each of these characters, though, is not a
manifestation of just any spirited or appetitive psyche, but
rather, each character is a manifestation of Prospero’s psyche;
as Knight puts it, Ariel and Caliban “are yoked in the employ
of Prospero” ."
"The rational then should rule the spirit and the body? Well yes, if only..."


"Ariel and Caliban “are yoked in the employ
of Prospero”" .

As I said already throughout the thread: the mind rules the body via the brain. Only if the brain is damaged the mind can't do this task anymore.
But minds can be as you said manipulated by nowadays opinion makers and lurred in practices, which are not sane for their body and for their psyche. It are nowadays to be "strong" minds to resist to all this drivel. Yes and minds can be mad on their own too...but what is mad?
Perhaps the best resistance is created by learning at school and in the family as early as possible to "think" in a logical and coherent way and in a broad field of cultural and sociological subjects. And to learn to be "sceptic", not accepting what the general public says...
In that option there should to be more general education which covers each field of knowledge of humantity to avoid "narrow minded specialists" (in Dutch: vakidioten).
I am many times surprized that university people are not able to discuss with me, some general knowledge that I am interested in.
In that I prefer, as we call it in Belgium "humaniora/humanités" (Meles meles knows now what it means).
Perhaps you have an equivalent in Britain too...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Plato, Augustine and Sticking to Your Diet   Wed 30 Aug 2017, 22:46

@Priscilla wrote:
Mmm -contentment and happiness are not quite the same. To my mind happiness comes in fleeting moments. The skill is in recognising such moments, savouring them and stuffing them away for recall later. Such moments are the bejeweled lace of my life.... which in truth has been a rich one I am beginning to really appreciate. For me it's  commonplace experience that evoke the greater joys...that mug of hot Bovril clutched in frozen fingers after a snowball fight. It often comes in unprepared moments as at beauty suddenly revealed in any form. And I am in no doubt that I have seen animals experiencing happiness - with no philosophy whatsoever. 
But I ought stay out of this thread that has meandered through some very intellectual pathways. I've decided that I am far too old for that now; no end is any clearer than  when I first explored those tracks; apart from finding a lot more tracks and some of those look even more muddy.

Priscilla,
I thank you for this nearly poetic message. And indeed as I understand it from the many entries that I now read you are speaking about happiness and not contentment.
happiness is momentous, while contentment is a stable situation of happiness?
From the threads that I read and that I mention here without comment Wink ...
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/both-sides-the-couch/201311/happiness-and-contentment-what-is-the-difference
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-fallible-mind/201302/would-you-rather-be-happy-or-content
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-happiness-and-vs-contentment/



Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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