October 18, 2015

Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Durkheim, and Snyder

First published Mon Dec 9, 2013
For a number of years in the mid-nineteenth century Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872) played an important role in the history of post-Hegelian German philosophy, and in the transition from idealism to various forms of naturalism, materialism and positivism that is one of the most notable developments of this period. [...]

Feuerbach regards sensation as the “first condition of willing” (M, 366), since without sensation there is no pain or need or sense of lack against which for the will to strive to assert itself. At one point he defines happiness as the “healthy, normal” state of contentment or wellbeing experienced by an organism that is able to satisfy the needs and drives that are constitutive of its “individual, characteristic nature and life” (M, 366). The drive-to-happiness is a drive toward the overcoming of a multitude of painful limitations by which the finite, corporeal subject is afflicted, which can include “political brutality and despotism” (VWR, 61/50). Every particular drive is a manifestation of the drive-to-happiness, and the different individual drives are named after the different objects in which people seek their happiness (SM, 70). Among the specific drives to which Feuerbach refers in his later writings are the drive-to-self-preservation, the sexual drive, the drive-to-enjoyment, the drive-to-activity and the drive-to-knowledge. Although he does not explicitly associate drives with the unconscious, Feuerbach does anticipate Nietzsche and Freud in regarding the body as the “ground” of both the will and of consciousness (SM, 153), and he emphasizes that action results from the force with which a dominant drive succeeds in subduing other conflicting drives that may reassert themselves under altered circumstances (SM, 91). Copyright © 2013 by Todd Gooch <>

Nature And Human Nature: Literature, Ecology, Meaning 2008 by Murali Sivaramakrishan (ed.) 
Contextualising Literature, Ecology, and Meaning
—Murali Sivaramakrishnan
In the march of Western history of ideas, the Enlightenment is often looked upon as the age of reason. Whatever else this might have entailed, the most significant aspect is that this age gave rise to a belief in scientism—a dangerous attitude indeed with disastrous consequences—a deep faith in the order of scientific thinking. Human emotion, feeling, and the entire “irrational” sphere of mankind were delegated a secondary insignificant position in the understanding of life. The intellect superseded the heart and analytical thought sought precedence over the intuitive. Values came to be challenged, reinterpreted, and recast (sometimes even obliterated); religion was relegated to being mere superstition, and science acquired the supreme role as the interpreter of truth. In our own times even to speak of one’s beliefs or faith is to rake up the ghost of pre-renaissance nescience! How could one even speak of being moved by nature and the natural forms? Poetry and imagination are things of the past. It would be like looking for truth in mere fancy!
These are days of rationality and intelligence. Religion breeds only superstition and nonsense; it works as opium! My intention here is not to demean rationality and intelligence per se but only to challenge their claims to being the only valid means of approaching the truth. While this being so, truth, in the logic of the postmodern, is multi-dimensional and multifaceted. Let us reorient ourselves to this fact that is not a fact! If fiction differentiates itself by not being fact let us create the faction of the present! In the search for alter/native truths we need to heed and understand the other logic that may not resemble the logic we are used to. If the post-enlightenment logic declaims the validity of religion and metaphysics, then we need to reorient ourselves with regard to these two as well. [...]
All problems of living, to believe Sri Aurobindo, are problems of harmony. And all problems of nature are problems of human nature too.

The Snyderian transubstantiation of an ordinary object is in an inverse proportion to the Nietzschean attitude towards the past [...] Interestingly, the three-tiered notion of Nietzschean history echoes the Emersonian "presentism." (From 'Gary Snyder and the Nature of Nature')

Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American man of letters. Perhaps best known as a poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco ...

The fact of construction is not a problem for Durkheim, as long as it is realized that construction is not limited to the social ... In order to say that certain things are supernatural, it is necessary to have the sentiment that a natural order of things ...

Durkheim explicitly stated that the sacred/profane dichotomy was not equivalent ... just like the distinction between natural and supernatural, it was very much a ...

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