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Laputian
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18 Sep 2021, 12:08 pm

Hi,

I’m very recently diagnosed with ASD (level 1)… not sure if I have used proper terminology here… feel free to correct me.

I’m wondering if others out there have found it effective to apply tenants of existential philosophy in their lives and if these concepts have resulted in creating an authentic, and self authored sense of one’s own self?

In particular, I’m referring to the works of De Beauvior, Sartre, Camus and perhaps Nietzsche, Heidegger and Kierkegaard.

Thanks I’m excited and grateful to be here.



Fnord
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18 Sep 2021, 2:26 pm

Personally, I have found the words of Jesus of Nazareth to be more helpful; but to each, their own.



Laputian
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18 Sep 2021, 2:45 pm

@Fnord - oh great! Thank you for that. That’s a lot of reading you’ve done! And I’m sure in all that reading you realized that your view coincides with Kierkegaard’s!

Which of Kierkegaard’s books is your favorite?



uncommondenominator
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18 Sep 2021, 2:48 pm

Try Emmanuel Kant. I've also found the allegory of the cave and the concept of the veil of ignorance to be useful.



The_Znof
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18 Sep 2021, 2:59 pm

I think "The Divided Self" by R.D. Laing is very enlightening re ASD.

Of all people with brain issues, those with autism may be the most unfairly ignored by those defining the condition.

RD does not mention autism, but he clearly shows the dynamic of weak therapists being deaf to those they are supposed to be treating.

Kierkegaard gets many mentions in the book.

not sure whats up with the link, its effed up on my new cheap chromebook..

http://www.centrebombe.org/Ronald.D.Lai ... Self.(1960).pdf


Have you noticed a link between existentialism and rpg? :jester:

edit: by rpg I dont mean dungeons and dragons, more like I am wondering if you are NEQ from the old yahoo groups.., sock puppets and stuff..



Laputian
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18 Sep 2021, 5:49 pm

@The_Znof

Thanks for that!! … I did a quick Wikipedia read on R.D. Laing and looks like a very very interesting rabbit hole to dive down.. good stuff!

Have you read ‘Existential Psychotherapy’ by Irvin D. Yalom? … Amazing work. I wonder if Yalom has ever written about autism? (I don’t recall him mentioning it in ‘Existential Psychotherapy’ )…. This book is just so insightful to me. I really enjoy how he dismantles Freudian ideas at their root… he demolishes them.

Again, I’m really really new to understanding anything much about autism and just trying to get a grasp on MY autism currently rather than come up with anything about anybody else…but I have a hunch that these existentialists may have some very useful tools for us.



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18 Sep 2021, 7:16 pm

Laputian wrote:
@Fnord - oh great! Thank you for that. That’s a lot of reading you’ve done! And I’m sure in all that reading you realized that your view coincides with!
Your sarcasm is noted.
Laputian wrote:
Which of Kierkegaard’s books is your favorite?
”Sickness Unto Death”.



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18 Sep 2021, 8:42 pm

uncommondenominator wrote:
Try Emmanuel Kant. I've also found the allegory of the cave and the concept of the veil of ignorance to be useful.


Me too, though I have no background in philosophy. I find the cave to be particularly apropos at the moment when so many of us are cooped up in our homes and forced to rely on the accounts of others more than usual for our sense of what's going on in the world.


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Laputian
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18 Sep 2021, 9:29 pm

@uncommondenominator

Hey,

You mean Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance” right? I have never studied that.. but he is certainly a great thinker I would like to know more about..lots to learn.

Do you think Rawls’ work applies directly or specifically to autism? I don’t know enough about him to have any insights here.. but curious what you think.

I have spent quite a bit of time on Kant. His work is of course critical in getting to existentialism .. as is Hume.. and of course all things Plato and in particular ‘The Allegory of the Cave.’

( I’m warming up to the idea that The Allegory of the Cave may be a vision Plato had while participating in the ceremony of the Ellucian Mysteries. If that is the case, there’s a good possibility psychedelics were involved.)



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18 Sep 2021, 9:49 pm

personally, I always thought the whole self authorship etc. in existentialism is very.... "American".
I mean, you're born into a society, your biology, your genes adapt to your environment as you grow up and at some point, this product of biology and circumstance, decides "I will make myself" - but everything you have to work with, oncluding the self that decodes to make itself, is biology and circumstance.
understanding that NTs, too, are born with a brain, a certain biology and that they, too, are biology and circumstance, I found very comforting.

It's not me, the Aspie, who is wired to be a certain way - it's everyone else, too, differently, but in no way any less restricted.
So, instead of a hundrrd year old philosophy about how to live without a religion - that's basically what existentialism is - I recommend Robert Sapolsky's 'Behave'.


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Laputian
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19 Sep 2021, 12:42 am

@shlaifu

The Sapolsky book ‘Behave’ look like one I will have to check out! My reading list is growing. Thanks for the recommendation.

With all due respect, I’m not sure I get your point about existentialism being ‘American’…

And yes, existentialism focuses on rejecting dogma for sure.. which precludes most religion, but there is much more to it… I guess particularly because it is such a difficult philosophy to define partly because you can’t really ‘be an existentialist’ because so much of it is about the nature of being or existing itself. ( ‘How to be an existentialist’ by Gary Cox approaches this subject with some real good wit and laser accuracy.. Cox is an excellent writer on the subject in my view)

I guess what I find appealing and useful about what I will collectively but not dogmatically refer to as existentialism is the inversion of the definition of self. Most of
human history has forced the individual to be defined from the outside .. and while the idea of defining yourself from the inside first to the outside is at least 100 years old ( like you mentioned), i do find it a meaningful way to live. It isn’t that comfortable, it is rather unstable, but it does make life exciting and kind of strange… which I really like.

I would say existentialism is definitely not ‘true’ and I also don’t think it needs to be. I like that it is an unfinished attempt to reconcile the void created by the collapse of the certainty of religion and the nihilism of science ( don’t get me wrong, I adore science… it’s just not my philosophy .. because science isn’t a philosophy - its science!)

Again… I do think it deserves a more thorough look as so many themes in existentialism are similar to feeling alienated, like your on the ‘wrong planet’…

So if being autistic is like feeling your on the wrong planet and if existentialism is mostly about feeling alienated and dizzy from the inevitability of isolation and uniqueness .. then maybe there’s something worth exploring? Maybe existential philosophy has something to offer autism.

So there’s my pitch… for what it’s worth.

Btw… have you read Sam Harris’ ‘Free Will’.. I’m curious to get your take on the notion of ‘Free Will’ as Harris describes it in his book



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19 Sep 2021, 1:28 am

As somebody who follows the scientific method to explore the world I find the Socratic philosophy of knowing one's self by using your own faculties to empirically examine the world the best course of action. Quite literally "know thyself by thyself"

Curiously socratic thinking is the foundation of other independent philosophies as disparate as the christian gnostics, hinduism and buddhism. It also finds its way into psychology in logotherapy, mindfullness and Malsow's self-actualisation.

In this respect there is no one source of existential philosophy that is superior or more practical than another, I think each comes from a different perspective and we can triangulate and select what works best for our predicament/situation in life. Often they overlap.



techstepgenr8tion
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19 Sep 2021, 3:54 am

Leopardi and Shestov are both good. Leopardi from the sounds of things probably was an aspie.


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Laputian
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19 Sep 2021, 10:54 am

@Cyberdad

Great Stuff Cyberdad…thank you so much.

I’m going to be a really lousy philosopher right now and agree with you whole heartedly on you last paragraph especially when you say this:

“there is no one source of existential philosophy that is superior or more practical than another,”. - YES!

I’d even go a step further and claim ‘there is no one source of philosophy that is superior to another’.

Again, my apologies for agreeing in a philosophical conversation, I know it doesn’t make it much fun… but I will make up for it by sharply challenging the notion that the Socratic method is ‘empirical’.

First off - all we know of Socrates’ philosophy is through Plato’s work. We never really know if we are experiencing Socrates’ or Plato’s interpretation of Socrates. While we do know that Socrates perturbed his society enough to get handed a cup of hemlock, it would seem that many of his methods were based on rationalism, especially if we consider the work of Plato, his top student.

These Platonic ideas are primarily rational and not empirical:
The Allegory of the Cave
The definition of Justice (as presented in The Republic)
The ranking of the best forms of government (again, from The Republic)
And most importantly: THE THEORY OF FORMS (this is the epitome of rationalism I think).

I’m trying to come up with an example of an idea of Plato’s that is clearly empirical, and I can’t think of any…. But I’m probably just overlooking these?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and claim that Socrates/Plato exemplifies rationalism while Aristotle is largely empirical.

Getting back to some very dull agreeing…I think you are spot on in comparing Socratic/Plato thought to many other philosophies. I agree with the common statement ‘most of philosophy is merely a footnote to Plato’.

However, Hinduism is likely much much older than any Greek philosophy…

Conceivably all of these modes of thought could be branches of the same very very ancient as yet unnamed tree? (Nietzsche kind of explores this in ‘The Genealogy of Morals’).

I just read a book called ‘The Immortality Key: the secret history of the religion with no name’ by Brian C. Murares. Murares points to what may be the roots of this very very ancient tree .. I found it particularly interesting to learn about historical sights such as Gobekli Tepe.. Good read! You might enjoy this one!



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19 Sep 2021, 12:50 pm

Laputian wrote:
@The_Znof

Thanks for that!! … I did a quick Wikipedia read on R.D. Laing and looks like a very very interesting rabbit hole to dive down.. good stuff!

Have you read ‘Existential Psychotherapy’ by Irvin D. Yalom? … Amazing work. I wonder if Yalom has ever written about autism? (I don’t recall him mentioning it in ‘Existential Psychotherapy’ )…. This book is just so insightful to me. I really enjoy how he dismantles Freudian ideas at their root… he demolishes them.

Again, I’m really really new to understanding anything much about autism and just trying to get a grasp on MY autism currently rather than come up with anything about anybody else…but I have a hunch that these existentialists may have some very useful tools for us.


I think Buber may fit into the same Rabbit Hole that Laing drags one down, and I have his book on my shortlist.

Otherwise I tend to go straight to the hornses mouths, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche - I dont think either has been matched since. Sure Wittgenstein is a better man and better philospher than Nietszsche, but I cant understand 95% of what he writes! K and N are more acessable to laymen than any other greats I know of, at least since Heraclitus died.

But since I am weak on Freud, I may give Yalom a look.



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19 Sep 2021, 1:01 pm

Laputian wrote:
@uncommondenominator

Hey,

You mean Rawls’ [...] he is certainly a great thinker





I ran into Rawls about 8 months ago. I thought he was overated, and was so because his ideas lead to academic circle jerks, which are very poplular in acadi-me.

Some of his followers are completely out of hand, they made a mess of UBC's phil dept! :jester:

Rawls seemed to me a decent man, too naive to see he was being propped up to kill philosophy.

My view on Rawls is not rogue, I found a lot of detractors on Reddit.