At any given time in history, however, philosophers and theologians and even politicians have and claimed that they have discovered that the best way to evaluate human actions and establish the most righteous code of conduct. You see, life is far too messy and complicated for there to be anything like a universal morality and an absolutist ethics. I know what you are thinking, “What about the concept of the Golden Rule?” The golden rule is great and all, treating everyone like you would like to be treated. But it disregards moral autonomy and leaves no room for the imposition of justice.In other words, we fucked up. Not just a little bit, but we fucked up big time.
Sadly again, almost none of these paradoxes are quoted in Zeno's original words by their various commentators, but in paraphrase. 1. Background Before we look at the paradoxes themselves it will be useful to sketch some of their historical and logical significance. First, Zeno sought to defend Parmenides by attacking his critics. Parmenides rejected pluralism and the reality of any kind of change: for him all was one indivisible, unchanging reality, and any appearances to the contrary were illusions, to be dispelled by reason and revelation.
Today, people cannot raise their voices against wrong-doing out of fear of being silenced forever. Knowledge today is anything but free, where tireless efforts are being made to bury the truth deep beneath an ocean of lies, where what one hears is a light year away from the true story. One step forward, means ten steps backward. We claim to have moved ahead from our judgmental nature, yet behave as if we know everything about a person from the first glance. We are as divided today as we were a century ago, the silent stream of hatred cutting through the façade of love.
In this essay, I will argue that Schopenhauer’s metaphysics inevitably leads to pessimism, since even though a temporary optimism may be found through the escape from the will via asceticism or aesthetics, the end result is still ultimately a kind of ‘nothingness’. This renders life purposeless and hence meaningless, which is profoundly and dismally pessimistic. I will argue that his metaphysics is based on a false premise that all willing springs from lack or deficiency and I hope to demonstrate that, even if we concede that willing is the inner content and essence of life, that it is not only positive but can be creative and the solution, not the cause, of suffering. Secondly, I will argue that his partial optimism does not go far enough and is ill-explained; such release, as is offered, coming from ‘its own accord’ seems inconsistent with the notion of the blind, striving and as Young puts it, ‘evil’ will which is supposed to supersede all else. I will conclude with an examination of Young’s claim that Schopenhauer’s metaphysics is not pessimistic and my own assertion that while I must concede with Young, that certain keynotes – for example, the universality of mankind – point towards something positive, Schopenhauer’s thesis falls short of ‘love’, or any meaningful transcendence which for me, would be the supreme optimism.
The realisation of the absurd, the impossible search for meaning, is an ideal that forms the backbone of post-war philosophy. As the majority of western society descended into conservatism, faced with suspicion, nuclear terror and a displeased God, existentialist reaction took root in the arts, the absurd a key feature in the challenging and exploration of the paradigms of the new times. In Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, the theatre of the absurd encapsulates all of the hollow attempt at logical meaning, whereas Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus establishes the narrative as the absurd personified. The chaotic and insensitive nature of war, as well as the increasing advances in science and rationality, would impact the theocentric society present in western societies, at the same time opening up a void of nihilistic despair. The return of many to fundamentalism would isolate and attack any of Camus’ “absurd heroes”, those individuals who carve out their own universal meaning, a fact accentuated by Beckett’s humorous comments on the inexact nature of language and expression.
“Nihil ex Nihilo, I always say” (Gardner 150). Those are the nihilistic words that Grendel used to profess his belief that life has no purpose. Little did he know, those words would lead to a series of misfortunes that would conclude in his death. John Gardner’s Grendel is a modern work of literature that affirms the importance of human meaning through its downplaying of different philosophical beliefs, which ultimately express that life has no purpose. Gardner begins this modern work with the breakdown of Solipsism; the belief that only the self exists.
To put it in Baumann’s words: "Undecidables brutally expose the artifice and fragility of the most vital of separations; they poison the comfort of order with suspicion of chaos“4. The subsequent outcome is that the stranger, due to his disobedient nature, produces ubiquitous fear. As one who fits within a preordained position he creates fear because society continually fails to pin down this conspicuously unknown element5 Taking Baumann’s analysis as inspiration and guide, this paper will discuss the concept of the stranger by means
One can only be truly happy when one learns to accept oneself. By obtaining one’s self-worth from others, one will never fill the void inside. As Didion suggested in her essay, “…Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.” Through the use of a periodic sentence, she proposes that once one realizes their self-love is fallacious, one can never be the same. She states, “To such doubtful amulets had my self-respect been pinned, and I faced myself that day with the nonplussed apprehension of someone who has come across a vampire and has no crucifix at hand.” With the help of a metaphor, one can suggest that Didion was unprepared to realize that her self-confidence and worth was all a façade. One cannot deceive oneself with good intentions because ones knows their real motivations in doing so.
This novel in its entirety emphasises the difference between facts and imagination. One of the most important quotes in the novel is, “the agnostic ... if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality ... to the very end, [will] lack imagination and miss the better story.” The juxtaposition of “dry, yeastless factuality” with “the better story” is repeated numerous times, and fantastical descriptions are utilised to emphasise this dichotomy. It criticises those who do not believe in imagination, or do not have faith to believe in something. Without stories, religion and imagination, our existence becomes ‘dry and yeastless’. As Pi has embraced speculation and imagination since childhood, he has added meaning and dimension to his life.