“Evil in Modern Thought” as a Facebook Discussion (part three)

Evil in Modern Thought, by Susan Neiman

Susan Nieman’s Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy visualized as a modern social media discussion thread, chapter three.

(Those of you reading this in a feed aggregator will probably want to follow the link to read the post at my blog where the formatting will make a lot more sense. You can find chapter one at this link and chapter two at this link.)

To die quickly is a blessing. To never have been born may be the greatest boon of all.
Gottfried Liebniz
Really? I think if you asked most people, on their death beds, whether they’d choose to live again with the expectation of getting a similar mix of the bad and the good in their lives the next time around, most of them would take you up on the offer. It’s only in comparison to the promised life to come that our earthly lives look awful.
I disagree. I think it’s only the fear of what the afterlife holds that makes us cling to life so strongly. To sleep, perchance to dream.
David Hume
People seem biased to a deceptive optimism. Ask them if they would willingly live over again the last ten or twenty years of their life: ‘No!’ But the next twenty, they say, will be better, so they stick around (complaining about their lost youth).
Immanuel Kant
I don’t expect that anybody would repeat their lives for the fun of it. It is only duty really that keeps us going.
Arthur Schopenhauer
We only sometimes pretend to be satisfied with our lives to try to avoid the schadenfreude of others.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Why do you suppose so many philosophers are so unhappy? I daresay there may not be in the upper Valais a single mountaineer who is unhappy with his life, and who would not voluntarily accept, even in place of paradise, an unending cycle of rebirth.
Friedrich Nietzsche
In every age, the wisest have said of life ‘it is worthless.’ Instead of saying simply ‘I am no longer worth anything,’ they lie and say ‘Nothing is worth anything — life is not worth anything.’ Stop wasting your time and infecting the healthy by trying to prove that life is worth living and start living a worthy life and loving it enough that you would consider it a blessing to live it again and again for eternity.
So instead of reasoning that this is the best of all possible worlds, or having faith that this must be the best of all possible worlds, you will this to be the best of all possible worlds? That sounds every bit as nutty.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Morality by its very nature is constantly looking at Reality and calling it wrong and unacceptable in comparison with the unreal ideal it sets up. Morality therefore stands between you and your healthy impulse to embrace life. If you want to know the nature of evil, don’t look to philosophy and theology, look to psychology and history: we invented it to serve a need, and we can remember that it is just an invented myth if we try. God is dead, but good & evil continue to wheeze on life support. Embrace all the world, including what you now call ‘evil.’
Sigmund Freud
Sounds a bit like Stoicism.
Friedrich Nietzsche
No, I’m going further than the stoics. Don’t just face suffering with equanimity: embrace it. Will it! Suffering — ‘evil’ — is the tempering you need to make you stronger. Don’t look at it as something that you need to justify by looking over your shoulder at what you did to deserve it, look at it as something that you will justify in the future by what you make of it.
Sigmund Freud
Morality may be a myth, but it’s a useful one, in that it allows us to live in modern civilization without all trying to be alpha übermenschen and ripping each other apart.
Sigmund Freud
You want to know why we have these intuitions and longings about a Creator who is intensely concerned with our behavior and who metes out just or unjust suffering and rewards? It’s because we have lingering issues about our parents and have only incompetently and incompletely grown up. They’re illusions we cling to as we try to evade the responsibilities of maturity.

…continued on 18 June.