Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

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Nick_A
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Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Nick_A »

“The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular. In my dreams, I often make plans for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually face crucifixion if it were suddenly necessary. Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together. I know from experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs me and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he’s too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I hate men individually the more I love humanity.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
If we are honest about it, we can see why communes never work and the Communist ideal must fail. Regardless of how the brotherhood of Man is spoken of in glorious terms, in reality, the primary motive is for prestige and we don't appreciate being reminded of what we ARE. Regardless of all the attempts at progressive education and its ideals, the bottom line is that it is only good for discussion. When Man is left to his own devices, the struggle for prestige is the driving force for society. Can it change and can Man move closer to its ideals or does existence in Plato's cave assure that it cannot? What do you think?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
Hoggy
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Hoggy »

The Dostoievski quote refers to one of those rare abreactive types suffering from delusions of granduer due to his fictional patronage.
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Hoggy »

The schizophrenic Blair was so intimidated by Saddam he persuaded himself Saddam hated humanity.
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Hoggy »

Hoggy wrote: April 6th, 2021, 11:54 pm The schizophrenic little narcissist Blair was so intimidated by the personality of Saddam he persuaded himself Saddam hated humanity. - that he must thereby hate humanity.
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Steve3007
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Steve3007 »

In the OP there is a quote from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, followed by a short passage whose core message seems to be that the primary motive of humanity is prestige. Placing that passage after that quote suggests that the quote is cited as supporting evidence, but, taking that quote on its own, I don't see much of a relationship between the two. The Dostoevsky quote, on the face of it, simply states something that anyone who has ever (for example) brought up children or cared for an elderly relative for an extended period of time already knows: that love as an abstract concept is not the same as love for a real, close human being who we accept not as an ideal but as a real warts-and-all person. You can love someone and still be irritated by them in all sorts of ways. It is allowed.

I think lots of us have probably fallen for this kind of idealism (abstract notions about love for humanity or some other clean, clinical, impersonal concept) at one time or another, particularly when young and relatively inexperienced in dealing, day after day, with real people. The fact that we grow and experience life and relationships with others in all of their bitter-sweetness is what leads most people to realise that human beings should neither be condemned as evil nor put on a pedestal and revered.

So the Dostoevsky passage, above all, seems to me to encapsulate the naivety and danger of the type of political idealism that is sometimes found in people who like to think only in terms of abstractions and dislike the messy reality and complexity of real human beings.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Steve3007 wrote: April 7th, 2021, 5:46 am In the OP there is a quote from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, followed by a short passage whose core message seems to be that the primary motive of humanity is prestige. Placing that passage after that quote suggests that the quote is cited as supporting evidence, but, taking that quote on its own, I don't see much of a relationship between the two.

Yes, I agree. I could see someone making a case for greed, as opposed to prestige, but the real world is more complex than that, as you observe.
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Sculptor1
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Sculptor1 »

Hoggy wrote: April 6th, 2021, 11:57 pm
Hoggy wrote: April 6th, 2021, 11:54 pm The schizophrenic little narcissist Blair was so intimidated by the personality of Saddam he persuaded himself Saddam hated humanity. - that he must thereby hate humanity.
Seriously I do not think either Bush or Blair gave Saddam much thought.
They were out for blood. They'd decided that he was going to be their scapegoat and knew that an easy victory would secure their favour in the minds of the ravening hoards of morons.
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Sculptor1
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Sculptor1 »

The quote from The Brothers Karamazov is not to be taken as a general truth of all humans as people seem to be doing here.
No, this is a quote from FD whom he places this idea in the mouth of Alyosha, one of three odd brothers; a character in a book.
He is the christ-like aloof over sensitive and can only be disappointed that individuals cannot come up to his lofty view of humanity.
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Nick_A »


Steve

In the OP there is a quote from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, followed by a short passage whose core message seems to be that the primary motive of humanity is prestige. Placing that passage after that quote suggests that the quote is cited as supporting evidence, but, taking that quote on its own, I don't see much of a relationship between the two. The Dostoevsky quote, on the face of it, simply states something that anyone who has ever (for example) brought up children or cared for an elderly relative for an extended period of time already knows: that love as an abstract concept is not the same as love for a real, close human being who we accept not as an ideal but as a real warts-and-all person. You can love someone and still be irritated by them in all sorts of ways. It is allowed.

I think lots of us have probably fallen for this kind of idealism (abstract notions about love for humanity or some other clean, clinical, impersonal concept) at one time or another, particularly when young and relatively inexperienced in dealing, day after day, with real people. The fact that we grow and experience life and relationships with others in all of their bitter-sweetness is what leads most people to realise that human beings should neither be condemned as evil nor put on a pedestal and revered.

So the Dostoevsky passage, above all, seems to me to encapsulate the naivety and danger of the type of political idealism that is sometimes found in people who like to think only in terms of abstractions and dislike the messy reality and complexity of real human beings.
Dostoevsky is describing his own experience. He said that the more he loves Man in general, the less he loves Man in particular. Why is it so? Man in general is an attractive esoteric concept. We are all one. But Man in particular or socially defined collectives are annoying. Man in particular participates in the struggle over who is superior. The struggle to be viewed as better by others is the struggle for prestige. Man as a concept is an extraordinary being worthy of our compassion while Man in particular is a pain in the ass.

He does pose an important question concerning forgiveness. Can I be more forgiving once I understand what makes one a pain in the ass in the context of the hypocrisy or suffering of the human condition experienced by Man in general?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
Tegularius
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Tegularius »

Nick_A wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:10 pmDostoevsky is describing his own experience. He said that the more he loves Man in general, the less he loves Man in particular. Why is it so? Man in general is an attractive esoteric concept. We are all one. But Man in particular or socially defined collectives are annoying. Man in particular participates in the struggle over who is superior. The struggle to be viewed as better by others is the struggle for prestige. Man as a concept is an extraordinary being worthy of our compassion while Man in particular is a pain in the ass.
Conditions reverse themselves if you take man in toto and replace the ideal with the historical. It becomes the individual's task to either rise above or sink below what history depicts of his overall character as if expressed by a single countenance. My perception of man is exactly the opposite of Dostoevsky because it excludes any ideal version of him so easily contained in a collective.

How many times throughout history have individuals lived up to higher principles than the society or collectives which surrounded them? One of the oldest and often mentioned by you is Socrates. To a degree, I can relate to Dostoevsky's version as well but when the abstractions are subtracted it's the reality which floats to the surface. Philosophically one can love an abstraction but in practice they are rarely lovable.
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Sculptor1
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Sculptor1 »

Nick_A wrote: April 5th, 2021, 3:57 pm
“The more I love humanity in general the less I love man in particular. In my dreams, I often make plans for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually face crucifixion if it were suddenly necessary. Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days together. I know from experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs me and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he’s too long over his dinner, another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I hate men individually the more I love humanity.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
If we are honest about it, we can see why communes never work and the Communist ideal must fail. Regardless of how the brotherhood of Man is spoken of in glorious terms, in reality, the primary motive is for prestige and we don't appreciate being reminded of what we ARE. Regardless of all the attempts at progressive education and its ideals, the bottom line is that it is only good for discussion. When Man is left to his own devices, the struggle for prestige is the driving force for society. Can it change and can Man move closer to its ideals or does existence in Plato's cave assure that it cannot? What do you think?
But all societies are communes of a sort, so co-operation is a massive success story in the human experience.
What seems to be the big problem with democracy and other forms of co-operative government, is that there is no mechanism for preventing the 1/25 psychopaths from rising to the surface and exploiting the good will of the 96% of decent co-operative humanity.
Until societies recognise that problem the people shall always be at the mercy of the dishonest, self-centred, feckless and greedy.
Sadly the only people ruthless enough to institute a system of eugenics that would remove the psychopaths, and the psychopaths themselves. The good people are just well... too good.
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Sculptor1
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Sculptor1 »

Nick_A wrote: April 7th, 2021, 11:10 pm

Steve

In the OP there is a quote from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, followed by a short passage whose core message seems to be that the primary motive of humanity is prestige. Placing that passage after that quote suggests that the quote is cited as supporting evidence, but, taking that quote on its own, I don't see much of a relationship between the two. The Dostoevsky quote, on the face of it, simply states something that anyone who has ever (for example) brought up children or cared for an elderly relative for an extended period of time already knows: that love as an abstract concept is not the same as love for a real, close human being who we accept not as an ideal but as a real warts-and-all person. You can love someone and still be irritated by them in all sorts of ways. It is allowed.

I think lots of us have probably fallen for this kind of idealism (abstract notions about love for humanity or some other clean, clinical, impersonal concept) at one time or another, particularly when young and relatively inexperienced in dealing, day after day, with real people. The fact that we grow and experience life and relationships with others in all of their bitter-sweetness is what leads most people to realise that human beings should neither be condemned as evil nor put on a pedestal and revered.

So the Dostoevsky passage, above all, seems to me to encapsulate the naivety and danger of the type of political idealism that is sometimes found in people who like to think only in terms of abstractions and dislike the messy reality and complexity of real human beings.
Dostoevsky is describing his own experience.
I think FD was smart enough to inbue a character in a book with a personality and views that FD did not himself share. Alyosha is but one character in The Brothers, all of whom have different personality traits as to all characters in FD's books. Alyosha was a tortured soul, not necessarily representative of humanity as a whole.

He said that the more he loves Man in general, the less he loves Man in particular. Why is it so? Man in general is an attractive esoteric concept. We are all one. But Man in particular or socially defined collectives are annoying. Man in particular participates in the struggle over who is superior. The struggle to be viewed as better by others is the struggle for prestige. Man as a concept is an extraordinary being worthy of our compassion while Man in particular is a pain in the ass.

He does pose an important question concerning forgiveness. Can I be more forgiving once I understand what makes one a pain in the ass in the context of the hypocrisy or suffering of the human condition experienced by Man in general?
Nick_A
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Re: Human Ideals vs the Reality of Human Being

Post by Nick_A »

Sculptor1
But all societies are communes of a sort, so co-operation is a massive success story in the human experience.
What seems to be the big problem with democracy and other forms of co-operative government, is that there is no mechanism for preventing the 1/25 psychopaths from rising to the surface and exploiting the good will of the 96% of decent co-operative humanity.
Until societies recognise that problem the people shall always be at the mercy of the dishonest, self-centred, feckless and greedy.
Sadly the only people ruthless enough to institute a system of eugenics that would remove the psychopaths, and the psychopaths themselves. The good people are just well... too good.
What makes you believe that humanity cooperates accept for this minority of troublemakers who cause all the troubles.
Pogo: "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us"
The human condition is the belief that we are hypocrites. Plato explains why in the Chariot analogy and St. Paul explains himself as the "Wretched Man" and a victim of this same human condition.

We can't blame it on the other guy but must seek to admit the human condition as it exists in us before we can begin to deal with it. It is an interesting topic worth discussing. But we prefer to blame the other guy so everything continues following the cycles of nature including war and peace as explained in Ecclesiastes 3
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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